Monthly Archives: May 2016

Out of State Depositions

3 Steps to Help You Prepare for The Out of State Deposition

official court reporters vs freelanceThe witness that is critical to your client’s case will not always be in your state. When this happens, there are several legal and other preparatory steps that must be taken to depose the witness. In this blog, we explore the necessary steps to prepare for an out of state deposition.

As a paralegal, your role, under the supervision of your assigned attorney, is to ensure that the necessary steps are taken to secure the witness for an out of state deposition.

Know the State Laws

Each state has different rules and laws as it relates to depositions and the process required to compel a witness that is within their jurisdiction. You must ascertain the specific county in which the witness resides and determine the procedural rules that must be followed to depose the witness.

A quick way to make sure that your law firm is following all of the procedural requirements of your witness’ home state is to contact the clerk of the court. The clerk can provide accurate information on how to go about deposing the witness in their jurisdiction, along with regulations relating to serving a subpoena.

Secure Your Witness

It’s always easier when the witness is a willing participant. However, this isn’t always the case. It is important to note that sometimes even consenting witnesses will change their minds and depending on the value they add to your case; it may be best to secure your witness’ presence with a subpoena.

This process of using a subpoena to secure your witness varies from state to state. So, it’s important that you understand the overall process and. Some states require a commission or letters of rogatory as part of the procedure involved in securing a witness. You may also want to consider hiring a law firm from that state in addition to obtaining information from the clerk of court.

Every aspect of your client’s case is time sensitive so obtaining and serving the subpoena should be top on your out of state deposition to do list. A witness who does not turn up for the deposition can result not only in out of pocket expenditure for your attorney, but your client may also have to pay the opposing side’s expense.

Plan Ahead

All legal proceedings require at least some preparation. However, when your witness is out of state, more planning is required to make sure that everything is in place to facilitate the deposition. In addition to adhering to the laws and regulations of that particular state, making the necessary applications in your state is also important to ensure that you are on the right path.

Further, since time is of the essence, it’s important to make sure that you meet specific deadlines. With an out of state deposition on hand, there are greater chances of delays. As a paralegal, you will need to factor in such issues and plan accordingly to ensure that there are no eventualities that will cause your client more money.

Planning ahead will also include preparation for the actual deposition day. With an out of state deposition, there is no running back to the office to get a file or document that was left behind. It’s vital that your attorney be equipped with all that is required to carry out the deposition in another state.

There are several logistical considerations involved in pursuing an out of state deposition. Once the preparatory legal filing and serving work is complete, both you and your attorney can focus on the general preparation that is required for a deposition.

The Benefits of Using Deposition Summaries

Court Reporters Can Use Your Help

Recently, the legal profession has seen a trend towards firms relying more heavily upon deposition summaries than what has occurred in the past. There are several factors contributing to this recent shift in how witness testimonies are handled. So in this blog, we highlight the advantages of using accurate and condensed deposition summaries.

Part of your job, as a paralegal, involves offering legal administrative support to your firm’s attorneys and helping to save your employer time and money. This often includes finding ways to make the deposition process run more efficiently.

Given the sheer volume of paperwork that depositions can necessitate, one of the best ways to streamline the process is to draft a summary of the deposition. The benefits are immense, as we will outline below.

Deposition Summaries Save Time

Time matters in every legal case; this is what makes depo summaries so helpful. Essentially, they recap the high points of a deposition, allowing for quick reference in both pretrial and courtroom settings. With a depo outline in hand, the assigned lawyer can focus on more technical legal work, allowing him or her more time to devote to winning a case.

While you can write deposition summaries in-house, outsourcing this task can free up time to carry out duties that are more critical to the case. Usually, companies who offer this service have the resources to deliver witness summaries under tight turnaround conditions.

Witness Summaries Help in Pre-Trial Preparation

One of the things that legal professionals come to expect – as it relates to witness testimony is that just a few hours of recordings is enough to generate reams of new paperwork. Moreover, while some of it is relevant, not all is germane to the case. To isolate the most relevant facts, some paralegals resort to using highlighters and post-it notes. However, a witness summary makes pre-trial preparation easier, not only for you but the attorney, as well.

The benefits of a deposition transcript summary become even more apparent when preparing witnesses for trial. Having a synopsis of their statement, which highlights the major points can prove valuable in witness’ memory before the trial. It can also serve as a quick point of reference during legal research.

Summarizing the Deposition Delivers Value to Your Client

Since most law firms bill by the hour, time and money are joined at the hip in the legal profession. Clients are acutely aware of this, which is why they prefer not to be billed for anything they deem unnecessary to winning their case. Summarizing witness statements requires a considerable amount of time and resources on the law firm’s part. Although certainly important, your client may not feel that the summaries warrant billable hours. Outsourcing this task allows clients to reap the benefits without feeling shortchanged.

Likewise, outsourcing transcript summaries can save you money, as well; because when handled in-house the hours can pile up quickly. In fact, even if the client is willing to pay, devoting resources to handling witness statement summaries can affect your firm’s cash flow. Likewise, if you’re in the midst of a contingency claim, recouping these expenses could take years.

Witness Transcript Summaries are Critical to the Court Process

In addition to assisting your witnesses in refreshing their mind, they can also help provide a frame of reference for the opposing counsel’s witness testimony. There is value in being able to identify key points of the opposing side’s statement. For example, this makes it easier to discredit a witness who changes major aspects of their statement, during the trial.

A deposition summary can also prove useful to the judge. Indeed, a well-written witness statement summary that adheres to the court’s guidelines is readily admissible by the judge, who can use the summary to prepare a summing-up statement or even use it during the trial. Likewise, if given a choice between a written summary versus a voluminous written testimony, most jurors would prefer the deposition summary.

Why Outsource Deposition Summaries?

Outsourcing deposition summaries comes with several advantages.

  • Your Law Firm Stands to Save Money – Trained professionals can quickly prepare your deposition summaries while also lowering your administrative costs.
  • Better Time Management – The time that you save by outsourcing your depo summaries can be used to improve other aspects of your client’s case.
  • Professional Results – An experienced court reporting firm should not have a problem submitting depo summaries that the court deems acceptable.

These are just a few reasons that you may want to consider outsourcing your witness transcript summaries to a qualified court reporter.

Preparing a case for trial is hard work and involves many moving parts. And while it’s certainly important to know that you’re ready for trial, it also helps to look prepared, and deposition summaries can help you on both fronts.