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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.