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Why Attorneys Should Consider Using Video Depositions

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Mr. Peer, owner of Peerless Communications Legal Video Services, explains
the advantages of using video depositions inside and outside of court.

video, deposition, legal, law, videographer, attorney, court, reporter,

Article Body:
A typical scenario: you're a litigator or trial attorney preparing a case
and you have a number of witnesses to depose, so you pick up the phone to
call your trusty court reporter to arrange the depositions … but have you
considered the advantages of using a videographer at the same time?
There are many reasons to a video record a deposition:

1. If a key witness cannot attend a trial, a videotaped deposition can
often be the next best thing. The judge and jury are not only able to
listen to the witness (deponent), but also see the deponent at the same
time. They can pick up on nonverbal communication that would often be
critical on the stand: body language, hesitancy, vocal inflections,
demeanor, volume, etc. None of these cues are available in a standard
transcribed deposition.

2. Expert witnesses are often ideal candidates for video depositions.
Because they are used to acting as experts, they generally know the right
things to say, project an air of intelligence, are usually predictable,
and are excellent at following lines of questioning. A good expert can
convey an authority that surpasses the written transcript of a

3. Expert witnesses can be expensive to call to testify in person. A
video recorded deposition is often the best alternative. It's cheaper,
and the power of the witness is preserved because the demeanor and speech
of the subject is on full display for the jury.

4. Under the right circumstances, using a video deposition to present
background and foundational testimony improves the flow of evidence,
eliminates calling witnesses out of order, and improves clarity to the

5. Video depositions are more "interesting" to jury members. Juries are
used to watching TV (who isn't?), therefore they pay great attention to
TV. Oddly enough, sometimes seeing it "on TV" is more real than if the
deponent were actually in the courtroom.
6. Video depositions can now be easily "synched" to CD or DVD and called
up in the courtroom on the attorney's computer. Because the testimony is
digital, any moment of the deposition can be instantly accessed and
projected in the courtroom, no need to fast-forward tediously through a
VHS tape like in the old days. And if the witness contradicts himself in
court, the original deposition can be easily retrieved and used to
discredit the new testimony.

7. Sometimes a particularly incriminating video deposition can
precipitate a settlement. If the witness is particularly hostile or rude
or invokes Fifth Amendment rights over and over, the plaintiff's attorney
can be in an overwhelming position of strength and can negotiate a
settlement before trial.

8. Studies show that jury members retain information up to six times
longer when seeing witnesses and hearing them speak, rather than merely
hearing a transcript read in court. As the expression goes, "Seeing is

9. The opposing attorney may use video in court, causing you to appear
"out of date" and out of touch with current technology. To be
competitive, you need to use an arsenal of modern weapons in the
courtroom. With today's technology, a video deposition is merely one of
these advanced video weapons.

As you can see, a video deposition can be a powerful tool in the
courtroom and offers many advantages to transcribed depositions.
Consider booking a videographer at the same time you schedule your
deposition. You just may be glad you did.

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