Above the Law Publishes an Article Featuring Veritext CTO Tony Donofrio: “Pandemic Proves That Court Reporters Are As Essential As Ever”
By Joe Patrice
Senior Editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer
Remote proceedings may be here to stay, but that won’t change the basics of reporting.
When the country entered lockdown last year, Veritext CTO Tony Donofrio estimates that only around 5 to 10 percent of the company’s workload involved remote proceedings. Even then, only a handful of those involved fully remote participation as opposed to a hybrid model with primarily in-person activity and one or more other parties joining remotely.
Today, he estimates that 95 percent of Veritext’s work is remote. And while the days of fully remote depositions may be coming to an end as vaccination accelerates, Veritext believes the bulk of work going forward will include at least some degree of remote participation.
“Everyone became interested in the efficiency gains,” Donofrio told me. “It’s been great for everyone.” Indeed, it’s become increasingly clear that law firms thrived during the pandemic in part by cutting down on travel expenditures, something that Veritext feels will linger after the outbreak ends with both firms and clients rethinking what constitutes a “necessary” expense.
With that understanding, Veritext is working on coaching attorneys to operate and thrive in the new normal. Best practices for room set up, minimum requirements for equipment, and new mechanisms for exhibit distribution are just some of the hurdles that the profession will grapple with. For the latter requirement, Veritext’s Exhibit Share tool electronically distributes and marks exhibits to keep everyone on the same page miles away. Or… digital “page” I suppose.
But even as attorneys adjust to the remote hearings, one staple of the past remains essential: the court reporter. Looking back, I spoke with Donofrio a year ago — when the impact of COVID was unimaginable — and he stressed the same point. After moving proceedings fully remote, he’s even more assured that this is a process that can’t fully remove the human element.