In Part 1 of 3 in this article series we presented you with an overview of subject of organizing and conduction U.S. depositions in Europe. Click here to read The Lowdown on Depositions: Part 1 of 3
In Part 2 of 3 in the article series we go into detail about the legal steps that are required to complete the international deposition process smoothly. Click here to read The Lowdown on Depositions in Europe: Part 2 of 3
Part 3, the final article in the series, will conclude with final thoughts on organizing and conducting international deposition in Europe. Please read ahead.
The Importance of Planning in Advance
We are sometimes contacted by clients who need to organize depositions in Europe the very next day, or occasionally even the same day. When such clients are told that last-minute planning is typically not possible abroad, they feel surprised that things don’t work in foreign countries like they do in the States.
In the U.S., where there is an abundance of qualified court reporters looking for work, last-minute assignments are simple to fill. When you’re talking about Europe, however, advance planning is necessary. This is because there are very few providers who are qualified to handle U.S. depositions – in terms of court reporters, there are probably about a dozen in the entire region who routinely work on American depos. They tend to get booked up early, which means that availability is by no means assured. Also, travel arrangements are typically necessary to move your providers into the right country. Finally, given the time difference between the U.S. and Europe, requests are usually received by European providers a day later than when they are sent from the States, meaning that same-day or next-day arrangements can be next to impossible due to the incompatible time zones.
For these reasons, we always recommend that our clients to make their deposition arrangements at least a week in advance and ideally even further out. If local flights need to be scheduled to get providers to your deposition city, airfare is always significantly cheaper when it’s not booked at the last minute – another compelling reason to plan ahead. For all of these reasons, be sure to plan and organize your deposition as well in advance as possible.
Things Cost More in Europe
Attorneys and their clients are often shocked by the costs involved when working in Europe. The reason is simple: Europe is a lot more expensive than the U.S., and the price tag for attorney’s expenses when traveling is almost always higher than expected.
There are a lot of factors which contribute to the phenomenon of higher costs in Europe. The cost of gas per gallon is more than double what we pay in the U.S., which affects transportation costs and in turn the price tag for all goods and services. In addition, European minimum wage in many countries starts at around USD $12.50 (compare that to the U.S. federal minimum of USD $7.25), and sales tax (or value added tax – VAT – as it’s called in Europe) can be as high as 20%. A wide array of other local taxes and social security costs for employers makes it expensive to hire people, which results in more expensive goods and services.
It’s therefore pretty common to pay more than what you’re accustomed to in the States for almost everything in Europe. Expect to pay around 200 euros (USD $260) per night for a business class hotel room (and even more in some higher-end locales). 50 euros ($66.50) is a typical amount to spend for a meal at a good restaurant. It’s not uncommon to pay upwards of 100 euros ($133) for a cab ride from the airport – especially for airports far from city centers or during peak traffic hours.
Specifically related to depositions, local court reporters, legal videographers, and interpreters tend to cost a little bit more than their U.S. counterparts. This is for two reasons: first off, because they live in Europe and have to contend with its higher cost of living and taxes like everyone else. Second, qualified providers for U.S. depositions are in short supply in Europe, so there is a market factor which can drive prices up. You can expect to pay, in general, about 20% more for deposition services in Europe than you would in the States. Even though such services are more expensive, it’s entirely worth it when you factor in the long-haul airfare and added travel costs you would have to pay to bring in a team all the way from the U.S. Furthermore, Europe-based providers know the ins and outs of traveling and can easily navigate the local issues involved in working in European countries. I cannot tell you how many horror stories I’ve heard about reporters who fly in from America and end up frying their equipment due to the different electrical systems there, or who show up severely jetlagged (if they manage to show up at all). Bottom line: when deposing witnesses in Europe, use Europe-based professionals, or fly in professionals from the States who have experience and are comfortable working abroad.
If you’re looking for a good Europe-based court reporter, legal videographer, or interpreter, Optima Juris has the largest network in existence. Feel free to contact us to request a quote.
Europe is a great place for U.S. depositions, provided that they are planned out correctly and with sufficient lead time. I hope this article was useful – please keep an eye out for future articles featuring additional tips and tricks for organizing depositions in Europe and around the world. If I can be of any personal assistance to you with your planned European deposition, or if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to let me know.
Read The Lowdown on Depositions in Europe:
Ian Hardy is the President and lead Global Deposition Expert at Optima Juris, the world’s first and only reporting agency that exclusively handles depositions abroad.