The Digital Deposition Group and the Pursuit of Accuracy

In the United States it is standard in litigation to take depositions in order to discover fact evidence. Depositions are sworn out-of-court testimony given by witnesses who are referred to as deponents. Typically, the only people present at a deposition are the witness, attorneys for all interested parties, and a person qualified to administer oaths. While depositions can be done in the form of written questions, the vast majority of depositions are done orally. For centuries, highly trained stenographers have recorded these interviews. The standard process for creating typed transcripts was often geographically inflexible, prone to translation errors, involved protracted manual labor, and long turnaround times.

In 1990, a change in this process occurred when the state of New Jersey cut the Superior Court’s budget. This caused a fiscal crisis which led to a transition from stenographic note to recording proceedings on an analog four-track tape. The audio file was then outsourced in order to produce the transcript. Concurrently, Gary Froonjian, with a computer science background, was asked by his father-in-law to join the family transcription business. Froonjian recognized the impact modern technology would have on the industry and the opportunity electronic recording transcription created for their business. He changed careers and his strategy was to go head-to-head with court reporters. He did so by comparing the accuracy, verifiability, and punctuality between the two techniques. The state of New Jersey determined that recording proceedings was more accurate, and by 1992 all of the state’s courts had converted to electronic transcription.

Gary knew that the electronic recording industry’s prospect for growth was organic. His technical training allowed him to envision a time, in the not-so-distant future, when more advanced, sophisticated technologies would replace four-track analog tape. Furthermore, he realized the court system and traditionally trained transcribers were not well equipped to deal with this early modern technology. Transcribers were often challenged by distortions and inaudible portions of the tapes. He theorized that if digital recordings could control the quality aspect of the deposition process, they could accommodate nearly every need of the legal profession and outperform their competition.

Presently, depositions are recorded both in video and audio formats. While a reporter takes notes in real time, interviews are also recorded using a synchronizing software program and three backup recording devices. Combined, this system eradicates “technical difficulties” and expedites turnaround time from the traditional 30 days, to seven days. The Digital Deposition Group also offers 24-hour turnaround!

Today the third generation Froonjian, Erica, serves as President. She earned a BA in Communications from Auburn University and is also a certified electronic reporter. After graduation, Erica spent a year interning in Sydney, Australia for a film company, Filmotion. Upon her return to Boca Raton, she completed the Digital Reporter Blue Ledge program and earned her AAERT certification. “My family has been a front runner in the digital reporting and transcription industry for 50 years. It was natural progression for me to advance digital technologies in the courtroom and deposition industry for another 50 years! The accuracy, reliability and accountability is second to no other reporting practice.”

Erica explains, “At Digital Deposition our pursuit of accurate, verifiable, and accountable depositions is paramount. Our technology reveals the truth by utilizing state of the art equipment to generate a simple and straightforward three-dimensional transcript.”

The Froonjians acknowledge that while change is hard, and progress can be painful, change is necessary and beneficial. They point to the pandemic and how enforced quarantines crippled the judicial system. As attorneys and judges scrambled to implement viable day-to-day alternatives, the value of digital technology became immediately apparent. Erica adds “Digital systems provide greater geographical flexibility, enhance collaboration, and strengthen security.”

Service is so instantaneous that attorneys are able to leave a deposition with a thumb drive that contains audio, video and the reporter’s notes. Erica also adds “… soon, highly sophisticated speech recognition technology will be used in real time transcription. Parties will receive a rough draft of the transcription at the end of the deposition for very low cost.”

The Digital Deposition Group has six locations in South Florida and services clients nationwide. To learn more, or to schedule a reporter, call 855-806-4455 or visit thedigitaldepositiongroup.com.

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