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.

common technologies for legal depositions

2 Technologies For Depositions

2 Technologies for Depositions

These days you could hardly recognize depositions today when compared to the techniques and technologies previously used by attorneys and court reporters. Due to the continued evolution of these technologies court reporting has become more efficient and collaboration between court reporters and attorneys infinitely improved.

The level of professional services provided has been greatly enhanced due to the use of these tools court reporting firms now have at their disposal to offer hiring attorneys.

Video Technology

Cameras have quite often been used in the past to record depositions and that is no secret, however, the advances that have been made to the software as far as video depositions are concerned, have become a huge advantage to attorneys who have utilized these products. Camera technology has advanced greatly in the last 5 years, with High Definition sound and video every mannerism and emotion being captured on video for further analysis by attorneys, judges, and juries. Paired with comparable advancements in the video editing software, unwanted distractions such as background noise may be removed, or the clarity of speech may be improved. Editing software allows for electronic exhibits to be integrated with the flow of testimony permitting answers to be placed in their proper context.

Electronic  Exhibits

In recent years a greater number of legal entities have begun to approve and adopt the use of electronic means for exhibit submission. Printed copies of your materials require a great deal of time to reproduce and represent a considerable expense that can often be abated. They also require greater amounts of space for storage, transportation and presentation. Digital exhibition software allows for attorneys to replace the binders and boxes with more compact and secure devices. These electronic files are easily distributed to the court reporter, opposing counsel and other parties involved. This greatly reduces the risks of potential document loss, damage or mishandling.



Keeping Our Clients Safe: Covid-19 Update

Keeping our clients safe: Covid-19 update is the topic of this week’s blog.

During these uncertain times, we would like to inform our clients of video conferencing options and assure everyone that we have taken every precaution to ensure the health and safety of all our clients and employees so we can continue to conduct business as usual.

Video conferencing

When utilizing the video conferencing option, everyone can attend from the comfort of their own homes. Attorneys can still present exhibits, record videos, and swear in witnesses the same as an in-person deposition. We offer WebEx, Skype and ZOOM video conferencing platforms. The only requirements for this are a laptop with an internet connection, a webcam and a microphone. You will receive an email from us with a link to click, along with a meeting number and password.

Now that health, time and social distancing are important factors in our ability to perform in-person depositions, we find video conferencing to be a helpful alternative.

To assist others with a few helpful tips on conducting and attending depositions remotely during the COVID-19 outbreak, we have included this article from NC Lawyers Weekly:

In the last couple of weeks, nearly all in-person meetings have come to a grinding halt as the world hunkers down during the COVID-19 pandemic. Litigators, whose practices frequently require in-person contact at depositions, mediations and court proceedings, have scrambled to find a way to keep their cases on track.

As the public health crisis progresses, litigators will have to adapt to an increasing number of social distancing mandates. Traditional in-person depositions may simply not be feasible in the weeks (or even months) to come.

One way for litigators to avoid derailment of discovery is to transition depositions to videoconference. But unlike the videoconference meetings that many of us are familiar with, taking a deposition by videoconference requires advance planning of logistics and technology.

The following tips for videoconference depositions aim to keep your practice running smoothly while we weather COVID-19:

Read more…

To schedule your next video conference or in-person deposition with our Phoenix court reporters, contact our office today!

What To Look For In A Court Reporting Firm in Arizona

What To Look For In A Court Reporting Firm

What to look for in a court reporting firm is the topic of this week’s blog.  When hiring attorneys are choosing a court reporting firm for their next deposition, they are searching for quality services, affordable rates and the experience  needed to run a deposition smoothly from beginning to end. Here are a couple things to look for when choosing the right court reporting firm for the job.

The latest technology

It should remain a high priority for all Phoenix, AZ video court reporters to stay abreast of the very latest in today’s technology. They should be experts in video streaming and secure remote video deposition technologies. Common formats such as MPEG-1 are outdated and clients should look for court reporting firms who offer no less than high definition video files in MPEG-4. The best firms will work videographers proficient in PIP (picture in picture) and ELMO document cameras.

Excellent client services

Look for a highly-trained staff that is well versed in handling client inquiries and invoice discrepancies professionally. A well-knowledged staff will possess all the skills needed to assist you and answer any questions directly or direct you to someone who can promptly.

Trusted court reporting firms have:

  • Experienced and highly trained staff
  • Prompt top-notch client services
  • On-going training and education
  • Accurate and consistent billing

Clients should never worry about:

  • Hidden charges
  • Not getting what they are promised
  • Unequal treatment or billing
  • No-call, no-shows from their court reporters

At Phoenix Deposition Services, we pride ourselves on being your go-to Phoenix, AZ video court reporter’s you can always count on. Call us today or schedule your next deposition with us.

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.