Testimony from a living, breathing person is always better than recorded testimony in any legal matter.
But given the cost and scheduling conflicts that come with a trial, recorded depositions are often a necessity. The most important tool at your disposal for making pre-recorded depositions effective is your deposition designations.
Many lawyers take designations for granted. Deposition designations are simply an identification, by page and line number, of any important deposition testimony which one party intends to introduce into evidence at trial presentation – most often by video.
When we introduced our trial technology, one of the features we spent the most time perfecting was the designation tool. Making a designation in Nextpoint is easy. You can see more details on our support site, but the short version is:
1 / Create the label.
2 / Click the portion of testimony you want to designate in the deposition.
3 / Click submit.
It really is that simple. Of course, in a real trial, things are never this easy. When you are dealing with a seemingly endless stream of designations, counter designations, and changes and updates to your designation list, things can get tricky. Fortunately, there are tricks to managing the process.
⊛ Deposition designations with distinction
To start, think about the way your designations will appear in the transcripts. We recommend that Nextpoint users consider ways to use the color palette to organize the designations.
For example, try cool colors for your designations and warm colors for your oppositions’, so that the same color families are used for each party. This will help you and your staff work more effectively, especially if there are a lot of complicated designations from different parties. These color choices will also show up in reports that go to opposing counsel or the judge.
It can make your work a lot faster and more efficient, because you can quickly review your designations without having to look at the key to keep your designations straight.
When organizing and planning your deposition strategy, it is always a good idea to check the demeanor or tone of the witness. Fortunately, you can always click on a line to cue the video at that point, as Nextpoint supports streaming playback of your synched deposition videos.
⊛ Starting on the right foot.
Of course, your opposition is going to complicate your job considerably. Lawyers and paralegals can expect to get designations and updates from opposing counsel right up to the last minute. Nextpoint’s bulk import feature allows you to take designations from the other side and mass import, rather than pointing and clicking to import manually.
If you get designations in electronic format, you can add them all at once, simply using the bulk import feature. (More detail on this feature is found on the Nextpoint support site.)
Most importantly, there are four reports you can generate once designations are made. One is the Line Summary report, which is a video cut list in a text file. You can use this report in a tool like Trial Director to automatically create a rough cut of your video you will be presenting in court.
You will likely need to fine-tune these edited clips, but this report will save a lot of tedious work. The next type of report is the transcript itself- a Full PDF report with color-coded highlighting so you can easily review the designations. Many users rely heavily on our Condensed PDF report, which has four pages of depositions printed on a page.
This feature will give users a high level view at a glance and consumes less paper. Lastly, Trial Cloud also produces a Summary PDF report, which is useful for reading along in court exactly what is being said on screen.
Of course, with all of these reports you can choose the deposition designations you want to see (like just the defense designations.) You can also customize other aspects of the reports, such as whether or not to include background highlighting and notes.
Many of these features may seem small or of only mild importance on their own. But when you’re trying to manage hundreds of deposition designations and last minute edits before rushing into court, these features, when taken together, can help make or break your case.
Preparation is the key to handling depositions with aplomb. Ensure your organizational methods and deposition prep skills up to par by downloading Nextpoint’s Preparing for Depositions kit. It includes bonus tips for executing great video depositions as well.
Still want more?
Watch our Collaborating on Depositions webinar with Jamie Carruth of Whatley Kallas, and our director of Data Strategy, Daniel D’Angelo. The two cover a range of topics, from establishing protocols for exchanging and working with evidence to preparing witnesses for depositions.