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Issue 64 | July 2020


This newsletter includes information to help lawyers reduce the likelihood of being sued for malpractice. The material presented is not intended to establish, report, or create the standard of care for lawyers. The articles do not represent a complete analysis of the topics presented, and readers should conduct their own appropriate legal research.
Can You Hear Me Now? Some Musings on Virtual Hearings

Over the past several months, many (most?) lawyers have participated in virtual meetings and hearings. The following are some of our musings on these, in no particular order:

  1. If you are doing an online discovery of deposition, and you are going to show a document to the others in the meeting by sharing your screen, there could be difficulties if a participant in the meeting (especially the deponent) is attending on an iPhone. It may be very difficult for them to properly view the document.
  2. There are several virtual platforms being used, e.g. Zoom, Skype, WebEx, etc. Each platform is different as to their functionalities and procedures. If you are unfamiliar with the platform being used, you should practice on it before your meeting so that it is familiar to you.
  3. If you are attending a virtual meeting via a wireless connection, make sure you are in a location with a strong, reliable signal and no background noise.
  4. Prepare appropriately and recognize that your preparation for a virtual discovery will be different than an in-person discovery. For example, at an in-person discovery, to have the deponent comment on a document, you might pass it to them. You cannot do that in a virtual meeting, and sharing your screen might not be helpful if the deponent is on an iPhone. You should take steps to make sure everyone has the same listing and copy of documents before them, wherever they might be.
  5. You may have to change how you ask questions, make them more succinct and able to be repeated.
  6. Be aware that if you are participating in an online public hearing, more people may be watching and listening than would otherwise be had the matter been held in a courtroom. And you will have no idea who those people are.