As social distancing remains the norm, you may have started using Microsoft Teams or Zoom to conduct virtual depositions. Here are some useful tips to help make your next Microsoft Teams or Zoom deposition go smoothly.
Set Up the Room
There are no legal restrictions for where a deposition may take place. Still, it’s vital to establish a suitable video conferencing setting. Here’s how all deposition participants should set up their room:
- Choose a quiet location where there will be no noise, distractions, or interruptions.
- Set up the camera at eye-level from a stable computer or laptop.
- Adjust the lighting so the brightest source of illumination comes from behind the camera. A front-lit face looks better than a side- or back-lit face.
Prepare the Witness
Just like an in-person deposition, the testimony may be presented in the courtroom. Make sure your witness understands this, and prepare them accordingly. Here are the instructions you should provide the witness:
- Wear professional attire suitable for a courtroom.
- Choose seating that allows you to sit up straight. Don’t rock or swivel in your chair.
- Keep water handy so you can stay hydrated without interrupting the proceedings to grab a drink.
- Mute your audio when taking a break.
- Remember, your audience is the jury, so answer as if you are speaking to them.
- Look directly into the camera, not at a video of yourself on the screen.
- Because of the potential for connectivity lag, allow a short pause before answering each question to ensure your attorney has finished speaking.
- Talk loudly, clearly, and concisely.
- Be mindful of your body language and non-verbal cues.
- Close all unnecessary software and turn off notifications. This also applies to external items like cell phones and tablets.
Check Your Tech
Before the Zoom deposition is scheduled to start, make sure everything is working correctly:
- Verify that the witness knows how to use the basic functions of the video conferencing software you’re using. This includes answering the call, muting and unmuting the microphone, sharing the screen, using digital pointers, and more.
- Check the network speed. For a successful video connection, you need at least 20 megabits download and 5 megabits upload speed. Use a hardwired connection whenever possible to minimize buffering and reduce the chance of dropped calls.
- Test the lag. Have the witness count to five while you hold up your fingers at the same time. About a half-second delay is acceptable, but much more than that can throw off the conversation.
- Do a practice run. Make sure everything looks good, sounds clear, and records correctly before the deposition begins.
At Talty Court Reporters, we utilize the latest technology to deliver the very best results in your legal case. Turn to us for top-quality video and audio conferencing, remote depositions, court reporting, transcribing services, and much more. For additional information about our services, or to request a cost estimate, please contact us today.