Coordinating international depositions can be an expensive, time-consuming process. Working with a court reporting firm experienced in international depositions greatly reduces the time and expense law firms would encounter on their own. An agency which routinely handles international depositions can take care of all the details for busy paralegals and their attorneys, reducing headaches, too!
Before you get started planning your international depositions, be sure to clarify these five key details with your court reporting agency to ensure a smooth process:
Do you need a location?
Assuming you don’t have an office in the city where the depositions are taking place you’ll need to reserve a conference room. Be mindful of the time zone in which you are reserving a conference room, particularly if any participants are attending remotely.
If a deposition is being conducted after hours, make sure everyone will have access to the conference room. It is helpful to get the emergency contact information of the on-site host. Locations should have internet access, copy/fax capabilities, breakout rooms for consulting with clients, as well as snacks and beverages.
Will any party attend via conference call or videoconference?
This can be an extreme cost-saver, particularly if only one or two depositions are scheduled. There are two possible options for a videoconference: traditional and mobile.
Traditional videoconferencing will provide excellent picture and audio quality, even around the world. If you’ve picked the proper location for a video deposition, it should already have equipment built for the singular purpose of dedicated videoconferencing.
In many cases, mobile videoconferencing may be an option for further cost savings. Mobile videoconferencing offers additional features that traditional videoconferencing doesn’t, such as chat, screen sharing, and user controls.
Whichever route you go, be sure to conduct a test call prior to the deposition.
Do you need to have the witness sworn?
This is oftentimes one of the most overlooked nuances of taking depositions abroad. You must keep in mind that court reporters outside the U.S. do not have jurisdiction to administer the oath unless authorized by the judge. Counsel may, however, stipulate that the reporter can still administer the oath, as well as stipulate to not object to the validity of the deposition based on the reporter’s ability to administer the oath. If other options are needed, check with your court reporting agency
Will the attorneys/reporter attend in person?
If the deposition is being interpreted, for the sake of a clear record, it is best that the reporter be present with the witness and interpreter. Some firms may opt to have their court reporter attend by phone or videoconference; however, while this can save you money, the court reporter may sometimes have trouble taking down an accurate record due to a poor connection or difficulty understanding foreign accents from a remote location.
Do you need a videographer?
Before answering no, remember that in most cases, a foreign witness cannot be compelled to testify at trial in the U.S. In such cases, a video recording of the deposition can be used for trial presentation.
A legal videographer carries a significant amount of equipment and will require advance travel arrangements to accommodate the additional baggage. Planning ahead is key to keeping costs under control. In order to lower costs, consider working with an international court reporting agency that has legal videographers living around the world.
Coordinating international depositions can seem like a grueling undertaking. Working with an agency experienced in scheduling internationally eliminates stress for paralegals and attorneys, and can also eliminate much wasted time, as well as costly mistakes.