Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are conducting most of our hearings remotely. This means you should plan to participate by video or phone. Please read below to learn about some of the best practices for success during a remote hearing.
The Board uses Google Meet for conducting its remote hearings. This platform allows parties to appear in-person before the Board from remote locations. Please practice with Google Meet prior to the date of your hearing so you feel comfortable. Google has lots of instructions and video tutorials.
GOOGLE MEET INVITATION
Prior to the hearing, the parties will receive an email with a Google Meet invitation. The invitation will have a link to participate via videoconference and a number to participate via telephone.
We recommend a computer with a camera, speaker, and microphone. If this is not possible, a smart phone or other device will also work. We recommend that you turn off all other applications on the device to help maintain a strong internet connection. If you use a smart phone for the hearing, please charge the battery in advance.
HEADPHONES OR EARBUDS
Use earbuds or headphones, if you can. This improves sound quality.
POSITION OF CAMERA
Position the camera so it is as close to eye level as possible. Do this by propping your device on a thick book or stand rather than tilting your screen. Make sure your head and shoulders are visible on-camera. Position yourself so your hairline and forehead are the top 1/3 of the display. Closer is better.
MAKE EYE CONTACT
Look at the camera, not the screen, when speaking.
Familiarize yourself with how to use the mute button. During the hearing, please stay muted unless you need to speak. When unmuted, eliminate all background noise and silence your phone. You might also need to change your notification settings to eliminate disruptive "rings" from incoming texts or emails.
LOG IN EARLY
It is prudent to log in early. Be patient, the judge and the other parties will be joining soon.
KEEP CAMERA RUNNING
It is distracting to have cameras turning on and off. This is a court proceeding and you need to be fully present. If you need to take a break, request one.
Whenever possible, sit facing a window, desk lamp, or other light source to ensure your face is well illuminated and clearly visible. Avoid bright lights behind you.
Take steps to keep others from being distracted. Limit rocking or swiveling chairs. Avoid multitasking so you're not continually leaving and coming back into the picture. Prevent other people, animals, or other distractions from becoming visible.
To make an objection, raise your hand and unmute, then communicate your objection. Raising your hand lets the judge and the other side know you wish to speak.
The hearing is a court proceeding. It is as formal as if you were in the Board’s physical courtroom. Therefore, you should dress professionally at all times.
You will need to provide all exhibits to the other side and to the Administrative Law Judge well before the hearing. Google Meet has a function to present exhibits during the hearing so that everyone can see the document on their screen. Be comfortable using Google’s “Present” function.
The parties should prepare their witnesses to testify through Google Meet, ideally using both video and audio. Witnesses should be instructed that, unless they are sitting with one of the attorneys in this case, they are to be alone in the room where they are testifying. Witnesses should also be instructed that they are required to testify from memory, without referring to any notes or exhibits, unless they are directed to view a specific exhibit by one of the attorneys or the judge.
The parties shall provide witnesses copies of necessary exhibits prior to the hearing, and instruct their witnesses to keep those exhibits available during their scheduled testimony. If a party does not wish to share a particular exhibit with a witness prior to the hearing, they may use Google’s “Present” function during the hearing to show the witness the exhibit.
IF YOU DO NOT HAVE INTERNET OR PHONE
Please contact the Board as soon as possible. We may postpone the hearing until everyone can participate safely or help you find a way to participate remotely.
PLAN FOR THE UNEXPECTED
We ask for everyone’s patience. Please plan on unexpected technical challenges. If you suddenly lose connection or experience other difficulties, don’t panic. We will figure things out together. If something unexpected occurs and you are unable to rejoin the hearing, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org