The legal landscape has changed significantly as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The pandemic, which has been quite the game-changer in the industry, has required attorneys and court reporters to change how they practice their craft. Here we’ll explore how court reporting and practicing law have adapted during the quarantine era.
Videoconferencing capabilities are better than ever, and the technology today is a good proxy for in-person depositions. Zoom, WebEx, Veritext, and other platforms have proven useful to integrate the deposition and court reporting process. Unlike some programs, Zoom can be configured to be HIPAA-compliant, making sensitive calls more secure.
Attorneys and firms have had to closely monitor cybersecurity risks, data security threats, and potential breaches that could compromise client and firm proprietary data. This entails watching out for questionable emails from scammers who have used the COVID-19 situation as an opportunity to spread damaging content.
Exhibits are typically sent via a secure link that the court reporter can access to print for the witness, or they are sent physically via the mail. Various online apps handle exhibit sharing, managing, and collaborating, namely:
Attorneys and firms have had to be extremely careful about ensuring any home technologies such as visual or voice-enabled devices and video products do not endanger client confidentiality or attorney/client privilege.
Today’s attorneys have more choices than ever when it comes to collaborating with colleagues and clients remotely.
Under normal circumstances, face-to-face consultation between client and attorney is the standard. Due to the coronavirus, however, many attorneys have sought to minimize in-person contact with existing and potential clients. Fortunately, attorneys are finding ways to maintain a consistent connection with clients while ensuring lawyer-client confidentiality is not breached, including:
- Email and file-sharing applications — Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.
- Phone — Many firms that have temporarily closed their offices are rerouting calls to their attorneys and staff who are working remotely.
- Video conferencing — to ensure that privilege is not broken, it’s important to know who is in the room when you are speaking
Where do we go from here?
As court reporters and lawyers try to focus on better days ahead, we will likely see a permanent uptick in virtual depositions, conferencing, and remote work in general. We will have had the opportunity to experiment with newly streamlined processes dealing with courts, clients, and government agencies — some of which we will likely permanently adopt post-virus.