Best Practices for Scheduling a Deposition

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By Sarah Young, Alaris Marketing Manager

Scheduling a deposition is easy – simply schedule online, pick up the phone or send an email, right? There are many components to scheduling a deposition, including location, coordination with other counsel, and securing a court reporter and possibly a videographer and/or interpreter. In addition, there may be a need to organize exhibits, select additional services and make sure the necessary technical aspects are covered. The information below is designed to help guide you with ease through the process of what information plays a crucial part in best assisting with scheduling your next deposition.

Schedule in Advance:

Thinking out the details far in advance can help with securing resources. Often locations, witnesses or other details can change, but locking in the date will ensure the court reporter and other desired services needed are available. If you think you may need an additional day, that information should be conveyed when scheduling as well.

Date and Time:

If attorneys are participating from various locations around the country, it is helpful to list the deposition start time within each time zone, such as 12:00 p.m. Eastern, 11:00 a.m. Central, 10:00 a.m. Mountain, 9:00 a.m. Pacific. This small bit of information will eliminate any confusion or last-minute hiccups regarding start times for those attending via videoconference.

Location:

Will any of the participants have a need for disability access? Making sure the space can accommodate any special needs prior to the deposition is crucial for a seamless start to your proceeding.

Nearby parking, whether complimentary or paid, is an important factor. Few things are more stress-inducing than trying to find a new location as well as nearby parking in uncharted territory. If there is anything unique about the location -- for example, if the building name or address numbers aren’t visible from the street -- giving a heads-up during the scheduling process will ultimately enable attendees to arrive at the deposition site in a timely manner.

Transcript and Video Delivery:

If you know you will need the transcript expedited, alert the reporting firm scheduler in advance so your reporter will be prepared to meet your delivery requirements. Turn-around times can vary among court reporting agencies. Highly skilled court reporters can also provide an immediate realtime feed (instantaneous transcription of the spoken word).

Consider Additional Services:

While court reporting and videography are standard for most depositions, the following questions may highlight additional services you hadn’t considered. These ancillary services in many cases require additional equipment and expertise, so advance notice can be essential.

  • Will there be a need for office equipment, like a scanner, printer or copier?
  • Will there be a need for a verbal or sign language interpreter or a realtime transcript feed from the reporter?
  • Will there be a need for a videographer or video editing of a recorded videoconference deposition?
  • Will you require picture-in-picture production so that both the witness and the exhibits can be shown simultaneously on the same screen later on at trial?
  • Will you need assistance with marking or displaying your exhibits?

Videoconference Deposition:

It is important to note which parties will be attending in person and which parties will be attending remotely via videoconference. If you will need assistance in marking and displaying  exhibits, requesting an exhibit technician in advance will ensure your documents are organized and ready when needed, so you can focus on eliciting testimony. Below are additional questions to consider when scheduling a remote deposition via videoconference:

  • Will you need a link provided for the remote proceeding?
  • Does the location have a strong, solid internet connection?
  • Does the reporter/videographer need to bring a laptop?
  • Is there a speakerphone in the room in case the laptop has speaker issues or there is a lag in the internet connection?
  • Will you need to have the videoconference recorded?
  • Will you require an exhibit technician to assist with exhibit materials during the deposition?

Key Information:

  • Videographer: A legal video specialist set up in person at the deposition with a video camera to record the testimony of the witness.  A videographer can also record the proceedings remotely via the videoconference platform.  Remote videographers provide the same services as those present in person:  They will read the introduction at the start of the deposition and also control the video record by announcing when the proceeding goes on and off the record so that private off-the-record conversations aren’t inadvertently captured on video.
  • Videoconference: Access to a deposition through an internet-based platform, with the ability to have it recorded.  Each participant, including the witness, can attend remotely from any location with a solid and strong Internet connection.
  • Exhibits: We recommend exhibits be submitted one day in advance. If you are not utilizing an Alaris exhibit technician, please send the documents directly to all participants the day before, as the court reporter cannot simultaneously take down testimony and introduce exhibits.

Depositions involve a lot of moving parts and considerations, and there are many service options available when scheduling. Alaris provides court reporting, legal videography, remote videoconference depositions and a host of ancillary services to keep your case moving forward without delay. With 41 state-of-the-art conference rooms in 8 locations throughout the Midwest, as well as partners worldwide, Alaris is here to help you. Reach out today: scheduling@alaris.us.