All posts by Mark Miller

preparing video arbitration hearings

Preparing for and Executing Video Arbitration Hearings

For certain kinds of legal issues or cases, arbitration hearings are far more convenient and expedient for everyone involved, attorneys included. Average arbitration cases tend to be resolved much faster than district court cases that go to trial, and are also known to be cheaper and much less complex than situations where litigation is needed – but just like any other form of court proceeding, arbitration requires proper preparation.

At Phoenix Deposition Services, we’re proud to offer not only a huge range of video deposition and video conferencing services, but also assistance with reporting for hearings and arbitrations of several varieties. And in the past year, the demand for remote and video forms of arbitration has skyrocketed around the country. If you’re participating in such a remote arbitration, what are some important themes to prepare for to ensure the process goes smoothly and works to your benefit and that of your client? Here’s a primer on best practices for virtual arbitrations.

Security Themes

First and foremost, cybersecurity is a vital theme that any attorney taking part in a video arbitration, deposition, conference or other legal process must be careful to maintain. All arbitrations should be arranged with a password protection and a unique meeting identifier, plus we strongly recommend dual authentication to prevent mistakes or malicious access attempts.

If possible, look to distribute the meeting password to the relevant participants separately from the meeting ID number. This is another form of dual authentication that makes it tougher for any dishonest individuals to attempt to breach your security, plus will make those who are taking part in the arbitration feel more at ease. These are vital baseline concepts for any video deposition, arbitration or proceeding of any kind.

Lighting and Related Themes

Next up, especially for those who regularly conduct virtual proceedings like these, is to arrange your “studio” setup. We put that word in quotes because we’re realistic and understand that most attorneys won’t be able to set up a true professional video studio in their home or office – that said, there are several simple concepts you can hit on to ensure the viewing and audio experience is high for everyone.

For starters, ensure the location you’ll be filming in has good light, preferably natural light. Webcams and related online video formats struggle to provide good picture when there isn’t enough light, and you’ll deal with shadows and grainy footage if this is the case. If it’s possible, try to test out your video screen to ensure you have the proper light before the arbitration hearing begins – do this on the morning before the arbitration itself, so you know the light conditions will be similar later in the day. If your screen is too dark, you may need to add some light with a mount, lamp or related item.

In addition, confirm you have a proper and appropriate background, plus clear any items from the picture that might be distracting. Be sure there’s no chance of someone walking behind your picture to disrupt the proceedings, plus that there’s no risk of audio interruptions on your end, even if this involves using headphones or muting yourself when you aren’t speaking. At this point, with most folks having over a year of experience with virtual meeting types, these kinds of mistakes should be easily avoided.

Be Professional

Just like in any in-person arbitration or other legal proceeding, it’s vital to be professional and smart about how you present yourself at every moment. This begins with the way you dress – solid colors without anything flashy, but the normal suit and tie setup is expected in most cases.

In addition, plan to arrive into the virtual session early. This ensures you’ll be able to handle any log-in or technical problems that might be taking place before other participants have shown up.

Eyes and Speech

Any good attorney is well aware of the value of eye contact during many proceedings, and while a remote arbitration is certainly different from an in-person one, this theme remains. This might be an area that’s a bit difficult at first, as research has shown that some people become a bit fixated on their own image on the screen rather than looking into their camera – but hopefully the last year and change has prepared you for this. Do your best to always look at the camera when speaking; some will post a photo near their webcam they can look at to help here.

On top of this, just like any court proceeding, you should speak clearly and concisely. In fact, just in case of any audio issues or lag, you should be even more accurate and concise than you might normally be. Also, try to avoid speaking over other participants, as virtual audio may not pick up both of you and could require the court reporter to halt the proceedings and ask for a clarification.

Value of Repetition

If you’re like most attorneys who handle arbitrations regularly, this won’t be your first virtual session – nor your last. The phrase “practice makes perfect” exists for a very good reason, and it’s one you should take to heart if you know you’ll be participating in regular video arbitrations or other proceedings. Practice speaking into the webcam, for instance; many will record a video of themselves so they can watch it back later and take notes. You might even consider a mock deposition or day-before practice session.

For more on how to properly prepare for and execute a video arbitration, or to learn about any of our court reporter or video deposition services, speak to the staff at Phoenix Deposition Services today.

cost-benefit video deposition

A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Video Deposition Services

Like any other great attorney, you look for every conceivable angle or asset when assisting a client with a new case. Modern technology has significantly improved many parts of the litigation process and the tools attorneys can offer their clients, and one great example here is the presence and popularity of video depositions, video conferencing and other court reporting services that have become incredibly common in recent years.

At Phoenix Deposition Services, we’re proud to offer numerous court reporting and deposition services, from video depositions to legal transcription services and much more. We also know that for many clients you may be serving, costs are the first question that come up when you recommend services like these – and we’re here to help, with everything from a general rundown of our costs to a standard cost-benefit analysis we help numerous attorneys and their clients go through to determine whether our services are ideal given the circumstances. Here’s a primer on why video depositions are so valuable to many clients, plus some information on some of the cost-benefit concerns certain clients raise and how you can respond to these with the right data.

Major Advantages of Video Depositions

Over recent years, and particularly the past 12 months or so, areas like video conferencing and related technology have become second nature to many more people than in previous generations. A far greater percentage of the population knows how to use and manage basic video call services today than even 10 years ago, and at the same time, the costs of entry and operation for these services are far, far lower.

This means that for a very low cost, attorneys and their clients can get all the benefits of video depositions and related video conferencing services within the legal realm:

  • Capturing context: Compared to a simple written transcription, video deposition services simply capture exponentially more detail. You’ve surely heard the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” – what about a whole bunch of moving pictures in the form of video, then?For cases that do end up at trial, playing video testimony is just way more impactful than reading from a transcript. The jury gets a chance to actually see the person giving testimony and understand every nuance of what they say and do, rather than missing all sorts of context that’s lost otherwise.
  • Civility: For any attorney who worries about a client being unruly during a deposition, video depositions offer an extra layer of security here. Videographers being present in a deposition have shown to encourage civility in past cases, as clients know they’re on film and could be punished later on for bad behavior.
  • Nonverbal: While this relates to the context area above, it also deserves its own section. Simply put, most people convey far more information than just their words while they speak – they also give off all sorts of nonverbal cues, from their facial expressions to the way they shift their weight and much more. But through transcripts alone, you might miss vital details like someone pausing or stumbling over their words – details you’ll never miss using video deposition services.

Possible Concerns With Video Depositions

We’d be silly if we just pretended attorneys or clients never have questions or concerns regarding video depositions and related service. Such concerns are very important to us, in large part because we’ve worked hard to make our services as accessible and simple to use as possible for a wide range of clients.

Here are a couple general areas we’re asked about, plus the responses we give:

  • Cost and barriers to entry: Generally speaking, attorneys and clients ask about two common barriers to entry in video conferencing: The costs of filming, for one, and the time needed to review, edit and sync footage properly.To be clear, though, these costs are just far lower than they would have been even a decade ago. As we noted above, video conferencing and related themes have become incredibly cheap, and we’ve also pioneered modern editing techniques that significantly limit the time and effort needed to create your final deposition product.For clients who are concerned about their ability to even join such a conference given lack of technology they own, this area is also more advanced than ever before. Any client with a smartphone can easily join a video deposition, and there are numerous affordable alternatives for those with any internet-connected devices. While previous generations may have seen cases where certain clients without many funds available just couldn’t afford video depositions or other video conferencing services, such situations are virtually never seen today, with video services far easier to obtain.
  • Unpredictable responses: In other cases, either attorneys or clients themselves worry about how they will perform when faced with a camera. This is a setting that can have a unique effect on some people, and it’s natural to at least think about this.That said, the pressure involved here is honestly pretty comparable to many other high-stress situations a client may find themselves in during a case or trial situation. For instance, a client being called to the witness stand during an important trial, in front of a packed courthouse and a full jury, could easily have the same kinds of nerves or other issues as when they’re in front of a camera. The real impetus here is on the attorney in question, who must take the proper steps to prepare their client for the kinds of questions they’ll get and ensure there isn’t a major risk of unpredictable responses or other negative outcomes.

For more on how to analyze the costs and benefits of video deposition and video conferencing services, or to learn about any of our Phoenix court reporters or other solutions, speak to the staff at Phoenix Deposition Services today.

attorney-client privilege deposition

Attorney-Client Privilege and Deposition Application

Within many areas of legal proceedings, a well-known legal area is attorney-client privilege. Referring to a given client’s right to disclose information to their attorney in a confidential and non-incriminating manner, attorney-client privilege extends to several areas and has a few different potential impacts.

At Phoenix Deposition Services, we’re happy to help with video depositions, court reporters and numerous related deposition services – areas where certain unique questions are often raised regarding attorney-client privilege and whether it extends to certain parts of a deposition. Namely, can various forms of notes taken during a deposition be considered privileged under this right? Here’s a quick primer to help you understand.

Standard Attorney-Client Privilege

As we noted above, attorney-client privilege – also known as lawyer-client privilege – is a common law in the US. It refers to a client’s right to refuse to disclose and prevent any person from disclosing confidential communications between themselves and their attorney.

This rule goes back centuries, allowing clients to have frank conversations with their attorneys without fear of reprisal. This allows attorneys to be more effective in representing their clients in several ways. There are certain areas where attorney-client privilege does not apply, but these don’t tend to come up very often in deposition circumstances.

Our next couple sections will go over a couple common question areas when it comes to whether notes taken during depositions qualify as privileged under attorney-client privilege.

Attorney Notetaking

We’re commonly asked by attorneys who utilize our deposition and court reporting services whether the handwritten or typed (often on a phone) notes they take during a deposition or within a case are part of attorney-client privilege. Some automatically assume this will qualify as “work-product” even if the information in the notes isn’t confidential.

However, certain recent court rulings have thrown this assumption into question. Some states have courts that have determined that privilege law only protects “communications” between the client and attorney, not notes that were created solely by the attorney and not communicated to anyone. As with anytime we’re asked this question, we strongly recommend attorneys check recent case law and precedent in their state for this area before proceeding.

Litigant Notetaking

What about litigants who may take their own notes? This is a common process among litigants, who will be reviewing deposition notes and instructions from their attorney and make want to take personal-use notes as they do so. And like with the above area, many courts have found issues here if the information on the notes wasn’t “communicated” between the client and attorney, in which case they will not be covered by attorney-client privilege. However, if sufficient evidence can be shown that both litigants and attorneys discussed the notes together, they are likely to be covered.

For more on which kinds of deposition notes may or may not qualify under the attorney-client privilege, or to learn about any of our deposition solutions or court reporter services, speak to the staff at Phoenix Deposition Services today.

video depositions law firm

Video Depositions and Law Firm Record-Keeping

There are many direct benefits associated with the video depositions and video conferencing services we offer at Phoenix Deposition Services, from availability issues to compliance with procedures and high-quality videos and transcripts. One important additional benefit of our services for numerous legal practices: The collection and maintenance of important firm-related data.

In addition to our quality services, our digital master tapes archive for 10 years for all our video depositions. The data included in such depositions is often vital for a given firm, as are several related areas of legal data collection and storage using software and other modern techniques available. Today’s blog will dig into why storing and recording legal data is so important, from deposition data to numerous other formats.

Leads, KPIs and Firm Data

First and foremost, the recording of various forms of legal data is a top method for learning more about your firm in several areas. Collecting large swaths of data on leads, for instance, allows you to track where they’re coming from and your new customer generation.

In addition, data is vital for producing KPIs (key performance indicators) and other reports on the business. The data you obtain can help note important areas like revenue per client, acquisition cost and others, allowing you to tweak your processes to achieve your primary goals.

Automation Opportunities

Another major area of importance for legal data is the ability to plug it into various reporting and tracking tools, from databases to simple spreadsheets. Through this data transfer, you can often visualize the information and convert it into tangible changes to your processes.

Down similar lines, this often opens up several automation routes. Leads, for instance, can be increased by using automated chatbots or outsourced reception services – but if you don’t have the proper data on leads to begin with, this isn’t possible.

Reducing Malpractice Risks

A big risk to law firms that do not have proper or solid data streams: The potential for legal malpractice goes way up. Inconsistent or incorrect information leads to mistakes during the legal process, and these mistakes lead to such claims. The better and more organized your data, the lower the chances of these issues.

Simple Efficiency

Finally, quality data streams simply improve your overall efficiency as a firm. Think of the number of areas within a legal firm that become exponentially easier to deal with when moving from dated file cabinets and paper records to proper computer software – everything from looking up a client to obtaining the proper document for a certain case can be done so much faster.

For more on the record-keeping value of video conferences and depositions, or to learn about any of our court reporter services, speak to the staff at Phoenix Deposition Services today.

Deposition Preparation for Paralegals In Phoenix, AZ

Deposition Preparation for Paralegals

Deposition preparation for paralegals is often a strenuous task. It is the main opportunity for an attorney to gain more information on a case as well as impeach any testimony that is not an exact representation of the truthful facts of the case. Here is a small list of some of the duties and responsibilities of the paralegal during the deposition process.

Paralegals preparations before the deposition

  1. Preparing notices of deposition and/or subpoenas.
  2. Coordinating schedules of witnesses, attorneys, court reporter and all other parties involved.
  3. Assessing correct fees for deponents.
  4. Finalizing conference room space for deposition with the court reporter.

Paralegals preparations for the deposition

Prepare the witnesses

One of the most important duties of the paralegals assisting with depositions is preparing the witnesses. Almost all witnesses have nearly no courtroom experience; therefore, it is the duty of the paralegal to familiarize the witness with what will take place, what they must do and why they are there.

Research related cases

One of the duties includes the research of related or similar cases.

Document preparation

One of the duties they have in regards to depositions is the preparation of legal documents. They will create a list of questions that the lawyer can ask and create documents that show the evidence already collected. Paralegals may create exhibits that lawyers will use to show where the witnesses were during the event. Those exhibits can feature other types of evidence.

The purpose of the deposition is to allow both sides involved in litigation to engage the witnesses in an interview process to unveil the truth and facts of the case and to gain evidence that can be used later in court. It is quite often viewed as one of the most important stages in litigation.

If you are looking for a skilled and reliable court reporter for your next deposition, please contact us today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preparation For First Legal Deposition

Your First Legal Deposition

This blog is about your first legal deposition. If you’re a newer attorney preparing for your first ever deposition, we want to say one thing first and foremost: Congratulations! This is a major step for many attorneys in their careers, one that often takes many years of education and hard work to achieve and should not be minimized.

At Phoenix Deposition Services, we’re proud to provide a number of tools to assist all attorneys with their deposition and court reporting needs, from video depositions and conferences to real time court reporting and many other solutions. Here are some general tips we can offer to attorneys preparing for their first legal deposition, from early-stage areas to consider understanding the detailed facts in your case.

Watch and Observe

In the days, months or even years before you qualify to handle your own deposition, we highly recommend following at least one – and more, if possible – deposition from start to finish, ideally one run by a mentor or another attorney you know well. If possible, ask them questions about everything from their preparation process to the format they use for interviewing subjects.

And if you can manage it, try to attend the actual deposition in person after you’ve spent time understanding the attorney’s preparation. This will help you note how certain elements of the process work, from basic objections to areas you may not have prepared for and how to handle these.

Know the Case

When it’s time to get to work on your own first deposition case, it’s absolutely vital that you have a complete, detailed understanding of everything in the file. The first major element we recommend here: Give yourself enough time to properly digest and understand all the materials involved, as rushing this can lead to you missing important details that might come up in the trial.

Another strategy many attorneys take during the prep process is the devil’s advocate approach. Try to think of things from the other side of the table, anticipating objections that might be raised or past legal precedents that might be relevant to the case.

Commit to a Strategy and Prep Intelligently

When you enter the room for your deposition on the big day, there should be no doubt in your mind about the strategy and approach you’re taking. You know the facts you want to bring forth during the deposition, and you know the purpose of the testimony and the witnesses who will be called. You’re prepared with responses to any potential objections or derivations from your desired strategy, and won’t let small road-bumps derail our overall theme and objective.

For more on ensuring you’re prepared for your first legal deposition, or to learn about any of our video conferencing or other service, speak to the staff at Phoenix Deposition Services today.

Court Reporting In Phoenix AZ

Court Reporting: Your Choice 4 The Future

Court Reporting:  Your Choice 4 The Future is the title in this week’s blog. There are different types of court reporters. There are freelance court reporters, who work for the hiring attorney and not for the court itself. Then there are the traditional court reporters that most people think of when they hear the term court reporter. They usually are off to the side in the courtroom taking down verbatim records of legal proceedings on a stenotype machine.

In this blog, we will list why we believe there is a strong future in the field of court reporting.

Lower cost of tuition

According to the College Boards Trends in Higher Education, the average cost of a two-year degree in district college is 3,520 compared to a four-year in-state college at 9,650. So for a basic associate degree, it costs 3,000 less per year than the traditional four-year degree.

Less time in school

The required time for court reporting and stenography typically takes two years to complete an associate’s degree or culminate in a certificate depending on the program. Generally, students of court reporting can look forward to joining their workforce in as little as the estimated two years it takes to earn the degree. One way to look at it is the less time spent in school the smaller the amount of debt accrued and the sooner you can be on the job.

Greater earning potential

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics,  Court Reporters should expect to earn a median wage of up to 49,500 starting out, whereas freelance court reporters can often make much more due to their ability to charge a per-page price to their hiring attorneys. It is also said that very few four-year degree recipients can expect to enter the workforce at such a high salary.

If you are looking for the very best Phoenix court reporters, schedule online or call us today for your next deposition.

 

determining corporate counsel attends depositions

Determining Whether Corporate Counsel Attends Depositions

In cases where individual attorneys or law firms act as general counsel for a given business or corporation, there may be some questions about who should be included in various related court depositions that involve this company. It can be tough for general counsel to find the time for every single deposition given all the matters they attend to, and there are situations where avoiding corporate counsel the deposition will be a prudent move.

At Phoenix Deposition Services, we’re happy to provide not only court reporting and video deposition services for all such needs, but also general themes and expertise in this area. Let’s look at some of the factors to consider in terms of whether or not to bring corporate counsel into a deposition, plus how video depositions make this process far simpler if you do choose to go this route.

Case Importance

The single biggest factor that will help determine whether corporate counsel should attend a given deposition is the importance of the case and the deposition in question. If the scheduled hearing is for a relatively minor area of a low-profile case that can be handled by another party, it’s often not necessary for general counsel to attend, as their time may be better served on the numerous other matters they deal with daily.

In other cases, ensuring general counsel attends is absolutely vital. This may be due to the importance of a specific witness, or could relate to showcasing the importance of the case and how seriously it’s being taken by the firm.

“Bet the Company” Litigation

In some more recent years, the legal field has seen a sharp uptick in the frequency of what are known as “bet-the-company” forms of litigation. These are cases that have extremely high stakes, the kind that could ruin a company if the judgement does not come out in their favor, generally related to confidential or proprietary materials or themes.

Because so few cases go to trial, even bet-the-company cases, the deposition phase is incredibly important for their outcomes. If the company you represent is involved in such lawsuits, general counsel should be present for any related depositions.

How Video Depositions Help

If corporate counsel determines the need to attend a given deposition, video depositions are often a great benefit in these situations. They allow for remote depositions that keep counsel from needing to travel to a specific location for the deposition, making scheduling far simpler and serving exactly the same purposes as in-person depositions within the case. Involving this technology will both save time and also improve case outcomes.

For more on involving general counsel in a deposition, plus how video depositions are beneficial here, speak to the staff at Phoenix Deposition Services today.

Web Conferencing With Phoenix Court Reporters

Benefits of Web Conferencing

Benefits of Web Conferencing

This blog is about the benefits of web conferencing. Most attorneys take considerable time and effort in order to interview witnesses and to take depositions. This innovation is now making it where attorneys interviewing witnesses in other states no longer have to take expensive flights out of town or charge outrageous fees to do so.  Here are a few other benefits.

Saves both time and money

Web conferencing provides both audio and visual connectivity with the deponent. In turn, this means there is little to no travel time nor any money being spent on unnecessary travel costs or travel arrangement hassles along the way.  So all that needs to be done is scheduling a deposition with a court reporter somewhat close by the witness’s location at a time convenient for all parties involved.

Better Quality Video

As some of you may already know, video conferencing is a separate camera recording, then the video is transferred over the internet, whereas internet conferencing uses a camera built into the device sending the data, thus giving a much clearer image. Many different devices can be used while recording a deposition, such as smartphones, tablets and laptops without any lags or drops in service.

No additional equipment needed with web conferencing

There is no additional equipment used, so you get the added benefits of video conferencing without having the hassle or cost of setting up bulky equipment.

If you are looking for hassle-free depositions handled with the utmost professionalism and courtesy, please call today or schedule your next deposition online with us today.