Cyber security and attorney-client privilege concerns with remote/video depositions

Jae Ellis

Cybersecurity and privileged communications are two very different (although related) concerns, and CSI provides sound best-practice recommendations for law firms who use CSI for remote/video depositions to successfully address both.  

When law firms schedule remote/video depositions, CSI hosts the video conference using the Remote Counsel/Zoom platform, and CSI provides several added layers of security to ensure no outside user gains access to the remote deposition.  First, CSI will schedule the deposition using a unique URL for each deposition.  Second, the URL will have a specific start time and will expire at the conclusion of the deposition.  The URL will not remain open.  And third, CSI can password-protect the virtual room for the remote deposition. 

Although Remote Counsel’s encrypted Zoom technology and password protected virtual conference rooms utilized by CSI provide an environment that is secure against unauthorized participants, CSI strongly discourages litigation teams from using the chat function within Zoom (or any other virtual conference room) with any expectation of privacy or privileged communication. 

Attorneys should think of Zoom as the virtual conference room that they occupy alongside opposing counsel, the witness, the court reporter, the videographer, and possibly the party-opponent.  Whether physically sitting in an actual conference room or remotely occupying a virtual conference room, attorneys and their clients risk disclosing confidential information and/or waiving privilege if they speak, write, or type information that should not be shared outside of the litigation team’s privilege group.  Therefore, CSI strongly advises that attorneys and their clients not use the shared conference room (Zoom) to type or speak anything that they would not want to share with (or have overheard by) opposing counsel and the party opponent. 

Instead, while using the Remote Counsel/Zoom platform to attend a deposition remotely, the best practice for attorneys who use CSI for remote/video deposition services is to simultaneously use a different, secure chat-technology (like Microsoft Skype for Business or Microsoft Teams or another secure communication solution) and/or to speak by separate telephones for all internal/privileged communications that must take place during the deposition. 

These are the types of issues CSI has addressed during its 14 years of assisting law firms (and the companies they represent) with remote/video depositions. 

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