Everyone is looking for opportunities to save costs these days in litigation. Many attorneys are choosing to take depositions telephonically so as to not incur travel costs and to save travel time. Here are some ideas on how to make the telephonic deposition go smoothly.
- Have the court reporter with the witness. The reporter is able to swear in the witness and hear every word. As everyone knows, with teleconferences, if two people speak at the same time or there is any type of line interference, it is hard to hear or understand. Having the reporter with the witness ensures a better record.
- Advice to court reporters (especially if there are multiple people on the line): Rather than writing down each person’s information, including address and phone number(s), just get the attorney’s full name and website. It is much easier to look up the attorneys and create your appearance page(s) from a website than from scribbling down information over a phone.
- Court reporters, speak up if you are not understanding something, can’t hear, or don’t know who is speaking. Before the deposition starts, make a statement, for example, “Please identify yourself before you speak. There are multiple voices, and it is difficult to differentiate between them.” If someone starts speaking, and you are not sure who it is, you may interrupt with, “Excuse me. Who is speaking?” After a while, people will get the hang of it.
- Attorneys, if your court reporter interrupts, as discussed above, please be patient and understanding. They are not, in any way, trying to disrupt you. They are only trying to do produce the best record they can of the deposition.
- Court reporters, if possible, get a service list before the deposition begins and start inputting your appearance page or get a copy and check off names. You will need to know who the different participants represent. Once again, it is often difficult to get that kind of information with spellings over the phone.
- Court reporters, if the firm you are working with agrees and/or if you don’t mind giving out your personal email, give the participants your email address and ask the participants to email you who they represent.
- Be confident, court reporter. Nobody enjoys doing a telephonic deposition (or at least most people don’t). If you are polite, organized, and ready for action, your day may turn out to be one of the best ever!
In another related article, we discuss What Attorneys Need to Know When Using a Realtime Court Reporter.