Virtual depositions and other legal proceedings are part of the post-pandemic new normal for the United States legal landscape. Instead of arriving at the office in your shined shoes early enough to locate the restroom, grab a beverage, and settle around a conference table, virtual deposition protocol requires you to log into the designated virtual meeting platform with a working webcam and microphone.
A virtual deposition notice is your invitation to that meeting platform. They’re vital to attend the deposition and must be handled with as much care as a traditional, in-person deposition notice.
Video depositions are scheduled by either side of a legal case during the discovery phase. They are crucial to researching and gathering data to help build or defend against a suit or criminal accusation.
If you can’t physically shake hands with everyone at a meeting, your deposition can be virtual. This can be either:
Remote attendees will connect through a video platform that allows both audio and visual connection to other parties. The virtual aspect of the deposition does not alter the event’s import, legality, or elements. It will still incorporate:
The result of the deposition is an official, sworn, out-of-court statement from the deposed witness that may be used at trial as direct evidence or to impeach contradictory remote witness testimony. (1)
A remote deposition notice will include the “5 W’s” of the event: who, what, when, where, and why. These include: (2)
A notice may also show: (2)
Note that virtual deposition notices will vary by state. Individual state laws provide additional guidelines related to the deposition process, such as a minimum amount of notice before the date of a scheduled deposition, method of notification, or other important information.
Virtual deposition notices carry the same legal weight as a conventional deposition notice, summoning the invited witnesses and other parties to appear at a given time and (virtual) location. They are often provided electronically via email rather than by mail, courier, or fax.
In addition to standard required elements for a deposition notice, summons, or subpoena, a virtual deposition notice may include:
It may seem cut and dried, but following a quick cheat sheet in response to a virtual deposition notice will ensure your witnesses start on the right foot. In addition to standard prep, you’ll want to check these boxes.
Before the deposition date, make sure you’re ready to use the meeting platform. This includes:
Ensure your client goes through the same steps above, and remind them to speak clearly into the camera and show up in professional attire even though the deposition is virtual.
Don’t wait until the last minute for this step. Troubleshooting connectivity or hardware issues doesn’t just cause delay for the other parties; it can fluster and frustrate an attendee—which is not the mental state you want your witness to be in while kicking off their sworn remote testimony.
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Content published on the U.S. Legal Support blog is reviewed by professionals in the legal and litigation support services field to help ensure accurate information.