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Smyser Kaplan & Veselka Bench Trial Via Zoom Case Study

The Problem

Smyser Kaplan & Veselka (SKV), like many law firms, has had to balance dealing with the pandemic with maintaining contact with their clients. With cases to manage and courthouses closed, SKV needed a way to communicate remotely with their clients and with court officials. SKV already had Skype and Cisco Webex in place, but no unified solution that could be utilized firmwide. Further, SKV was anticipating a move into a new office, so there was an opportunity to unify communications and prioritize a user-friendly, reliable conferencing system.

The Solution

Data Projections has integrated conferencing solutions for a variety of clients in an array of settings and was able to provide an ideal solution for SKV right away. SKV’s system consists of a Poly Group Series 500 room system, which includes a hard codec for reliable conferencing, 160-inches worth of high-resolution digital displays and Poly’s EagleEye cameras, which offer full pan-tilt-zoom capabilities, along with automatic face tracking and framing. Zoom was Data Projections’ and SKV’s choice for conferencing platform, as it is designed for ease of use, reliability and security - everything that SKV was looking for in their new conferencing solution.

The Result

SKV’s video conferencing upgrade was finished in August 2019, just a short time before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. However, SKV was ready and was able to keep working without any delays. Mohamed Rehman, SKV’s IT director, was particularly happy with the solution’s simplicity. “Whenever you roll out new software, you get 10 to 20 calls a day for a month from people asking how it works,” Rehman said. “I sent some videos from the Zoom website on how to start a meeting and that was it — people were able to teach themselves.” With their new conferencing technology, SKV was able to meet with clients, conduct depositions and litigate cases without issue. In fact, SKV’s founding partner, Lee Kaplan, and a team of attorneys were able to successfully litigate a five-week corporate dispute case, entirely over Zoom. During the case, SKV examined 18 witnesses on live video, shared hours of pre-taped depositions and presented hundreds of exhibits. This was made possible without a single delay and with no security lapses, resulting in a $147 million judgment in SKV’s favor. Given the successful trial, Rehman believes Data Projections’ solution may be even more valuable going forward. “Virtual trials are more cost-effective and save time, and they also improve efficiency and focus. Our attorneys have said this was one of the most focused trials we’ve had, and we didn’t have to stop our business during the pandemic.”