depositions over the phone is a good way to cut costs and save travel time.
But they also have certain liabilities. Based on our experience with setting
up many of such depositions, here are a few tips for getting the most out of
To begin with,
under most state regulations, the reporter must be present at the location of
the witness in order to execute the oath. The oath cannot be administered over
the phone. If it is not possible for the reporter to be at that location, some
jurisdictions permit a notary to swear the witness, while the reporter is at the
location of the noticing attorney.
arises through the use of speakerphones and their tendency to cut other speakers
off when one person starts talking. If the others on the line do not respond to
your objection, question or comment, there is a good chance they did not hear
it, or the audio was garbled. In such a case, you can ask the reporter to read
back that section or repeat your question or statement.
deposition, when two people start talking at the same time, words can be lost
and the record gets muddied. This is even worse in a telephonic deposition,
particularly where more than one person is coming in over the phone line. It is
harder for the reporter to distinguish between the speakers when they are
talking simultaneously over the phone, than when they are in the same room as
the reporter but on opposite sides of the conference table. But even when only
one person is speaking at a time, if more than one attorney is coming in over
the telephone line, they should identify themselves whenever they start talking
to avoid any confusion.
depositions also require some advance planning in terms of exhibits, specialized
word lists, and the case caption. Normally you will be handing these to the
reporter in person at the deposition. When done over the phone, these should be
sent to our office early enough for us to get these to the reporter.
We realize that you are in a hurry, but if
at the end of the deposition you stay on the phone line a couple minutes longer,
so the reporter can get your transcript order and clarify the spelling of any
names or special terms, it can mean that you get the transcript several days
earlier than if they have to chase down the information later.