A deposition is an important way to gather evidence for a trial. So important, that during the pandemic lockdown, witnesses were asked to provide their testimony virtually in order to keep cases moving when people couldn’t meet in person. In fact, at the height of the pandemic, it is estimated that 90% of depositions were online.
While the pandemic has eased, the use of virtual depositions — also known as remote depositions — will not go away. In fact, the same report estimates that about half of all depositions will be virtual going forward.
A virtual deposition is when a witness provides testimony remotely using technology. In a virtual deposition, the witness is verified using remote authentication, and then provides testimony that is recorded for future use. Remote online deposition software requires that every party involved has both a microphone and webcam turned on so that video and audio can be captured. Some virtual deposition software also includes artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to increase accuracy of the transcript and provide added details such as emotion or movement.
When looking at the pros of doing a remote deposition, it’s important to consider how it affects both the witness and the legal teams involved, as there are benefits to both parties.
With only half of depositions likely to be virtual in the coming year or more, it’s important to understand why digital depositions are not always the best option. Here are some cons that have emerged for certain depositions.
From virtual litigation to virtual deposition, the legal industry has been forced to turn to technology to get things done during these uncertain times. But as with most technology, the more you use it the easier it gets. And as legal professionals continue to use virtual depositions, the process will become more refined and attorneys will find ways to better conduct them. For example, doing test drives with video conferencing technology, determining when to use paper or electronic exhibits, creating a process to get witnesses up to speed with virtual deposition software, and more.
But despite a few challenges with remote online depositions, the virtual option is here to stay. With convenience and efficiency for all involved, plus the possibility for better testimonies from witnesses who may otherwise be intimidated by the atmosphere of a courtroom, the pros of remote depositions outweigh the cons for some legal cases. For others, in-person depositions and litigation will still be the primary way of doing business, especially for high-profile or particularly complex trials.