As discovery schedules currently being set for the months and years ahead amply demonstrate, remote depositions are here for the foreseeable future.
Remote depositions have their benefits, including reduced cost for the client, less travel, and increased flexibility and convenience. As practitioners know well, however, they also present unique challenges.
On the defense side of the table, remote depositions can pose particular difficulties when it comes to preparing witnesses and strategizing with clients remotely because the limitations of teleconferencing often result in remote preparation sessions that are shorter and more tightly focused than was the pre-pandemic norm.
Shorter preparation sessions are beneficial in that they save money and employee time, but they require outside counsel to be fully prepared proactively to anticipate and address any and all potential issues that may arise, as a more regimented schedule affords less time for clients and witnesses to process information and pose questions or concerns to counsel.
It can also be difficult to establish the level of rapport with witnesses that is often beneficial when defending depositions via remote preparation sessions.
When it comes to defending remote Rule 30(b)(6) depositions, remote preparation can be a particular challenge because it is crucial that clients and witnesses understand the unique features of Rule 30(b)(6) depositions and the reasons why they necessitate strategies that may differ from those typical for fact witness depositions.
In many cases, those strategies, in turn, require additional time from counsel, client, and the witness, as well as conversations with far-flung employees across an organization, all of which have become more challenging in this remote era.
The goal of this article is to provide a guide for conversations regarding a few of the particular challenges of Rule 30(b)(6) depositions and potential solutions so that even in the remote context, all parties are better prepared for what lies ahead when a Rule 30(b)(6) notice comes in.