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Lights, Camera, Audio: Virtual Hearings in a Pandemic

We have tried four cases, taken scores of depositions, and participated in numerous hearings since the world locked down and the courts closed. What we have learned from this experience is that, while the ‘new normal’ presents unfamiliar challenges, it has given rise to tremendous opportunities as well. Robust technological solutions play a part. But far more important, we have learned, is how these solutions are deployed and the advantages effective deployment afford.

When Season X of American Idol was interrupted and the contestants sheltered in-place, the show didn’t stop. Rather, ring lights, microphones, cameras and props were rolled out, and each contestant’s setting was produced to facilitate the non-verbal communications that is so vital to live performance. The result was not just impactful but moving. In the face of such adversity and isolation, look what might be accomplished.

Trials and arbitrations are no different. We have been working hard to leverage the best equipment and technologies out there, and then producing our setting—our Cheng Cohen virtual courtroom—to enable ourselves to be as impactful on-screen as we are in open court, to enhance the richness of our virtual presentation, and to maintain if not extend our edge over our adversaries when it’s time to call our first witnesses.