Virtual Depositions: Benefits & Tips to Succeed

The 2020 pandemic forced litigation into a remote world, but virtual depositions are here to stay.

Litigation came to a halt at the start of the COVID pandemic, but when there seemed to be no end in sight, reluctant litigators were forced to continue their business remotely.

Safer-at-home restrictions quickly modernized the legal world. Litigators started conducting proceedings virtually and soon embraced the benefits that came with them.

Benefits of Virtual Depositions


Limits Travel

  • Virtual depositions can be conducted from nearly any location, avoiding the challenges that come with getting people to one location. This benefits parties who have limited time, are caregivers, or otherwise have travel limitations.


Reduces Costs

  • Virtual depositions cut costs associated with:
    • Travel accommodations for attorneys, deponents, court reporters, videographers, etc.
    • Conference rooms
    • Stenographer, videographer or interpreter hourly rates
    • Food, beverage & other necessary accommodations
    • Printing and shipping costs (eliminated due to electronic exchange of all documents)
    • Reduces fees and per diem rates for court reporters


Decreases Scheduling Conflicts

  • Litigation moves faster due to decreased scheduling conflicts.
    • Remote proceedings save time and eliminate the hassle of traveling, making it much easier to find a time when all parties can meet.


Greater Court Reporter Availability

  • To overcome the recent shortage of reporters, Magna Legal Services can provide a dual-certified court reporter to a virtual deposition even if they are out of state.
  • Court reporters can be available on much shorter notice.
  • Court reporters have more flexibility in their schedule due to the lack of travel; this allows attorneys to be more specific in deciding which court reporter they will use.


Enhances Privacy

  • Break-out rooms allow all parties to meet privately.
  • Magna Legal Services’ online platform, Magna LitigationVision, is fully encrypted and secure, protecting all log-in data and ensuring the privacy of every session.


Time Efficient

  • Limiting travel allows court reporters to get transcripts back to attorneys quickly, increasing the rate at which attorneys can close cases.
  • Video recording and editing can be sent electronically, avoiding delays.
  • Break out rooms make it faster for parties to have separate conversations whenever necessary.


Increases Organization

  • Everything is stored online, making misplacing exhibits and other important information a thing of the past.
  • All parties can receive instant access to electronic exhibits.

Tips for A Successful Remote Deposition


Prepare for Connecting

  • Have your link to join the deposition handy, and make sure your witnesses have their links as well as instructions for the event. When you schedule your virtual deposition with Magna, we send your link in the body of a calendar invite so you have it on hand.
  • Ensure you and your party have contact information needed in case of any connection issues. Magna’s MLV techs are available by phone, email, and chat for the duration of your deposition.
  • If you and/or your witnesses are using virtual backgrounds, make sure they are set up in advance.


Plan Exhibits Ahead of Time

  • Organize all exhibits ahead of time to avoid delays or mistakes.
  • Name files appropriately and keep them easily accessible.
  • Consider using a deposition manager with Magna LitigationVision Plus (MLV+) to assist with seamless transitions between exhibits.
    • Send all necessary documents to MLV+ manager so exhibits are organized prior to the deposition. They will also share these documents with the court reporter.


Use a Deposition Manager with MLV+

  • Magna LegalVision Plus (MLV+) provides comprehensive session management operated by an experienced trial technician. MLV+ managers will provide seamless support throughout the entirety of your event. An MLV+ manager will handle:
    • Presenting exhibits, demonstratives, and videos
    • Real-time management of annotations, zooming, blow-ups, highlights, and markings
    • Creating and managing break-out rooms (including moving people between rooms, controlling room access, and ensuring confidentiality)


Prepare Your Witness Thoroughly

  • Virtual depositions allow for an up-close look at a witness’s facial expressions, make sure your witnesses are aware of this and are properly prepped.
  • Consider using an expert consultant to help your witness feel more in control of their testimony. Witness communication training can help witnesses develop a deeper understanding of the themes, context, and purpose of their testimony and correct behaviors that get in the way of positive perceptions.


Take Planned Breaks

  • Use a deposition manager with MLV+ to plan breaks ahead of time so all parties are aware of when they will have time to break and regroup.


Stay Concise

  • Virtual depositions involve looking at a computer screen for hours on end, so it is important to get to the point quickly in all aspects of a deposition in order to keep focus.


Avoid Technology Issues

  • Providers like Magna Legal Services will test all equipment and ensure that it is ready to be used, this will help avoid any connection issues and decrease technology related delays.
  • Rent necessary equipment or a hot-spot internet connection with Magna Flight Packs.
  • Perform platform training with MLV prior to the deposition (MLV works on all virtual meeting platforms).
  • Magna LitigationVision provides continuous tech support and monitoring during a deposition. If any tech issues arise during a deposition, a tech support professional will be available instantly with MLV’s chat feature.


Limit Distractions

  • Aim for a distraction-free environment to avoid delays and maintain professionality.
  • Use custom virtual backgrounds if needed to help limit any peripheral distractions.


Communicate Transcript Requests

  • Provide order requests and any special requests to the court reporter prior to the end of the deposition.

Virtual Depositions with Magna LitigationVision


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.

MLV features include:

  • Schedule a Court Reporter, Videographer, or Interpreter to Join Remotely
  • Connection Using Computers, Tablets or Smartphones
  • Ability to Display and Annotate Your Exhibits
  • Instant Tech Support and Monitoring
  • Free Platform Training Prior to Proceeding
  • Remote Facilitation of Breakout Rooms
  • Free Custom Virtual Backgrounds
  • Certified Trial Directors/ Exhibit Managers (MLV+)
  • Certified Legal Videography
  • Technology agnostic – use your preferred platform

Virtual vs. In-Person Jury Research

Three Reasons Why Virtual Jury Research Is as Robust and Effective as In-Person 

Article by Taylor Lyden
Originally published in MA LAWYERS WEEKLY 2020 

In this new age of regional lockdowns and social distancing, counsel have had to adjust trial preparation significantly.     While some jurisdictions are slowly opening and attempting to safely hold trials, many places are still in the early phases of re-opening and still prohibiting gatherings of more than 25 people or requiring quarantine upon entering from certain states.  This has forced people to consider alternate forms of jury research to stay on track for trials scheduled for this fall and winter.   Enter online, or virtual, jury research. For those unaccustomed to online jury research, the prospect can be daunting, to say the least.  You may worry that you won’t get a representative jury, jurors won’t pay close attention, they’ll struggle with technology, or they won’t be able to have meaningful discussions of the evidence.  As a leader in the field of jury research, Magna pioneered virtual jury research.  For over a decade Magna Legal Services has utilized a virtual courtroom for online jury research in addition to the more traditional in-person mock trials, and our experience has taught us that online deliberations are every bit as robust and effective as their in-person counterparts.  With thousands of mock trials to draw from, below are three reasons why we have concluded that there is no substantive difference between virtual and in-person deliberations for jury research.   

  • Jurors “get to the point” more quickly online because they are less inhibited. Online videoconferencing has a way of leveling the playing field for jurors.  Each juror deliberates from the comfort of their own home (whatever that environment may be), and each is provided with the same amount of virtual real estate on the other jurors’ screens.  Because jurors cannot be physically large or animated, loud and dominant jurors tend to be less aggressive to others online than in-person, and wallflowers tend to be more confident in speaking up in the group.  Additionally, through years of both online and in-person jury research, we have found that psychologically, there is a feeling of protection afforded by a computer screen for jurors, and this protection allows them to speak their minds openly.  Online jurors tend to benefit from an anonymity effect whereby jurors don’t know each other and don’t have to spend time sizing each other up.  Because of the reduced inhibitions online, jurors more quickly express and advocate for positions that may be seen as unpopular among the other jurors.  In an in-person exercise, jurors have spent the day together and have formed some early impressions of others from eating together and taking breaks together.  When they sit in their smaller groups in deliberations there is more [perceived] pressure to perform a certain way.  Peer pressure can be an exceptionally strong force in the deliberation room.  In virtual research, the metaphorical shield of a computer screen goes a long way in staving off these pressures.  This can be instrumental in avoiding jurors “giving in” to those around them because they are nervous or anxious about speaking up. The added layer of comfort and protection provided by remaining in one’s own home also helps overcome any initial hesitation a juror may have for the online format.  This is not to say that the sociology involved in an in-person deliberation hinders the discussion or changes the outcome; it can simply take longer to get where they are going. 
  • Modern webcam and voice technology allow for easy access for a cross-section of the community.  Since the world turned virtual in a matter of weeks in the Spring of 2020, technology companies have scrambled to keep pace with the demand of the throngs of people suddenly telecommuting.  The result has been considerable advances in videoconferencing that allow for near seamless interactions among participants in multiple locations.  According to the FCC, only 6% of Americans don’t have access to high-speed internet in their homes, and the majority of this 6% is comprised of Americans living in very rural areas1.  Gone are the days of dial-up internet and “Can you hear me now?” voice connections.  Though Magna uses its own proprietary software and courtroom design, recent advances in technology and vast accessibility of high-speed internet have allowed for a number of options for online jury research.  Whatever the platform, jurors can converse smoothly, as if they were in-person, and the prevalence of webcams (now standard on nearly every phone, computer, and tablet) have provided an experience where jurors “feel” like they are together.  Our experience using Magna’s patented JuryConfirm technology has taught us that even when jurors are using technology they have never encountered, they are able to become proficient in its use very quickly and it is not the distraction many fear it will be.  Finally, many jurors have reported that viewing the evidence virtually is as easy or even preferable to in-person as they are able to view the materials more closely and clearly.   The combination of all these factors has meant that virtual trials are accessible to almost all Americans and jurors are able to effectively communicate and discuss the substance of the evidence and argument, rather than worrying about technological concerns.   
  • Jurors are now just as comfortable talking online as they are in person.  Because working, schooling, and socializing from home became the norm for so many so quickly, jurors have recently racked up countless hours in front of their screens communicating on video.  These days just about everyone has used Zoom Meetings, GoToMeeting, Adobe Connect, FaceTime, Skype (or similar online meeting platforms) for either work or social purposes, and indeed have come to find videoconferencing to be the “new normal.”  The novelty of transforming “real life” into a virtual setting has worn off as online formats have proved successful in countless situations.  The technology advances outlined above have meant that even the most self-described “technology illiterate” jurors are able to join in the conversation with ease, and the initial learning curve of getting used to talking on a conference call line has already passed for most.  Finally, special features such as “follow-the-speaker” technology have provided a more natural feel in online group settings, allowing for increased ease in following the conversation as it bounces quickly between participants.   

Conclusion

In sum, as more and more attorneys and parties find themselves faced with virtual jury selection, trial, and/or deliberations, we look back at our experience over the years to help allay any fears that online deliberations are less effective than those in-person.  While there are some unavoidable limitations, we feel that benefits of online deliberations can, in many instances, outweigh any drawbacks.  In other words, you can rest assured that jurors will still take your case seriously, carefully evaluate evidence and arguments, and have thoughtful and meaningful deliberations to a verdict.  Additionally, if you find yourself headed back into the courtroom (virtually or in person), remember that online mock trials and jury research can be a great and cost-effective way to test the waters and may just help draw open the curtains on a key to your case that you may have missed.   

Click to Read Article on MassLawyersWeekly.com >>

“Can I smoke in here?” and Other Virtual Deposition Fails

PUBLISHED IN MA LAWYERS WEEKLY FEB. 2021

By: Courtney Collins and Meagan Donohoe

The legal profession’s transition into the online sphere in 2020 was abrupt, disconcerting, and sometimes painful, but it is finally official:  we continue forward, but [mostly] virtually. Hearings, mediations, arbitrations, and most commonly, depositions have vacated their more traditional law office settings and imposing courtrooms in favor of bedrooms, closets, and even vehicles. Mercifully, after months of forced practice, it’s safe to say that most of us in the legal profession have a pretty firm grasp on the technological side of things (even if we still forget to unmute ourselves from time to time). But while everyone was focused on learning the online platforms and adjusting to the new reality, something was lost, and that was decorum. Although there is a certain comfort associated with appearing for a deposition from home—which can alleviate some anxiety a witness might experience in a less familiar and more formal setting—the pendulum seems to have swung wildly in the other direction over the past several months, with some virtual depositions looking more like a cocktail party of friends and acquaintances.  Legal proceedings should not fall prey to the new world of t-shirts and flip flops and other work from home habits.

Tips for Supporting Witnesses in Virtual Depositions & Proceedings

It is critical that witnesses are afforded the same level of support and guidance from counsel while appearing virtually as they would be if they were present in the same room. In fact, in some ways, these witnesses require an even higher degree of support to be successful.  Sprinkled with cautionary tales from real depositions over the past nine months, this article offers tips and best practices for supporting your witnesses in a virtual world.    

Be Present – In Mind and Virtual Body 

It’s no secret that many deponents, especially first-timers, can have a difficult time shedding those pesky deposition-jitters. Although being deposed from a familiar place affords a certain sense of security for many, there is also a reassurance that comes with sitting in arms reach of your attorney at that long wooden table that is just not attainable in the online space.   The witness knows counsel is on her side when she is right next to her—everyone is “in it together.”  However, just because you can’t be physically present for your witness, doesn’t mean that you can’t provide that same level of support in other ways; it simply must be more intentional.  

All witnesses, especially inexperienced ones, like to feel safe and protected – and that can only happen virtually with a present and attentive counsel. Far too often we see defending attorneys fail to appear on camera, leaving their witness feeling alone and exposed in the virtual space. Of course, no one can control if their computer decides to act up on deposition day, and sometimes calling in off-camera is the only option; however, when possible, counsel should be on camera and engaged, supporting their witness. This entails more than just showing up on screen.  It also means not appearing visibly distracted with other work during questioning, not eating lunch, and not jumping on and off camera or walking around. Witnesses, especially nervous ones, pick up on these subtle cues more than one might think. To put it simply, your virtual witnesses should receive the same level of attention as your in-person witnesses would—if you wouldn’t bring other work, snacks, or take calls in a pre-pandemic deposition room, you shouldn’t do it in the online setting, either.  

Lead by Example 

Since depositions have moved online, we’ve also witnessed a steady decline in general respect for what a deposition actually is.  We have seen: a witness smoking a cigarette while providing testimony, another witness appearing shirtless from bed, one witness answering questions while driving his semi-truck for work (cue an accident?), and a plaintiff unable to complete his own deposition after smoking marijuana on a break. It goes without saying that behavior like this, even if not recorded on video, often results in less than optimal witness performance and would have never been deemed acceptable in the pre-pandemic era. To combat this witness mentality that virtual is synonymous with “anything goes,” it is important to remember that even in the online space, witnesses look to their counsel for cues and guidance. Attire is one example where counsel can set the tone. We have regularly seen attorneys appear sprawled out on their couch (we are not kidding), wearing backwards hats, and even well-worn t-shirts, thus setting a low standard for others. It all starts with the lawyer, and clients/witnesses will quite literally, follow suit. This is not to say that attorneys need to show up to a virtual deposition in a tailored three-piece ensemble, but the nature and seriousness of a deposition should not be minimized simply because it is occurring online.  At the very least, it is worth a pre-deposition conversation with the witness to note that proper attire is required: clean, decent, and not revealing.  

Additionally, don’t be afraid to nip any negative behaviors in the bud. Remaining quiet while your witness lights up a cigarette only serves as affirmation that this action is acceptable. While an initial moment of silence may be an understandable consequence of shock or surprise, failing to address these types of behaviors in a timely fashion is a mistake, and will likely just lead to additional bad conduct down the line. Simply request a break, get on the phone with the client, and remind them that this is a legal proceeding.   

Create a Focused Environment for Online Depositions  

Simply because technology enables participation from almost anywhere, does not mean that should be encouraged.  Failing to address the location and environment with your witness often results in witnesses connecting from unusual or even public places. We have seen witnesses participate in depositions while serving customers at work, walking down a noisy street, working out on the treadmill, and even while riding a crowded city bus. These types of environments not only disrupt the flow of a deposition, but also make it nearly impossible for a witness to bring their “A-game,” as the chance of distraction is ever-present.  

At the end of the day, most fact witnesses have never participated in a deposition before, much less a virtual one. Simply instructing a witness to download Zoom on their mobile phone and click a link a certain time leaves too much up to chance. Take the same measures when scheduling a deponent for a virtual deposition as you would for an in-person meeting. Pre-pandemic, a witness would only be put on the calendar for a date/time that they were free to come sit in an office; similarly, a virtual deposition should only be scheduled for a time where the witness can be in a quiet space, free from distractions. 

Hosting a Successful Virtual Deposition

Although anything can derail a deposition or legal proceeding, virtual or not, the above tips help to move cases forward without sacrificing quality.  Virtual does not equate to casual.  Recommitting to the seriousness of a deposition under oath and guiding your clients through how to best handle this will ensure an easier path forward, as virtual has likely made a permanent imprint on the legal community.   

Click to Read Article on MassLawyersWeekly.com >>

The Benefits of Outsourcing Medical Record Review

Medical Record Review — To Outsource or Not to Outsource?

In any legal proceeding involving healthcare, patient medical records are going to be pivotal. However, acquiring, organizing, and analyzing all the records can be extremely time-consuming.

This is why outsourcing medical record retrieval and reviews as a lawyer can be a beneficial and cost-efficient strategy. American businesses of all kinds are increasingly turning to specialist third-party contractors to increase the efficiency of a wide range of functions, and record review is one of them.

With an independent medical record review service, you’ll get all the medical information you need in one accessible, easy-to-navigate document. Handing this function over to a specialized provider will free up time for your in-house team to focus on building a winning case, rather than devoting dozens of hours to menial research.

Let’s take a closer look at what’s involved…

How Does Outsourcing Record Services Work?

There are a number of situations in which lawyers need access to a comprehensive rundown of a patient’s medical history. If, for example, you’re representing the plaintiff in a medical negligence action, you’ll need to know about every significant health issue they’ve had.

Historically, attorneys or paralegals had to compile these documents themselves, liaising with healthcare providers, sifting through huge quantities of data, and picking out the most relevant details for inclusion in reports. Nowadays, more and more firms are opting to contract their record services to transform their records into the insightful and easy-to-understand information they need.

Nurse Review

A Nurse Review gives you a chronological breakdown of your client’s healthcare history with a focus on litigation support. Compiled by nurses with valid licenses and LNC credentials, the reports provide a summary of the medical records and highlight their most important details. They even provide an overall interpretation of the person’s combined medical history.

Magna works with nurses from a broad range of medical specialties. Whatever type of medical records you need reviewed, one of our experts will know exactly how to approach the job.

HyperNav Records Navigator

HyperNav Records Navigator is a useful tool that takes the pain out of accessing and referring to medical records. HyperNav organizes all patient records chronologically in a single PDF file, using hyperlinks and bookmarks to make the most important data easily accessible. The Summary Table and Index Table also allow you to scan the document quickly to locate the information you need.

Medical Record Retrieval

Before you compile the perfect report, you’ll first need to actually obtain the documents, which can be more tedious than expected. In some cases, such as where a patient has received care from multiple facilities in different areas, this can be its own challenge.

Magna’s medical record retrieval service allows you to request documents from every zip code in the United States, as well as internationally. We have established relationships with over a million healthcare facilities across the country, allowing for the fastest turnaround time in the industry. Besides medical records, Magna’s experience also covers retrieval of social security records, pharmacy history, police records, and other types of documents.

Benefits of Outsourcing Medical Record Review

There are a number of factors that make record retrieval and review great candidates for outsourcing.

Specialization

Outsourcing medical record reviews doesn’t just make life easier for you. It also puts the task into the hands of someone better equipped to do it.

Magna’s Nurse Review service is carried out by medical professionals with years of training. They have experience when it comes to identifying health issues and perceiving their relevance in a broader context. They understand medical jargon, can easily navigate record documents, and know exactly where to look if there’s a crucial piece of information missing.

Time Efficiency

Dealing with medical records isn’t just grunt work – it’s a skill. You could develop it yourself or train members of your team to do so, but that takes time. Since time is something attorneys rarely have in abundance, it makes sense to hand the job over to someone who has existing expertise in it.

Having a dedicated expert carry out your medical record reviews will allow for you to build your case quicker and more efficiently, especially in cases with extensive or complex medical history.

Cost Savings

You might be tempted to “save money” on record retrieval and review by having your in-house staff do it, even if it takes time and compromises on quality. However, you’re still paying your team for their work, which they could be directing toward other goals.

By outsourcing, you’ll recoup more than what you spend in the long run. This isn’t a modern concept; it’s based on the economic theory of specialization, which has been around for over two centuries!

Cost transparency is also a factor here. If you contract a service, you’ll see exactly what it costs up-front and can plan around that expense. It is far less straightforward to work out what medical record reviews will cost you if you train your in-house team to provide them.

Next Level Record Services with Magna

We take care of our clients, and you’ll feel the difference! We’re here for you 24/7, 365 days a year.

To request a record with Magna, click below or contact Magna directly at 866.624.6221 or MagnaRecords@MagnaLS.com

Click to Request A Record Online >>
 

Online Jury Research: COVID’s Effect on Juror Perspectives & Damages

How the Pandemic Affects Juror Perspectives
… and how to adjust your litigation strategy accordingly

By conducting a series of nationwide surveys, Magna consultants examined COVID-19’s impact on prospective jurors’ attitudes and beliefs. Let’s look at the facts:

In today’s world, many jurors feel the need to be the “guardians of the community” by forcing companies to change their bad behavior with large damage awards. Litigators and those in the insurance industry refer to these as “reptilian jurors“, who are responsible for the increasing frequency of “nuclear verdicts”.

Factors that drive up verdicts include:

  • Juror Vulnerability, Fear, Volatility, & Polarization
  • Rising Costs & Uncertainty of the Future
  • More Millennials on Juries
  • Bad Testimony or Misidentification of Corporate Representatives
  • Anti-Corporate Bias – “Profits over Safety”
  • Not Setting a Floor or Providing a Low Damages Anchor
  • Not Addressing Key Issues/Themes in Jury Selection/Opening


Our research has shown the below trend in recent juror perspectives:

Now more than ever, it is important to know how juror perspectives changed in your specific venue for your specific case issues.

It’s not a question if the pandemic will affect your cases… it’s a question of how it will affect your cases.

In general, many potential jurors now are more vulnerable – both health-wise and financially – than pre-pandemic, which can make people more plaintiff-friendly. However, depending on the venue, the most vulnerable, most risk-averse (i.e., most plaintiff-friendly) may be less likely to show up for jury duty or to be seated on a jury at present.

Luckily, there are some research tools to answer this question and give you the current data you need to adjust your litigation strategy.

Test Your Damages
with JuryEvaluator

What is your case worth now? JuryEvaluator offers a scientific and statistically significant damages assessment for your ACTUAL CASE from your ACTUAL JURY POOL. This research will consider the effect of COVID-19 and current media climate, to provide insight into your case risk, exposure and value.

  • Research conducted in your case venue using your actual case facts
  • Research captures present-day surrogate juror attitudes and biases
  • Statistical analyses provide a reliable range of potential damages if the case went to a jury trial (economic, non-economic & punitive)
  • Optional Juror Profiling analysis

Online Focus Groups
with JuryConfirm

How has COVID impacted juror perspectives in your venue? Test your themes, storylines, social climate & more with JuryConfirm, Magna’s patented online focus group platform.

  • Evidence analyzer powered by AI
  • Live attorney presentations with limitless capabilities
  • Simulation of court room environment with interactive avatars and live video feed of jurors and attorneys
  • Live (video) juror deliberations with more panels than ever available before
  • Real-time results: Fully-customized questionnaires, polling & presentation feedback
  • Detailed reports featuring case evaluation, theme development, and jury profi­les

Nationwide COVID-19 Study Results

Magna Legal Services conducted a series of nationwide surveys to assess evolving changes and shifts in juror perceptions in this brave new world.

Study includes 5,000 respondents
& 100+ questions about:

  • Technology
  • Finance
  • Law Enforcement
  • Insurance
  • Life Sciences

Learn about our findings:

  • Halo effect
  • Business Interruption Coverage
  • Reptilian Influence
  • Crisis Fatigue
  • Juror Vulnerability

Complete the form to download your FREE copy of Magna’s COVID Study results >>

Contact our 24/7 Hotline for a FREE Case Consultation: 877.220.1821

or, email us at CaseConsultation@MagnaLS.com, or fill out our contact form

Magna Legal Services Acquires Kim Tindall & Associates

Magna Legal Services Adds Kim Tindall & Associates to the Greatest One-Stop-Shop for Legal Support Services

Magna Legal Services (Magna LS) and Kim Tindall & Associates (KTA), two ALM award winning court reporting and medical record retrieval industry leaders, announced today the combination of their firms. KTA was founded in 2009 by Kim Tindall. The two companies will combine operations on April 1, 2021.

With more than 500 employees, 3,500 court reporters, 5,000 interpreters and 40 litigation consultants in 20 locations across the U.S., Magna LS and KTA together will be one of the largest litigation support and consulting firms based on both size and services offered.

Both companies are known for providing exceptional service to clients. The combined company is designed for customers — a company with increased capabilities and geographic reach coupled with a commitment to delivering outstanding service. “The combination will create 80 years of industry experience and match strength with strength in both our court reporting and medical record retrieval divisions. Additionally, our KTA clients will now gain access to a wide variety of litigation support and consulting services. I am very excited for our clients, staff and court reporters,” said Kim Tindall, President of KTA.

Tony Vaglica, COO of Magna LS, will be working closely with the KTA team. He added, “The addition of five KTA offices (San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Houston and New Orleans) along with their team of freelance court reporters will streamline operations throughout Texas and Louisiana.” Magna LS has existing offices in Houston and New Orleans.

Founding Partner and Executive Vice President of Sales at Magna LS, Peter Hecht, added,

“The big winners in this merger are the clients from both Magna LS and KTA. We will be able to increase service levels to our Magna base in Texas while offering new powerful litigation support tools for the existing KTA clientele.”

Both Magna LS and KTA built their businesses to support clients from Discovery to Trial.

Magna Legal Services’ CEO, Mark Williams, is excited about the addition of KTA as well. “We are delighted to welcome the KTA team to the Magna family,” Williams said. “Kim and her team have extensive industry experience and have created one of the fastest growing companies in both the court reporting and record retrieval sector. Their success shows through their highly-positive customer reviews and ratings, as well as their rapid growth over the past few years.”

End-to-End Litigation Support Services:


Trials Open in Philadelphia with New Protocols

In-person trials are back in Philadelphia!

The Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas released new protocols, including on how counsel must present evidence at trial —

Counsel must display all documents and other evidence on a television or projection screen unless otherwise permitted by the presiding trial judge

— Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas

View all new protocols here

Trial Presentation


Whether it’s to a jury or a judge, it is vital to deliver your story to your audience the way they are best able to process it. Strategic use of presentation technology in the courtroom can make all the difference in trial.

  • Presenters who use visuals are more effective and make a better impression

  • Use of visual communication promotes group consensus because it helps members of a group to process and structure information in the same way

  • Visuals shape interpretation and perception of evidence and aid in the decision making process


Believe video evidence presentation technologies help them to understand the witness better

Believe video evidence presentation technologies improve their ability to question witnesses

Believe video evidence presentation technologies help them to understand the testimony better

Courtroom Technology

Magna’s Trial Technicians are the best in the business with significant experience in CCP! Let our Trial Techs take the stress out of your trial technology needs— so you can focus on your case.

We can tailor technology to fit your needs, from a simple presentation you can operate yourself, to a complex staging of video, animation and document enlargements operated by one of our seasoned on-site trial technicians.

Magna consultants use the latest industry leading software and multimedia technology to instantly display all of your trial documents, photos, deposition testimonies, demonstratives and videos etc. We can manipulate the materials in real-time during your presentation to best convey your message:

  • Zooming in on documents and photos to enlarge key text and visual elements
  • Highlighting key sections of documents to further accent key language
  • Annotation display on the presentation screen in various colors, allowing the attorney or witness to interact with the exhibits
  • Synchronized deposition video to text display


An experienced trial presentation consultant is more than a technician. Our staff will become an essential part of your trial team assisting and advising in every aspect of the trial process from the organization of documents to the final story telling through strategic deployment of visuals.

Contact us anytime for FREE consultation and let us help you meet your trial technology needs!

Fill out the contact form below, or call us anytime at 866.624.6221

Court Re-Opening Tracker

Which courts are opening? Closing? What are the new restrictions?

Magna’s litigation consulting team has been tracking the reopening of courts throughout the country.
Stay up to date with the latest court activity by receiving weekly updates from Magna’s free Court Re-Opening Tracker.

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Magna’s expert graphics team focuses on providing clients with demonstratives that effectively communicate technical, financial, medical and other complex information. Our experience, gained from thousands of hours of trial work, allows us to skillfully manage any presentation situation, from a high-stakes trial to a one-day mediation.

Click to read more about Litigation Graphics Services

Analyzing & Monetizing Construction Defect Claims

Virtually all construction or property related decisions should be made with costs in mind. But some people are afraid of math.

Regardless of whether you’re an attorney, insurance professional, property owner, or manager, you need to be able to focus on the “vital few” issues, and virtually ignore the “trivial many.” This means knowing how much things cost – not to the penny, but rather a reasonable approximation. The best place to start, when working to make smart economic decisions, is on the BIG expensive issues. You begin by chopping a project into logical parts, and estimating the cost of those chunks, so you can see the forest AND the trees. The earlier in the process you do this, the better.

Magna Legal Services hosted a webinar on January 27, 2021 (recording below), which featured expert panelists explaining the framework behind analyzing and monetizing construction defect claims.

“There’s a lot of parties involved [in a construction defect case]. You have to understand the structure and you have to speak the language… whether it’s the folks on the ground or in the board room, you have to be able to do both,” said Paul Danner of Goldberg Segalla.

Aileen Schwartz of Hill International, Inc. says she makes sure to bring in experts early on to prevent dragging out litigation. “I’ve had cases that were brought in and there were no damages against us. If there are no damages, there is no case”, she said.

If the case ends up going forward, it’s important that it is not a jury trial, Aileen noted, saying “nobody on a jury wants to listen to your construction defect claim. They’re falling asleep. You really need a judge who knows what you’re talking about to hear the cases.”

Every party wants to get the case settled sooner to avoid costly and timely litigation. Magna’s Scott Horwtiz said “Magna’s jury consultants are getting involved more and more on the early side of things to test theories and test themes to see if a small amount of money up front could take care of all of this”.

When preparing your case, organization is key. Pete Fowler explained the importance of starting with “a discreet list of issues — whether its one issue, or hundreds of issues.” In conjunction with the list of issues, Fowler utilizes “a sensible list of costs associated with each issue, and a sensible list of all the people who might be involved with each of those issues.” “It gets to be this big horrible matrix,” he added.

Watch the full webinar recording below to hear our expert panel break down these complex cases.

This webinar originally aired live on 1.27.2021

Webinar details:

Panelists:
Pete Fowler, Founder, Pete Fowler Construction
Scott Horwitz, Esq., National Director of Graphics Consulting & Trial Presentation, Magna Legal Services
Aileen R. Schwartz, Senior VP, Sr. Corporate Counsel US & Privacy Officer, Hill International, Inc.

Moderated by:
Paul S. Danner, Esq., Partner, Goldberg Segalla

Presented by:
Peter Hecht, Partner & Executive Vice President of Sales, Magna Legal Services

Learn more about utilizing trial graphics & tutorials for complex cases here.

Click here to view a list of more upcoming webinars & conferences.

What to Expect from Magna in 2021

Hello, fellow COVID-19 haters! Like you, I can’t wait to slam the door on 2020. The year was a disaster for so many of us, both professionally and personally. To say the pandemic was difficult would be a ridiculous understatement. Magna LS would not have survived 2020 without our dedicated staff and network of kick-ass court reporters. Both groups have made taking virtual depos second nature. Lastly, I would like to extend a HUGE “Muchas Gracias” to all of our clients! Together, we found new and old litigation support tools to expedite our recovery and get our respective businesses back online. So, bye-bye 2020!  Here is what you can expect to see from us in 2021:

1. The same “No Charge” commitment we made in 2020 for our virtual depo platform will continue in full force in cities and states that are still struggling to reopen during the pandemic. Click HERE to schedule a virtual deposition.

2. More COVID-19 juror impact studies and complimentary “Results” roundtables. To learn more about our juror studies, contact me or your account rep at 866-624-6221. 

3. Two new brick-and-mortar offices. When the dust settles, visit our office space in Downtown LA and Fort Lauderdale, FL. More conference rooms with all the AV bells and whistles! Click HERE for a full list of Magna office locations.

4. My fingers are crossed and I’m knocking on wood in hopes that our mock trial fundraiser for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, “Chopped for CHOP”, will finally return on June 2nd and 3rd and I am super confident we will be doing some awesome unconventional conventioning with our “Battle of the Experts” seminar on October 6th and 7th at The W Hotel in South Beach, Miami! Click HERE to see our conference schedule.

5. Oh, yeah…. more webinars, both big and small. More CE & CLE courses. Click HERE to stay up to date on our webinars.

6. Lastly, our team is locked and loaded for travel as soon as the COVID coast is clear. So…. we will be seeing you in the flesh in 2021.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Blessed Kwanza and Happy New Year! I hate COVID-19!

Peter Hecht, Partner & Executive Vice President of Sales, Magna Legal Services