Realtime Court Reporting Spotlight
Wireless software offering real-time access ‘a lot like using Word’
Wireless iPad real-time transcription technology moved into Ontario courts for the first time in December 2013 with the introduction of LiveDeposition local software for the trial proceedings in Molson Canada 2005 v. Miller Brewing Co.
“This technology is truly wireless. There are absolutely no wires going from the court reporter’s work to the delivery of the real-time transcript on counsel’s receiving device,” says Kimberley Neeson, owner of Toronto’s Neeson & Associates Court Reporting and Captioning Inc.
While LiveDeposition is the only real-time transcription software that works on the Mac platform, it also works seamlessly with Android, Kindle Fire, and other mobile devices as well as with traditional proprietary software systems like Livenote and Summation. Lawyers who don’t have litigation software on their courtroom devices can view real-time transcripts on LiveDeposition’s built-in real time viewer.
As lawyers get the transcript, they can mark it up, bookmark it, save it, e-mail it, and open it directly in LiveDeposition.
“Even a lawyer who doesn’t have administration rights and therefore may not be able to download the software can still use our web view and bookmark the transcript as well as export and import it,” says Steven Genter, a California-based director of LiveDeposition. com.
Neeson & Associates is responsible for bringing Live- Deposition to Ontario and has trained its reporters in its use. As it turns out, LiveDeposition’s local product (the one used in the courtroom) was built specifically for reporters.
“The advantage of our local system is that any court reporter with any court reporting software can use it,” says Genter, who notes there has been a “steady uptake” of LiveDeposition since the release of the local version in November 2013.
Neeson lauds the product’s ease of use. “It’s a lot like using Word,” she says.
And in a world where clients are ever more cost-conscious, the technology can make for significant savings.
“Anyone around the world with an Internet connection, a viewing device, and an invitation to the secure platform can view the proceedings as they happen,” says Neeson.
What that means, for example, is that an expert on the other side of the world could log in and, using LiveDeposition’s video capability, watch relevant testimony from lay or other expert witnesses.
“The expert could even send questions or comments to counsel in real time without ever having to be there,” says Neeson.
“Even clients who can’t be present can see what’s going on in real time from wherever they are.”
Lawyers working on the multibillion-dollar Nortel Networks Corp. cross-border joint trial speak to the software’s efficacy.
“It’s a very slick production with good quality, fluid high-speed video,” says Ari Kaplan of Toronto’s Koskie Minsky LLP, the firm representing the Canadian pensioners in the international fight over the allocation of Nortel’s remaining assets.
“You can watch the proceedings at a computer located anywhere with one window providing a live feed and a real-time transcript in a second window right next to it.”
Kaplan calls the software an efficient productivity tool that can assist in diverse ways.
“If you want to ask questions, you have to be there live but unless you’re doing that, there’s no reason you have to be there at all,” he says.
“In one instance, I was doing a deposition in London and communicating back and forth with someone watching from Toronto who was sending on notes and questions to me in real time.”
In its time-honoured way, however, the Ontario government, despite rhetoric to the contrary, isn’t really facilitating innovation of this kind in the courtroom.
“The attorney general is telling parties that they can use this software if they bring in their own court reporter, so the only way the technology is coming in is through me,” says Neeson.
“The parties even have to bring in their own hotspots because our courtrooms don’t have the appropriate wireless technology.”
by Julius Melnitzer for Law Times
Reprinted with permission. © 2014 Thomson Reuters Canada Ltd.