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Has anyone had to conduct a Trial via Zoom during these covid times? I’ve got my first one coming up next week and am looking for any tips/tricks and pitfalls to avoid! I’ve had many hearings via Zoom, but not a Trial yet. Thanks in advance!

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I’m in the middle of a hybrid in-person/Zoom trial right now. Parties testifying in person; GAL and a couple other professionals via Zoom. Do a dry run of cross/direct with your client via Zoom so that you can work out any tech issues, exhibits, etc. in advance. During our examination of the GAL by Zoom, I was in a separate office from my boss and we used Teams to communicate during the other side’s questioning to point to specific areas of the report/other exhibits, noting what additional testimony we needed to elicit during our examination, similar to writing notes to each other in a courtroom. It actually went quite well.

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Definitely Zoom. The judge is able to better ascertain credibility through Zoom v phone. And in terms of ease of use, Zoom is as good as the telephone at this point because everyone has been forced to use it. In the context of trial/evidentiary hearings, at least with Zoom you can screen share so that you can refer to specific documents-not as easy through the phone. I also have it set up so that I’m Zooming via my laptop, while sitting at my desk with my desktop up and running so that I have multiple screens available to me.

Yes—the main one would be to try to make sure that witnesses aren’t looking at anything or getting input from anyone during their testimony. You could bring it up as a preliminary matter with the judge that any witnesses caught doing that will be excluded. Also, it can help to have a way to message your client during the trial to confer, since you’re not at the same table as usual.

Thank you! Good tips!

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