How to Prepare for a Successful Remote Deposition

Published on February 13, 2024 Law Practice Tips

In the practice of law, it’s natural for new challenges to arise. During the pandemic, for instance, remote depositions offered a solution when in-person meetings became impossible. At the peak of the pandemic, remote depositions accounted for 90% of all depositions. While that percentage has dropped in the intervening years, around 50% of depositions continue to take place remotely.

Now that the dust has settled, it’s clear that remote depositions are here to stay. As commonplace as remote depositions are now, there are still ways for law practitioners to level up the way they present themselves. We’ve compiled five guidelines to keep in mind for your future remote depositions to be a resounding success.

1) Choose the Right Space

By now, most people have a designated “work-from-home” space. While your space may be great for work, it may not be the best for remote depositions.

Now this doesn’t mean you should move your desk to another room. It just means you should consider your space and prepare it accordingly before your remote deposition. How’s the lighting? Is there an echo in the room when you speak? Is your background messy and/or distracting? Consider these details to ensure your space is perfect for your deposition.

2) Dress the Part

Just because a remote deposition isn’t taking place in person doesn’t mean you should slack off in the wardrobe department. We’ve all heard of the funny/embarrassing stories of people wearing a blazer and pajama pants while on Zoom. So, when it comes to remote depositions, make sure to dress as if you were going to appear in a courtroom—the more formal the better. This helps to avoid incongruity.

3) Check Audio, Video, and Internet Quality

Crystal clear audio and video are paramount for successful remote depositions. This means you should avoid using your laptop’s webcam and microphone as they tend to sound tinny.

If possible, invest in a good webcam and microphone set up. In some instances, you may even be able to use your iPhone as a video camera. Use a smartphone tripod to ensure your iPhone remains in the right spot.

Also, verify that your internet connection is strong and stable. If you’ve been experiencing slow internet speeds, contact your internet service provider well enough in advance so they can tend to the issue before your remote deposition date.

Once your setup is ready, have a test Zoom call with a friend. Ask if they can hear and see you clearly on their end. Do this with enough time so you can make tweaks or fixes before the remote deposition.

4) Avoid Distractions

It’s natural to become distracted at certain moments during your remote deposition. While you may let your mind wander during an in-person deposition, remote depositions often yield many more visual and cognitive distractions.

Anything from email notifications on your screen, text messages on your phone or smart watch, or even a mess of files and documents on your desk can quickly distract you from the task at hand. Once you get distracted, it can take some time to fully refocus.

Here are some ways to stop yourself from getting distracted during a remote deposition:

  • Silence your phone.

  • Turn off notifications.

  • Only use chat when necessary.

  • Put a “Do Not Disturb” note on the door.

5) Combat Zoom Fatigue

Excessive eye contact, increased cognitive workload, and the pressure to perform well can result in what’s known as “Zoom fatigue.” According to Stanford University, this can “exhaust the human mind and body.” This occurs with all forms of videoconferencing software, not just Zoom.

It’s easy to see why remote depositions feel more draining than their in-person counterparts. It’s not your imagination—the fatigue is real. There are a few simple solutions to these common Zoom fatigue issues. You can hide your self-view, give yourself “audio-only” breaks (only turn off your camera with permission), or minimize the window screen to reduce face sizes.

It may sound a bit silly but if you start to feel drained during a remote deposition, it may be Zoom fatigue. Notice the signs and react accordingly.

Remote Depositions Are Here to Stay, Achieve Success by Preparing Accordingly

While they won’t completely replace their in-person depositions, remote depositions will remain a viable option for the foreseeable future. As such, it’s crucial for law practitioners to continuously improve the way they present themselves when videoconferencing.

The guidelines listed above are great starting points but if you find something that works better for you, don’t hesitate to implement it in your approach moving forward. The world is always evolving; it’s necessary to evolve along with it to succeed.

For further insight into remote deposition, check out the following resources from TexasBarCLE:

Otto Nicli

Otto Nicli

Otto Nicli is part of the State Bar's Web team and serves as the blog writer for the Texas Bar Practice website. He also plays a part in marketing and video production. In his free time, he enjoys watching Top Chef with his wife, collecting records, reading, and going to shows.

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