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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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