The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way legal professionals conduct business. To limit the spread of the virus, jurisdictions across the country have encouraged legal professionals and their clients to meet remotely. Although COVID-19 brought remote depositions into focus, partially remote depositions have been around for decades. However, when remote depositions occurred in pre-pandemic times, court reporters were generally in the presence of the deponent.
As the pandemic continues to loom, remote deposition services continue to provide tremendous value to law professionals and their clients. However, remote depositions come with specific challenges and considerations. For virtual depositions to run as smoothly, law professionals must partner with experienced court reporting firms like Cite. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about remote depositions in 2022.
What Is Remote Court Reporting?
When it comes to remote court reporting, only the venue has changed. The court reporter still captures proceedings using a stenographic machine and creates shareable transcripts, but they do so in a video conference, rather than in a shared physical space. Remote reporting is effective for a variety of proceedings.
A remote deposition is one in which all participants join a telephone call or video conference from different physical locations. Remote depositions include the same participants as in-person depositions: the witness, various counsels and the court reporter, as well as an interpreter and videographer if necessary.
Virtual arbitration takes place remotely, generally with video conferencing, rather than in-person. Whereas in-person arbitration is historically a lengthy, expensive process, virtual arbitration can encourage more time-efficient, concise hearings.
Remote mediation requires chosen participants to join by video conference or telephone. It generally involves setting ground rules, establishing lengths of sessions and breaks, as well as briefing sessions.
Any legal proceeding that can be done remotely can also be captured by remote court reporters. In addition to arbitrations, depositions and mediations, remote court reporters can provide remote real-time reporting (providing the video attendees with transcribed captions), capture sworn statements, prepare transcripts and more.
How Virtual Court Reporting Works
In a virtual setting, the job of the court reporter remains the same: to ensure the accuracy and admissibility of testimony and evidence captured during legal proceedings. Virtual court reporters use a stenograph to make a phonetic record of everything said and presented and share it in a readable transcript.
For remote reporting to work, a remote deposition (or any other virtual proceeding) must be highly structured to prevent people from talking over each other. In remote depositions, the deponent’s video image is often “pinned” as the largest image on screen so that the court reporter can watch them speak. Additionally, participants of virtual proceedings need stable internet connections to prevent lapses and disconnections.
Remote Deposition Services FAQs
Without the help of court reporting firms, there’s only so much independent remote court reporters can do. Luckily, reporting firms can aid their reporters by providing virtual conferencing, private meeting rooms, recording equipment and more. Below are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about virtual deposition services.
Are Zoom Depositions Legal?
Yes, Zoom depositions are legal. In light of pandemic conditions, courts across the country have allowed for virtual depositions, as well as in-court testimony by remote means.
How Does Videography Work in Remote Deposition Services?
Although many video conferencing platforms like Zoom have built-in video-recording capabilities, remote depositions still need videographers to perform the following tasks:
- Keep the witness in frame (regardless of sharing or pinned views)
- Export the feed to HD recorders for better quality
- Pause and start the video when it is on and off the record
- Sync the video with the transcript
How Can I Ensure that Remote Court Reporting is HIPAA-Compliant?
The best way to ensure that remote reporting is HIPAA-compliant is by hiring a reputable court reporting firm. The best court reporting firms hire only certified court reporters who are well-versed in legal proceedings and the necessity of protecting clients’ confidential information.
Remote Deposition Services with Cite
The pandemic has made many activities more challenging, but remote deposition doesn’t have to be one of them. Cite makes virtual court reporting easy by offering virtual meeting rooms, traditional or mobile video conferencing options, scheduling services, technologically proficient court reporters and more. Ready to try virtual deposition services? Visit us online to schedule a deposition, or give us a call at (866) 993-0207.