Lawyers have been conducting depositions since the 19th century, and for decades, the process remained relatively unchanged. In recent years, however, deposition advancements in telecommunications, online security, and other areas have changed what’s possible in the practice of law. Even the historically cautious and conservative legal profession has been adapting at a rapid pace.
Here’s a look at what’s to come in the depositions of the future.
Once upon a time, depositions required all parties to be in the same room. This often required attorneys to travel and set up out-of-market litigation support service, costing lawyers and their firms additional time and money. Improved telecommunications technology allows lawyers to conduct or attend depositions from thousands of miles away without the cost, inconvenience, and decreased productivity associated with travel. Digital exhibit technology permits lawyers to introduce, mark up, and share exhibits remotely, creating a virtual deposition room that is substantially similar to the look and feel of a traditional deposition.
Improved Deposition Video
Legal professionals have been using video to record depositions for decades, but the deposition video of today bears little resemblance to that of the past. Today, digital video technology gives lawyers and other parties involved in depositions the ability to share professionally produced videos in real time, complete with annotation and, when paired with realtime technology, live transcription. In addition, modern videography techniques with multiple cameras allow for the creation of presentations that highlight important details and strengthen the impact of witness testimony and reactions.
Remote Court Reporting
In many jurisdictions, videoconferencing and realtime transcription technology offer court reporters the same geographical flexibility available to attorneys and witnesses. Experienced court reporters can read back testimony, mark exhibits, and create certified transcripts remotely, and other parties can still provide live commentary, make notations, and highlight sections of a transcript from different locations. Remote technology allows court reporters to provide greater deposition coverage across the country, helping to mitigate the court reporter shortage currently affecting the industry.
The security of confidential client information has always been one of the main reasons that legal professionals are hesitant to adopt new technologies. Vendors recognized this need and started offering remote deposition solutions that provide the level of security the legal profession demands. The advent of digital deposition exhibit technology creates an added layer of security by preventing the mishandling or misappropriation of paper documents.
In general, deposition technology innovations allow for greater collaboration by removing barriers related to getting everyone in the same room at the same time and improving behind-the-scenes communication as a deposition takes place. Experts, clients, co-counsel, and others can participate in the deposition in real time, and in some ways, they’re able to communicate with lead counsel more effectively than they would if they were in the same room. Legal professionals can also share transcripts, exhibits, and other documents instantly and with critical annotations intact.
The above are only some of the fast-moving trends in legal depositions. Lawyers should seek out court reporter services that are committed to using technology to bring depositions into the future.