OVERVIEW Deposition: The taking and recording of testimony of a witness under oath before a court reporter in a place away from the courtroom before trial
OVERVIEW "More than 90 percent of all civil cases settle. Therefore, a deposition may wind up being the real 'trial' in a case. If the opposing party makes a weak showing, he or she may be more willing to settle." -- Henry L. Hecht, U.C. Berkeley School of Law
OVERVIEW Whether or not to take a deposition, and whom to depose, are important strategic decisions made by the attorneys on the case Depositions are used to gather relevant facts from the adverse party or from other third-party witnesses who may have knowledge of the facts If the deponent appears as a witness and trial and testifies differently from his/her deposition testimony, the deposition can be used to impeach the witness
OVERVIEW Advantages of taking depositions Uncover evidence, new avenues to investigate Freeze the witnesss story, obtain admissions Learn the oppositions factual and legal theories Establish foundation for the admission of documents at trial Observe demeanor and credibility of witnesses Obtain testimony from witnesses who will not be available at trial
DEFINITIONS Court reporting: The verbatim shorthand reporting method used primarily to record legal proceedings. The information recorded is transcribed and turned into an official transcript, and is considered a legal document when completed by a certified court reporter. Court reporters: Court reporters play a critical role not only in judicial proceedings, but also at every meeting where the spoken word must be preserved as a written transcript. They are responsible for ensuring a complete, accurate, and secure legal record.
DEFINITIONS Realtime: Happening right now, in present time. In a deposition or trial setting, realtime programs are a means of having the court reporter's notes made into plain English just seconds after the reporter enters them on the stenographic writer, and then broadcasting this text to the attorneys' computers where it is captured by a special program.
DEFINITIONS Streaming: A technique for transferring data such that it can be processed as a steady and continuous stream. Video and audio streaming are of particular importance in the context of depositions.
DEFINITIONS Synchronization or Synching: Exhibit linking or synchronization: The process of providing exhibit links that allow the reader to click the link in the text of the transcript and access the referenced exhibit. Video synchronization: The process of synchronizing the encoded video file with the deposition transcript. Synchronizing a video makes it easy to search and review transcript and deposition video, and create video clips that contain the relevant text.
TRANSCRIPT AND EVIDENCE MANAGEMENT Applying technology to assist in collecting, organizing, and analyzing records of testimony from and for use in depositions, hearings, trials, and other litigation contexts Powerful searching functionality Within a single transcript, across multiple transcripts, across exhibits Search within easy-to-organize groups of transcripts Highlighted hits, hits within Q/A sets, etc. Saved searches Easy-to-use, easy-to-customize issue codes, annotation features Use issue codes to eliminate or minimize necessity of summarizing transcripts Within a single transcript, across multiple transcripts, across exhibits Reporting capability for variety of uses Witness files, issue files Annotation reports Condensed transcripts Reduce reliance on paper copies, increase cost savings Minimize time spent locating, retrieving, re-filing transcripts and exhibits Reduced storage requirements Hyperlink to other resources Concordance/Summation CaseSoft products Sanction/Trial Director Optimize internet capabilities to access transcripts and evidence remotely
PREPARING FOR THE DEPOSITION Give the court reporters as much advance notice as possible Provide a copy of the Notice – s/hell need the caption and party information A glossary of terms is always helpful, especially for cases that involve a specialized vocabulary If the deposition will be videotaped, special arrangements need to be made well in advance of the deposition date
SETTING UP AT THE DEPOSITION SITE Will need to arrive early to accomplish equipment setup Internet access may be required Streaming technologies Instant messaging capabilities with off-site participants If the attorneys want to use realtime, theyll need laptops and cables If they want to use any LiveNote features, theyll need the proper software installed on their laptops before the deposition begins
VIDEOTAPED DEPOSITIONS Logistics Space Setup time Specify format Setup suggestions Minimal background distractions (noise, backdrop, etc.) Solid color clothing displays better than busy prints Videography charges are separate (and in addition to) court reporting fees The video-transcript Strongly recommend synching at the time of transcript preparation Usually provided to the attorneys on a dvd
POST-DEPOSITION ACTIVITIES Will the parties want dirty disks at the end of the deposition day? Preparation of the transcripts Transcription plus cleanup Preparation of exhibits Proper formatting of the electronic version of the transcript Proper preparation of the paper versions Witness review Usually have 30 days within which to review and advise the reporter of changes The attorneys usually prefer to be responsible for providing copies to the witness Reporter will prepare an errata sheet once changes are received