Empower Legal Blog
Remote Deposition Preparation – Preparing Clients During COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge for attorneys who want to effectively prepare their clients for depositions, trials and mediation. In many jurisdictions depositions can now be taken by video as a matter of right, and ADR services are in some instances mandating that mediations take place over Zoom. And as the pandemic continues to throw obstacles in the way of the judicial system, more and more courts have taken to conducting trials by video.
With these sweeping changes, attorneys face a dilemma; how can they expertly prepare clients for depositions if they are unable to meet with them in person?
The EmpowerLegal Solution
When I developed the EmpowerLegal video platform several years ago, I didn’t exactly foresee that remote preparation of clients for major litigation events would become the rule rather than the exception. But here we are. And we stand prepared to help you navigate this “new normal”. Our videos feature professional actors who depict various events and exchanges during each of these significant litigation events. I provide commentary during the video, carefully explaining the tricks and traps being portrayed by opposing counsel, and how these tricks and traps should be handled.
How Our Deposition Preparation Video is an Improvement Over Traditional Deposition Preparation
Traditional deposition preparation entails an attorney spending significant time with a client to explain the process, answer questions, and anticipate how a client might get tripped up or flustered by opposing counsel tactics. Typically, a lawyer will conduct such preparation with a client in the lawyer’s office, and (hopefully) address all of the key items that a client will need to know to be fully prepared. Of course, now that COVID-19 has rendered in-person meetings either impossible or ill-advised, nearly all preparation for major litigation events has become remote. Apart from this obstacle, there are any number of reasons why remote preparation is optimal for your clients:
- Clients will often be overloaded with new information. There is a limit as to how much information people can absorb – often the information being explained is more than many people can remember.
- The attorney will also need to remember and discuss with a client all of the pertinent aspects of the preparation If an attorney forgets to address an important aspect – such as what the client should do if they feel overwhelmed – this could have unfortunate consequences at either deposition or trial.
- Going through the fundamental techniques for answering questions at deposition and trial is not the optimal use of the critical attorney/client time. It’s far better for an attorney to focus on the likely contentious areas of the deposition with a client than spending this limited time on the deposition basics.
- People tend to remember and learn information better and longer if they can see actual scenarios being played out by actors, as opposed to being told what to do in a particular situation.
- Videos offer clients the opportunity to prepare at their own convenience. With a substantial percentage of people working from home during COVID-19, remote preparation may become more of the rule than the exception, particularly where office policies prohibit in-person policies.
Is Your Client Being Deposed for the First Time?
For many clients, their upcoming deposition will be the first time that they have been deposed. Because they lack previous experience, they likely will not be familiar with the tricks and tactics often used by opposing counsel, such trying to get deponents to volunteer information or to speculate on a question.
Our deposition preparation video explains in detail these and other commonly-used tactics, as well as what a person should do if these situations arise. Through the use of actors, an attorney’s clients can see what it looks like when these tactics are used (as opposed to an attorney trying to explain these tactics), and they can also model their responses (if these situations arise) on the responses of the actors.
Your Client Video Portal – Branding Your EmpowerLegal Videos
We provide law firms with a branded portal with their firm’s logo where they can invite clients to see the deposition preparation video (as well as any other EmpowerLegal videos that a firm has licensed). Videos can be viewed by clients either in a web browser or in our app. Clients can ask questions or take notes for themselves, and the attorneys can see in the portal how many views of each video have been seen by each of their clients.
Get Started Expertly Preparing Your Clients for Depositions – Contact Us Today!
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