Still Litigating Like 1999?

April 4, 2009

April 6, 2009 -- It’s 2009. Are you still litigating like it’s 1999?

By Zachary S. McGee

I’m sure you’ve noticed how much the Internet has changed the way we live over the last ten years. You watch your favorite television programs on-line instead of on your television. You e-mail or instant message family and friends instead of picking up the phone. You love the power and convenience of the Internet, and you can’t imagine how you ever got along without it. That is, until you step into your office and start practicing law.

For many litigators, your practice hasn’t changed much since 1999, or for that matter, 1989. Of course, technology has brought some big advances – on-line legal research and e-filing of court papers to name two – but in one major area for most litigators – defending and taking depositions – anachronistic practice remains the norm.

Two companies, New Media Legal Publishing ( and Thomson Reuters( are changing that with cutting edge products designed to propel deposition practice into the 21st century.

Using a witness preparation video to help prepare your clients to testify on deposition is not new. Indeed, litigators have been using them since at least the early 1980’s. And there’s a good reason for that: video teaches like nothing else and witness prep videos – with their savvy mix of narration and vignettes that illustrate how to testify and how not to testify – give witnesses the experience of testifying before they step into the deposition room. A good witness prep video will show your clients how to apply the sound advice you give – not to volunteer or speculate, for example – and your clients testify better as a result.

Until recently, witness prep videos had a major limitation – they were only available on DVD. This meant you had to get a copy to your client and make sure you got it back after the deposition. Your staff had to worry about having enough copies to make sure one would be available when you or others need it. And last but not least, the videos on the market were so outdated and lacking in production values that you were embarrassed to ask your clients to watch even though you know how helpful a witness prep video can be.

With a flourish, New Media Legal Publishing has changed everything you thought you knew about witness prep videos by releasing Deposition Testimony: 5 Simple RulesTM( – a video that teaches clients how depositions are taken and used in modern civil litigation. But what’s more, you can make the Deposition Testimony: 5 Simple RulesTM video available to your clients over the Internet. By simply e-mailing them a link and password, your clients can watch anywhere, anytime, on-line.

Preparing a client who lives across town or across the country, or is traveling? Just e-mail her a link and password and she can watch the video whenever she has time and wherever she has Internet access. Not only does this help you squeeze in some extra prep time with your busiest clients – because they can watch at home, in the office between meetings or in a hotel room on the road – it allows you to focus your in-person time with the client on the case critical issues and documents. Deposition prep has finally gone digital.

What about when you’re on the other side taking depositions? Thomson Reuters has broken new ground in on-line collaboration. Most litigators know LiveNoteTM ( – the software you use for real-time transcripts of deposition and trial testimony. But what you may not know is that in 2009, LiveNoteTM is much more than just transcripts.

By activating the LiveNote SteamTM service, you can leverage your entire team – associates, legal assistants, experts and even clients – to assist you in questioning the witness as if everyone were in the deposition room with you. LiveNote StreamTM makes video of the deponent and a realtime transcript of his or her testimony available to anyone you choose on-line over the Internet.

E-mail them a link and a password and your colleagues can see, hear and read the testimony as you are questioning the witness from anywhere they have Internet access. What’s more, with LiveNote StreamTM, they can e-mail or instant message you when an important point comes up in the testimony as it happens.

Deposing an expert witness across the country but your own expert can’t travel? No problem. Simply have her participate from her home or office using LiveNote StreamTM. She can see, hear and read the testimony live, and e-mail or instant message you insights that you turn into questions in real-time. At last, you can have all the benefits of having your expert in the deposition without travel costs for your client to bear.

Don’t leave behind the best the Internet has to offer when you open your office door. With products like Deposition Testimony: 5 Simple RulesTM and LiveNote StreamTM, the future of deposition practice is now.

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