Remote Litigation: Sending Exhibits to the Reporting Firm Prior to the Start of the Proceeding
As we continue to proceed with litigating in the remote litigation world, handling of exhibits during a remote proceeding seems to be the most common topic during the scheduling process and training that we offer.
There are advantages to sending your exhibits to us in advance of the remote proceeding:
- Once you’ve introduced the document on the record by sharing your screen or sending the document to all participants electronically, the stenographic court reporter is able to make note of the file name or document description for identification purposes after the proceedings have concluded.
- Upon request, we can electronically sticker the exhibits before the proceedings begin.
- If you need assistance with exhibit presentation during the remote proceedings, the assigned video and exhibit technician can familiarize themselves with the documents. While having an exhibit technician does come at an additional cost, it can be a huge stress reliever and a time-saver to have a technology specialist take on the burden of sharing the document, making visual adjustments to the zooming in/out percentage based on the content being presented, granting remote access to a witness who needs to review (scroll through) or annotate the document, and so on.
Before you send, consider some best practices for remote litigation exhibit preparation:
- If you already know the sequence of exhibit numbers that will be used, consider naming the files accordingly to avoid any confusion when the stenographic court reporter is electronically marking the first page and creating the exhibit index within the transcript.
- If you do not know the sequence that will be used, or you have documents that you’re not certain will be used as an exhibit but want to be prepared to share it, use a numbering system within the file name (e.g. “11-16-2020_SMITH_0001.pdf”) so that the transcript reflects the correct file for identification purposes.
- The use of bates numbering on each document page can be especially handy for clarity of document identification. Not only will the transcript reflect the document being referenced, but the actual bates stamp will ensure the correct page being discussed is correctly identified within the record.
- Adobe Acrobat has become the standard file type for exhibits (.pdf) and Adobe Acrobat Reader is a completely free tool that is feature rich with annotation tools. If you have documents that are not already in .pdf format, we recommend converting them prior to the deposition. There are several free tools that create a virtual .pdf printer on your computer to handle the conversion process seamlessly. Once converted to .pdf, for example, a remote witness can use the annotation tools within Adobe Acrobat Reader to annotate pages of the document. Comments and annotations are directly saved to the actual .pdf file, which is crucial for preserving evidence during a remote proceeding. For additional information regarding the use of Adobe Acrobat and annotating .pdf exhibits during a remote proceeding, please refer to Phipps’ Tips #2…
As the remote proceedings take place, it helps all parties and the stenographic court reporter if you can include a brief description when you introduce the document, especially if it’s one of a series that are similar in nature.
Remote proceedings require a great deal of teamwork to ensure that the record is accurate and that all evidence is preserved. If we can offer assistance with additional training or answer any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly.