Best Practices for Video Hearings
16 April 2020
Prep Your Exhibits
- PDF your exhibits. Label them and put them in a dropbox or Drive folder.
- Make the link to the folder publically viewable for anyone with the link. If you want to make it easier for people, shorten your link using tinyurl.org. You can make a custom alias to make it something more readable like “tinyurl.com/JonesContemptExhibits.”
- Also put your exhibits into a PDF Portfolio so that you can more easily flip between exhibits in share mode without having to open the individual files.
- Send your client and witnesses the exhibits in advance so they will be prepared for them
Get Your Tech in order
- Download the latest version of Zoom (don’t use the web version unless you really need to).
- Do a practice Zoom for yourself and one with your client.
- Practice sharing your screen. You can also try sharing from an ipad or second camera.
- Do a mic check before the hearing.
- Do a video check before the hearing.
- If your video is choppy, go into video settings and uncheck “Enable HD”
- If your client does not have the ability to attend by video, you can have them call in.
Look good on camera
- Use a blank backdrop or wall behind you so it isn’t distracting.
- Go into video settings and click on “Touch up my appearance.” Gives you flawless skin.
- If your client is going to be in the same room, you may still want a second computer for them so that you can each face the camera head-on. Just make sure one of you mutes the mic and the sound so there isn’t reverb.
Sound good on camera
- Keep yourself muted unless you are talking. Tell your client to do the same
- Do a mic check before the hearing time
- Make sure you are sitting close enough to the computer to be heard clearly.
- Consider getting a mic so that you can be a little further from the computer. Lapel mics work well
Maintaining Communication with Client During the Hearing
- Have your client in the same room with you.
- Have a second zoom meeting going on a different computer that you keep muted unless you need to talk to your client.
- Have your client on the phone with you so that you can mute the video and talk to your client when needed.
- Have your client on a chat with you through your client portal or another chat service.
- Ask the judge to set up a breakout room for you to meet with your client – not ideal as the host of the meeting (including the judge) can potentially see a private room.
- Use the chat function in Zoom – not an ideal solution as the host of the meeting (including the judge) can see even a private chat.
- BE AWARE: Judges have decided that they will use live streaming on Facebook and YouTube to allow for the public to view hearings.
- You may want the judge to say on the record:
- That people are not allowed to record the proceeding.
- That witnesses are not allowed to view the proceedings prior to testifying.
- Something about children viewing the proceedings.
- You may ask the judge to turn off the streaming so that you can “approach the bench” or have a pre-trial conference.