When COVID-19 hit, many people felt that sitting in a room full of strangers for lengthy depositions was an unacceptable risk. However, depositions help attorneys gather the information that influences future decisions throughout the litigation. To prevent the court system from coming to a standstill, many lawyers turned to remote depositions.
At the height of the pandemic, about 90 percent of depositions occurred virtually. While that number may drop, new projections indicate that remote depositions are not going to fade away.
Virtual depositions are a sign that court reporters will need to adapt to a technologically advanced legal world. Fortunately, forward-thinking court reporting agencies can benefit from the growing number of online depositions.
Projections for Remote Depositions After COVID
Research conducted in 2021 by Strategy& of PwC indicates that around 50 percent of depositions will continue to occur remotely even once the government lifts all pandemic-related restrictions. Many members of the legal community grew increasingly comfortable with holding depositions online.
Lawyers and courthouses forced to adapt in extraordinary circumstances advanced their technological know-how in a short period. If projections are correct, the legal community does not plan to let those new skills go to waste.
Why Remote Depositions Offer Undeniable Benefits
Remote depositions are significantly less costly than in-person proceedings. The difference is extreme when it comes to out-of-state or foreign depositions that require clients to pay for attorneys’ airfare, accommodations, conference rooms and travel time. Even in local cases, clients often foot the bill for the time attorneys spend driving to the deposition site.
Clients who have seen the cost savings are likely to encourage remote depositions whenever feasible. Many attorneys are also happy to avoid frequent travel and time away from loved ones. Furthermore, the decrease in scheduling conflicts means that litigation can often move forward more quickly.
After a year of conducting remote depositions on Zoom and other platforms, many lawyers found virtual depositions have some less obvious benefits. Some report that remote depositions led to more amicable interactions and less posturing between opposing counsels. Others pointed out that handling exhibits on an online platform was more accessible and wasted less time versus sifting through papers to find relevant passages.
Of course, in-person depositions will continue, especially in cases where an attorney feels the need to see a witness to gauge their credibility. However, the economic benefits of remote depositions are enough to ensure that these proceedings will continue even when pandemic safety concerns disappear. Law firms and their clients will want to save money by leveraging technological solutions. Fortunately, court reporters can also take advantage of remote depositions to expand their businesses and improve their margins.
How Court Reporter Agencies Can Grow with Remote Depositions
Research indicates that small CRAs rely heavily on depositions. About 75 percent of small CRAs’ work comes from this type of proceeding. Given that half of those will continue to occur remotely, CRAs that are ready to offer services for online depositions can expand their businesses.
Clients will be looking for CRAs that know how to provide their services through online platforms. CRAs can also reach clients where distance previously created a barrier. Additionally, less travel time means that entrepreneurial court reporters can add more work to their schedules.
Lawyers and others in the field took a COVID-related crash course in technology, and many are comfortable with tools that can make their workflow more efficient. Those professionals will appreciate like-minded tech-savvy court reporters.
Using Digital Tools in Remote Depositions
Digital court reporting is an alternative to traditional methods that works exceptionally well for remote depositions. All states allow digital court reporting, although sometimes the parties must stipulate to this form of creating a transcript.
For court reporting agencies, using digital court reporters offers significant benefits. Working with these professionals means that agencies can take on more projects and cover depositions even when they do not have available stenographers. Platforms that support remote depositions effectively can make or break the new opportunities presented. Court reporters looking to further modernize their processes must do so with advanced digital tools they can rely on.
Considering Available Live Deposition Technology
Tools like Verbit’s Live Deposition present an innovative modern solution for creating deposition transcripts. The technology offers the following benefits:
-Real-time readback and playback
-Audio search capabilities
-Ability to format and customize transcripts
-Rough drafts in one hour
-Final transcripts in 24 hours
Court reporting agencies should look to enlist digital court reporting like Live Deposition, which can reach 99% targeted accuracy. The tool uses advanced AI in conjunction with human transcriptionists who ensure exceptional accuracy with impressive turnaround times.
Additionally, Verbit’s developers accounted for the legal profession’s strict privacy requirements, so the software complies with SOC2, HIPAA and GDPR. Agencies and clients using Live Deposition can feel confident they are protecting themselves from compliance violations while safeguarding participants’ privacy.
Court reporting agencies that take advantage of these innovative solutions can increase their bandwidth and accept work covering remote depositions, even from long-distance clients. With the legal community reaching a new level of technological acceptance, now is the time for court reporters to incorporate cost and time-saving tools into their business models.
The legal community’s decision to embrace remote depositions offers digital court reporters and the agencies that support them a golden opportunity to become leaders in their industry.
For more information about digital court reporting transcription tools and to see the Live Deposition solution in action, contact Verbit.