If you use a videoconferencing service for remote depositions, does the platform use AI speech-to-text transcription?
Have you done your due diligence to make sure the service has adequate privacy safeguards? And have you prepped your client on the potential perils of being deposed remotely?
Those are some of the questions you should be asking if you use remote depositions in your practice.
“[V]ideoconferencing is here to stay,” writes attorney Nicole Black in this article for the ABA Journal. “We’ve all become accustomed to it, and in-person meetings can be time-consuming and aren’t always necessary. Similarly, virtual depositions for certain types of witnesses, such as costly experts, will undoubtedly continue, especially in cases where travel expenses are unduly burdensome. Why pay hundreds of dollars an hour for an expert to travel across the country for a two-hour deposition when it can be conducted remotely at a fraction of the cost?”
The use of virtual depositions soared during the pandemic. A related software product – AI-based court transcription tools – also grew in popularity.
Nicole Black is a self-styled legal technology evangelist and author of the ABA publication Cloud Computing for Lawyers. Below are some highlights from her ABA Journal article “Conduct Depositions Remotely With These Virtual Technologies.”
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Best Practices for Remote Depositions
- Follow the ethics rules. The leading virtual deposition platforms are all cloud-based, meaning the data is housed on a server owned by a third party. “As a result, your ethical obligations will require you to vet the technology provider hosting and storing your data thoroughly,” writes Black. “This duty includes ensuring you understand how that company will handle the data; where the servers on which the data will be stored are located; who will have access to the data; and how and when it will be backed up—among other things.
- Readback Active Reporting is a remote deposition service that uses AI-based speech-to-text transcription instead of court reporters. “As the deposition occurs, the software converts speech to text while a team of transcriptionists simultaneously ‘clean up’ the transcript in real time,” writes Black. “Another individual, referred to as the Guardian of the Record, is also present and is responsible for facilitating the deposition process, the readback of prior testimony and the certification of the deposition transcript. Rough text from depositions is available within a minute of the testimony, rough transcripts are available within an hour of the deposition, and certified transcripts are available within one day. Pricing can be found here.”
- Prevail Legal is a similar service. Per Black: “Using Prevail’s virtual deposition software, you can upload exhibits before the deposition and during the testimony. A Session Manager is present during the process to provide guidance and answer any questions. Following the session’s conclusion, a human review of the draft transcript occurs before it is certified in its final form. Collaboration tools are also included in their platform to enable communication between a firm’s team members and clients during the deposition. Prevail uses flat-fee pricing, and the specifics are not available on the website.”
- Another type of service uses a traditional court reporter. “Typically, these virtual deposition services offer firms access to an online platform for hosting virtual depositions and a ‘concierge’ who assists with the management of the remote deposition. The services provide a court reporter, and some offer attorneys the option to use their preferred court reporter.” Leading providers include: Veritext Virtual, RemoteLegal, LegalView by Lexitas, DepoDirect, vTestify, and Steno. Pricing varies for each platform.
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