The Benefits of Using Remote Deposition Services in Family Law Cases

Remote deposition services offer numerous benefits in family law cases. Using purpose-built legal software to conduct a family law deposition can serve to ease tensions, safeguard witness well-being, and facilitate scheduling. It can also be significantly more cost-effective than an in-person deposition while enhancing a lawyer’s quality and productivity, making it a welcome option in a notoriously price-sensitive and high-volume area of legal practice. 

Features of a Modern Remote Deposition

A remote deposition consists of any deposition in which the witness, lawyers, and legal service providers participate from separate locations. Lawyers have been taking remote depositions for years by phone or conference room video links. But the availability, convenience, and efficacy of remote depositions have improved dramatically in the past few years with the emergence of online remote deposition platforms that offer a suite of features purpose-built for the task of taking witness testimony from afar. Today’s remote court reporting services can: 

  • Schedule a credentialedcourt reporter to handle a deposition anywhere in the country
  • Administer a deposition via an online video, audio, and document-sharing platform to which all participants connect from locations of their choosing
  • Facilitate seamless uploading and marking of exhibits before or during a deposition
  • Display and record high-quality video and audio suitable for use in a courtroom
  • Transcribe testimony in real-time using sophisticated voice-to-text technology
  • Provide virtual breakout rooms for attorneys and clients to have private sidebar discussions
  • Deliver rough draft transcripts shortly after the end of a deposition
  • Produce official deposition transcripts and professional-quality video in a wide variety of formats

Litigators who try out remote deposition platforms tend to become quick converts. Today, a deposition taken via a single-source remote court reporting service can be just as productive as an in-person session and far more cost-effective.   

Related: The Future of Digital Court Reporting

Remote Deposition Services Can Dial Down the Tension

As anyone who has practiced family law can tell you, taking a deposition in a contentious divorce or child custody case often feels like a high-wire act. Questioning witnesses about, for example, their intimate lives, parenting decisions, or personal finances tends to trigger intense emotions, creating a powder keg atmosphere primed to become the flashpoint for the parties’ anger and hostility toward each other or their respective attorneys. It falls to the lawyers to prevent the proceedings from devolving into a shouting match between their clients, or something worse. 

A remote deposition can alleviate some of those tensions. By its nature, it avoids putting the parties and their lawyers in the same room, removing one common stressor in an emotionally fraught deposition. Witnesses can also be deposed in a location of their choosing, adding to their comfort and sense of safety (more on this below), which can also help keep emotions in check. To be sure, taking a deposition remotely isn’t a cure-all for the tensions inherent in some family law matters, but it can help in dialing them back.  

Remote Deposition Services Promote Witness Well-being

Family law practice also frequently implicates the interests of vulnerable individuals. When a child, elderly individual, or person with disabilities must testify in a deposition, lawyers need to take special care not to cause trauma or undue stress.

A remote deposition can be an effective tool for safeguarding a witness’s well-being. Using a remote deposition platform allows for a young witness to give testimony from a safe and comfortable location. It similarly avoids the need for an elderly or infirm witness to appear at a lawyer’s office or another deposition site. And in cases where a witness may feel intimidated by the presence of a parent or caregiver at the deposition table, remote deposition platforms allow lawyers to control who the witness can see or interact with during questioning. These features can go a long way in protecting a witness from undue upset and eliciting clear and accurate testimony. 

Remote Deposition Services Facilitate Scheduling

Family law disputes tend to revolve around the parties’ personal lives. Witnesses often have to take time away from work or school to attend a deposition, which can be inconvenient and makes scheduling difficult. Offering witnesses the ability to be deposed remotely facilitates fitting a session into their busy schedules. And that, in turn, helps lawyers complete discovery on time and with minimal administrative friction. 

Related: Tips for Scheduling Depositions Effectively

Remote deposition services also eliminate family lawyers’ worries about scheduling court reporters and videographers. A nationwide shortage of traditional court reporters and other service providers, made worse by the pandemic, has made it difficult—and at times impossible—to put timely in-person depositions on the calendar. Remote deposition services solve that problem by drawing from a vast pool of credentialedprofessionals who can administer oaths and record testimony from anywhere. Family lawyers are no longer at the mercy of court reporters’ and videographers’ availability. 

Remote Deposition Services Save Money

Family law clients are famously price-sensitive, which means that family lawyers often operate on thin margins. Cost savings can have a material impact on their client’s satisfaction and their own bottom line. Remote deposition services can help in that department, too. By taking depositions remotely, family lawyers save on travel, overhead, and administrative costs that their clients might otherwise have to bear. In an intensely competitive practice area, those economies can make a significant difference in attracting and retaining clients. 

Remote Deposition Services Can Enhance Lawyer Quality and Productivity

Successful family lawyers have high-volume practices. It’s easy to get stretched thin by the demands of handling document-heavy financial discovery, emotionally sensitive clients, and impatient judges. Any service that streamlines your processes and reliably delivers courtroom-ready work product stands a good chance of making you a better and more productive attorney. 

That’s exactly what today’s remote deposition services can do. Lawyers who use them don’t need to negotiate deposition protocols with opposing counsel, because an all-in-one platform eliminates the complications inherent in trying to take testimony over a generic video conferencing platform like Zoom or Google Meet. They don’t need to worry about using their second or third-choice court reporting agency or videographer (when the first is booked) because they can always count on a remote service’s availability and quality work product. And they don’t have to endure delays in getting transcripts and high-quality, text-synched video, because remote services have the resources to deliver on time, every time. 

Remote Legal is an industry leader in offering remote deposition services to family lawyers nationwide.  Contact us today for a free product demo and to learn about how our single-source platform can enhance your family law practice. 

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