By now, you’ve undoubtedly conducted at least one remote deposition. They’re the best way to keep legal proceedings going while protecting others from COVID-19—plus, they’re faster, easier and require a lot less travel. A successful remote deposition relies on fast internet connection, preparation and an understanding of what you can do to help make the process run smoothly. With that in mind, here are 10 deposition etiquette tips to make the most of your remote proceeding:
- Practice ahead of time: The best prepared attorneys will have practiced ahead of time. Have your colleagues help you test your equipment and your internet connection. Then you can help your client or witnesses get familiar with the remote deposition technology.
- Know your jurisdictional rules: Find out what the rules are for remote versus in-person oath-taking—and any other jurisdictional rules that may affect how you handle your remote deposition.
- Pre-mark exhibits: Pre-mark exhibits with the court reporter in advance. You may also wish to share the exhibits with opposing counsel, if your strategy allows it. Otherwise, share them one by one onscreen.
- Silence your devices: Your phone and other noise-making devices should be silenced throughout the entire proceeding. Even a text message chime can be very distracting during a long deposition proceeding.
- Use a headset: Computer microphones aren’t always effective in filtering out background noise. Use a headset so your audio is as clear as possible. You’ll also be able to hear the other participants more clearly.
- Sit in front of a clean background: Before you get started, make sure you have a clean, uncluttered background for your deposition. Although many attorneys are still working from home, messy rooms and unruly children can make you seem unprofessional and disorganized.
- Show up early: Always log in at least 10 minutes before the proceeding, so you can troubleshoot any technical issues that may occur. Instruct your clients and witnesses to do the same.
- Mute yourself when not speaking: If you’re not speaking, hit the mute button—it ensures you won’t accidentally speak out of turn, and that the other parties won’t be treated to random sirens, outdoor noises and passersby during the proceeding.
- Identify yourself before objecting: If there are multiple attorneys in the proceeding, do the court reporter a favor and identify yourself before objecting. It’s much harder to keep track of who is speaking on a remote call.
- Avoid interrupting: Finally, avoid interrupting others. Keep in mind that even with a fast internet connection, other people may be experiencing a brief lag. Wait a second or two until the witness is finished answering a question before following up. You want to make sure they’re completely finished—otherwise you’ll appear to be rude, attacking the witness or technologically inept. None of these are good looks for a lawyer.
If you want to ensure your remote deposition goes off without a hitch, call Bartelt | Nix Reporting, LLC. We offer court reporting services as well as video conference rooms for your proceedings. Reach out to us today for more deposition etiquette tips to ensure a successful remote deposition!
Categorised in: Remote Depositions
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