Skype is a software application that allows users to make voice and video calls and chat over the Internet with the click of a mouse. With the advancement of this technology, sharing information has never been easier.
I’ve been reporting depositions via Skype for several years now. It seems that attorneys are getting more comfortable with Skype recently, and Omega Reporting, your Memphis court reporters, are receiving more requests for this service. With the high costs of airline travel and the expenses associated with it comes the need to find affordable solutions to take depositions critical to a litigator’s case.
The benefits of using Skype rather than the traditional videoconference and/or telephone deposition are many.
- Skype is free — there is also an upgraded account available at an affordable price.
- Eliminates long-distance telephone charges one would incur in a traditional telephone deposition.
- Eliminates costly airline travel and extra expenses associated with air travel.
- Cost-effective method to use when your client may be budget conscious.
- Viable option when you cannot conveniently meet in person.
- Allows legal professionals more time on deposition preparation and the discovery process.
- Gives legal professionals a face-to-face experience with potential witnesses.
- Skype gives you the ability to gauge reactions and facial expressions of all participants.
- Share exhibits and documents easily utilizing Skype. You can send files online to multiple contacts during a voice, video or group call, and in an instant message.
- All Skype-to-Skype voice, video, file transfers, and instant messages are encrypted. This protects you from potential eavesdropping by malicious users.
What you’ll need to get started:
- The latest version of Skype for your device
- A high-speed broadband connection
- A high-quality or HD webcam
- A microphone and speakers (built-in or external headset with microphone)
- If using Windows, a DirectX 9.0c compatible video card.
Your computer will also need to meet the following hardware requirements:
CPU: 1 GHz (minimum); at least 1.8 GHz (recommended)
Graphics card: 32 MB (minimum); at least 64 MB (recommended)
Memory: 256 MB (minimum); at least 512 MB (recommended)
Skype works on computers (Windows and Mac), tablets, and many mobile devices. There are apps for the following mobile devices: Android, iPhone/iPad, BlackBerry, Windows phone, Nokia X, Amazon Fire Phone. I’ve successfully used an iPad and my Mac computer on Skype depositions. The iPad, of course, is such a great portable and lightweight option. Just set it on the stand in front of the witness and we’re ready to go!
Tips for making your next group video call/Skype deposition:
- With Skype you can enjoy group video calls with up to 10 people (including yourself), anywhere in the world.
- Although mobile device users cannot initiate a group video call, they can join it.
- All callers must meet the minimum specifications for Skype video calls.
- Audio transmission problems may be a concern when using Skype. If testing reveals problems with the audio, setting up a conference call is an easy solution. If a conference call is your method of choice for audio, remember that everyone needs to mute their speakers on their device of choice.
- Everyone should set up a Skype account and provide you with their Skype name.
- Check your call quality settings. If you or the person you’re talking to have a lot of programs open, try closing some (or all of them). If you’re using Skype on a laptop and you’re in power-saving mode, try plugging your computer into AC power or switching it to maximum performance mode. More hardware settings troubleshooting tips.
- Turn off any and all notifications on the device you are utilizing for the Skype deposition. You don’t want any distractions during the testimony.
- Practice a mock Skype deposition with your friends to ensure that you are comfortable with the features of the service and, also, that you’re comfortable with the proper settings for your hardware.
- Be sure to schedule a test call with your booking attorney or legal professional. Sometimes it’s their first time for a Skype deposition and you want them to feel comfortable with the service as well. The test call will provide the time necessary to address any potential problems that may arise.
- All participants should call 15 minutes prior to the start time of the deposition to make sure everything is set up correctly.