Video conferencing has become a widely used tool to connect business colleagues in locations all over the world without forcing participants to dip into the company budget for plane fare, hotel fees, and other travel expenses. Some businesses have taken these potential savings even further by using a free or very low cost video conference software system, such as Skype.
That being said, when it comes to a legal video conference deposition, these types of programs are not advisable, because confidentiality is a big concern and the connection is not consistently reliable. All too often, with free or very low cost services, what you don't pay for in dollars, you pay for in privacy. Skype and similar programs are easily hacked into. When it comes to a legal video conference deposition, privacy and confidentiality are too important to take these types of chances.
When setting up a video conference deposition, there are several things that should be paid close attention to in order for a deposition to have its best chance of success.
Pay Attention to Time
When participants of a video deposition meet via a video conference, special attention to time needs to be considered. When all participants are in the same location, they are using the same time zone, but when they are all over the country, or even in other types of the world, this will vary. Firmly stating that the deposition time is "Eastern Standard Time, Central Standard Time, or whatever time zone is applicable is just the beginning.
Participating in a deposition is a stressful thing, regardless of the conditions, and those involved shouldn't have to "do the math." Not only does it increase the stress, it makes it more likely that misunderstandings will occur. Notices to individuals should be translated into their own time zone.
Private video conference equipment normally comes from a court reporting firm, or may be owned by a large firm. In either case, the rooms and equipment are frequently rented by the hour, so being mindful of the time can keep costs under control.
Prepare any Needed Exhibits, and See that they are at the Deposition Site
Audio or visual aids, such as diagrams, physical items, written documents, or recordings are often presented to witnesses in order to aid their memory of certain events. When a deposition is conducted by video conference, it is especially important that these be prepared in advance and are at the main deposition site. If the court reporter is presenting these aids, they will need to get back to their reporting role before the witness reacts to the aids so that reaction can be accurately recorded.
Review Technical Specifics with Court Reporting
There are various types of equipment used in video conference depositions, such as IP or ISDN. Translating between different types of equipment can be an additional expense, Before the deposition, it is best to coordinate with various locations to assure as much technical consistency as possible, and see that the equipment is tested at least a day before the deposition.