News and Notes

Best Practices with Scheduling ITC Depositions

By: Kathy Hatcher, Vice President of Corporate Accounts

The International Trade Commission (ITC) has emerged as a popular forum for businesses seeking to protect their intellectual property assets worldwide. Indeed, Section 337 investigations at the ITC typically involve high-stakes disputes for patent holders, parties accused of patent infringement claims and third-party business partners. The ITC is also a widely used forum for disputes related to trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets.

There are a few reasons why the ITC has become such a popular venue for these matters, but perhaps chief among them is the comparatively lightning-fast docket of the cases brought before the body. The parties in these proceedings are served with discovery requests almost immediately after the investigation begins, responses are due within days and discovery is typically wrapped up within just six months.

Nearly one-half of all ITC investigations go to trial — as compared to just 1 in 20 patent cases filed in federal district courts — and ITC Section 337 cases are completed and adjudicated on average within just 13-16 months. This rapid pace makes the ITC faster than virtually any other commercial dispute resolution forum in the world.

This high-stakes, high-pressure environment places significant pressure on the law firms and corporate legal departments who litigate disputes at the ITC. It is critical to partner with litigation service providers who are experienced in these kinds of cases and are able to be responsive to the intense deadlines that are common. One key component of this litigation strategy is to work with a deposition services firm that you can count on to provide the round-the-clock support often necessary in these cases.

Henderson Legal Services has served U.S. law firms and corporate legal departments with global court reporting services in ITC disputes of various sizes and in a wide range of jurisdictions. Here are some best practices we have learned:

  • Work with an agency with domestic and international resources that can provide qualified interpreters and translators who can communicate in the same language as the court reporters and videographers;
  • Delegate responsibility for all logistics at the deposition — including meeting rooms, breakout rooms and other space requirements — to your deposition services firm so your litigation team has one fewer item on its plate;
  • Make sure that your agency has experience with the nuances of ITC litigation, including a dedicated case manager who has handled ITC depositions and has experience with ITC NDA agreements; and
  • Partner with a firm that leverages technology — such as remote deposition streaming — to save on travel costs and reduce the risk of weather emergencies disrupting the proceedings.

Henderson Legal Services has extensive experience with scheduling and executing depositions around the world for law firms and corporate legal departments engaged in ITC-related litigation. For more information or to schedule a deposition, please click here or call 877.548.8787.

What Are Your Options When a Weather Emergency Disrupts a Key Deposition?

By: Ken Thring, Director of Business Development

The North Atlantic hurricane season is a reminder of the havoc such storms wreak on travel plans for critical depositions- especially those to be conducted on a specific date and location. If you have a scheduled deposition that is threatened by a weather emergency, there are some key things your court reporting firm can do to assist you:

  • Emergency support

Weather emergencies are around-the-clock incidents, not minor annoyances that occur during business hours. When a major weather event disrupts travel schedules for our clients, Henderson Legal Services activates a 24/7 live support line to assist clients who need to make alternative plans.

  • Dedicated response team

Your court reporting firm should designate an emergency client response team prepared to work after hours and through weekends to assist with last-minute changes to deposition schedules or travel plans. For example, we created a Hurricane Irma Response Team in 2017 and those Henderson Legal Services professionals helped our clients via phone, text message and even a dedicated online portal.

  • Flexible deposition options

There are alternatives to conventional depositions that your court reporting firm can spin up in the event of a travel emergency, such as telephonic depositions. Also, you may be able to record the proceeding, send the court reporting firm the audio file, and ask them to turn around a complete transcription. There is an array of flexible deposition options for any budget or circumstance.

  • Low-cost remote streaming

Remote streaming technology provides an important back-up option for lawyers to participate from any location with an internet connection, eliminating the problem of traveling during inclement weather. Your court reporting firm should be willing to extend this option to you during a weather emergency for little or no cost. For more information about Henderson Legal Services’ remote streaming tool, please click here.

Henderson Legal Services has assisted more than 80 percent of the AmLaw 200 law firms — and dozens of government agencies and Fortune 500 companies — to manage key depositions through all sorts of disruptions and changing circumstances. For more information or to schedule a deposition, please click here or call 877.548.8787.

3 Benefits of Converting to Digital Exhibits at Depositions

By: Kathy Hatcher, Vice President of Corporate Accounts

There are two types of electronic exhibits that can be used in depositions. Some are stored on a repository electronically with the transcript, enabling them to be retrieved at a later date. And now lawyers have the ability to access exhibits electronically in real-time during the deposition — something that was previously only possible with paper exhibits.

The use of “paperless exhibits” at depositions has been rising for the past several years and increased another 8% in 2018. The early adopters of digital exhibits have discovered that converting to electronic format eliminates the disorganization that often comes with using paper exhibits, as well as provides a convenient option for storing important documents in a secure and easily accessible online repository.

However, there are still a number of successful litigators who are hesitant to embrace a new way of conducting depositions and prefer to stick with the approach they have used for years. There are three important benefits of converting to digital exhibits for depositions and all attorneys should consider them carefully:

  1. Improved efficiency

Switching to paperless exhibits saves you time and money. You no longer need to manually organize, box up, ship and sort through heavy banker boxes containing files and documents. Everything is stored electronically and accessed via secure cloud platform that can be accessed during the deposition from any location.

  1. Reduce risk

Any veteran litigator has experienced the hassle of lost luggage on a business trip and some know all too well about the horror of trial exhibits that show up late . . . or not at all. Paperless exhibits take this risk off the table by ensuring that your documents and other evidence needed for a deposition are available to you at all times, anywhere your travels take you.

  1. Better outcomes

Many litigators find that switching to paperless exhibits provides them with greater flexibility to introduce unplanned exhibits — which might not have been shipped to the deposition if you were relying on paper exhibits — in the event that the case takes an unexpected turn. Moreover, law firms that utilize leading-edge technology to reduce costs and increase efficiency make a strong impression on their clients. It sends a signal that your firm is innovative in the way it practices law and is willing to embrace new ways of doing things if it will support improved client service and contain litigation costs.

In addition to these practical benefits to practitioners, the use of paperless exhibits also helps to reduce the carbon footprint made by your firm as it shifts away from large boxes full of paper documents to digital files stored in the cloud.

We recommend a best practice of assigning a member of the trial team with the responsibility of managing the digital exhibits you will use in the deposition. This person should be comfortable with the technology system and its operating system, and should practice how they will use the digital exhibits several days prior to the deposition. This allows plenty of time for technical support assistance if any questions or concerns should arise.

Henderson Legal Services has supported clients around the world with converting paper exhibits into digital exhibits for depositions. Our professionals assist with helping to legitimize digital exhibits with electronic stamping, learn how to mark up digital exhibits in real-time, view any shared digital exhibit file using a tablet or smartphone, and easily upload, manage and view all exhibits from one secure platform. We use a powerful, all-in-one system that makes it easy for litigators to review their electronic exhibits on the same technology platform they use to receive the realtime deposition transcript feed and — if they choose remote deposition streaming — to watch live witness video.

The use of paperless exhibits in depositions is going to continue to increase, so make sure to work with a deposition services firm that can help you make a smooth transition with proven technology systems and professional expertise. For more information or to schedule a deposition, please click here or call 877.548.8787.

4 Keys to Conducting Successful International Depositions

By: Gary Sharn, Vice President

International litigation continues to increase for U.S. companies operating in a global economy that is progressively interdependent. Forty-five percent of U.S. companies reported matters requiring cross-border discovery last year, up from 41% in 2017, according to Norton Rose Fulbright’s 2018 Litigation Trends survey.

For most lawyers and paralegals, however, conducting a deposition in a foreign country is not an everyday occurrence. There are scheduling challenges to navigate, unique procedural rules to follow, travel requirements to manage and occasional language barriers to overcome.  Without exception, international depositions require greater lead time (as much as six to eight weeks) to schedule.

Here are four keys to making sure that your international depositions are planned, scheduled and conducted successfully:

  1. Work with a deposition services provider experienced in supporting international depositions.

There is simply no substitute for good old-fashioned experience. Henderson Legal Services has provided court reporting services in 23 countries worldwide over the past two decades. These countries include England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Spain, India, Czech Republic,  Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea,  Japan,  Philippines, Switzerland, Israel, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates. This kind of experience working in foreign countries enables your deposition services provider to understand the process of scheduling depositions in international venues, anticipate challenges and manage them effectively.

  1. Verify that you will be working with an experienced, first-rate court reporter.

There is a wide disparity in the skill set from one court reporter to the next when it comes to experience working in a foreign country. There are fewer ways of evaluating an international court reporter’s experience and fewer options for replacing them on short notice if you wish to make a change. You should verify that your court reporting firm has an international depositions team.  This team should be consistently recruiting top-quality reporters in various international venues and/or working with affiliate court reporting firms outside the U.S. to supplement its roster. At Henderson Legal Services, many of the reporters we use abroad are expatriates who received their training and professional credentials in the U.S.

  1. Make sure that you have sufficient resources available on the ground.

Some international depositions can be taken remotely via deposition streaming technology, which eliminates the time and expense of foreign travel. But for those situations that require an in-person deposition, it’s important to have access to qualified personnel in the venue in which you will be working. In addition to experienced court reporters in those markets, you may also need skilled videographers who can assist with video depositions or qualified interpreters who can provide language translation. Henderson Legal Services has built a global network of service providers in multiple continents.

  1. Prepare in advance for any restrictions you may encounter in certain venues.

Deposition service providers can operate in most international venues without problems, but there are occasionally some important nuances or local restrictions that can make the process more difficult. For example, some countries have special rules for administering the oath and U.S. notary powers do not extend outside the United States.   Henderson Legal Services trains its court reporters to ask all parties involved to stipulate on the record that the reporter is authorized to administer the oath and swear in the witnesses.  Additionally, there are some countries — notably, China, Germany, Japan and India — with broader restrictions that must be understood in advance so you can take appropriate measures. For example, depositions are not permitted on mainland China so they must be taken in Hong Kong or Taiwan. In Germany and Japan, depositions are required to be taken on the grounds of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Conducting depositions of witnesses located in foreign countries can be tricky, but with  the right deposition services provider on your team, you can be confident that all your requirements are covered. For more information or to schedule a deposition, please click here or call 877.548.8787.

Best Practices in Data Security for Transcript Management

By: Brock Rones, Senior Manager, Production and Information Technology

Data security is a global challenge for all businesses and it is especially critical for in-house counsel and legal service providers. Corporate law departments and law firms are in constant possession of highly sensitive information that could create serious enterprise risks if improperly accessed by unauthorized individuals.

This risk profile extends to vendors and suppliers to both in-house counsel and their outside law firms — including your deposition services providers. Court reporting firms are often managing deposition transcripts that contain confidential testimony related to undisclosed settlements, exhibits that could be leaked and published, personally identifiable information associated with attorneys and witnesses, and other sensitive information that might be a target of hackers.

It is essential for in-house counsel and law firms to work with a court reporting firm that has the size and scale to allocate sufficient resources toward state-of-the-art data security protocols. The risk to your clients is simply too great to ignore this potential weak link in your litigation management ecosystem.

Here are some best practices that Henderson Legal Services has developed over the years and now deploys for our clients’ protection every day:

*          Transcript files are transmitted using 256-bit SSL encryption in secure, SSAE 16 audited data centers;

*          Client data is stored on servers using 256-bit AES encryption;

*          All servers are firewall-protected and routinely updated with latest security patches;

*          All file uploads and downloads are encrypted using SSL/TLS encryption;

*          Unique usernames and passwords are required to access the online repository;

*          Passwords are hashed to prevent unauthorized use or access;

*          Accounts are locked after reaching a set limit of failed attempts;

*          Access control prevents unauthorized physical entry to office and data centers;

*          Our facilities keep active logs to monitor any suspicious activities; and

*          We conduct periodic penetration tests to identify any possible weaknesses and confirm data security protocols.

These types of practices are not standard among all deposition service providers, so it is important to ask some tough data security questions before entrusting your depositions to any court reporting firm. Henderson Legal Services uses end-to-end data encryption, proven technology platforms that are compliant with all relevant information security standards and government security models, maintains 24/7 access control to client data, and backs up these practices with vigilant ongoing data security policies and procedures.

For more information or to schedule a deposition, please click here or call 877.548.8787.

How Advance Preparation of Court Reporters Improves the Client Experience

By: Karen White, Client Services Manager

Litigation teams are often under intense pressure to develop the optimal case strategy, comply with key filing deadlines and confer regularly with their clients every step of the discovery process. With all of these crucial responsibilities to manage, it’s understandable that lawyers and paralegals would be tempted to view court reporting services for their case depositions as a routine task that just involves making a call and scheduling a reporter.  To ensure quality, it’s not that simple.

Just as litigators need to invest time in case preparation to do their best work for a client, court reporters can deliver a higher quality service and more positive experience to you if they are able to invest time in advance preparing for the deposition.

Here are some examples of how advance preparation of court reporters can improve your service experience:

  • Cleaner transcripts

A court reporter can provide a more useful transcript to you if they are able to update the dictionary in their transcription software in advance. You should expect your court reporting firm to send the assigned reporter an electronic file containing prior depositions and pleadings in advance of the deposition. This is especially important in realtime depositions.

  • Address special requirements

Court reporting firms can make sure that special deposition needs are met when they are given time to prepare. For example, do you need a videographer for the deposition? Will an interpreter be necessary? Will you be deposing an expert witness in a highly technical field or perhaps a witness with a significant language accent? These are special requirements that can be addressed with advance preparation.

  • Deposition schedule

The litigation process can be extremely unpredictable — it’s common for certain depositions to be shorter or longer than you might have anticipated — but to the extent possible, you should prepare your court reporter in advance with an estimated length of time for the deposition. This information allows them to make appropriate personal arrangements, especially if you think the deposition or hearing might go into the evening hours. This will reduce the risk of disruption to the deposition.

  • Turnaround time

All depositions are assumed to be important, but in practice some are more time-sensitive than others. If you know in advance that you will need an expedited transcript from the court reporter, it is important to make that request ahead of time so the agency’s Calendar team can work with the assigned reporter to schedule appropriate time to meet your delivery requirement.

It’s important to understand that not all court reporting firms use the same processes for selecting, assigning and preparing court reporters for depositions. For example, at Henderson Legal Services, our court reporters are selected based on the specific needs of the client. We match reporters with the type of case/litigation, experience working on depositions in specific industries, overall level of experience, and special skills required, if any.

Moreover, Henderson Legal Services is also unique in the way we prepare reporters for each deposition. We provide the reporter with the Notice of Deposition, complaint(s), pleadings, interrogatories, key terms list, list of acronyms, and copies of any available deposition transcripts previously taken on the same matter. Whenever possible, we also work to assign the same qualified reporter to multiple depositions to be taken on the same matter to deliver maximum continuity of service to our clients.

For more information or to schedule a deposition, please click here or call 877.548.8787.

5 Ways that Law Firms Benefit from Remote Streaming of Depositions

By: Gregory J. Mazares, Executive Vice President of Sales

In a previous post, we discussed the emergence of live streaming depositions as a technological innovation that is helping to reduce litigation expenses, maximize productivity, and improve collaboration between in-house and outside counsel.

In that article, we reviewed some of the key features that our in-house counsel clients realize from the use of this remote streaming technology, such as: the ability to view and evaluate key witness depositions when business travel is inconvenient or not possible; and how in-house counsel are able to watch live testimony and communicate via IM (instant messaging) with their outside counsel who are on-site.

This post will review five key benefits that our law firm clients have experienced by embracing Henderson Legal Services’ remote streaming depositions technology offering:

  1. Reduce travel expenses

Many clients are demanding that their law firms look for creative ways to reduce expenses related to litigation. The time and cost of travel for multiple lawyers to take depositions can add up quickly. Remote streaming depositions allows law firms to minimize the number of lawyers needing to travel to conduct in-person depositions.

  1. Eliminate risk of travel delays

Lawyers are notorious for working long hours and keeping packed calendars with little margin for error. Travel delays caused by unexpected developments — such as winter storms or airplane mechanical problems — can wreak havoc on productivity and billable hours and potentially force the cancellation of important depositions. Remote streaming technology provides an important back-up option for lawyers to participate from any location with an internet connection, eliminating the possibility of delays.

  1. Allow litigators to cover more ground

In one recent case that we managed for a law firm client, the lead partner on the matter was able to take a deposition from her home in Boston, while her associate was present in Hong Kong with the court reporting team and the witness. This allowed her to depose this important witness at 9 pm Eastern Time and then be present at another deposition scheduled for the very next day at her office in Boston. “This technology allowed me to be in two places at one time,” she told us.  Remote streaming of depositions optimizes attorney productivity and reduces the wear-and-tear caused by constant travel.

  1. Associate training tool

Most law firms invest in cultivating the litigation skills of their younger lawyers. One way they have done that in the past was to send junior litigators to attend depositions conducted by senior lawyers in the firm, an expense of time and money the firm typically must absorb. Remote streaming depositions can be used as an excellent mentoring and training tool for the newest law firm associates, enabling them to watch the live stream from their offices and take notes for future discussion with their mentors. Likewise, senior partners can watch the performance of associates they have assigned to conduct depositions, evaluating their skills and sharing insights when they return to the office.

  1. Competitive advantage

In an increasingly competitive law firm marketplace, corporate clients evaluate the extent to which their outside law firms are focused on innovation, driving improvements in efficiency and reducing cost. The use of remote deposition streaming technology can serve as a competitive advantage for law firms that embrace this leading-edge technology versus other law firms that are more resistant to change.

It is important to emphasize that the underlying technology used by Henderson Legal Services is a web-based streaming tool specifically designed for the stringent data security requirements of litigation. This tool is far more secure than a commercial video conferencing app, such as Zoom or Google Hangouts, and all privileged communication between counsel is wiped clean at the end of each deposition. All work product remains confidential and non-discoverable.

For more information about Henderson Legal Services’ remote streaming tool, please click here.  To schedule a deposition, please click here or call 877.548.8787.

More In-House Counsel Utilize Remote Streaming of Depositions to Improve Efficiencies and Achieve Cost Savings

Chip Henderson, Chief Executive Officer

Kathy Hatcher, Vice President of Major Accounts

In-house counsel face pressure from corporate management to increase efficiency and cut and control costs of discovery. One of the principal strategies for achieving these strategic goals is to leverage technologies; two in three corporate law departments adopted new technology tools last year in order to improve processes, according to the 2018 Altman Weil Chief Legal Officer Survey.

We are finding that more and more corporations are asking their in-house legal departments to be more involved in the discovery process. One technological innovation that has now matured to the point of being a reliable option for corporate counsel is the ability of in-house attorneys to view depositions remotely with the use of live streaming feeds.

Of course, live streaming is not new, but a couple of developments in recent years have led many in-house counsel to become more comfortable with the technology. First, the broadband technology that enables streaming has improved considerably in the past few years, making live feeds more consistent and less vulnerable to drops in quality. Second, video conferencing and real-time mobile apps have become more accepted as a normal medium for communications, so viewing depositions remotely is no longer a major stretch for both in-house counsel and their outside law firms.

There are several key features that our in-house counsel clients realize from the use of this remote streaming technology:

  1. View and evaluate key witness depositions when business travel is inconvenient or not possible.
  2. Enable in-house counsel to watch live testimony and communicate via IM (instant messaging) with their outside counsel who are on-site.

Benefits

* Reduce costs

In-person depositions are inevitable, but the use of remote depositions on occasion helps to cut back on travel expenses for in-house legal department members who might otherwise feel the need to personally attend depositions.

* Real-time collaboration

Streaming depositions allows in-house counsel in multiple locations to view testimony simultaneously and communicate in real-time (via instant messaging) with each other and with the litigators conducting the deposition.

* Support joint defense groups

Live streaming depositions enables both in-house and outside counsel for the various parties in a joint defense group to monitor key depositions remotely from their individual offices and view all exhibits electronically, supporting their respective “litigate or settle” decision making.

* Maximize time efficiency

In-house counsel can stay abreast of testimony in multiple locations — perhaps even related to multiple pending matters — when business travel is inconvenient or not possible.  Remote depositions via live streaming enables in-house counsel to be “present” for a key deposition without ever leaving their office.

Security Concerns

One common question we are asked by our clients relates to security concerns with streaming video. Henderson Legal Services uses a web-based “legal” streaming tool that was specifically designed for the intensive data security requirements of commercial litigation.

This technology is far more secure and trustworthy than conventional video conferencing tools (e.g., Zoom, Google Hangouts, etc.), plus it provides a real-time text feed that can be annotated with notes and highlights as the deposition proceeds. All privileged communication between counsel is wiped clean at the end of the deposition so the internal collaboration remains confidential and non-discoverable.

In summary, Henderson Legal Services’ remote deposition streaming technology allows corporate counsel to efficiently participate in the discovery process, effectively collaborate with outside counsel, and materially reduce cost and time away from the office/home.

For more information about Henderson Legal Services’ remote streaming tool, please click here.  To schedule a deposition, please click here or call 877.548.8787.

Chip Henderson, Chief Executive Officer

Kathy Hatcher, Vice President of Major Accounts

5 Benefits of Scheduling Depositions As Early As Possible

Litigation is often a high-stakes and fast-paced business that does not always provide the luxury of comfortable lead times ahead of deadlines. But if you can schedule depositions as early as possible, it will help to maximize the quality of the service you receive and minimize the cost of court reporting services.

Here are five key benefits of scheduling depositions as early as possible:

  1. Secure most qualified court reporter

The best court reporters are in high demand and, as a result, their calendars tend to fill up quickly. By booking a deposition as far in advance as possible, you are able to select from a larger pool of available, experienced court reporters. This improves your ability to secure the assignment of the most qualified court reporter for your specific deposition needs.

  1. Obtain cleanest transcript

Just as litigators need to invest time in case preparation if they are to do their best job for the client, court reporters can deliver a higher quality service to you if they are given more lead time. Advance scheduling of a deposition provides more time for our court reporter to review the notice of deposition, a key terms list (e.g., technical terms, medical terms, acronyms, etc.), pleadings, interrogatories and copies of previous deposition transcripts.

  1. Minimize costs

Scheduling depositions as far in advance as possible is perhaps the single most important thing you can do to keep expenses to a minimum for your client. Early scheduling enables us to obtain the most economical travel arrangements if the assignment requires rural or overseas travel. It also allows time to book any ancillary services or third-party assistance needed (e.g., a videographer and translators) without paying rush fees.

  1. Continuity of court reporters

Most litigators and paralegals prefer to work with the same service providers whom they have come to know and trust over time. Advance scheduling of depositions allows our court reporting case manager to assign the best reporter for this specific type of litigation. This allows for maximum continuity of service to the client.

  1. Minimize logistical snafus

The last thing you want to worry about is arriving at a location for a deposition and running into logistical snafus that delay or frustrate the process. Early scheduling of depositions allows us sufficient time to book the most convenient conference rooms and then to conduct location testing, which is especially important if remote feeds will be required.

It’s important to understand that not all court reporting firms deliver these five benefits when depositions are scheduled far in advance. This level of service is standard operating practice at Henderson Legal Services.

For more information or to schedule a deposition, please click here or call 877.548.8787.

Nan Marshall – Vice President, Client Services

Association of Business Trial Lawyers (ABTL) Recap

What a wonderful panel of amazing women judges/lawyers from the Association of Business Trial Lawyers (ABTL) of LA!  The topic was Class Action Settlements: Tips/Pitfalls for Obtaining Judicial Approval. Susanne Paisley, VP of Business Development, is a proud member of ABTL who attended the April 10th program on behalf of deposition services leader Henderson Legal Services.