Over the past two years, approximately 95% of depositions have taken place online via Zoom, Teams, WebEx and a host of other online video conferencing platforms. Technical support has become a core function for our entire team. Documents were initially printed and shipped across the country, but businesses have now generally accepted the use of electronic tagging and exhibit sharing.
Our office can count on two hands the number of transcripts we have physically printed and mailed in the past two years. Virtual depositions as well as countless hearings, trials and arbitrations are now an accepted norm. Many lawyers have expressed a desire never to return to in-person depositions, while others have complained about anything electronic, reluctantly participating out of sheer necessity.
Virtual repositories have their advantages. No travel is required, saving law firms and corporate legal departments time and money. From a court reporter’s perspective, a virtual deposition means potentially handling multiple assignments in a day, since driving across town is no longer necessary.
Court reporters, like so many other professionals, are no longer geographically restricted, with the ability to accept nationwide assignments for the states in which they are certified, as well as international assignments that previously required time and effort. additional expenses. A lawyer has let me know that he’s only doing depositions virtually now, because he just doesn’t want to sit in LA traffic anymore. Another said she was happy to have lunch in her own kitchen rather than a hastily eaten sandwich on her legal pad in the meeting room.
On the other hand, in-person depositions have their advantages. Most lawyers report that their normal intimidation tactics don’t have the same effect on the internet, but in person they are much more persuasive. Some struggle to read body language or worry about witnesses being coached by someone off-camera in a virtual setting. In short, taking depositions in person just feels better.
At a recent meeting, I met two lawyers who were to give their very first deposition, and it was from a distance. They were grateful for all the hours they had spent watching senior partners take depositions from a distance. Remote depositions have become an invaluable teaching tool for more junior lawyers, as they can still experience a deposition without being a distraction to others in the room.
So, are we ready to move the virtual deposition forward? The global pandemic and the advent of virtual procedures have been felt as a “great leap forward for humanity” for an industry already hesitant to embrace new technologies. Depositions and other similar proceedings have been treated the same way for the past 100 years, with the only real technological advancements being the equipment in the room. Now that we’ve changed the current room, are we ready to change the whole experience? Will there be a new generation of lawyers in charge of their first depositions in the metaverse?
The Metaverse is considered the next iteration of the Internet and is estimated to be worth between $6 trillion and $10 trillion by 2032. Seven of the world’s largest companies are already investing. Experts believe that we are not that far from the general population being familiar with the metaverse and actively participating in it in our daily lives. The goal is to experience the content in an immersive way.
If you’re a lawyer or court reporter reading this article, your reaction is probably “absolutely not.” If we had asked you about virtual depositions three years ago, you probably would have had the same reaction. I anticipate the first interactions the legal community will have with the metaverse will be in education. Avatars can rehearse oral arguments in a virtual courtroom with the benefits of artificial intelligence and data analysis tools.
Realistically, we’re a few years away from any official legal proceedings taking place in the Metaverse. Eligibility, regulation of the practice of law, and cybersecurity concerns are the first hurdles to overcome. Once we do that, the metaverse will become a way to combine the benefits and cost savings of remote proceedings with in-person proceedings. To feel cultivated through virtual immersive experiences.
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Looking Ahead: Are We Ready For Metaverse Depositions? | TransPerfect Legal Solutions – Tech Tribune France
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