All parties involved in a deposition, including the court reporter, would agree that in-person depositions run more smoothly than remote depositions. However, as much as we’d all like to return to in-person depositions, it’s clear that remote depositions are here to stay, at least for 2021.

How 2020 Changed Depositions, Arbitrations, and Trials

At the beginning of 2020, it was business as usual for litigators, judges and court reporters with a majority of depositions taking place in person. When in-person depositions, arbitrations, or trials were not feasible, at a minimum the court reporter was in the same location as the witness to ensure accurate testimony.

When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, non-essential services started shutting down. Businesses moved to remote working, and many law offices paused or delayed any upcoming depositions or trials. For many of these firms, these delays were thought to be temporary. Once the scope and severity of the pandemic set in, however, it became clear that all depositions and trials could not be delayed in hopes of a return to in-person proceedings.

New Laws Dealing with Remote Proceedings

The most significant change coming from the pandemic is that remote proceedings will continue to be the norm in 2021. Recent legislation has equipped all parties, including court reporters, to conduct proceedings remotely. In some states, new laws were enacted to provide accommodations for remote trials, arbitrations, and depositions. An example is California S.B. 1146 which went into effect in September of 2020. The new law states:

“…a deponent is not required to be physically present with the deposition officer when being sworn in at the time of the deposition, and that any party or attorney of record may, but is not required to, be physically present at the deposition at the location of the deponent, subject to any protective order issued by the court.”

Based on new legislation passing and current events, we can assume then it may be some time yet until we return to in-person depositions and trials.

Delays Are Not Acceptable

While remote depositions and trials can come with some challenges, going remote is not a plausible reason to delay in 2021. As many industries have accepted remote meetings as the norm, attorneys, judges, and court reporters are not an exception. As such, proceedings or trials can no longer be delayed simply because they can take place remotely.

Adapt and Learn Technology

According to the ABA model rules, attorneys are expected to “keep abreast of the changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology…”

In addition to adapting to remote proceedings, all participants in depositions, trials, and arbitrations need to learn the technology that supports remote meetings. In 2021, all attorneys and court reporters must learn and effectively use remote meeting tools. Judges presiding over cases in 2021 will expect that all attorneys adapt and learn the necessary technology.

Mitigate Flaws in Technology

Even with its advancements, technology can still have pitfalls. Navigating these flaws will be key to successful remote depositions and trials.

One way to handle these potential pitfalls, as many attorneys discovered, is to take the extra time needed to test and learn the technology. Additionally, witnesses require more technical assistance and training for depositions. Although attorneys are experienced in preparing witnesses to answer questions during a deposition, they will now need to also invest time in training them on the technology and new preparation techniques used during remote depositions.

As court reporters, we did learn a few lessons from participating in remote depositions in 2020 and how to get the most from the technology available. You can view those Top Ten lessons here:

Patience and Collaboration Required

While we don’t know when we will be able to transition back to in-person proceedings, we do predict remote meetings likely won’t go away altogether. For this reason, in 2021, it’s critical that attorneys, judges, court reporters and witnesses exercise more patience and collaboration in all proceedings. By working together, embracing the technology and allowing more leeway, we can ensure more successful remote meetings. Aptus Court Reporting is here to streamline your remote depositions and trials. Schedule a demo on our related products, or contact us today to learn more.

Remote depositions dominated the headlines in the legal industry this past year.  It appears this trend will carry over into 2021 and maybe even beyond.  While Aptus Court Reporting and the industry as a whole were familiar with remote technology pre-2020, at the very least, the reporter would still be in the same room as the witness, allowing for easier capturing of testimony and seamless exhibit management.  Having all participants appearing remotely carries its challenges, and we’ve polled our reporters, videographers, and exhibit techs to share their feedback. What we’ve compiled below are the Top Ten Tips and Lessons learned to help ensure your remote depositions proceed as smoothly as possible.

Wishing you a Happy New Year and flawless remote depos in 2021!

  1. Practice, practice, practice. Conducting tests is the best way to make sure the technology is working before the day of the deposition. Being familiar with the technology and how all parties receive/view potential exhibits leaves far less room for delays and postponements.
  2. Provide exhibits to the reporting firm in advance. It is incredibly helpful when the reporters/exhibit techs have access to exhibits the night before the deposition at the latest. This allows them to prepare for the deposition, which results in less interruptions during the deposition and, when applicable, a better real-time transcript. The more information you can provide the better, and sending that information the night before versus right before the depo sets everyone up for success.
  3. Know your options for presenting exhibits. Inquire about exhibit-presentation options.  Aptus offers free training specifically tailored to how best to present your exhibits.  You can present and introduce yourself, have the videographer present (if your depo is noticed for video), or hire one of our exhibit techs to manage your exhibits.  
  4. Use the call-in option for audio.  If you have any difficulties with voice, volume, or clarity at the beginning of the proceedings or during testing, use the call-in option versus your device’s audio. Call in from either a cell phone (if you have good reception) or a land line.
  5. Clearly identify yourself. If you are calling in by phone, please identify yourself to the reporter and restate who you are when you start objecting or speaking.  Only the phone number is shown on the screen when you dial in by phone, so the reporter has no way to know who you are unless you say it out loud.
  6. Patience is a virtue. Allow time for technical issues (which inevitably can happen), such as audio feedback or connectivity glitches, to get resolved.  Make sure to log on to the deposition at least 15 minutes before the deposition begins.
  7. Limit Cross-Talk. Pause between the question and the answer to allow the next speaker to begin.  When two people speak simultaneously on Zoom, no audio will come through and it will be impossible for the reporter to capture the testimony.
  8. Use headphones. It makes a HUGE difference if participants wear headphones.  The sound quality is far better, and there are fewer times when the speaker is unintelligible.
  9.  If you’re speaking, let the reporter see your face. If the witness is in the same office as their counsel, testify from separate rooms so that masks can be removed.  It is very difficult for a reporter to capture testimony when they are unable to see the person’s face.
  10. Use mute and silence notifications. Be mindful of notifications “dinging.” It can be very distracting and interferes with the audio quality, which leads to more interruptions.  Mute all electronic devices and mute yourself if you are not the questioning party.  Remember that dogs will bark and children will play in the background and Zoom will pick up even the slightest sounds.

To learn more about Aptus’ remote deposition offerings and best practices, schedule a free training session: Schedule one here

Aptus Court Reporting Wall

December 2, 2020, San Diego, CA (PR Web) – Aptus Court Reporting, the West Coast’s premier deposition and court reporting service, announced today the addition of Cathy Chu, serving as Regional Director of Sales out of their San Diego office.

“I am honored to join Aptus Court Reporting known for their great success and professional reputation.  Aptus is an established market leader and I am looking forward to providing my clients with the best services court reporting has to offer.  I am thrilled to become a contributor to their growth and look forward to exceeding the expectations of my clients.  It’s an exciting time to be part of a great organization,” says Chu.

Chu brings an impressive resume, having spent the last 18 years of her career in business development roles in legal services organizations.

“I have had the good fortune of knowing Cathy for the past 15 years and have looked forward to the opportunity to work together since the beginning of Aptus. She is a team player and her accomplishments speak for themselves.  We are thrilled to have someone of Cathy’s caliber joining the Aptus team.  I know Cathy will complement our culture and help make us a stronger organization,” says Aptus President Derek Berg.

“Cathy’s knowledge, experience and relationships in the legal community are a result of a strong work ethic and dedication to serving her clients. We are thrilled to have Cathy join our team,” says Sandy Waite, Aptus’ Chief Operating Officer.

Learn more about Cathy Chu

During unprecedented times such as these, taking good care of ourselves is of the utmost importance. That can mean everything from workouts at home with the kids, to taking a much-needed staycation. We asked our wonderful team: what have you been doing to stay well during the pandemic?

Wellness Tips from the Aptus Team

I’ve been doing my best to keep active indoors and out. I’m putting miles on my Peleton and my personal trainer, Charlie, makes sure my form stays on point! I’m lucky to have Charlie and Bella to make sure we get out for some fresh air daily.

Julie Long, Director of Business Development, San Diego

Like many, I’ve been investing the extra time I gained from my shortened commute (now about 4 seconds vs 40 minutes) perfecting my sourdough making skills. I’m also tying to get fresh air as often as possible by running and taking hikes.

Brook Braunschweig, Director of Business Development, San Francisco

My girls and I let off steam in our backyard!

Johanna Torres, Director of Business Development, San Diego

As establishments open back up and we can safely widen our circle, I’ve been getting together safely to get outdoors and support our beloved local businesses.

Patrick Conolly, MBA, Partner

My kids get their exercise in my chasing each other around the house, and now they have even more fun using our moving boxes as “obstacles!”

Gina Tsai, Director of Business Development, Northern California

I am forever grateful to my gym, Train Insane Gym, for posting daily workouts and also hosting Zoom classes with a coach. I’ve been working with dumbbells, kettle bells, bands and body weight. Working on my core strength and keeping my muscle tone!

Lori Cheyne, Director of Business Development Los Angeles

Greetings, I hope that you and your families remain safe and well, despite maybe a major case of cabin fever! For some of our communities, the stay-at-home directive remains in place while others are making plans to open. It’s a confusing time as rules vary not only by state, but also within each state, as localities determine their own plans for reopening. As it stands today, our business continues to be subject to the stay-at-home directive. We know many of you have questions about how deposition services will work in the weeks and months ahead, and we are committed to helping clients, regardless of their local circumstance, accomplish their work while staying safe and healthy. Here’s how we are preparing for in-person depositions when the time is right:

Q. When will Aptus begin hosting depositions in their offices?

  • We will begin hosting depositions in our offices when we receive clear guidance from state and local governments that our business is authorized to do so. While we do not have a firm date at this time, we anticipate that depositions scheduled for late May will be able to be conducted in-person. Of course, the appropriate protective measures will be taken to ensure the health and safety of all involved. 

Q. When will Aptus be able to send reporters to attend depositions in person? 

  • Aptus will begin sending reporters to attend depositions in person when restrictions are lifted in each respective market. While we understand that some clients are beginning to request in-person reporters, as long as stay-home guidelines are in place, Aptus will not require reporters to attend depositions in person. 

Q. What safety measures will be put in place for in-person depositions?

  • Each Aptus office will initially hold only one deposition at a time in the largest conference room available in that location. 
  • Conference tables and chairs will be adjusted to accommodate social distancing requirements. Accurate headcounts will be critical to making this work.
  • We will also be prepared to offer an additional office as a remote-attendee room, if needed, as well as arrange for off-site attendees to join remotely.     
  • Every deposition participant will be required to complete a health screen before entry into our offices.
  • We will be rolling out cleaning schedules for each of our offices so that common areas are wiped down regularly with disinfecting solutions. Hand sanitizers will be readily available for clients and employees. 
  • Masks are recommended in common areas of the office and when interacting with other individuals. 

We will continue to keep you apprised of the precautions we’re taking to keep you, your clients and all involved individuals safe once in-person depositions resume. Perhaps even after offices reopen, we know many of you will continue to conduct remote depositions and witness preparation. Since the situation seems to change day-to-day, I encourage you to also stay in touch with us on LinkedIn to get the most recent updates on our service offerings and office re-openings. Aptus is always here for you. To help, we’ve created a series of videos on how you can easily leverage this technology to keep people safe and productive. Visit our YouTube channel to learn more.

Transcript of Above Video

We’ve truly entered into uncharted waters as it relates to COVID-19. Our lives have been altered from shelter in place orders, working from home and all the other things associated with being locked down as a society. All the while we are expected to conduct work in the legal space without much interruption. Today we’re gonna discuss different ways, thought processes and procedures we’ve created during this difficult time.

When we opened the organization in 2011, when we reflect back on the past nine years, one of the things that we’re most proud of is our culture. And I ultimately believe that this is what will bring us through to the other side. Has it been dinged? Has there been times of sadness or difficult decisions and conversations that had been made? Absolutely. But I genuinely believe that the people who have been involved with the process and decision making, will ultimately guide us through this difficult pandemic.

We have a core principle at Aptus that focuses on, let’s have any types of difficult conversations upfront and with complete transparency. And when we were hit with this COVID-19 crisis, that’s exactly what we did. We assessed the variables that were presented to us. We involved management at every level, in terms of how we’re going to move forward and making the difficult decisions that were presented in having to make. Fortunately, we had been blessed with an 18 month run of extraordinary results. So when asked about how do you stay positive? And what does that mean to the organization? We had collectively, at every position, achieved these results, which ultimately provided an amazing foundation for us to tread waters and get through this difficult time. It’s a difficult situation that every single organization across the world is facing. But at the end of the day, we stuck to our core principle or one of our core principles, which is, we’re going to be as transparent as possible and we’re going to have difficult conversations up front.

We are a half-full organization, we believe in ourselves and each other. I have lots of thoughts on this subject. We obviously are not completing as many depositions today, currently, as we were before COVID-19 hit in early March. That being said, we’re fortunate enough to be in an industry that has embraced technology. We firmly believe that we are on the forefront of executing these technologies as they relate to remote depositions. It’s exciting that we’ve had an opportunity to guide and help people manage their litigation caseload. We have conducted webinars. We have done one-on-one presentations. We have advertised our capabilities throughout all of our social media outlets. It has been met within the legal community with great goodwill. And so we’re seeing a lot of our clients and in fact new clients as a result of our embracing of technology, come to us, and that’s really exciting. But what this pandemic is doing currently, is it’s forcing our hand a bit in terms of learning a new process and once we all learn new processes, it allows us to gain knowledge on how we might be better served on conducting business as we want to know it and moving forward. And so we’ve noticed that this has been a tremendous help to our clients, and we’re excited to been in the position to embrace technology and help move the needle forward as they might say.

Press Release: Orange County, CA (PR Web) – Aptus Court Reporting announces its acquisition of The Best Evidence, Inc., a full-service court reporting agency owned and operated by sisters Tammi Lee and Terri Chicoine, both Certified Shorthand Reporters. This continues to solidify Aptus’ commitment to expansion and building on a brand of quality reporting and innovative solutions.

Tammi Lee and Terri Chicoine state: “We are really excited about this new collaboration knowing it will bring more technology and staff support to the relationships we have built over the last 20-plus years. We trust they are in good hands with Aptus, who will continue to handle these relationships in a very personal and professional manner, just as we have been able to do.”

“With over 20 years working with prestigious law firms in Southern California, The Best Evidence is a great addition to Aptus. We are very much looking forward to working with Tammi and Terri, and will continue to support their clients with the expansion of additional Aptus services,” says Aptus Chief Operating Officer Sandy Waite.

Derek Berg, President of Aptus Court Reporting expressed the team’s excitement about the merger.

“We have known Tammi and Terri for years and have always had the utmost respect for the way they conduct business. Orange County is a key market for the future of Aptus and with Best Evidence joining our team, it will help catapult us to the forefront of Orange County Court Reporting providers.”

Derek Berg, President of Aptus Court Reporting

ABOUT THE BEST EVIDENCE: The Best Evidence, Inc., was founded in 2010 and has enjoyed a consistent and prominent reputation in the Southern California legal community providing quality court reporting services.

Aptus Court Reporting NYC

(PR Web) New York, NY – Aptus Court Reporting, a premier deposition and court reporting service with headquarters at 600 W. Broadway, San Diego, CA, announced today the addition of Michael McGowan, Managing Director, New York City.

With over 20 years’ experience in the legal industry working with law firms and corporations, McGowan is a seasoned professional ideally suited to oversee Aptus’ business development activities in the New York market. Previous positions with DTILLC include Senior Sales Director Northeast and managing partner.

“I am extremely excited to be joining Aptus and contributing to the company’s continued expansion by bringing their exceptional client service to the NY legal community. The entire Aptus organization shares my philosophy and goal of providing best in class consultative support to our clients” says McGowan.

“It is with great excitement we welcome Mike McGowan to the Aptus Family. Mike brings a plethora of experience to our organization coupled with a history of significant success. The opportunity to expand our reach and presence on the East Coast is met by all of us at Aptus with enthusiasm,” says company President Derek Berg.

Since launching in 2011, Aptus has expanded its market reach with offices in San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Irvine, and Riverside. Combined with a number of recent key hires, the company has demonstrated a trajectory of continued growth and achievement.

In our new series “Tech Tips from Tisa,” our Director of Litigation Technology, Mike Tisa, shares tips on how to make your next trial, deposition, or conference call a success.

1. Do not confuse an ELMO/document camera with an old school overhead projector. You need a projector or monitor to show the image. If using a projector, don’t forget to ask the court if they have a screen. If not, you’ll need to provide one.

2. Make sure your videos are always synced. Don’t be short-sighted as you might pay more on the backend. Always get this done upfront. It’s the only way to make designations fast and smoothly.

3. Get hip with the lingo. Clearly communicate to the tech how you want the document enhanced. Avoid the “do that cool zoom thingy” statement in front of the jury. Work with the tech about how to ask for the right annotations and come up with a dialogue that works for you.

4. Test trial tech before the trial. DIY’ers are great and being proactive on the tech side should be welcomed. However, if you ask for an hour training on a trial presentation program, don’t expect to be an expert. Can you teach paralegal school or law school in an hour, two even? Start simple by testing trial presentation technology prior to the start of the trial.

5. iPads – Use them at your own risk. Any app-based tech will have its limitations compared to software-based applications. Know what you can and can’t do with your app(s). Does it work without the internet, is it updated, etc.? Are you comfortable troubleshooting the wireless connection? More than likely, you will experience a signal drop at some point. Oh, and if you want to use hard-wired cables, great! Do you have the right adapters? Are they tested at a certain range? Do you have the right cables?

Attention to detail makes a difference in trials. Even if you’re a skilled trial tech, it never hurts to brush up on best practices and new technologies available.

Stay tuned for our next installment of “Tech Tips with Tisa.”

Have a topic you’d like us to cover? Drop it below in the comments or tweet us @aptuscr.

Jane Grossman of AptusPress Release (PR Web) – Aptus Court Reporting announces its acquisition of Jane Grossman Reporting Services (JGRS), a prominent staple in the Bay Area court reporting industry for 25 years. This merger continues to solidify Aptus’ commitment to expansion on a global scale, building on the Aptus brand of quality court reporting and innovative solutions.

Founded by Jane Grossman, Certified Shorthand Reporter, Grossman Reporting Services has provided quality court reporting services to clients in the Oakland Bay Area and beyond since 1994.

The blending of these companies continues to help position Aptus Court Reporting as a major force in the court reporting industry. The acquisition of quality organizations that enhance advancements in technology, dedication to superior customer service and focus on longevity continue to be their focus.

“As the conscientious reporter you have all known, it was important to me to join a firm that values high-quality transcripts, service-oriented reporters, and can-do client service. Aptus’ staff and reporters are committed to the same high standards and customer service that have been the hallmark of Jane Grossman Reporting Services,” says Jane Grossman.

“I have known and worked with Jane Grossman for many years. Her professionalism and dedication to her clients and to court reporting are an inspiration to all who have had the pleasure to work with her,” says Ron Harrison, Aptus’ Northern California Managing Director.

Derek Berg, President of Aptus Court Reporting, expresses his excitement about the merger: “We at Aptus have had a tremendous amount of respect for JGRS over the years. Jane has brought only the very best to our industry and it is our privilege to carry on her legacy.”

Sacramento (PR Web) Aptus Court Reporting, a Nationwide premier deposition and court reporting service, announced today the addition of Marj Walker, serving as Director of Business Development heading up the Sacramento office.

Marj Walker of Aptus Court Reporting“The culture and mission at Aptus very much coincide with my personal and professional manner. I joined Aptus because it is synonymous with simplicity. In its straightforward fashion, Aptus offers me the ability to supply clients with top notch reporters, quick responses, quality deliverables, exemplary service and impressive technology solutions. This results in a refreshing ease of doing business,” says Walker. “Making the move to Aptus has also allowed me to reunite with many respected, knowledgeable high caliber legal professionals whom I’ve had the great fortune of working with in the past.”

Walker brings 14 plus years servicing law firms and 25 plus years in service related positions. Delivering an outstanding customer experience is what she is most passionate about. Previously Walker served as Account Executive with Sarnoff Court Reporters and most recently as Business Development Executive for Veritext Legal Solutions.

“It is with great pleasure to bring Marj to the Aptus family. Marj brings a positive experience to everyone she come into contact with. She is respected by her peers and has consistently been a top performer in the Northern California marketplace. Moreover, this addition to our team will enhance our Aptus footprint on the West Coast allowing for better service to all who come into contact with our organization,” says Aptus’ President Derek Berg.

“Marj’s reputation, experience and relationships in the Sacramento legal community are impressive. She has a true dedication to serving the legal community, and I am thrilled to be working with her again,” says Sandy Waite, Aptus’ Chief Operating Officer.

About Aptus Court Reporting:

Since launching in San Diego in 2011, Aptus has expanded its territory throughout the West Coast of the US, with local offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Irvine, Riverside, Fresno and Seattle. The firm provides a wide range of services globally with clients on five continents.

Aptus Court Reporting is a full-service court reporting firm and a leading provider of court reporting services and litigation technology. They provide a one-stop solution for deposition and trial needs with services including court reporting, transcription, videography, video streaming, world-wide conference rooms, and more. The company’s mission is “Connecting Testimony and Technology.” For more information about Aptus Court Reporting, please visit