We just did our first Skype deposition. If you are not familiar with Skype, here's the primer. Skype is a software application that allows users to make voice and video calls over the Internet. Calls to other users within the Skype service are free. Did you hear me, F-R-E-E! Granted, Skype is not a replacement for true videoconferencing but the cost differences are profound. Did you hear me, P-R-O-F-O-U-N-D!
How does all this work?
Here is how it works. My court reporter (a very experienced CSR) and the deponent (a very well known expert doctor) and a laptop equipped with Skype were in my conference facility at one of my rented offices in Newport Beach, California. My client and opposing counsel were both in Dayton, Ohio. At the appointed time, 9:00 a.m. PST (12:00 EST) we did a dry run of the connection between the two Skype accounts. That all went just fine. Both sides were able to see and hear adequately. Perhaps, most importantly, the court reporter was able to hear as well. (Remember, these are just laptop speakers I'm talking about.)
The doctor was skeptical about Skype's ability to handle this type of meeting. We even joked a little in the beginning about Skype being merely a consumer level product typically used just for grandparents Skyping across the country to see their grandkids. Still, the quality of the picture is good enough on both ends to get the job done.
How did it all turn out?
The deposition went off without a hitch. In fact, we have had more trouble doing speaker phone depositions before than this! I believe that we will see more and more of these types of ways of conducting depositions. The absence of travel and expensive videoconferencing costs certainly makes it an attractive alternative.
We can only offer this service for California depositions where the deponent and our court reporter will be physically located together at one of our CA offices. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Friday, June 18, 2010