Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters - Court Reporting, Legal Videos, and Videoconferencing

For everything you need to know on court reporting, legal video, and videoconferencing.

How to Conduct Remote Depositions

Last week, Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters spoke with Dave Sommers at the Omaha Bar Association to discuss how law firms can continue to conduct depositions during the current coronavirus outbreak.  Below is the recording of said interview as well as an explanation of the benefits of remote depositions and our recommendations on how to successfully conduct one.

While the ability to conduct remote depositions have been around for a while, the advent of the coronavirus has put them in the forefront of the legal community.  Having performed over 2,500 videoconferences, Thomas & Thomas has seen the benefits of remote depositions firsthand.  For starters, it is easy to use.  We generate a unique link and send it to all the participants.  One simple click and you are in.  Another benefit is you can connect from anywhere.  Given the current climate, we have seen attorneys, deponents, and court reporters appear from businesses and homes, allowing flexibility to those who cannot or prefer not to be out in public.  Our remote deposition platform, Zoom, also allows the participants to share exhibits in real time with all the other participants.  This function ensures everyone is on the same page and can easily follow along.  Zoom also works with almost all devices – PCs, Macs, and other videoconferencing units. 

Benefits of Remote Depositions:

  • Connect from Anywhere- Connect from your home or office
  • Easy to Use- Simply click a link to connect
  • Incorporate Exhibits- share your desktop to ensure all participants can see and follow the exhibits in real-time
  • Universal Connectivity - Connect to PCs, Macs, and V/C Units

Even though remote depositions can be a great alternative to conducting an in-person deposition, the participants should be aware of the pitfalls and how to avoid them prior to conducting their first deposition.  As with any technology, you should do your best to use current, up-to-date products that have the latest updates and security patches installed.  As technology ages, they become less compatible with current software and devices and may not work properly.  External devices, both webcams and speakerphones, are essential to a smooth videoconference.  We recommend Logitech’s HD Pro Webcam and Jabra’s noise-cancelling USB speakerphone.  You also want to ensure you have a stable internet connection.  Make sure you conduct the deposition from somewhere with a constant, high-speed internet connection.  Conducting a videoconference on a public network may be subject to varying internet speeds.  If you can, hardwire the internet connection.  If your device doesn’t have an ethernet port, try acquiring a USB ethernet adapter.  Finally, you always want to test your system with the parties involved.  Ideally, it will be the same setup and in the same location as the deposition.  Thomas & Thomas always tests with each participant prior to each deposition to ensure the user knows how to connect and that there is a stable connection.  Troubleshooting in advance ensures your deposition will get started on time and will be successful.

Recommendations for Conducting a Successful Remote Deposition:

  • Use a stable, current device – desktop, laptop, or tablet
  • Invest in an external webcam
  • Use an external, noise-cancelling speakerphone or call in telephonically
  • Use a hardwired internet connection whenever possible
  • Test, test, test!

Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters has led the way in court reporting and litigation support technology for over 40 years, and now we welcome the opportunity to assist you with any need you may have. If you would like to learn more about remote depositions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We would love to show you the multitude of services we have to offer. We look forward to making your life easier.

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Court Reporting, Legal Videography, and Trial Presentation Services Tips, Tricks, and Tidbits from Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters: Focus Groups

 

Welcome to court reporting, legal videography, and trial presentation services tips, tricks and tidbits from Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters.  Each month, we will be providing some insight or thought on a particular litigation support service.  Hopefully, you find these posts and videos informative and come back each month for additional content!

 

This week we will be discussing focus groups.  Below are several tips, tricks, and tidbits we have learned over the years by conducting our own focus groups.  In the event you have questions or want to learn more, please reach out to our office.  We would be happy to talk with you. 

 

Focus groups can be conducted in many different ways.  From deciding whether a case is worth taking, all the way to a mock trial, focus groups can be beneficial to your case regardless of where you are at in it.  Below are just a few examples of why you might want to conduct a focus group:

 

  • Case development:
    • Know whether a case is worth taking
    • Develop facts
    • Determine which expert you are going to need to hire
    • Prepare information for a deposition or mediation
  • Mock trial
    • Prospective jury’s perception of your client or witness
    • Practice voir dire, openings and closings
    • Gain insight into the deliberation process

 

In my experience, though, you should try and stay away from using focus groups to determine a dollar amount for your case. 

 

One of the most important things to remember when conducting a focus group is to remain neutral, both in presentation and in setup.  Here at Thomas & Thomas, we offer a neutral, third-party location so the participants do not know who is conducting the focus group.  If you conduct it at law firm, they may come into the focus group with a preconceived notion of who you are and what you are trying to accomplish.  We also issue the checks to the participants so that everything comes from our office and not a law firm.  If our clients desire, we will also present the facts of your case.  This ensures that your biasness does not interject itself into the presentation of the materials. 

 

Other important things to consider are making sure you have a true representation of your eventual jury and having the participants signs confidentiality agreements.  You will want to provide snacks and/or meals to the participant to ensure they stay happy and engaged.  Regular breaks also help keep them focused.  We like to provide forms and notepads that you can collect at the end of the focus group, as each participant may respond differently to the setting.  These options allow you to capture the thoughts of a quite participant that you may not hear from much when conducting the focus group.  Being able to record the session for future playback is immensely important.  Often times people tell me that they learn something new each time they rewatch the video.  You may also want to consider streaming the session to another room so non-participating individuals can observe the session without affecting it.  Streaming is also a great way to allow the participants to “deliberate” during a mock trial and still be able to observe their thoughts and feelings in real time.  

 

Focus groups can be wildly entertaining and informative if presented in the right manner, and we hope you are now better positioned to do just that. 

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Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters Provides A/V Equipment Rental for Trial at Douglas County Courthouse

Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters Provides A/V Equipment Rental for Trial at Douglas County Courthouse

Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters is excited to be providing A/V support for a three-day trial at the Douglas County Courthouse this week.  Thomas & Thomas brought in four monitors, a large screen TV, ELMO document camera, and a matrix switch so the parties can present their cases in an efficient, digital manner.  Said A/V equipment can be used to show exhibits, videos, and PowerPoints to the jury, counsels’ tables, and the judge. 

Don’t feel comfortable running the equipment?  Need additional tools like trial presentation software (i.e. TrialDirector, Sanction, etc.)?  Thomas & Thomas has you covered.   Our trained trial technicians can assist you at your next trial, ensuring everything runs smoothly and the jury’s attention is kept.  Contact us today to learn more about our court reporting, legal videography, and trial services. 

 

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Trial Presentation Services in LeMars, Iowa Leads to Defense Verdict

Trial Presentation Services in LeMars, Iowa Leads to Defense Verdict

Last month, Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters were asked to provide trial presentation services for two-week trial at the Plymouth County Courthouse in LeMars, Iowa.  Specifically, defense counsel needed assistance working with MRI images and a radiologist to counter plaintiff’s contention of what the images showed.  For those who have worked with medical imaging software, you know this process can be difficult and unpredictable.  That is where Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters came in.  We worked with the doctor to select the best images and how we might present them in the best way.  Ultimately, we decided between a joint effort of trial technician, doctor, and ELMO document camera operated by the attorney.  With all of the A/V equipment being run through our trial technician, switching between sources was seamless and the elicited testimony proved dispositive in the jury returning a defense verdict. 

Whether it is court reporting, videotaped depositions, or trial presentation services, consider using Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters the next time you need litigation support services.  With over 40 years of experience, we know how to get the job done right. 

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Omaha Court Reporters Transcribe and Provide Realtime Feed for 2017 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders Meeting

On May 6, Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters provided court reporters for and transcribed the 2017 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders Meeting, which was held at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska.  This was the seventh straight year Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters transcribed the Annual Meeting live throughout the day, and was the second straight year we provided a realtime feed for Mr. Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger during the question-and-answer portion of the meeting.  The realtime feed provided Mr. Buffett and Mr. Munger with a direct written record of investor and analyst participant questions so they could better respond as the questions were posed.  Known as the "Woodstock of Capitalists," the event drew an estimated 40,000 attendees.

 

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