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Tips for attorneys and self-represented litigants appearing in remote civil hearings before the Superior Court

Prepared by the Superior Court Civil Committee May 4, 2020

Tips

  1. Identify yourself each time you speak. 
  2. Be aware that the hearing is live and public. Unless you are muted, anything you say will be heard by those attending and will be on the record. 
  3. Do not disclose impounded information during the hearing unless and until you address the issue with the judge. 
  4. Speak slowly and wait until prompted. Be mindful that there is a lag. 
  5. Do not interrupt. Ensure one individual speaks at a time. 
  6. Without the benefit of non-verbal cues, you may tend to speak longer than you would in person. Be aware that the judge may wish to interpose a question or comment. For videoconferences, make sure you maintain eye contact with the judge. For teleconferences, ensure sufficient pauses in order to permit the judge to respond. 
  7. If instructed, use the “raise your hand” function on Zoom. 
  8. Consider requesting a “private chat” function for communications with your client or co-counsel. 
  9. Be mindful of and troubleshoot audio echo, particularly when you are using more than one device or when multiple participants are in proximity to each other using separate devices. 
  10. When interpreters are present, ensure counsel pauses for translation. 
  11. Mute yourself when you’re not speaking. 
  12. When multiple people are on a videoconference, use a “gallery view” in order to identify who is speaking. When using “speaker view,” the video focuses on whoever is speaking. But, the video may focus on a participant who makes even a slight sound and may remain focused on that participant until someone else speaks. 
  13. Ensure the court has copies of all documents that you will be discussing or presenting during the hearing. 
  14. Courtroom rules, practice and decorum still apply. You are not required to stand at the beginning or end of the session, however. Ensure proper demeanor and professional dress. 
  15. Just as in a courtroom, unauthorized recordings of virtual proceedings are impermissible. The clerk will record the hearing. 
  16. You may request FTR start and end times from the clerk in order to easily access the hearing recording at a later date. 

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