Let Us Be Part of Your Quaran-Team

Brett SchatzleBlog

It’s completely normal to feel like you’re drowning in all sorts of responsibilities in this abnormal time.  But when it comes to having successful Zoom depositions, you shouldn’t feel like you’re alone on an island trying to figure out what to do next.

If you’re short on support staff, or if you’re a first-timer to Zoom, let us help get you to where you need to be.  Let us be part of your “quaran-team”!  And as part of your team, we’re happy to assist in the following:

-Generating a Zoom link for your deposition and emailing that link to all parties.

Marking your exhibits for you and then emailing the exhibits to all parties (unless specifically stated otherwise by you).  

NOTE:  We like to have the exhibits marked and emailed prior to your deposition.  We’re just cool and organized like that.  So we STRONGLY urge (hint, hint, wink, wink) that you get your exhibits to us in a timely manner so we can get them back to you in a sufficient amount of time.  That way, if you happen to see an error or if you happen to forget an exhibit, you can let us know, we can work with you to fix it, and no one will be the wiser because this was done in ample time and you can still have a seamless Zoom deposition.

Now, wouldn’t that make you breathe a sigh of relief?  I think so (we take what we can get in these crazy times).

-Setting up a meeting for a Zoom Test Call prior to your deposition.

We’ve all heard the saying “practice makes perfect,” and working with Zoom is no exception.  We recommend that you schedule a time to meet with our support staff prior to your deposition – preferably the day before – especially if you’re a first-timer to Zoom, so we can go over the following things with you:

    • What to generally expect when you log into Zoom.
    • An overview with some tips and tricks on how to make your Zoom deposition seamless.
    • How to use the Share Screen feature so you can become an exhibit-sharing fiend.
    • Answer any questions you may have to help ease your mind.

“But, Brett, I really hate technology.  It gives me pandemic-level anxiety on top of my pandemic-level anxiety.”

I get it. Truly.  But much like the pandemic, sometimes we just need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.  However, if you’re willing to learn, we are willing to guide you.  I promise it’s not as bad as it seems.  Scout’s honor.

Now we’ve gotten to the part where you’ve tried all of the above, but you still feel like you can’t get it on your own.  Now what?

Never fear, UBA is here! (or, actually, we really never left)

Introducing our new support service.

For an additional hourly fee, a member of our technical support staff can tell your nerves to take a backseat and assist you with your Zoom deposition, specifically when it comes to managing your exhibits for you during your Zoom deposition.  But let us know ahead of time so we can have someone lined up for you.  Remember, we’re cool and organized like that.

If managing your exhibits is one less thing you’d like to worry about, LET US HELP.

During these stressful times, being stressed about your Zoom deposition should be the last item on the anxiety list.  By working with us to get your exhibits prepped in a timely manner, setting up a Zoom Test Call prior to your deposition, and letting us know ahead of time that you need additional assistance, we can help YOU succeed and ensure a seamless Zoom deposition.

 

P.S.  Also check out our super fabulous YouTube Channel fully equipped with Zoom tutorials to help you on your Zoom-learning journey.  If you like what you see, subscribe to our channel so you’ll be in the know whenever we release new videos.  Link is below.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYCr9HzxE184gzCcE6gcK2A

Updated Video Conference Tips

Rachel SzymanskiBlog

Back in March, we posted some tips for how to have successful remote depositions via video conference. As we’ve worked with clients for the past several months and helped them resolve specific issues, we’ve added to the list. We hope these tips are helpful for you and your deponents.

TECHNICAL TIPS 

Make sure you have the strongest internet signal possible  

  • Sit close to your wireless router.  
  • If your wi-fi signal is not particularly strong and you are using a laptop, you may want to plug into your router with an ethernet cable.   
  • Ask others in the house not to stream video while you are in your deposition if possible. 

Consider how you will sound  

  • Check your computer or tablet audio with another person in a Zoom meeting with you.  
  • If your computer’s audio is not clear, you can use the phone number provided with your Zoom link and use your phone’s microphone instead. Make sure to mute the microphone on your computer while using your phone’s microphone to prevent feedback.  
  • Make sure you are muted when you are not speaking. Your mic may also pick up any other sound in the room and some even pick up background noise from other rooms.  
  • Inform everyone else in the area that you will be on a live video.  
  • Turn off all notifications on your phone or computer for the duration of the deposition.  
    • To activate the Do Not Disturb function on an iPhone: Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to reveal a tool bar, and tap the button with the halfmoon icon.
    • To activate the Do Not Disturb function on an Android: Swipe down from the top of the screen to reveal the Control Center and tap the button with the minus sign icon.
    • To activate the Do Not Disturb function on a Mac: Hit the Command Key and the Space Bar at the same time to bring up Spotlight Search. Type Notifications and look for the halfmoon icon for Do Not Disturb.
    • To mute sounds from applications on a computer running Windows: Click on the volume control in the bottom right corner of the screen. Then click the mixer button and then the mute buttons for any applications. 

Please note: It is more important than ever that attorneys and deponents do not speak over one another, so the court reporter can hear all parties clearly.   

Special considerations if using a tablet or smartphone for your camera and microphone 

  • To be sure you have enough battery life, keep your device plugged in if possible.  
  • If you have one, use a stand for the device so you don’t have to prop it up or hold it.  

GENERAL TIPS 

Treat it as seriously as an in-person deposition 

  • Give yourself extra time to login to the virtual destination just as you would make sure to leave your office early when navigating to a new destination. 
  • Make sure that you gather everything you would carry with you to an in-person deposition. Don’t forget to bring water or coffee to your workspace. 
  • The deponent’s attorney should remind them before the deposition of the seriousness of the proceeding and encourage them to make every effort to minimize distractions. 
  • The deponent will be kept in the waiting room of the video conference until their attorney arrives. 

Please note: Unless you hire a videographer, there will be no video recording of the proceeding. 

Consider how you will appear on screen 

  • All parties, particularly the deponent, should be seated and attentive. 
  • All parties should be aware that the camera will pick up everything happening in the background.  
  • Be mindful of the sources of light in the room. Consider taking a lamp from another space if you need better light or closing the shades to reduce glare or shadows from light from outside.  
  • Have a blank wall or other neutral background if possible.  
  • Dress as you would for any other deposition.   

ITEMS TO EMAIL TO UBA IN ADVANCE 

  • Attorneys’ information on a notice or in an email 
  • Exhibits to be shared with all attendees 
    • For last minute exhibits, we will send instructions for how to share through the Screen Share option in Zoom.  

NOTES ON EXHIBITS:  

  • If you display an exhibit on the screen and point to a certain spot, you must still explain out loud which paragraph or area in the exhibit you are referring to in order for the written record to be clear. 
  • If exhibits are sent via email prior to the deposition, all attendees should make sure they are downloaded and ready to go before the deposition begins.  

Before the deposition begins, don’t hesitate to ask your support staff for help, particularly your tech support staff. Our staff is also happy to help with any technical questions you may have. 

 

Check Out Our YouTube Channel

Brett SchatzleBlog

Hey there.  Just checking in on you.  At this point we’re about 4 months into this era known as COVID-19 (but in 2020 terms it’s more like 5 years), and it’s possible that you’ve just resorted to watching random YouTube videos and calling it “work” just to keep your sanity.  I feel you.  The struggle is real if you’re still working from home.

But while you’re filling up your work schedule watching random YouTube videos, perhaps you can pencil in UBA’s YouTube channel (link below) and check out our Zoom tutorials.  At least you can say these videos are educational.  No employer can argue with that.  Plus, you may be able to teach your boss a thing or two about Zoom.  Bonus points!

Oh, and if you like what we’re doing, go ahead and subscribe to our channel.  You’ll get notifications whenever we post a new video, so you can continue your YouTube watching and classify it as educational.  It’s a win-win.

Happy viewing!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYCr9HzxE184gzCcE6gcK2A

COVID-19 Procedures at Our Offices

Rachel SzymanskiBlog

If you’re ready to start taking depositions again, our staff is here for you.

We have begun holding in-person depositions at our offices. As we reopen our space, the health and safety of our staff and visitors is our top priority.  For as long as the COVID-19 crisis continues, we will be following CDC guidelines and taking the following precautions in our offices:

  • No one presenting symptoms of the virus will be allowed to enter the premises.
  • There will be a staff member in the office to escort participants to conference rooms.
  • To maintain social distancing in the conference rooms, the number of chairs in each room will be limited.
  • Hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes will be available.
  • Face masks are to be worn at all times by visitors and staff including while depositions are taking place.
  • All rooms will be sanitized after each use.
  • There will be a thorough cleaning of conference rooms each evening.
  • Food and beverage will not be provided by Urlaub Bowen at this time.

We will continue to monitor the situation and the CDC guidelines and adjust our protocols accordingly.

We are also available to attend proceedings at our clients’ offices as we trust that you are all doing your best to keep your offices safe as well.  Our reporters will wear masks during all in-person depositions and we expect that all other parties do the same. This is for the safety of our reporters and everyone else in the room.

Additionally, if you are still working from home, we are equipped for fully remote depositions as well as hybrid depositions with some participants in the same room and some logging in remotely.

As always, Urlaub Bowen & Associates is committed to serving our clients. We wish you and your families the best and look forward to seeing you at our offices soon.

Some Attorneys’ Thoughts about Remote Depositions

Rachel SzymanskiBlog

Some attorneys are sharing their thoughts about virtual depositions. Here are a couple we’ve gleaned – from the internet and one of our clients: 

John Siegal of BakerHostetler in “What Are We Learning In Month 2? Litigating in a Global Pandemic: An Update” in the New York Law Journal: Two months of litigating from home is proving that virtual depositions work. They are feasible, fully functional and required now. We all need to embrace this reality and stop making excuses for why we’re not proceeding with our cases.” 

From Jim Ball of The Ball Law Group in response to our query about videotaped Zoom depositions: “Thanks for the kind words, and all of your great assistance!  I much prefer this method!!”   

Siegal’s conclusion: “We have the tools, the time and the talent to adjust our practices to this new reality—and there is a lot of good to be gained by it, not just in the near-term crisis but going forward to bring the practice of law fully and functionally into the new era that is only just beginning with this crisis.” 

Learning Zoom: Using Zoom on Your Computer

Brett SchatzleBlog

Raise your hand if you’re ready to get back to an in-person work environment… or, honestly, an in-person anything.  I’m sure we all are.  The last couple of months have proven to be quite the challenge for everyone, to say the least.  Not only have you had to learn new ways of working remotely to keep your business going, but on top of that you’ve had to learn how to teach your kids math.  What kind of crazy situation is this?

But for the foreseeable future, working remotely will be the norm, and no one is sure how long that is going to last.  So why not continue to learn something new?  If you’ve been a bit hesitant about using Zoom or technology really isn’t your forte, let us at UBA help you through it.  I promise it’s not as scary as it seems.

Below is just one of many Zoom tutorials we will be releasing over the coming weeks.  These tutorials will be covering the overall process of Zoom and various other Zoom tips and tricks to help you with your depositions or meetings.  It is our commitment at UBA to help you navigate through this new normal.  And I’ll let you in on a secret:  we’re still learning too.  There is always something to learn when it comes to technology.

Now sit back and let us show you how to use Zoom on your computer.

UBA Online Video Repository

Brett SchatzleBlog

If you need a video deposition sent to you, our online video repository is an easy and efficient way to deliver your video.  It’s a great alternative to delivering other media formats, such as a DVD.

If you’ve been a bit hesitant to receive your videos in digital format, take a look at this short tutorial.  It explains the basics of our online video repository from how the video is delivered to you, to how to view it, to how it can be downloaded to your computer.

Keeping Zoom Meetings Safe

Rachel SzymanskiBlog

Urlaub Bowen & Associates is cognizant of the news reports about security issues with Zoom. After monitoring Zoom’s response and efforts to enhance security, we feel comfortable continuing to host remote depositions with this video conference platform. We are taking the following steps to ensure we avoid common mistakes and keep our meetings safe:
  • We are providing a unique meeting number and URL link for every meeting.
  • We are password protecting our meetings.
  • We monitor the meeting participants as they enter and, if desired, we can lock the meeting after all expected participants have arrived.
  • File upload on the chat function has been disabled.
  • We have disabled the recording of meetings.
If you would like to learn more about how Zoom is working to keep meetings secure, please see this letter and data sheet from Zoom.
For the perspective of an attorney and a legal technology expert, see the article “Zoom is Safe for Lawyers (if you use it right).” 
We understand how important security is to the attorneys we work with, and we are committed to our role as a neutral third party and protector of the record when we host and monitor proceedings.

Video Evidence Depositions

Rachel SzymanskiBlog

We have had some clients ask if a video evidence deposition to be used for playback in court is possible with Zoom.  The answer is yes.   Just like we did before remote depositions became our “new normal,” we use a Certified Legal Video Specialist (CLVS) to create professional video recordings.   

Below is a brief clip of what a video evidence deposition looks like in a Zoom video conference as recorded by our in-house CLVS, Brett Schatzle. 

As displayed in the video, there is an option for the questioning attorney to share an exhibit that is open on their screen so all participants can view it through the Share Screen option in Zoom.  

However, we recommend that our clients send us their exhibits in advance, and we email them to all parties. This is because we’ve seen some drawbacks to sharing exhibits only through Share Screen option. 

  1. The witness has to direct you to scroll through the exhibit to get to a certain page which can be time consuming. 
  2. If you are not careful, you may forget to be specific when discussing the exhibits and not end up with the detailed written record you want.  

Here is an example of an attorney with poor record-making habits.

Q. Do you see this document?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you mark this document in any way?

A. Yes, right there.

This exchange does not clearly indicate which document the attorney is referring to nor the exact place within that document that the witness is referencing. None of these specific details will be in the written transcript.  

Here is a better version of that exchange. 

Q. Do you see this document that has been marked as Exhibit 2?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you mark this document in any way?

A. Yes, right there.

Q. Are you pointing to the initials on the left margin of the second page?

To avoid issues like these, we recommend only using the Share Screen option to share an exhibit you decided to include at the last minute or to show an exhibit you do not want the other side to have in advance. If you need to use this option, we have step-by-step instructions to help you learn how. 

How to Get a Professional Video Record

Rachel SzymanskiBlog

As litigators and court reporters adjust to working remotely during the COVID-19 shutdown, we are realizing the value of being able to see each other during a deposition. Luckily, platforms like Zoom make this possible even when all parties are in separate locations. But what if you’d like a video recording of the deposition for later use? 

Fortunately, videographers are still able to capture proceedings during this time. If you’re considering using video clips at trial later or simply want the best possible quality recording for your own reference, you’ll want to hire a certified legal video specialist. 

The reason to hire a videographer who is a certified legal video specialist for a video conference are some of the same reasons to hire them for an in-person deposition. 

  1. Editing the video: Perhaps the biggest benefit to having a videographer is being able to count on them to transform your raw video into a professional video recording with the best possible picture and sound quality. They can also send the recording to you in a variety of file types. 
  2. Syncing with the transcript: Videographers have software that allows them to easily sync the transcript with the video recording. You can follow the video as the text scrolls along with the speaker and easily pick out key portions of testimony that you would like to highlight later.
  3. Providing a backup: When a videographer records a deposition, they simultaneously record to a memory card in the camera, a separate memory card in an external video recorder, and an external audio recorder, so you can be sure your video will be captured.

Here is a recent clip from a mock deposition in a Zoom meeting recorded by our videographer, Brett Schatzle.