Confidentiality is an essential element in building a trusting lawyer-client relationship. After all, if you’re a criminal defense lawyer and your client withholds vital details because he or she doesn’t believe the information will be kept confidential, then the entire case could be derailed. Court reporters in San Jose have a similar duty to abide by a code of ethics, including the responsibility to preserve the confidential nature of the information they record.
Understanding Confidentiality and Attorney-Client Privilege
Even among experienced lawyers, you’re likely to hear some people using the terms “duty of confidentiality” and “privileged information” interchangeably, despite their subtle differences. Both of these legal concepts have the end result of encouraging clients to disclose sensitive information to their attorneys. However, the lawyer’s duty of confidentiality is typically specified in the state’s ethics rules (American Bar Association Model Rule 1.6). The attorney-client privilege, on the other hand, is in common law. It’s essentially a rule of evidence, as it prohibits lawyers from being required to testify about the statements their clients made.
Identifying When Information Is Privileged
The attorney-client privilege applies to many circumstances, even if the person who revealed the confidential information isn’t actually a client. For example, a privileged relationship exists when:
- A prospective client or an actual client solicits legal advice from a lawyer.
- The prospective or actual client intends to keep the information confidential.
- The lawyer acts in any professional capacity.
Attorneys have the duty to keep privileged information confidential, even after the client is no longer a client, and after the client’s death.
Using a Secure Case Management System
Even if you are careful to never discuss the details of a case with anyone who isn’t authorized to have that information, you might inadvertently experience some lapses in confidentiality, especially if you store information electronically. Work with a court reporting company that offers a 24/7 virtual case management system. The security of this system allows you to access your online case file repository at any time without worrying about a breach in information security.
In the digital age, there is a growing number of locations where potentially responsive data can reside. If you need court reporting services near San Jose , then you may benefit from understanding the facts about how discovery relates to technology. Watch this video to learn about mobile and cloud discovery.
Courts are insistent that wherever there is potentially responsive information, that the data there be addressed during discovery. This includes, for example, any data that is on social media, a laptop, or an iPad. The easiest way for a respondent to comply with a discovery request and find readily accessible mobile information that may be relevant is by accessing a network, servers, or cloud data. However, it’s expected that more and more attention will be focused on mobile device data in the future.
Video depositions can be enormously helpful for attorneys and witnesses alike. They are convenient, save time and money, and help cases move forward faster. With the help of a court reporter and an experienced video deposition team in San Jose, you will find that this style of testimony can become a regular part of many of your cases. However, there are a few mistakes that can make your video deposition less efficient and useful than it could be. Avoid these potential missteps to make sure you get the best possible outcomes from your deposition.
Not Accounting for Time Differences
It may seem obvious, but a common mistake people make when planning video deposition is not being clear about what time zone the deposition is scheduled in. Video depositions save everyone expensive travel costs and make it easier to use time efficiently, but since they are so often conducted across time zones, being specific while scheduling is essential. Avoid any last-minute needs for rescheduling by specifying the time zone for every video deposition you plan.
Not Delivering the Exhibits in Time
If you plan to use exhibits as part of the deposition, then you need to ensure that they are in front of your witnesses in a timely manner. If the exhibits do not arrive in time, you will need to reschedule the deposition, because the witness needs to have them available to view—you can’t simply show them over video. Leave an ample amount of time for the exhibits to be delivered so that you don’t risk a costly delay in your case preparation process.
Not Hiring the Right People
For video depositions, not having the right people on hand can render the process useless. In addition to having a court reporter who is experienced in video deposition transcription, hire a video service with experience in legal videography and specifically with recording video depositions. Often, court reporters work with videographers with legal experience.
Video depositions held in San Jose are quickly becoming standard practice. By recording the deposition, you can use impactful visual evidence in court, rather than simply instructing a witness to read the court reporter’s transcript out loud. Arrange to meet the court reporter for the deposition in a conference room rental that already has the audiovisual equipment you’ll need. Then, allow plenty of time to prepare your witness for the camera.
Let your client know that although the legal deposition will take place outside of a courtroom, it’s still imperative to dress in a professional, formal manner—especially since the deposition is being recorded. If your client is male, instruct him to wear a conservative suit. Ladies may wear a skirt or pants suit. If they choose a dress, it should be a conservative style and color.
Video depositions can be effective evidence, but unfortunately, this means they can also work against your case. Jurors watching a portion of the deposition can see if your client slouches, looks nervous, or appears combative. None of these problems will support your case. Remind your client to sit up straight, but to look relaxed and natural. He or she can avoid engaging in nervous habits like finger-tapping or hair-twirling by keeping the hands folded in front of him or her. Your client should look alert and attentive to convey the impression that he or she takes the case seriously.
Tone of Voice
When under stress, many people tend to talk unevenly or too rapidly, or to punctuate sentences with nervous laughter. Instruct your client to practice speaking in a measured tone of voice while you ask the types of questions he or she is likely to encounter.
While preparing for a deposition that will not be videotaped, lawyers often instruct their clients to pause when necessary to choose their words carefully. During a video deposition, unusually long pauses are not desirable because the jurors may interpret these unfavorably. Remind your client to answer the question honestly, but to avoid volunteering information. It’s acceptable to ask for clarification if the question is confusing.
In the courtroom and during depositions , visual aids can be useful. However, it is important to use them in the right way so that they support your case and can used as part of the official record created by your court reporter in San Jose. If you plan to use visual aids as part of a deposition or trial, these tips will help.
Be sure the visual aids you create are in a form that can be presented to a jury and to the opposing counsel. If you simply make notes on a whiteboard, the court reporter may not be able to include it in the court transcript, and you won’t be able to make your aid part of the official court record for use by the judge and jury if the case goes to trial. If you have questions about presenting visual aids as part of a legal or court deposition, your court reporter may be able to offer helpful advice.
At Talty Court Reporters , one of the services we’re pleased to offer our clients is a 24/7 virtual office. The virtual office is another way we provide comprehensive support for your legal practice, from our court reporters in San Jose to our video deposition and court transcription services.
The 24/7 virtual office is a secure online interface through which our clients can manage their cases any time, from anywhere. Through the virtual office, clients can access case files, exhibits, invoices, and calendars. They can also schedule court reporting services, view their existing schedules, and make changes where necessary. The 24/7 virtual office can be accessed by computer, tablet, or smartphone safely and securely, without any concerns about sensitive information being leaked or hacked.
The virtual office service puts you in charge of your schedule by making remote work as easy as possible, so you can get out from behind your desk. All clients have their own log-ins to the virtual office as part of the services provided by Talty Court Reporters.
As any attorney knows, legal cases don’t follow traditional 9-to-5 hours. To prepare appropriately for depositions, cross-examinations, and opening statements, attorneys need to be able to access case information and take action around the clock. Fortunately, technology makes it possible for attorneys to access 24/7 virtual offices whenever is convenient for them. When you hire a court reporter in San Jose , find out if their company offers 24-7 access to your files, so that you don’t lose critical time when you’re managing your cases. Here is a look at some of the benefits of accessing virtual offices any time of day.
Manage Your Calendar
It’s normal for schedules to be in flux when you’re trying a case, so having easy access to your calendar is essential. Whether you need to reschedule a deposition, add a court date, or cancel a meeting with an investigator, having access to a virtual office means that you can update your calendar in real time so that you’re less likely to overlook important obligations. You can also share your calendar changes with your paralegal, court reporter, and everyone else who plays a role in your case.
Access Case Files
Virtual offices mean that there is no more leaving an important file at work or failing to have access to an exhibit when you need it. All of the information you need to work on a case is at your fingertips whenever you need it, from your computer, smartphone, or tablet. Easy case file access means working remotely is simple, so you have more control over how you spend your time.
When you’re working with outside services, such as court reporters and deposition video companies, keeping up with invoices means another item on your to-do list that distracts you from actually preparing your case. When you use virtual office systems from your court reporting service, you can view and pay invoices with a few clicks instead of trying to track paper copies or emailed files.
After you’ve hired a court reporter and scheduled a date for your legal deposition, it’s time to turn your attention to your questioning. Planning the right questions will help you get the information you need from witnesses to prepare your case or fight for a better settlement. Get everything you need in the court transcript of your legal deposition in San Jose with these strategies for question preparation.
Use Clear Language
Whether in court or in a conference room for a deposition, it is always advantageous to rely on using clear, concise language instead of building complex, jargon-filled questions. Most attorneys frame their questions as such when they are in front of a jury but are less vigilant about doing so during a deposition. Keep the questions simple and concise in your deposition to get the best responses, not to mention the best transcripts. Clear language makes preparing an accurate transcript easier for your court reporter. As a general rule of thumb, prepare deposition questions as you would questions for a jury trial.
Ask About the Basics
Don’t allow the basics of the case to simply be assumed. Ask the witnesses about the general information they are privy to about the case before you start questioning them about the specific details you want them to address. Not only does walking through the basics with each witness get a record of the facts that are acknowledged by both sides on the record, but it also opens a door through which a witness may inadvertently share new information.
Test your questions out on yourself to determine how strong they are. If you hadn’t prepared them, would you understand what is being asked? If you were a witness, how would you try to avoid answering the questions? If you are trying to pin a witness down to an answer you already know, write down what you expect to hear, as well as how you will respond if you get a different answer. Prepare for pushback on questions so you aren’t caught off-guard if the questioning gets derailed.
An often-frustrating aspect of planning video depositions in the past has been delays that make it impossible for all parties to participate in real time. Now, thanks to LIVE-Depo technology, those concerns are gone. Your court reporter in San Jose can help you conduct real-time depositions while creating real-time transcripts so people can take part regardless of their locations.
To get the most from the LIVE-Depo system, talk to your court reporter about his or her specific needs. Many of the same rules apply that do in traditional depositions, such as speaking clearly and asking concise questions. However since transcription and video is being created and shared in real time, these rules are more important than ever.
It is also important to ensure you have access to the right technology before attempting to use LIVE-Depo. Your court reporter may be able to provide access to the technology you will need to successfully use LIVE-Depo during your depositions.
If you’re an attorney, you’re most likely incredibly busy, and it’s crucial that the most important elements of their cases are available to them 24/7. For this reason, you should consider using a court reporting agency in San Jose that offers virtual case management. Virtual case management allows you to access vital case information remotely via the internet, from any authorized device, at any time.
Your virtual case management files will include your calendar, court transcriptions, deposition video files, scheduling information, and court reporter invoices. Your information is 100% secure and encrypted, and cannot be accessed by anyone who is not authorized to view it. You can share any part of your virtual case file with fellow staff, co-counsel, and anyone else who needs access to the information.
When you’re able to quickly and easily consult important case documents whenever necessary, you’ll be able to do your job faster and more accurately. You also won’t have to worry that crucial documents, court transcripts, or other information has gone missing or has fallen into the wrong hands, as it will be securely stored in online case files.
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