Many times, attorneys attempt to keep the costs of litigation low, and in doing so, they will skip out on important tasks. One of these important tasks is the need to videotape every deposition taken. Many experts have evolved on the videotaping of depositions to the point where it seems to be common knowledge now that if you’re unwilling to go to the expense of videotaping a person’s deposition, that person’s deposition must not be critical enough to take.
You should initially check the rules in your jurisdiction to determine whether engaging a certified videographer is necessary. Many attorneys have used in-house technology staff, or even their own mobile phones, to videotape depositions where allowed. Why is it necessary to videotape a deposition? Let us count the ways:
- You must give the jury a sense of the tone used in deposition
How many of your reading this have ever read a deposition transcript aloud at a jury trial? The rules don’t really allow for emphasis to be made, and objections can be raised if an attorney or transcript-reader uses an inflection as an attempt to emphasize certain words. And most of the time, jurors are snoozing during what can be critical deposition testimony.
Videotaping a deposition allows a jury to see what the person is like, their tone, any nervous habits, moments of pause, idiosyncrasies of the witness, and facial expressions. All of these go directly to the witness’s credibility. This is one reason it is imperative to videotape all depositions.
- It provides many avenues for playback at mediation and pre-trial
In addition, videotaping a deposition allows for critical testimony of the video footage to be cropped and played in segments at mediation or pre-trial. This can dramatically affect the value of the case at mediation, and it can also help in assisting the court in determining legal issues at pre-trial. Playing short clips of footage from depositions can be extremely effective in making points throughout litigation.
- It shows preparation
Lastly, videotaping a deposition provides a heightened level of effort on your part, and it shows to the client, the defense, the court, the mediator, and particularly the claims adjuster that you are methodically preparing to put your best foot forward at trial. This can be very effective when evaluating the claim.
Videotaping depositions has now become one of the essential elements to effectively and competently present a case at trial. When selecting an attorney, you should consider hiring a veteran trial lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer Little Rock AR relies on, who has experience in presenting a case to juries.
Thanks to Steve Harrelson and our friends and co-contributors from Harrelson Law Firm, P.A. for their added insight into videotaped depositions.