The ability to notice a deposition during this time of COVID-19 has been challenging, but it is not impossible. We can help you facilitate remote depositions where all parties are safe in their respective locations using videoconference technology. There are several platforms to use that you have probably heard of recently: Zoom, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting and Cisco Webex. The platform that I am the most familiar with is Zoom. When discussing remote depositions, I will be referencing Zoom but I am happy to set up a meeting using another platform upon your request.
When using Zoom to conduct your remote deposition, multiple people can attend from your office or if the case involves many parties the virtual room can accommodate up to 100 people. You can view remote depositions in gallery view or speaker view and how you view the deposition is not dependent upon how the next person would view the deposition. You can turn off your camera if you are not actively participating in the meeting. Your microphone can be muted as a nonparticipating attendee but if you do need to speak, you can press the “space bar” to activate your microphone while speaking. As a participant you could choose to hide non-video participants. You can also monitor participants by opening the participant window. The chat box is disabled for private chats except between yourself and the host or cohost.
There are three ways to present exhibits through Zoom. There is a file transfer option in the group chat box, you can paste a previously prepared link in the group chat box, and you can share a document or picture on the screen. When sharing a document there is the ability to annotate on the shared document and to save the annotated screen share. To best describe these options, I would like to schedule a Zoom meeting to better show these options and answer any questions you might have. I would only need about 15 minutes to cover the items and then whatever questions you might have.
REMOTE DEPOSITIONS CAN BE RECORDED
We are able to have the witness recorded on Zoom as well by a videographer. The witness would be in a “spotlight” and only the witness’ appearance would be recorded while recording the audio of all participants. The videographer would be monitoring the deposition similar to when the videographer is in the deposition room.
Either I or the reporter would create the Zoom meeting link. My practice has been to notify all parties of the Zoom meeting details the day before the remote deposition unless it is requested of me to have the details sent to all parties sooner. I do ask that the noticing attorney provide the e-mails to the participating parties. To participate in the meeting, all you have to do is click on the link that is sent to you. The password is embedded in the link. Then wait for the host to allow you to join. I do make an appearance before the remote deposition starts to make sure there are no questions. I also make sure the witness is familiar with Zoom and give any necessary instructions.
When I send the Zoom details to the parties, I give instructions to be in a quiet comfortable location that will be free from distractions. I also address the use of Wi-Fi and making sure they have a strong signal and I do recommend for best results to be connected to the Internet with an Ethernet cable. I also stress the importance of communicating to the witness that they be stationary during the deposition. They should not be running errands during their deposition or eating lunch.
If you are interested in a Zoom demo as it relates to remote depositions, send me some dates and times you are available, and I would be happy to set something up. I would be happy to work one on one with individual attorneys or, if multiple attorneys in a firm are interested, I could set up a meeting for the attorneys and their assistants.