COVID-19 has stopped the world in it’s tracks. Industries all over are reinventing how they operate. It doesn’t matter whether you think that the coronavirus is going away in a month or it’s here to stay forever, the effects of the virus have created structural changes to every industry, including the court reporting world. Change is always scary, but it often is necessary, and I see the industry heading in a positive direction.
Before the pandemic, depositions were scheduled in conference rooms all over the country. One testimony includes, at the bare minimum, one court reporter, one attorney (known as the scheduling or questioning attorney), and one witness. The vast majority of the time, there is also the witness’ attorney present, and all video-recorded depositions need a videographer there as well. That’s a minimum of 3-5 people (I’ve seen up to two dozen) all driving around the country for one transcript.
Then along came COVID-19, and everyone everywhere scrambled to accommodate a growing workload while maintaining socially acceptable quarantine standards. Many companies were already doing some version of a Zoom deposition (Zoom is a video chat program) but now had to grow their digital presence tenfold overnight. The result: thousands of testimonies being taken all around the country with everyone conveniently and safely in their own homes. Many law firms were already making the transition to “etran only,” and the switch to remote depositions, albeit abrupt and forced upon, has proven to be a far more efficient way of capturing testimony without losing any of the quality.
In the legal industry, nothing happens fast. The transition that was made over the past two months nationally has been impressive. It’s too soon to tell if it will have a longstanding effect or if the industry will return to the twentieth-century structure it’s lived in the past two decades. Still, this industry professional recognizes the advantages, both personally and globally, that an all-digital industry brings.
“We are analog beings living in a digital world, facing a quantum future.” – Neil Turok