Updated: Feb 22, 2021
On Friday, May 29, 2020, the San Diego Chapter of the Federal Bar Association held a Zoom webinar to address Remote Depositions. The webinar was presented by Chapter President David Finn and board members Joseph Orabona and Debashish Bakshi who introduced panelists U.S. Magistrate Judge Allison H. Goddard, Avi Stadler of Esquire Solutions, and Rachel Jensen, a partner at Robbins Gellar Rudman & Dowd LLP. Judge Goddard gave her perspective, both as a previous litigator and from the bench, indicating that judges are now expecting remote depositions take place to keep cases moving. Judge Goddard also discussed Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30 that authorizes remote depositions, but emphasized that judges generally cannot issue a blanket order unless requested by the party(ies). Finally, she discussed the advantages of utilizing written protocol for conducting remote depositions. Avi Stadler walked through a presentation on behalf of Esquire Deposition Solutions LLC discussing how it takes more than a webcam and an internet connection to smoothly conduct a remote deposition. He also touched on the aspect of Rule 30 that allows for a remote court reporter, different angles of technology, exhibit management, and the roles of a court reporter in these circumstances. Rachel Jensen presented the litigator's perspective - both taking and defending depositions. In sum, there are pros and cons to remote depositions, but they are the future of legal practice. She indicated that unless everyone is remote, it is ideal to have a member of your team, perhaps local counsel, present during the deposition. She also reviewed questions, advisals, and admonitions that should be given at the beginning of the deposition and discussed the importance of user-friendly technology and practice, practice, practice. The panelists then conducted a live simulation of a remote deposition - complete with objections and an appearance by Judge Goddard who magically traveled from the beach to the bench to rule on an objection. The panel concluded with Q&A from the Zoom audience. CLE materials, including Avi's slide presentation, Judge Goddard's recommended written protocol, and an ABA article on tools for the new normal can be found in the CLE section here.