The virtual deposition transcript has become an invaluable tool in the legal industry. Taking virtual depositions is what has given legal professionals a simple and cost-effective way to depose witnesses virtually anywhere in the world — which is why it has also been a growing trend within the industry.
Of course, in more recent times with the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of virtual depositions has gone from a convenience to an absolute necessity. Now, law firms, attorneys, insurance companies, and other legal professionals are increasingly adopting this new litigation technology to avoid any interruptions in their services.
As it would seem, virtual depositions are here to stay. That’s why we’re going to dive into the essential things all legal professionals must understand in regard to the rules for virtual deposition transcripts. Keep reading to learn more.
How Does a Remote or Virtual Deposition Transcript Work?
A virtual deposition (also referred to as a remote deposition) is just like a regular deposition — as in the detailed witness account of an event meant for later use in court or for discovery purposes. The virtual deposition transcript is that detailed witness account put into verbatim writing to be used as a reference for court and discovery purposes.
Since it’s a virtual deposition, all parties being deposed can participate digitally, using a laptop or mobile device that has an internet connection and a web camera function. This is usually done via a specialized video conferencing platform used by the legal profession, with legal-industry security standards.
How Can You Make Sure Your Virtual Deposition Transcripts Are Done Correctly?
While deposing witnesses remotely is convenient and efficient, you still need to take the proper precautions to ensure that your next virtual deposition transcript can be used as a legal document.
Therefore, you’ll want to adhere to the following best practices:
Pay Attention to Location and Document Requests
Generally speaking, a deposition will include a deponent, court reporter, deposing counsel, and opposing council. In some instances, it’ll also require an interpreter or other parties that offer assistance to the impaired. Upon organizing the virtual deposition, you’ll want to ensure that all parties agree on where each person will be located during the deposition.
For example, will the court reporter be in the same room as the deponent or will they be connecting from separate locations?
To avoid any misunderstanding, be sure to include in your virtual deposition notice the specifications of where the deposition is being taken — remotely, of course — as well as where the other parties will appear.
Ensure That All Parties Have Access to the Minimum Technical Requirements
Technical issues can end up rendering your virtual deposition transcript inadmissible in court. Therefore you want to be sure that all parties involved have access to a computer or tablet with a web camera, a good internet connection, and the minimum technical requirements to run the necessary software.
It’s also a good idea to do a test run a few days before the scheduled deposition to ensure that everyone knows how to use the software or platform being used beforehand. This means ensuring that all parties are able to upload and share exhibits, have adequate internet speed, and that their audio and video functions work properly.
Don’t Forget to Record the Video!
Virtual depositions aren’t typically recorded automatically, although some specialized legal platforms will offer this service. Therefore, you should always make sure that the court-reporting service you’re using knows that you need the deposition video-recorded to serve as a secondary source of virtual deposition evidence.
It’ll come in handy should the deponent become unavailable during the actual time of the trial or if the deposition needs to be reviewed at a later time.
Close Down All Other Programs
When it comes time for the virtual deposition, only the virtual deposition platform you’re using should be open. This means you’ll need to close your email, web browser, and any other programs you usually keep open on your device.
This will eliminate the chance of you accidentally displaying any confidential emails or any other sensitive documents that can render your virtual deposition transcript ineffective while also ensuring you follow the general rules required of a deposition.
Check for Potential Outside Interferences
Right after informing the deponent of the virtual deposition rules, it’s also necessary to broach the subject of potential interferences to ensure the deponent remains focused and that there’s nothing in the background that could negatively impact the virtual deposition transcript.
Here’s a checklist of questions/statements to use:
- Is there anyone else in the room with you?
- If anyone comes into the room at any time, please inform me immediately
- Do you have any other programs or applications running on your device? If so, please exit them so that only the virtual platform is open
- Please turn off any other devices, including your smartphone, before the virtual deposition begins.
- Unless I instruct you to do so otherwise, please do not look at anything (documents, notes, away from the camera, etc.) while we are on the record
- Please answer all questions by yourself. Do not look to anyone else for help while answering questions. If you are unable to answer certain questions alone, please tell me.
- Do you agree to communicate with only me and no one else while we are on the record? (This goes for all forms of communication such as text messages, email, and so on.)
Related: Pros and Cons of Remote Depositions
Ensure the Effectiveness of Your Virtual Deposition Transcript With the Right Platform
Virtual depositions have evolved — and so has the software used to make them possible. If you want to ensure that your next virtual deposition transcript will be effective in court, choose a streamlined platform designed for virtual depositions.
Remote Legal offers an easy-to-use platform with security that meets legal industry standards. Designed specifically for remote depositions, it includes multi-featured video conferencing, exhibit sharing and annotation, court reporting, certified transcripts, and more. Schedule a demo today and see how we can help you streamline your remote depositions and virtual deposition transcripts.
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