Paperless depositions are quickly becoming more and more popular .versus depositions that are usually characterized by high volumes of paper, among other inefficiencies. Both lawyers and paralegals are concerned with making sure that they are in possession of the necessary exhibits and required copies, so that all in attendance can view the relevant documents.
This can result in multiple folders, binders, and boxes on the day of deposition. This is not only time consuming for the pre-deposition preparation, but it also consumes valuable time on deposition day. Furthermore, this can be costly, both to the law firm’s printing budget and the environment, as well.
With technology usage on the rise in the legal system, there is no doubt that there should be a move towards paperless depositions. Many law firms now operate a paperless system for their files and courtrooms are now embracing paperless technology in their proceedings.
Of course, technology does not negate the important legal rules and procedures which must be followed in a deposition proceeding. However, when done correctly, a paperless deposition can lead to greater efficiency and organization, as it relates to your case.
What to Keep in Mind Regarding Paperless Depositions
There are some important considerations to keep in mind when you are conducting a paperless deposition:
- Readability – The ability to read and turn the pages of a document must mirror that of a paper deposition. The individual being deposed must have the capacity to read the electronic document and use her own finger to navigate the document in almost the same way she would have done, if the document was a physical one.
- Usability – It is important for all other persons in attendance to be in a position to see the document. Those persons include the lawyer on the other side, the client, court reporter and any other party for whom you would ordinarily make a copy of the document. In particular, the opposing lawyer and court reporter will need the electronic copies of the exhibits and any annotations.
Move from Paper to Paperless
The process begins with gathering all of the required deposition documents. Your objective should be to scan these documents onto an electronic device. The electronic device must be easy to handle, both by the attorney and also the deponent. Many law firms will use tablets, as they are hand-held and easy to use.
Make the Documents Readable
Once the documents are scanned, it is important that they are in a format that can be easily read by all at the deposition. You will need to find an application that will keep the file in a read-only format, give the deponent the opportunity to turn the pages easily, and one that facilitates annotations.
Allowing Others to See the Documents
In a best case scenario, it would be great to have a tablet on-hand for everyone that needs to see the document. However, this can be expensive and isn’t always necessary. The easy solution is to connect a second tablet to a monitor that can be viewed by the necessary individuals or invest in a screen and projector.
It is important that you and your staff are knowledgeable about the devices that you use. You must be in a position to troubleshoot, should there be a problem. It is advised to do a “try run” in office to make sure that all will go well on the day of the deposition.
The Ability to Take Notes
One of the benefits of conducting paperless depositions is that they can help rid yourself of notepads and eliminate physical note taking. It is critical that you invest in an application that allows you to make notes in relation to your questions and follow-up points, along with the ability to make highlights to your own copy of the documents.
Sharing Documents with Others
Prior to the deposition, you will need to share the relevant documents with opposing counsel and the court reporter. Once the documents are marked and scanned, they can be uploaded to a folder on a cloud storage platform. You can then invite all the relevant parties to share the folder, which will allow them to download the documents in preparation for the deposition.
E-Transcripts and Paperless Depositions
When it comes to conducting successful paperless depositions, etranscripts are the icing on the cake. This will alleviate the need to walk around with a bulky deposition transcript and give you the ability to copy and paste content.
As the legal sector continues to undergo rapid technological advances, you can expect paperless depositions to grow in popularity. Likewise, given the amount of time and money that they can save; it follows that paperless depositions are the way forward. The good news is that you have a road map to help get you there, in this guide.
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