Note: This story has been updated with additional pricing details.
Video deposition service YesLaw recently announced its transition from DVD publisher to online streamer. Officials said their plan is similar to that of consumer services such as Netflix, which is also evolving from physically mailing DVDs to distributing movies over the internet.
YesLaw’s parent YesVideo Inc. opened in 1999 to convert home movies into modern formats. But in 2003, “We started getting deposition videos in through consumer channels. Court reporting agencies were dropping videos off to be converted into DVD,” COO Greg Ayres explained.
The new service, YesLaw Online, lets court reporters put their exhibits, transcripts, and video onto the cloud, where their content is secured with software similar to that used by online banking systems, Ayres said. The service also includes editing, indexing, and viewing applications, similar to desktop competitors such as InData Corp.’s TrialDirector and LexisNexis Sanction, he noted. Lawyers then access the files through a browser.
Ayres added that, during the past year, YesLaw Online worked with 50,000 hours of video in its beta testing. He anticipates that lawyers will use the cloud software for Facebook-like collaboration and that, in the future, Santa Clara, Calif.-based YesLaw could hosts all types of case documents similar to what London-based Opus2 is doing.
Lisa DiMonte, CEO of Washington, D.C.-based Planet Depos, said her company has been a YesLaw DVD customer for several years. Now, among her clients, “There’s a lot of excitement about having a neutral repository,” especially for cases involving several law firms, she said. DiMonte acknowledged that lawyers should always have backups methods to access their data, whether it’s via a wireless aircard or the downloaded data itself. But in most situations the YesLaw Online service is sufficiently reliable, although it could use faster loading times, she said.
“It’s been well-received by our clients. You pay for it as you need it. It scales up and down with you,” DiMonte observed.
“For a case that doesn’t go to trial, this may save quite a bit of money, along with filing space,” trial consultant Ted Brooks said. “On the other hand, for the case that does go to trial, it may increase overall costs, since now you’ve added a period of hosting fees to the balance sheet.”
YesLaw’s average prices for court reporting companies are $3.50 per hour for automatic transcript synchronization, or $10 to $15 per hour for custom synchronization; $15 per DVD for traditional publishing; and $10 per hour of cloud video, renewable annually, Ayres said. The court reporting companies add their own services before reselling to law firms.
Evan Koblentz is a reporter for Law Technology News, a Legal affiliate based in New York.