Advances in technology continue to influence the legal profession. Technology can enhance your case preparation and provide numerous additional benefits. As an example, videotaped depositions can be a very useful tool. Some believe them to be a costly indulgence, but many contend they are a worthwhile investment.
Persuasive Trial Tool
A videotaped deposition can often be more persuasive to a judge or jury than a written one. Video has a way of captivating people that other methods may not. Juries can listen to the tone of the voice of the interviewee as well as see their facial reactions. It also personalizes the information in a way that reading a deposition document can not.
There is something about actually seeing yourself on video that sparks self-awareness. A client or witness being able to see how their responses, gestures, and facial expressions come across to others can go a long way in preparing them for trial. Suppose you are interviewing a person who seems disinterested or hostile during the deposition process. That recording can be replayed, showing them exactly where they became unsympathetic to the prospective judge or jury. It can also give you an idea of how your client or the witness will perform during a trial. It can be a valuable preparation tool
It’s About Context
All too often, phrases or words are taken out of context. That can be problematic in a legal proceeding. This can be addressed when recording a deposition. It is possible to see everything leading up to that wording, including the inflection with which it was spoken. No matter how well prepared they are, people are human. One flippant or sarcastic remark can derail a witness’s testimony, but being able to see what led up to the remark can go a long way in salvaging it.
An unfortunate but frequent occurrence is the witness that can not make themselves available for a trial or questioning. Perhaps they live out of state or the country. It may be that they have a personal issue, like a disability or no transportation, which prevents them from attending a deposition or trial. With little effort, a video deposition can allow that person to be available to provide critical testimony that might otherwise have been lost. It can also allow the use of expert witnesses who are in high demand and have especially busy schedules. The number of video deposition facilities across the U.S. increases every year. Virtually every major city has a court reporting company that offers this service. Videotaped depositions can then be electronically sent to any law firm with an Internet connection.
While videotaping depositions can begin as an added expense due to the equipment needed, there are long-term savings to consider. Travel expenses such as flights, rental cars, lodging, and meals add up when a member of the legal team or a witness must travel in order to provide their statement. By recording the testimony remotely, the firm can save time, money, and the frustration of coordinating travel.
As you can see, videotaped depositions can be a helpful tool. They can provide context, allow the judge and jury to have a first-hand account of the deposition, and save time and money.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Veritext for their insight into depositions.