All posts by Mark Miller

deposition summary basics importance

Deposition Summary Basics, Importance and Writing Tips

Attorneys do a ton of paperwork on a day-to-day basis, and are regularly looking for ways to minimize these demands. There are a few helpful tools here within the world of depositions and hearings, and one of these is known as the deposition summary.

At Phoenix Deposition Services, we’re proud to provide the very best in deposition court reporting, legal transcription and numerous other areas that make life simpler and more straightforward for attorneys, clients and many others in the legal realm. Our transcriptions allow attorneys a much simpler process when creating documents like deposition summaries and many others. What exactly is a deposition summary, why is it so useful to many attorneys across different fields, and what are some tips we can offer on how to approach writing a deposition summary? Here’s a primer.

Deposition Summary Basics

Deposition summaries are a great tool for attorneys, allowing them to cover the main points from a given deposition without simply sending a full transcript. They are often used as a combination of a reference document and a resource for the client.

Summaries can be written in a few formats. One of the most common is narrative format, where the attorney describes the important crux points of the deposition in order. In other cases, some attorneys prefer to write deposition summaries that read like an outline, with bullet points. In either case, the information in the summary will match up to the full transcript provided by our court reporters, allowing readers to reference the entire transcript verbatim if they have questions. Charts or graphs may also be used as part of the summary.

Why They Matter

Attorneys are one major party who will rely on deposition summaries during the litigation process, but they are not the only ones. Clients regularly utilize deposition summaries for review, as will adjusters who are involved in a case. And for attorneys themselves – including attorneys who can’t be present at the deposition – these summaries hold several areas of value, helping them prepare for pretrial motions, further depositions, or trial witness exams. In other cases, a good deposition summary helps bring up noteworthy testimony, including situations where this information is used for witness impeachment.

General Summary Writing Tips

Some very broad tips we can offer to attorneys crafting deposition summaries from our court transcripts include:

  • Do your research: Background work is vital for all summaries, including reviewing the initial complaint and pleadings before the deposition even begins.
  • Important details: For many attorneys, the toughest part of writing deposition summaries is deciding which information is important enough to be included. The key here is to focus on facts that will be most helpful at trial, avoiding unrelated details. Generally speaking, five pages of verbatim deposition transcript should translate into roughly one page of deposition summary notes.
  • Presentation: Remember that you will not be the only one reading this summary – with this in mind, create multiple columns and be careful about how you present the information, ensuring it can be double-checked easily against the full transcript.

For more on deposition summaries and how to organize them, or to learn about any of our video depositions or other Phoenix court reporter services, speak to the staff at Phoenix Deposition Services today.

deposition trial regulations benefits

Deposition Trial Usage Regulations and Benefits

There are several potential uses of deposition testimony within the legal realm, and one of these that’s especially significant is the use of this testimony during the actual trial itself. Reading from deposition transcripts may not be the most exciting part of any trial, but it’s a common practice that often plays a major role in helping attorneys drive home their arguments as they present information on behalf of their client.

At Phoenix Deposition Services, we’re proud to offer a wide range of deposition services, video depositions, and related solutions for all our clients, including many attorneys throughout the Phoenix area. We’re often asked about the details of utilizing deposition transcripts and records within trials – why it’s done or not done in certain cases, whether it’s permitted for your case type and other related factors. Here’s a primer on using depositions within trial, plus some of the specific benefits that often come with doing so.

Is it Permitted?

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that while deposition testimony is usually permitted for use in standard trials, this is not always the case. While there are several different applicable rules of civil procedure that may be put in place by your state or even various local governing bodies, and you should be doing careful research on these, it’s also vital to be aware of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 32.

Combined with the Federal Rules of Evidence, this is the primary set of documents that govern the use of deposition testimony within federal court trials. Generally, it allows for all or part of a deposition to be used against a parts so long as the party was present or represented at the taking of the deposition or had reasonable notice of it; in addition, testimony must be used only to the extent it would be admissible under Federal Rules of Evidence if the deponent were present and testifying in the courtroom. In addition, there are several sub-categories of the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 32, including proving that testimony is admissible plus some of the ways a deposition transcript can be used. Be sure you know this information before entering federal court, or that you know the pertinent regulations within your state or area for non-federal matters.

Objections and Rules of Evidence

As an attorney, you may also want to object to deposition testimony being used against you in a given trial. Rule 32 sets out various types of objections, including objecting to admissibility of testimony that would not be admissible if the witness were present and testifying in person. Other objections include claims that testimony included hearsay, testimony is irrelevant, testimony is prejudicial, or testimony is cumulative.

If you attempt to object to testimony being used, or if you’re preparing for a potential objection from opposing counsel for your use of such deposition testimony, it’s vital to be familiar with the Rules of Evidence we mentioned above. These will contain comprehensive definitions of procedural rules and cases where testimony might not be admissible.

Our next several sections will go over some of the specific benefits of utilizing deposition testimony within a trial, plus why this is a common strategy taken by attorneys in the courtroom today.

Testimony of Absent Witnesses

Perhaps the single largest benefit of utilizing deposition testimony is also very straightforward: For witnesses or anyone else who is simply unable to attend an actual trial or hearing, the deposition allows their testimony to be taken and heard by the court regardless. As long as the proper deposition rules and regulations are followed, something every attorney is well aware of, the law states that courts must allow sworn deposition testimony to carry exactly the same weight as it would if it was given in-person during the trial.

What defines an acceptable reason for a witness to be absent from a trial? There are a few that are generally accepted by courts, including (but not necessarily limited to) the following:

  • The witness is deceased by the time of the trial
  • The witness lives more than 100 miles from the location of the trial or hearing
  • The witness is unavailable due to age, illness, infirmity or imprisonment
  • The witness could not be compelled to attend via subpoena

Using Prior Testimony

In certain legal fields, particularly those like class action or commercial litigation, parties involved in your case will often have been involved in prior litigation on a similar or even identical subject. And in these cases, based on an opinion issued in Baldwin-Montrose Chemical Co. v. Rothberg and resulting precedent, depositions taken in one action “can be used in another action if they contain common questions of law or fact,” plus substantial identity of said issues.

Translation: If parties in your case have given prior deposition testimony that will be relevant to your case, even if it was for another case, you can generally use it. This is often highly beneficial for litigators in specified fields.

Impeachment and Transcripts

Finally, one major tool available to attorneys is impeachment – but this must be used properly. You cannot be too heavy-handed with witnesses in this area, a practice that risks being viewed too aggressively by juries.

This is another area where using deposition testimony is hugely valuable. By utilizing their transcript and keeping your line of questioning similar to what was asked during the deposition, you can identify inconsistencies – and perhaps even give the witness a chance to re-confirm their answer before presenting them with a contradictory statement that may qualify for impeachment.

For more on why it’s so valuable to use deposition testimony within a trial, or for information on any of our Phoenix court reporters and our comprehensive services, speak to the staff at Phoenix Deposition Services today.

arbitration hearing mistakes attorneys

Phoenix Arbitration Hearing Mistakes for Attorneys to Avoid

At Phoenix Deposition Services, we’re proud to offer numerous court reporter, court transcription and related services to a number of clients, including attorneys. These include a number of different hearing types that might take place, including arbitration hearings and several others, and we serve as a major resource for many attorneys and their clients in these kinds of hearings, allowing for proper transcription and record-keeping at all times.

As attorneys who have completed many of them are well aware, entering into an arbitration agreement is a huge decision for both the parties involved. It includes the forfeiture of a traditional courtroom trial, and while this does allow for a faster resolution to the case, it leaves more variables in the hands of the arbitrator, plus is often difficult to appeal. For this reason, it’s vital that attorneys entering the arbitration realm be fully prepared for all possible contingencies, plus be aware of their goals and how to achieve them for the client. Here are some of the top tips we can offer attorneys on this theme based on our years of experience in the arbitration hearing world.

Vague Clauses

An arbitration is a contractual agreement, at its core, and that means that there are even risks of making errors before the hearing itself if you’re not careful. Specifically, if you include vague or difficult language in any of the clauses of this agreement, it could lead to months of delays later on down the line while parties dispute the specifics.

Rather, make your arbitration clauses clear and straightforward at all times. These will address how arbitrators will be selected, who is in charge of paying their filing fees, and the kinds of disputes that qualify for this arbitration. In addition, consider how these areas will impact your discovery process, such as phrasing discovery rules to allow for specific records or data.

Perfunctory Arbitrator Approval

One of the most important phases of the arbitration process will be the selection of the arbitrator, and this may have a major impact on the case moving forward. In most cases, this process will be done through either the American Arbitration Association or another ADR group, and this will involve both attorneys being provided with a list of possible arbitrators for the case.

In these situations, it’s vital to take the actual time to pore over this list with great discretion, similar to the way you’d approach voir dire in jury selection. Go through the list and rank your best options based on all the factors available, plus mark those you view as unacceptable. Do everything you can to learn about their history in arbitration, including looking up their past cases to find out how they tend to arrange their arbitrations. If you know a certain arbitrator has a tendency to deny discovery requests, for instance, but your case will involve significant discovery needs, you should move this arbitrator well down your list.

Mishandling Arbitrator

Now, while the advanced research you do on your arbitrator is vital, you won’t learn everything about them based on it. Especially if this is an arbitrator you have not worked with before specifically, you should spend the early parts of the hearing learning their mannerisms, their body language and how they like to communicate – and then using that information to your benefit.

Let’s say, for example, you notice your arbitrator likes to take extensive hand-written notes during the hearing. If you see this, you should plan to slow down your speech just a bit when speaking or asking questions – this will give the arbitrator more time to take detailed notes, and will be sure nothing is missed. While these may seem a bit minuscule, these kinds of little details will often help your case be viewed positively by the arbitrator.

Discovery Phase Mistakes

As those who have been through these cases before are well aware, the next step after arbitrator selection will be the pre-hearing discovery phase. And during this part of the process, it’s absolutely vital to fully understand all the discovery rights you have, plus any limitations placed on you and any other important discovery rules set by the group administering arbitration.

One important note here: Arbitration differs from a traditional trial in a few ways, but primarily in the way civil procedure rules are applied (or not applied, in the case of arbitration). Many of the formal document requests are not required, though there may be certain limits placed on discovery depending on your case. You must know the detailed thresholds here, including refreshing yourself on standard arbitration rules if needed.

Poor Exhibit Prep

Next up after discovery is the exhibits you plan to use during testimony, which still usually refer to physical exhibit “books.” There are several ways these can become complicated if you aren’t prepared, and especially if you aren’t taking the time to coordinate with the opposing party – you might present certain documents as different exhibits, for instance, and you could end up in a situation where the arbitrator is annoyed at both of you for wasting his or her time.

Instead, be sure to communicate properly here. Discuss exhibit numbers ahead of time with opposing counsel, plus prepare joint exhibit books that both parties can go over and approve. This will also make cross-examination far easier during the testimony phase.

For more on mistakes to avoid during arbitration hearings, or to learn about any of our Phoenix court reporters, speak to the staff at Phoenix Deposition Services today.

body language themes deposition

On Body Language Themes for a Deposition

There are a number of important factors that both attorneys and subjects should be considering when entering any kind of deposition or video deposition, and body language is absolutely one of these, and often an underrated one. Also referred to as “nonverbal communication” by many, body language refers to expressions, posture, gestures and even tone of voice in some situations – and it can have a larger impact than you might think on how various parts of a deposition, hearing or arbitration might be received.

At Phoenix Deposition Services, we’re proud to offer robust deposition and video deposition court reporting and transcription services, plus numerous related services and resources for attorneys and their clients. Body language is a common area where clients will often have questions, and even some newer attorneys will benefit significantly from general expertise on how to carry yourself nonverbally during a deposition, whether in-person or virtually. Here are some specific areas that go into body language, plus the simple tips we recommend in each of them.

Posture and General Framing

One of the single most common and important nonverbal cues for an attorney in many settings, including depositions, is good posture. While sitting, for instance, you should have your back straight and should be perceived as attentive and interested; if you’re slouched, on the other hand, this will be taken as relaxation or even defeat in some cases, not the signs you want to give off. For in-person depositions, it’s important to remember that there could be eyes on you at any time – this is particularly vital to keep in mind if you’ve spent much of the last year only performing video depositions and are just now getting back in the courtroom, as some bad habits may have formed over the last 12-plus months.

For video depositions, a big part of this theme comes down to framing and the way you position yourself in the video. Remember that your audience will only have a view of your upper body – but this still means back and head posture will be seen, and you should take the same kinds of themes. In addition to planting your feet and keeping your back straight, your computer or laptop should be set up on a stable, flat surface that will not move or vibrate, as this sort of thing will make other participants uncomfortable.

Clothing Considerations

Another important element in body language that some don’t consider closely enough: Clothing, which is absolutely part of the puzzle here. If it’s part of your appearance, it can be perceived as part of your body language.

Attorneys in any courtroom or video deposition setting should be dressed professionally at all times, ideally in a suit and tie. Of course, you should ensure that your setup here is comfortable and will not cause you any issues during the deposition itself, as any losses in focus or visible fiddling with your clothing will not be taken well by other participants.

Making Eye Contact

No matter the setting you’re in for your deposition, making eye contact with other relevant participants is vital. This is a bit simpler in traditional depositions, where maintaining eye contact with a witness, judge, client or any other individual in the room is relatively straightforward.

For video depositions, this can require a bit of adjustment for some. The camera lens on your computer will obviously be your primary view point, but it’s important to practice shifting your gaze between the camera and your notes, which might either be on the screen in front of you or on a notepad on the table. With a little repetition, however, this is a simple approach to achieve.

“Active” Listening

When we talk about active listening, we’re referring to the way people perceive you while you aren’t talking. Whether in-person or virtually, treat every part of the deposition like it’s important and worth your time, including maintaining good posture and not talking to anyone else. Every now and then, a simple nod or similar expression to show that you’re listening and engaged will go a long way.

Monitor Your Expressions

Facial expressions are also a big part of body language, and you should be mindful of yours – especially in a video deposition setting where, even if it’s not your turn to talk, you never know when someone might be looking at you on the screen. This is particularly important if the deposition itself is being recorded, as you never know what kind of reaction or expression you might have that will be captured and recorded forever. Try to keep your expressions mostly neutral.

Hand and Arm Gestures

Finally, what about those who regularly use hand and arm gestures as part of their communication while speaking? This is a common approach for many litigators, and it’s generally pretty simple for in-person hearings, where you’re in a large room and can be seen easily by everyone else involved.

For video depositions, however, you might have to be careful here. Arm or hand motions that are too exaggerated or too far away from your torso might not be captured entirely by your camera, or might be partially missed if you move too fast. In addition, you have to be sure that if you take part in any gestures or hand motions, these don’t block your face or audio to others participating.

For more on how to maintain proper body language during any deposition, or to learn about any of our video conferencing or Phoenix court reporter services, speak to the staff at Phoenix Deposition Services today.

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!