Ways to Prepare Your Deponent for Online Deposition

June 2, 2021 11:35 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

By now, you’ve probably conducted at least a few online court proceedings. Even though the worst of the pandemic seems to be over and courts are reopening, you’ll almost certainly conduct more in the years to come. Remote proceedings make the justice system more accessible to the public, and save lawyers a lot of time and money. While preparing your deponent in Phoenix, AZ looks a little different than it used to, it’s easy to adjust your technique for the new technology. Here are our best tips to get the most out of your witness:

  • Let them know that this will be an online proceeding: Whether your witness has been deposed before or this is their first time, it may very well be their first online deposition. Make sure your witness understands that this will be a remote proceeding, with all the limitations that entails. They make experience technological glitches, lags and other quirks that happen when you move in-person proceedings online.
  • Explain the purpose of depositions and what will happen: Just like with a normal deposition, your witness needs to understand why the deposition is happening, any legal ramifications for them and how the process works. Remember that for most people, this is a strange and anxiety-triggering experience. The more you share with them ahead of time, the more comfortable they’ll be during the actual deposition.
  • Test the connection and software with your witness: If you and your witness won’t be in the same room during the deposition, make sure they understand how to use the software. Test their connection to make sure the speed is adequate, too. Even if you’ll be physically present with them, it’s always a good idea for them to understand how the process works.
  • Help them practice answering questions: As with an in-person deposition, it’s always worth practicing questions and answers beforehand. The more prepared they are, the less likely they’ll slip up or freeze during the actual proceeding. This is also a good time to remind them that they should wait until they’re sure the other parties are done talking before speaking up—the connection may lag or freeze during the deposition.
  • Use a clear, clean background for the session: If the witness will answer questions from their own location, help them identify an appropriate place to set up their devices. The background should be plain, free of mess and clutter and well lit.
  • Remind them to turn off all electronics and avoid distractions: Finally, don’t forget to have the witness turn off all of their extraneous electronics, and arrange for childcare or pet-sitting to avoid further distraction.

Following these tips will help the deposition go smoothly. Your witness will feel less anxious once they understand what to expect—and a little Q&A practice never hurts, either. With your guidance, your witness will be more likely to perform well.

For remote depositions and online deposition preparation in Phoenix, AZ, call Bartelt | Nix Reporting, LLC. Our team of court reporters is ready to assist.

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