How Virtual Depositions Work

Virtual Deposition Procedure


A deposition is pre-trial testimony that is given under oath. The opposing attorney asks questions & the deponent answers them. The court reporter records everything that is “on the record” to create the official transcript, which can be used in trial.

A virtual deposition is when participants connect remotely through an online platform. Depositions conducted remotely can still be just as effective and actually have many benefits like being more time efficient & cost effective.

Although virtual depositions (also known as remote depositions or internet depositions) have been around for quite some time, they rose to popularity after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and are likely to remain a common litigation practice.

Click here to read key tips for attorneys to nail their next virtual deposition

Taking a Virtual Deposition with Magna Legal Services

How a Virtual Deposition Works


Equipment

  • All you need is a computer or tablet with a webcam. Most home internet connections are more than enough for a stable connection.
  • If a participant doesn’t have the equipment needed, you can rent it. Magna offers a state-of-the-art flight pack system that we can ship anything needed (tablet with stand, internet jetpack, etc.), even for last-minute depositions.

Logging on

  • When you schedule your virtual deposition with Magna, we’ll send each participant their link & instructions for joining in the body of a calendar invite.
  • Participants have the option to join the session before the deposition start-time to get comfortable with the platform.

Platform Features

  • Here are some features that will be available to every participant on the session:
    • Mute/Unmute Yourself
    • Show/Hide your video
    • View Participant list
    • Chat Feature – Allows you to chat with all participants or chat privately with the session host or deposition manager. You can also share & save documents in the chat.
    • Screen-Sharing
    • Virtual Backgrounds (or blurred backgrounds)
  • Only the host, videographer (and sometimes, the court reporter) are able to record virtual depositions.

Click here to request a demo of the Virtual Deposition platform

Certified Legal Videography

  • Only recordings with Certified Legal Videography are admissible to be shown in trial.
  • If you need an official video deposition, a certified legal videographer can man the record button and will notify participants when going on and off the record.
  • The end result is just what an in-person videotape deposition might look like, showing the witness & exhibits. This can be also synced with the transcript from the court reporter.
  • Some attorneys may have preferences for what they want the video output to look like or include. In this case, they should confirm with the videographer beforehand the style of video they want.

Swearing in the Witness

  • Given the current situation, many venues have passed laws allowing for the court reporter to remotely swear in the witness. If the law is currently ambiguous in your venue, the parties must simply agree that the court reporter (or notary if needed) can swear in the witness remotely.
  • At the start of the deposition, the court reporter will ask the witness to raise their right hand and take an oath, which will sound something like “Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”

Tech Support

  • When picking your virtual deposition provider, you’ll want good tech support to avoid delays or connection issues.
  • In addition to testing each party’s equipment prior to the session, Magna provides continuous tech support and monitoring for all of our virtual depositions. If any tech issues arise, your tech will be available instantly via the platform’s chat feature (or can be reached by phone or email).
  • Magna also offers free platform training prior to the session for any participant who would like it.

Sharing Exhibits

  • Most attorneys can agree that virtual depositions make using exhibits a whole lot easier.
  • Paper copies of exhibits are not needed as each party will be able to view and access the exhibits online.

Attorneys have 3 options for managing & sharing exhibits:

1. Attorneys can share exhibits themselves throughout their presentation using the platform’s screen-share function.

In this case, attorneys should plan and organize all exhibits ahead of time, making sure files are named appropriately and are easily accessible.

2. Have an assistant/ colleague present the exhibits for them.

In this case, the colleague will receive their own link to join the virtual deposition and will have the same abilities as the other participants

3. Use a deposition manager to handle exhibits (easiest option).

Magna can also integrate with Agile Law!

Sharing exhibits on a virtual deposition - Magna Legal Services

Deposition Manager

  • A Deposition Manager, which we call Magna LitigationVision Plus (MLV+) is an experienced trial tech that will provide seamless support throughout your virtual deposition. They’ll handle:
    • Presenting exhibits, demonstratives and videos
    • Managing annotations in real-time, including zooming, call-outs, highlights, and markings
    • Creating & managing break-out rooms
    • and more
  • If you choose to use a deposition manager, you will send all the exhibits you may want to use to the MLV+ manager prior to the deposition so they can compile the database.
  • All exhibits you send to the MLV+ manager will also be shared with the court reporter, saving you that extra step and allowing you to get your transcript back quicker.

Viewing/ Screen Options

  • Each person can choose the screen view that they are most comfortable with (speaker-view/ gallery view).
  • You will also have the option to “pin” the witness or any participant full screen.
  • When sharing exhibits, you can have the witness remain large while the document is smaller or vice versa.

Break-Out Rooms

  • Break-out rooms can be used for private meetings with your deponent, co-counsel or others.
  • A deposition manager can handle creating break-out rooms, moving people in between rooms and ensuring confidentiality.
  • Participants will not need separate links to join break-out rooms and are able to re-join the main room at any time.

Realtime Court Reporting

  • Magna offers realtime court-reporting for virtual depositions. Attorneys can view realtime transcripts in a number of ways depending on your preference and equipment (on the same screen or on a second monitor or tablet).

Scheduling

  • Magna Legal Services offers nationwide coverage and easy scheduling 24/7 (online, by email or by phone). Click here to Schedule a Deposition.
  • Options available include:
    • Your choice of platform (Zoom, Cisco/WebEx, Microsoft Teams or other)
    • Deposition manager
    • Realtime court reporter
    • Certified legal videographer
    • Platform training (it’s free!)
    • Interpreter or translator
    • Witness preparation session with a Magna litigation consultant
    • Conference room reservation
    • Custom virtual backgrounds
    • Video/ transcript sync

Accessing Transcripts & Recordings

  • Attorneys can receive their transcripts electronically or hardcopy. If you have Magna Online Office, you can access all of the transcripts and exhibits on there as well.
  • Video recordings will be sent to you electronically via an email link or you can request a hard copy DVD.

Remote Depositions with Magna Legal Services


Magna LitigationVision (MLV) is Magna’s virtual deposition platform, which gives you the ability to depose a witness from anywhere in the world. MLV provides clients with real-time video access to depositions, mediations, arbitrations, hearings, meetings, and other proceedings.

Click here to schedule a deposition or click here to contact Magna today!

Related Articles:

O’Brien & Levine Court Reporting Solutions Joins Magna Legal Services

Magna Legal Services Enhances Services With the Resources of O’Brien & Levine Court Reporting Solutions

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 23, 2021—Magna Legal Services (Magna LS), an ALM award-winning court reporting, medical record retrieval and litigation consulting industry leader, and O’Brien & Levine Court Reporting Solutions announced today the combination of their firms. Boston-based O’Brien & Levine has been independently operated by President Kenneth Zais since 1992. The two companies combined operations on August 18, 2021.

With more than 500 employees, 3,500 court reporters, 5,000 interpreters and 40 litigation consultants in 22 locations across the U.S., together Magna LS and O’Brien & Levine will be one of the largest litigation support and consulting firms both in size and services offered.

O’Brien & Levine clients will now have access to medical record retrieval, document translation, interpreting, social media surveillance, visual communications, and jury consulting services.

“Our firms’ complementary industry strengths, similar collaborative culture and focus on exceptional service will be valued by clients in New England and throughout the U.S.,” said O’Brien & Levine President Kenny Zais. “We will continue to introduce and support real-world technologies for litigation practices, such as virtual depositions and paperless exhibits, that have now become a mainstay. I am enthusiastic about the next chapter for our clients, court reporters and team.”

Founding Partner and Executive Vice President of Sales at Magna LS, Peter Hecht, added, “We have tremendous respect for O’Brien & Levine and are excited that our clients will be able to take advantage of their services in New England. We are equally excited about the opportunity to offer new, powerful litigation support tools for their clients.” The merging of these companies will further enable Magna LS to continue to be the industry leader in court reporting nationwide.

Magna Legal Services CEO Mark Williams said, “We are delighted to welcome the O’Brien & Levine team to the Magna family. Kenny and his team built a well-known, respected brand over 30 successful years. Together, our capabilities will expand opportunities to shape the future of court reporting.”

A Guide to Professional Interpreting & Translation

What is The Difference Between Interpreting & Translation?

Interpreting is oral translation (spoken).


MODES of Interpreting:

Consecutive

The speaker and interpreter take turns talking. The interpreter waits for the speaker to finish, then renders the speaker’s words into the target language.

Most common for: events with few participants: meetings, depositions, trials, etc.

The interpreter usually sits next to the speaker but should be “invisible”—speaking in the first person as the speaker, not “he/she said.”

Simultaneous

The speaker and interpreter talk at the same time. The interpreter listens and interprets the speakers’ words at the same time, usually with a 1-2 second lag.

Most common for: conferences and other large events. Interpreters are often in soundproof booths with microphones, while the participants listen on headphones to avoid disruption.

Translation is done in writing.


Types & Formats of Translation:

Language Combination

English to Spanish, Spanish to English, French to Italian, etc.

Subject Matter

Legal, medical, technical & other industries

Translation Volume

Anywhere from a single page to millions of words

Format

Word, Excel, PDF, desktop publishing, etc.

Skills Unique to Translators

  • Usually work only in one direction into their native (or strongest) written language
  • Excellent reading comprehension in one or more languages
  • Great referencing and researching skills
  • Excellent writers in their target language

Types of Professional Interpreting

Legal Interpreters

  • Used for trials, hearings, depositions, attorney-client meetings and more
  • Accurately interpret both conversational vocabulary and specialized legal terminology
  • Maintain a high ethical standard in order to remain neutral and avoid potentially miscommunicating an intended message
  • For international parties, legal interpreters also need to be knowledgeable of the litigation processes and terminology used in each region

Medical Interpreters

  • Used to communicate medical & healthcare concepts for businesses, insurance professionals and litigators as well as between patients and their healthcare professionals
  • Require intimate knowledge of medical terminology, concepts & procedures
  • Require understanding of cultural norms
  • Follow ethical guidelines which protect confidentiality and prevent counseling

Conference Interpreters

  • Have years of highly specialized education and training
  • Understand terminology and concepts for various industries
  • Able to listen for a period of time and accurately repeat everything that was said while preserving the tone and intended message
  • Many belong to professional associations with rigorous membership requirements

Sign Language Interpreters

  • Used to communicate between signed language and spoken language
  • Many are industry specialized to communicate medical, legal and other specific terminology
  • Utilize facial expressions, body language and lip movements to enhance communication
  • Some specialize in tactile signing for those who are both deaf and blind

Need an interpreter? Click here

Types of Document Translation

Legal

  • Patents
  • Bylaws
  • Claim documents
  • Contracts

Medical

  • Clinical trial documentation
  • Accident reports
  • Medical bills
  • Healthcare records

Technical

  • Technical manuals and drawings
  • Engineering specifications
  • Software documentation
  • Websites
  • Standard operating procedures

Business & Government

  • Responses to international RFPs
  • Employee training materials
  • Human resource documentation
  • Financial reports
  • Customs documentation
  • Business correspondence

Click here to read about “Updating & Translating Contracts and Important Documents”