Video Deposition Software: How It’s Changing the Justice System

Today’s video deposition software is much different from tools of the past, with some platforms offering everything participants need in one, streamlined solution, including HD video, AI-based transcription, and private breakout rooms. 

With video deposition software, witnesses, lawyers, videographers, and court reporters remain in separate locations, with some settings including home offices, bedrooms, and conference rooms. Participants connect via their wi-fi or Internet connection rather than using a high-speed video link to connect two law firm conference rooms.

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed technology forward and established the feasibility of completely “virtual” video depositions. This technology is undoubtedly here to stay. However, larger questions require much deliberation since lawyers must consider legitimate advantages and disadvantages of video depositions and video deposition software choices.

COVID-19 Completely Transformed Courts and Video Deposition Software

The legal industry was ready to respond when the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020. Our initial response was developing emergency procedures that kept courts operable and replacing in-person proceedings with technology. Remote arraignments, bench trials, and video depositions rose from obscurity to commonplace in contemporary legal practice overnight.

Increased Technological Adoptions

The State of California permanently maximized virtual court access for many hearings and will likely not revert to pre-2020 in-person operations, which can include video depositions. Other states may follow suit, and many law firms enjoy the convenient option of video deposition software, even when in-person depositions are possible.

Remote access to courts offered benefits like increased service availability, reduced pollution, and increased transparency, allowing legal aid providers to serve clients more efficiently during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Revamping Civil, Criminal, and Procedural Laws

There has always been the possibility of revising state statutes due to dated presumptions. That re-examination is already happening in Ohio (OH), where lawmakers are actively discovering other ways of using and implementing applicable technologies, such as video depositions. Ohio’s Supreme Court also created the Task Force on Improving Court Operations Using Remote Technology, which recently released a detailed report of the legal reforms required to support this endeavor.

You can review a copy of the detailed summary in PDF format here.

New Technologies Emerge

The New York State (NYS) Court of Appeals is conducting an impressive study on legal technology. State court administrators are currently examining the legal implications associated with biometric technologies that try to detect the truthfulness of expert and eyewitness testimony.

Some of these technologies can detect deceptive statements based on eye movement, pupil dilation, vocal pitch, and other biometric data that could improve the truthfulness and accuracy of video depositions.

You can download a PDF copy of this report and the recommendations of the Future Trials Working Group.

Artificial Intelligence Takes Over

Artificial intelligence (AI) might replace repetitive or programmable tasks legal professionals perform, including transcriptionists. While AI cannot always replace human quality, virtual court reporters rely on these technologies to save law firms money while serving more clients.

Related: How Do Remote Streaming Depositions Work?

Video Depositions Are Here to Stay

The legal industry’s demand for video deposition software has exploded in the last year and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) research, remote video depositions accounted for approximately 90 percent of all depositions during the pandemic’s peak.

What may surprise some is the expectation that remote video depositions will continue to play a growing role in litigation proceedings in the future. The same report indicates that more than 50 percent of depositions will continue to take place remotely once all pandemic-related restrictions are lifted. This number is less surprising than it seems since remote video depositions became the only option in many cases for several months during the pandemic.

Attorneys Adapted to Remote Video Depositions Quickly

The pandemic created extraordinary circumstances requiring attorneys, law firms, courts, and other legal community members to adapt to new business models rapidly. Attorneys across the country quickly adopted remote deposition solutions and grew accustomed to the advantages that came with conducting depositions online.

Advantage 1: Efficiency

The travel costs of conducting in-person depositions can quickly add up, particularly when examining out-of-state witnesses. Flights, lodging, local transportation, and conference rooms are just a few expenses incurred. Video depositions support litigants by significantly reducing their legal costs related to travel.

Advantage 2: Convenience

Remote video deposition software offers convenience for all litigants and legal counsel members. They facilitate the virtual testimony of witnesses who would otherwise need significant financial and safety resources to avoid making the process unduly burdensome.

Attorneys can now depose one witness in Oregon and another in Maine, all in the same day from the comfort of their Pennsylvania office. Video depositions help both legal professionals and clients avoid days of travel while saving thousands of dollars in the process.

Advantage 3: Differentiation

The increasingly competitive legal industry pressures solo and small firms to stay agile, making it vital to differentiate your firm in the marketplace. Video deposition software empowers you to gain a competitive edge over less adaptable and innovative legal practices while saving clients money on high litigation costs.

Related: What Is Remote Deposition Software?

How Video Deposition Software Is Changing Video Depositions

Despite the critical role depositions play in modern litigation, change has been slow. However, the deposition room has seen much-needed change over the last few years as lawyers increasingly adopt legal technology solutions to streamline the process.

Let’s examine how software is changing video depositions:

Improvement 1: Real-Time Transcriptions

Did you miss what the witness said? Take a look at the transcript live on your monitor in front of you. Rewind, search for certain terms or follow the time-stamped dialogue. While the fundamentals of this technology are not new, the delivery of the live transcript feed has improved dramatically in recent years. The process is no longer hampered by hardware incompatibilities, odd billing processes, and other challenges.

Improvement 2: Video Documentation

Video deposition software is not new, but modern technology has enhanced its effectiveness. Due to digital video and cloud technology convergence, attorneys now have unparalleled access to deposition video software that syncs with the transcript and is ready for use as the case progresses.

Improved videography provides additional options. Multiple cameras are not uncommon in the deposition room, recording different angles and the witness’s actions with exhibits. When the parties utilize digital exhibits, a skilled videographer can capture the witness’s screen and later combine it with the deposition video and transcript to create an eye-catching presentation.

Improvement 3: Online Access

While lawyers are occasionally required to travel, physical presence at a deposition is not always necessary or even possible. For years, attending an out-of-town deposition necessitated flying or listening in via dial-in telephone conference.

Working with transcription providers that utilize advanced video deposition software when combining streaming video, audio, and transcripts enables flexibility for parties to both attend and participate in depositions regardless of their geographic location.

Improvement 4: Exhibit Viewing

Thousands of exhibits across dozens of depositions may be required in a single case. For decades, the only method available was printing multiple paper copies of those exhibits and transporting them in boxes or binders to and from the deposition.

Thanks to modern technology, all of that changed quickly. Attorneys are now preparing for depositions electronically and then marking and distributing electronic exhibits during the testimony using software designed to replicate the paper process. Using digital annotation tools, the witness and other participants can enlarge, highlight, and annotate exhibits.

Parties leave the deposition with instant access to the official, stamped exhibits rather than waiting for scanning and delivery. However, the final production must still go through certification to ensure accuracy.

Improvement 5: Increased Security

Some attorneys may object to the idea of a streaming video deposition due to concerns about the security of Skype or other video conferencing platforms. After all, Zoom is for informal meetings, not for legal communications.

Unlike Zoom or other personal video conferencing applications, video deposition software provides an adequate level of security for the sensitive information frequently handled and exposed in video depositions. In fact, many attorneys are unlikely to consider the security of traditional paper deposition exhibits. By utilizing encryption and other security measures, digital exhibit technology makes the process even more secure than paper.

Improvement 6: Better Collaboration Tools

By enabling remote participation and simultaneously lowering costs, deposition technologies have aided in new levels of collaboration in the deposition process. Client representatives can take part in a deposition from their office, viewing the live video feed and interacting with their attorneys in the deposition room as if they were there.

Expert witnesses and colleagues can oversee and participate in video depositions without incurring travel costs. Exhibits that have been marked during a deposition can be used the following day by colleagues in another deposition without having to redact them. Team members can also collaborate between depositions by utilizing central collections of digital exhibits and transcripts.

Get In Touch With Our Team

Does your law firm need reliable transcription services with advanced video deposition software? Contact Remote Legal and schedule a demo of one of the most advanced yet simple-to-use, secure remote court reporting platforms in the industry.

See Remote Legal in Action

Let us show you our single source solution so you can get back to doing the things you love.