After more than a year of working from home, the Goodmans intellectual property litigation team has had its share of virtual hearings and trials. We have rounded-up our top 5 tips for ensuring your next virtual hearing goes as smoothly as possible.
Equipment and boardroom setup – If restrictions allow for it, recreate the courtroom experience in a very large boardroom at your office. Use a high quality camera, a microphone, speakers, a podium, a large screen and proper lighting. Set up individual workstations with monitors for members of your team. It is very important to do a test run before-hand, and to have a headset and microphone available if the sound quality needs to be improved. Having spare equipment on hand is also recommended in the event of equipment malfunctions or glitches.
Screen sharing – The individual responsible for screen sharing should know what documents, and which lines/paragraphs of the documents the speaker may want to view on the screen. These documents should be readily available and neatly organized. Multiple monitors are a must for the screen-sharer. Real-time highlighting of the relevant lines/paragraphs on the screen is helpful to orient the viewers.
In the Federal Court, if the parties are using the Court’s eTrial Toolkit, ensure that the documents are uploaded ahead of time and that you can provide the “FC” number to opposing counsel.
Expert witnesses – Do a test run with your witnesses to optimize their equipment set-ups, and encourage the witnesses to have multiple monitors and a headset with a microphone. If possible, send a spare camera or computer/tablet with camera and microphone capabilities so that the witness has back-up equipment.
If permitted, send a clean paper copy of the expert’s own report for use during their testimony.
Documents for cross-examination – Send a password-protected folder containing the documents that you may want to discuss during cross-examination, by email, to the witness ahead of time with instructions to download the materials but to not open or view them. Ask for confirmation that the witness has downloaded the materials prior to their testimony.
Be flexible – Start and end times may need to be varied if the Court, counsel and witnesses are in different time zones. Parties may encounter difficulties with internet connections or interruptions that are beyond their control.
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