Preparing a Witness for a Zoom Deposition? Here Are Five Tips to Pass On

October 22, 2020 2:51 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Depositions are already intimidating enough, and now we have Zoom. Recent studies reveal that it’s not your imagination: video conferencing is more difficult than in-person conferencing, and many people do not enjoy it. Your deposition witnesses are likely feeling the same, which gives you more to do for remote deposition preparation in Phoenix, AZ. But rest assured: you will all survive this. Here are five witness tips for remote depositions:

  • Dress for the occasion: While we may all be at home, pajamas or unwashed shirts do not make the best impression for a deposition. Remind your witness that their deposition could be shown in open court, and they should not wear anything that they wouldn’t wear in public. Dark, solid colors work best with webcams, and there should not be any patterns or statements that distract. Witnesses should remain tidy and professional during all depositions, including remote ones.
  • Remove distractions: Witnesses should move their computer to a quiet area of their home that is also well lit. A background of rambunctious kids or a barking dog are unnecessary distractions that will affect a deposition. All attorneys need to be able to hear what is said and observe the body language of the witness. During the test call, have the witness set up in a designated “deposition room” in their home and assess whether it’s a suitable location for testimony.
  • Speak slowly: Do not pressure your witness to become a great orator overnight. They are under enough pressure as it is! Gently remind them that video conferencing is not a perfect medium, and they need to enunciate words and speak slowly. That will make the process easier for everyone, including the court reporter who wishes to keep an accurate record of the deposition. If a court reporter instructs a witness to slow down, they need to do so. Depositions are not video conversations.
  • Check speed: Witnesses need to check for possible technical issues before the deposition. Verify that they have a reliable and stable internet connection. They should have a VPN and email address. Test the email address to make sure they can receive the link to the conference. Run a test call with them to double-check and see that their microphone and webcam function properly. If possible, encourage them to use a headset.
  • Don’t forget the usual tips: It’s easy to get caught up in the technical aspects and forget traditional deposition advice. You must still remind witnesses that they need to answer honestly, ask for clarification if they cannot understand a question and express themselves if they need a break. Tell them what to expect from the time they are sworn in until other attorneys also pose questions. If they are an expert witness, go over their material. Besides the remote aspect, this is still a deposition. Help witnesses go into it prepared.

Remote deposition preparation is never easy, but we can handle the technical side. Bartelt | Nix Reporting, LLC offers the expertise and knowledge to set up video conferencing for depositions and help you follow these witness tips for remote depositions in Phoenix, AZ. Call us today to schedule a consultation.

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