Zoom Legal Trials, Depositions, and Testimonies for Judges, Attorneys, Witnesses
Coronavirus, or COVID-19 has forced entire societies to adapt and do things completely differently. This is no exception to courtrooms, as many of them are forced to get creative and use video conferencing software like Zoom to create virtual courtrooms.
Judges and attorneys are being forced to learn how to use Zoom or other video conferencing software very quickly to comply with state and local “social distancing” and “stay-at-home” laws.
So what is the best way to prepare for this new era of law? We can help with a few tips.
1. Brush up on your Zoom skills, and prepare
You don’t want to be caught off guard for your virtual courtroom hearing. Be sure to read through a Getting Started with Zoom guide so you know the basics. Some basic tips are:
- Be sure you’re unmuted when you speak
- Make sure your camera and microphone work well
- Learn how to invite participants to meetings and join meetings (if the meeting has a password, know it)
- Know how long your trial, questioning, or deposition will last if you’re on the free version of Zoom
- Learn how to record the trial in Zoom (there’s a “Record” button at the bottom of your Zoom window)
- You can do a test meeting here
2. Dress well for hearings, even over Zoom
Appearance still goes a long way, even over remote videos. This means black robes for judges and suits and ties for both lawyers and witnesses.
3. Record your Zoom trial
Use the “record” button at the bottom of your Zoom window on your computer or phone.
4. Position the camera correctly
You want to be looking at the camera directly and position it at eye level. Look at the webcam instead of the screen so it feels like you are making direct eye contact with the person on the other side.
5. Be mindful what is behind you, and use virtual backgrounds if you need to
Remember that everyone can see everything behind you. Your dirty dishes, dirty clothes, that weird poster on your wall, and wall mirrors can be especially distracting.
Using a Zoom virtual background is a great way to alleviate some stress related to this, since Zoom will block out your entire background with something that looks professional (you can use almost any image).
6. Transcribe your Zoom trial
You might not have access to a courtroom reporter or stenographer, so using Rev’s transcription services is a great option to get full transcriptions. Rev uses 50,000 human professional transcriptionists who can turn around a video file in just a few hours.
Be sure to record your Zoom trials, testimonies, and depositions and then simply upload your video file here to get started. Rev charges $1.25 per audio or video minute
7. Caption or Subtitle your Zoom trial
A similar process to transcribing, you can get a fully captioned or subtitled trial video from Rev.com here. This is really important if anyone in your virtual courtroom has accessibility issues like deaf or hard of hearing disabilities.
Subtitles are extremely important if anyone in the virtual courtroom speaks other languages. Subtitles are translations of the spoken language used in the Zoom video. You can order subtitles here.
That concludes our tips for a virtual Zoom courtroom during COVID-19. Everyone stay safe out there and be sure to practice proper social distancing.