Verbit recently hosted a webinar for legal professionals seeking information on how to effectively transition to remote digital depositions. Alex Hewitt, Director of Operations at vTestify, joined Jacques Botbol, VP of Marketing at Verbit, to explore how the legal industry is evolving overall and responding to the current climate and need to work remotely due to the COVID-19 crisis.
vTestify is a virtual-based deposition capture platform that integrates with Verbit’s transcript platform to enable digital reporters, court reporters and stenographers to separate the capture of a legal proceeding from the production of the transcript.
“We’re starting to see a tremendous increase in interest in providing solutions in this current climate,” Hewitt said. “It’s really an unprecedented thing that’s happening right now with this global pandemic.”
Hewitt said vTestify is committed to keeping the wheels of justice spinning during this time and is working to help attorneys with solutions to accommodate remote depositions, remote mediations and other proceedings necessary in the current transition towards remote work.
“In the short term, I think we’re going to see an unprecedented level of transition towards remote. More generally, we’re going to see a growth in digital reporting, and that I think is going to be a slow growth that will probably map with the decrease in stenographic court reporters.”
Hewitt also noted that the industry is likely to see potential laws change to account for the COVID-19 crisis and period after it since in some states it can be more difficult to certify digitally-produced transcripts than others.
Video was also addressed as a beneficial game-changer of recording with digital tools.
“Video is the best evidence,” Hewitt said. “We truly believe that if you make video accessible and affordable, it will become more common in the legal sphere. We believe that video will become the core of the pre-trial review process.”
Botbol said firms and legal professionals should be ready to expect an increased demand after the COVID-19 crisis, and that they only way to sufficiently cover the amount of projects and cases which will arise will be through remote and digital reporting.
“It’s going to go from a very traditional market to a very innovative market in the coming months,” Botbol said. “A lot of depositions are going to go remote and a lot of them will get delayed from what we’re seeing. What will happen is that there will be a high demand when the situation goes back to normal, which will make the [stenographer] shortage being experienced even higher. We’re recommending that the court reporting firms that we work with start buying digital recorders.”
He also noted that as the market undergoes a shift to digital court reporting that there is also a clear place for the traditional court reporters to thrive and conduct depositions remotely.
“We’re not trying to replace anyone’s jobs,” Botbol said. “We’re trying to fill a gap that’s in the industry right now.”
Botbol said Verbit is also responding to the current crisis by providing professionals with more remote functionalities and solutions. For example, Verbit has released an integration with Zoom to provide live transcription and live captions in the Zoom platform for those using the application for their meetings.
The webinar also addressed key questions facing the market and those who are new to digital processes, including:
- How does a remote deposition work?
- How do you manage exhibits?
- How do you alleviate colleague and clients concerns about doing depositions remotely?
- What are the best practices?
- How do you keep the witness from getting answers from off camera signals or via text?
- What are the benefits of holding depositions remotely outside of the current climate?