Over seventeen years ago while living in France, I began working on international depositions as a young legal videographer. I have had the honor of working with some of the greatest court reporters and videographers in the business, covering U.S. depositions in every major country around the world. Now, back in the U.S., I continue covering depositions worldwide through my court reporting firm, Optima Juris. We are the first and only firm that is exclusively dedicated to organizing depos in every world region outside the United States.
If you’re interested in covering international depositions as a court reporter or videographer, I say go for it! It can be a fun and lucrative way to explore the world.
Here are ten useful rules of thumb for working U.S. depositions abroad:
- The two busiest regions where international depositions take place are Europe and Asia. Those are the places that do the most business with the U.S., and consequently, often have witnesses that need to be deposed in American litigation.
- Rule of thumb: if the country is not English-speaking and doesn’t have indigenous court reporters, it’s more likely you’ll be asked to go there. Some countries, like England and Canada, already have their own court reporters who can cover depositions.
- Law firms looking for international reporters always ask for two things: 1) A reporter who will get the job done without fail, and 2) Low or no travel costs.
- Being based abroad is a huge advantage because you’ll save your clients money on travel – if you have dual nationality, or a way to be based abroad in a popular deposition region, take advantage of it. You’ll get more work.
- By far the majority of international depos involve willing witnesses, because compelling unwilling witnesses to appear is very difficult for attorneys to accomplish in the international context.
- Some countries have special rules for administering the oath, and U.S. notary powers do not extend outside of the United States. In general, the best approach for swearing in your witness in a foreign country is to ask counsel for both sides to stipulate on the record that you, the court reporter, can administer the oath.
- If a client asks you to cover a deposition in a foreign country, be sure to educate yourself about the time difference, visa requirements, deposition restrictions (if any), security issues, and electrical system of the country before saying you can cover it for sure.
- Three major countries which have restrictions on the taking of depositions are: China, Germany, and Japan. China does not allow depositions, while Germany and Japan require that all depositions be taken on the grounds of the U.S. consulate.
- Always take direct flights, whenever possible, to minimize the chances of bags being lost or missed connections.
- Sometimes international depositions can be taken remotely, via videoconference or telephone; be sure to ask the attorneys if they are interested in pursuing this option in situations where travel is prohibitively expensive or difficult.
About Optima Juris
Optima Juris is the only U.S. agency exclusively dedicated to international depositions. We have been helping law offices across the globe find the highest-quality certified court reporters, legal videographers, and interpreters for over 18 years. If you should have any questions about international depositions, please do not hesitate to contact usor fill out a free quote to see how we can make your international deposition a complete success.
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