Investing in Video Deposition Software: A Guide for Law Firms

Remote video depositions have become an increasingly common feature of litigation discovery, especially since the pandemic. Still, for many law firms, the promise of high-quality, low cost video testimony remains an elusive goal. Whatever savings firms achieve in conducting a witness examination remotely, they lose in the time and effort spent trying to manage the technical glitches and inefficient workarounds that come with using generic video conferencing software as an online deposition platform.

But for the growing number of litigators who have invested in legal-industry standard remote video deposition software, those frustrations are a thing of the past. Unlike generic platforms like Zoom or Google Meet, remote deposition software offers a purpose-built means of scheduling, connecting to, conducting, recording, and transcribing a witness examination via video. Finally, trial lawyers have a tool that makes taking a deposition remotely just as easy and productive as doing it in person, with significant cost savings to boot. 

Thinking about investing in video deposition software for your litigation practice? Here’s an overview of the features you’ll need to make the most of your remote depositions. 

An All-In-One Solution

When the pandemic hit, litigators had little choice but to turn to generic, mainstream video conferencing platforms to conduct depositions. They immediately encountered a problem. Although video conferencing made it possible to bring people together remotely, it made other simple tasks exceedingly complicated. 

For example, tools didn’t exist to “hand” an exhibit to a witness remotely in the course of questioning, so lawyers had to come up with elaborate protocols for emailing or sharing documents by other means, which slowed depositions down and led to frequent confusion.

 Similarly, and much to their consternation, lawyers found that obtaining usable audio and video of a deposition via a generic platform was simply impossible in many cases, due to data lags and poor sound and image quality. 

What was needed, and what today’s video deposition software can provide, was an all-in-one solution—a single platform where you can accomplish all of the tasks involved in planning, taking, and using a deposition, without having to resort to separate applications or jury-rigged workarounds. When investing in video deposition software, look for the solution that adopts this all-in-one approach.  

Ease of Scheduling a Court Reporter 

You can’t necessarily count on your local court reporting agency to be able to administer and transcribe a video deposition. For one thing, not all court reporters feel comfortable handling the logistics and technological challenges of transcribing remote testimony. For another, video depositions make it possible to depose a witness over long distances, so you may need a reporter licensed to administer oaths in a jurisdiction other than your own. 

Related: How to Choose a Court Reporter for Your Case

Invest in video deposition software that solves court reporter scheduling for you. Look for a platform that gives you access to a network of reporters who are familiar with the software and how it functions, and have the requisite qualifications to administer a deposition no matter where the witness is located.

Efficient Exhibit Management Features

Marking, sharing, and keeping track of exhibits became inordinately complicated once lawyers began conducting depositions on generic online video platforms. Gone was the option of bringing a Redweld full of potential exhibits to a deposition and deciding which ones to use as the testimony unfolded. Litigators instead needed to puzzle through protocols for how to upload and mark exhibits, share them with a witness and opposing counsel, and ensure everyone was on the literal and figurative same page during questioning. There was a lot to consider, as the ABA’s latest best practices for remote depositions reflect.   

The video deposition software you invest in should largely eliminate those issues by providing all the tools necessary to upload, mark, and share exhibits in advance or on-the-fly. It should also make it easy to show a witness a document and focus their attention on specific content. Every aspect of exhibit management should feel intuitive and efficient, so that you can spend your time on substance, not procedure. 

Cutting-Edge Transcription and Video Capture

You can only create a good record of a video deposition with a reliable audio and video stream. That requirement bedeviled litigators who took depositions over generic video platforms in the early days of the pandemic. Image streams regularly froze and pixelated. 

Audio dropped out or muted when two people spoke at once (a particular bugbear when it came to lodging objections to questions). Court reporters stood little chance of delivering a complete and accurate transcript, let alone videography suitable for use in a courtroom. 

Related: What to Know About Legal Videography Rates Today

Expect the video deposition software you invest in to resolve those problems once-and-for-all. The software you choose should deliver clear, reliable audio and video streams. AI-enhanced voice-to-text transcription should give the court reporter a head start that ensures an accurate written record, and you the option of monitoring the text of questions and answers in real time. And the high-quality video captured by the platform should be suitable to package into courtroom-ready footage synced with transcript text. 

Fast, Affordable Deliverables

The ad hoc nature of taking depositions via generic online video conferencing platforms led to considerable delays, not just while taking depositions but also in delivery of transcripts and videography. The image and sound glitches mentioned above forced court reporters and lawyers to spend extra time reviewing draft transcripts to ensure completeness and accuracy (or some approximation of that). The same went for the process of cleaning up screen captured videos, which even at their best were a far cry from video shot by a professional cameraperson in the room with the deponent. 

Single-source video deposition software puts the timelines for receiving transcript and video deliverables back on track. The time savings you gain by using it goes a long way toward paying for your investment. High-quality remote deposition solutions can deliver rough transcripts within 30 minutes of the end of a deposition. 

Official transcripts you order arrive on schedule in whatever standard format you or the court requests, whether hard-copy or digital. So do professional quality videos with text overlay. And the rates are generally less expensive than what you’d pay for traditional court reporting and videography.

Remote Legal is an industry leader in developing all-in-one video deposition software. Their solutions offer a suite of features purpose-built for the task of scheduling, taking, and recording a deposition from anywhere. To see how Remote Legal can make your next video deposition effective and efficient, contact us today for a demo.

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