3 Remote Deposition Pitfalls to Avoid

CSI - Courtroom Sciences Inc.

As a highly flexible option for both witnesses and trial attorneys, remote depositions have quickly become much more common in litigation. Although it was current circumstances that caused remote depositions to become more prevalent, now, thanks to their usefulness, they are expected to remain a routine solution moving forward. 

Yet, despite their convenience, there are some remote deposition pitfalls that defense attorneys must be aware of. The reliability of the technology, cyber security, attorney-client privilege, and witness performance are all areas of concern for remote deposition participants. 

As remote depositions become more accepted, trial attorneys want to ensure that these virtual solutions are as effective as traditional face-to-face depositions. The litigation support experts at Courtroom Sciences understand the challenges of remote depositions and can help you be fully prepared.

What should a trial attorney consider when evaluating a remote deposition solution?

Cyber security, attorney-client privilege, technology reliability, and witness performance can all be areas of concern when preparing for a remote deposition. The experienced litigation support staff at CSI follow established processes to ensure the successful use of software, hardware, and services for audio and video streaming and paperless exhibit management. CSI is an industry leader in providing remote deposition services. 

Cyber Security and Attorney-Client Privilege

Although cybersecurity and privileged communications are two very different concerns, they are related, particularly when it comes to remote depositions. When law firms schedule remote depositions, they want to ensure that these virtual proceedings, where sensitive information may be shared or disclosed, are secure and follow proper guidelines to protect themselves and their client. 

CSI can help law firms with sound best-practice recommendations to successfully address cybersecurity and attorney-client privilege during remote depositions. When law firms schedule remote depositions, CSI hosts the video conference using the Remote Counsel/Zoom platform and provides several added layers of security to ensure no outside user gains access to the remote deposition, including:

●  scheduling the deposition using a unique URL for each session

●  ensuring the URL will have a specific start time and will expire after the deposition, and will not remain open

●  password-protecting the virtual room for the remote deposition.

Even though Remote Counsel's encrypted Zoom technology and password-protected virtual conference rooms utilized by CSI provide an environment secure against unauthorized participants, CSI strongly discourages litigation teams from speaking, writing, or typing information that should not be shared outside of the litigation team's privilege group. Otherwise, they risk disclosing confidential information and/or waiving privilege. Instead, the best practice for attorneys is to simultaneously use a different, secure chat technology and/or to speak by separate telephones for all privileged communications that must take place during the deposition. 

Reliability of Remote Deposition Technology

Often, trial attorneys or paralegals may be concerned about the reliability of remote deposition technology. While the concern about reliability is valid, it is also easily solvable. The most common culprit of remote deposition technology reliability is an internet connection. 

For law firms who use CSI for remote depositions, CSI takes specific steps to ensure success, including:  

●  providing an extra laptop with a webcam and microphone for streaming the witness

●  contacting the location of the deposition to inquire about Wi-Fi availability and strength 

●  supplying a Wi-Fi hotspot, if needed, which runs on mobile carriers and works as an excellent backup, able to handle streaming audio and video

●  helping you test from your computer to ensure audio and video quality. 

CSI offers desktop videoconferencing technology that is efficient and cost-effective. Our Case Management team sets up everything you need down to the last detail, allowing you to be much more efficient in your deposition preparation.

Remote Deposition Witness Performance

Witnesses appear differently on video platforms than during in-person depositions, with some personalities thriving in a virtual setting while others do not. More so than  face-to-face interaction, a remote deposition requires extensive focus and attention, and witnesses may experience an earlier onset of cognitive fatigue. With the lack of many non-verbal clues, witnesses often feel like they have to make a more significant effort to appear interested in the proceedings, with an intense focus on words and sustained eye contact. 

 During a remote deposition, witnesses most often struggle with:

●  Close-up Eye Contact: The close video focus emphasizes both facial expressions and eye contact, demanding an unnatural level of eye contact. 

●  Performance Pressure: Virtual depositions frequently cause witnesses to be more self-conscious, taking their attention away from the task. 

●  Higher Cognitive Workload: With interactions limited to a small square on the screen, a witness's cognitive workload increases as they strive to give appropriate non-verbal communication, detect non-verbal communication, and make any behavior adjustments as needed.

Defense attorneys can help witnesses improve remote deposition performance through these three steps:

1.  Preemptively Eliminate Distractions: The more a witness can prepare for and eliminate distractions, the more focused they will be during the deposition.

2.  Manage the Screen: By positioning the screen at a comfortable distance and adjusting the size of the window, witnesses may be able to replicate a more natural setting.

3.  Schedule Sufficient Breaks: As witnesses experience faster levels of cognitive fatigue in a virtual setting, trial attorneys should be prepared to provide frequent rest breaks, perhaps every 30 minutes, to prevent cognitive fatigue from impacting witness performance.

Courtroom Sciences uses best-in-industry tools to address remote deposition pitfalls, providing efficient and dependable support from expert staff. CSI's litigation support services staff follow established processes to ensure a successful outcome, and our team allows us to scale to cover all your remote deposition needs. Speak with one of our experts to schedule a remote deposition.

Key Takeaways

●  Remote depositions have quickly become a permanent fixture in litigation.

●  The litigation support experts at Courtroom Sciences understand the challenges of remote depositions and can help you avoid pitfalls and mitigate risk with effective preparation.

●  CSI can help law firms with sound best-practice recommendations to successfully address cybersecurity and attorney-client privilege during remote depositions. 

●  CSI offers desktop video conferencing technology that is efficient and cost-effective. 

●  Trial attorneys can help witnesses improve remote deposition performance by preemptively eliminating distractions, managing the screen, and scheduling sufficient breaks. 

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