Legal Document Sharing and Remote Depositions

December 30, 2021 11:59 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

The COVID-19 pandemic changed legal practice entirely, especially in court appearances and depositions. Procedures we took for granted became obsolete as we needed to find new ways for deposition document sharing. Fortunately, remote deposition document sharing evolved with the circumstances, and now, you have options. Here is an overview of remote deposition challenges and their solutions.

Remote deposition challenges

The biggest challenge with legal technology is its slow evolution. Paperless offices and task automation did not develop as quickly in the legal industry as in many others. Lawyers are frequently reluctant to adopt new technologies, since they are comfortable with the status quo as long as it works well.

But that reluctance is breaking down. New technology solutions are taking hold in law offices and government agencies. The pandemic forced this development further after depositions and court appearances went virtual.

The pandemic also alerted industries, including legal, that they did not keep up with digital transformation. Courts and law firms knew they needed to change—and do so quickly. Creative solutions arose with Zoom and Dropbox or Box to share documents and exhibits.

However, there was still a setback; none of these platforms developed with litigation in mind. Dropbox and Zoom support collaboration for like-minded individuals; they are not designed for parties with opposing interests.

There are other issues, too. Typically, depositions occur in a private and isolated conference room with little interference from the outside world. Deponents testifying via Zoom face distraction and influence from other individuals. Also, while it is easy to make witnesses focus on one page of a critical document during in-person interactions, remote depositions make this more challenging. You also do not know if the witness is reviewing the correct page.

If the case is document-heavy, there is more reluctance toward remote depositions. Organizing exhibits and making them available to specific parties is often a logistical nightmare. You must ensure the documents are in a file format everyone can read, and keep them secure.

New developments

Catch-all platforms like Dropbox are not made for litigation. But new technologies rose to the challenges and made online depositions easier for attorneys and witnesses alike.

New electronic exhibit management platforms organize exhibits and limit access as needed. You can designate exhibits for witnesses and separate private notes from documents provided to opposing counsel. Technologies also show the documents on a shared screen, so everyone knows what the witness reviews during the deposition. This development ensures witnesses review the right part of a document and show all attorneys they accessed the correct material.

Platforms also automatically number exhibits and give them page numbers. This way, everyone has the same system, and there is no confusion regarding which page to review. It also automates the rote tasks involved in litigation preparation, freeing up law office staff for more substantive duties.

Bartelt | Nix Reporting, LLC is prepared for remote deposition document sharing and other challenges with remote legal practice. Contact us today if you need court reporters with experience in deposition document sharing platforms.

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