We used what the court provided. Every 40 minutes we took a break and continued. Remarkable how quickly 40 minutes comes and goes in a trial. It was a rather forced way to do a trial w out question.
This particular trial involved middle class folk. This was not a large monied case. As such I never broached the subject of using anything else. We could have waited another 6 months or so for an in person trial date or take what was offered.
If this were one of my more monied cases I don’t know if the court would have accepted a private Zoom account. I’m sure if by consent of the other party it would be fine. Absent that we go with what the court is offering. This particular county (largest county in the state) was offering the free option.
The court provided the account. We just put in the meeting number each time and gave our witnesses the same. They were kept in their own waiting rooms.
Frankly, I’ve taken jury trials on a few weeks notice when no one else would dare. I take what is given and make it work. So I did not complain. I just laughed, used my time strategically, and kept signing back in (my credentials automatically reloaded each time so was simple).
Your more, let’s say, “high strung” attorneys would have real issues. No doubt about it. It was a compromise. But I take what is given to me and make it work. That is how I can have blue collar clients and white collar clients, as you handle the cases w what you got and not w what you want. Perhaps that is why it worked for me.
Yes, I left stuff out that would not have been left out we’re it an in person trial. But you know what it just made me focus more on our best stuff, and that stuff was devastating and I did not dilute it.
So it is what it is. It was sufficient to give due process during a period of emergency. I don’t think the outcome would have been different in person.
Unfortunately, the judge told me afterwards, I was the first attorney who actually figured out how to use the Zoom system!
That is either an indictment of Zoom for being too complicated or the computer savvy of most of my peers :(. Not much more to tell on that as Zoom is not complicated.
In the end it allowed our case to move forward, it was sufficient, the paperless aspect of it was great (I mean I loved an absolutely paperless trial), I was forced to focus on our best stuff, and it was consistent w due process. A positive experience.
Whether the bar will think so moving forward given how few other attorneys appear to have figured out how to use the system…tbd. But to date, until courts open middle of next month (I have an in person date for late next month) I have not heard of any appeals or objections. So like it or not Zoom trials are moving forward (even using the free option). Yeah, that sounds absurd but we made it work.