Butler Law Firm attorneys Jeb Butler and Matt Kahn were honored to author articles that were featured in the Winter 2020 edition of Verdict, the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association’s journal.
Butler and Kahn joined forces to write a feature article entitled “Techniques for Virtual Depositions.” The piece highlighted a topic that is very relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic – how attorneys can get the most out of depositions conducted remotely over Zoom, rather than in-person.
“We have found that Zoom depositions can be more effective than their in-person predecessors, but making them more effective takes more work,” Butler and Kahn wrote. Some of the advantages they cited include having the entire case file and the Internet readily available, being able to share screens with witnesses, and the ability to annotate or zoom in on evidence.
Butler and Kahn discounted one of the supposed disadvantages of a virtual deposition – the fact that witnesses are less likely to be intimidated by the lawyer’s physical presence. The advantages of a virtual deposition offset concerns of that sort, according to the authors.
The article explores in-depth a number of tips for taking successful depositions via Zoom or similar technologies. However, the authors note that attorneys must become comfortable with technology in general. “At this point, we lawyers need to be technologically proficient—the days when a trial lawyer could say ‘I hate computers’ and shrug off technological changes are long, long gone,” Butler and Kahn wrote.
A second feature article, written by Matt Kahn alone, was entitled “Using State Court Tools in Federal Court.” The item focused on two Georgia statutes than can be particularly useful for plaintiffs in federal court: Offers of Settlement Under O.C.G.A. § 9-11-68 and Claims for Attorney’s Fees Under O.C.G.A. § 13-6-11.
“Offers of settlement force a defendant to closely evaluate a case or risk paying the plaintiff’s attorney’s fees. A claim for attorney’s fees based on bad faith or stubborn litigiousness can add monetary value and come along with evidentiary benefits,” Kahn wrote.
“It’s important for all practitioners in Georgia to understand these laws and their applicability in federal court,” he concluded.