Welcome to the Kazi Law Firm! We are a boutique law firm steeped in Texas tradition personifying the warmth and congeniality consistent with southern hospitality. We believe in preserving integrity and professionalism with true Texan charm, staying true to our roots, while providing essential, affordable legal services to all. Located just north of Dallas, Texas in the rapidly growing suburb of Frisco; the Kazi Law Firm concentrates on contracts drafting and review, immigration law, will & estates, real estate law, landlord, tenant, mediation, and general business law needs.
We are living in unprecedented times. Who would have guessed that we would have court proceedings virtually in 2020? Well, the present state of affairs has led to virtual learning platforms for schools, businesses, law firms, and courts! Clients often ask us how to prepare for a hearing on Zoom. Given our current reality, I think it’s critical to discuss best practices for Zoom court proceedings.
Video conferencing has become the new norm for all types of proceedings throughout Texas and the United States. In Texas, the Office of Court Administration (OCA) secured a Zoom contract and a license is available to all Texas State judges. Additionally, the OCA recommends that most non-essential proceedings, except for jury trials, be conducted remotely.
Best Practices for Zoom Proceedings:
- Mute your cell phone and all sounds from all other applications (email notifications, chat, messaging, etc.).
- Avoid using battery power only (laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.). Be sure to plug into a good power source while in a Zoom hearing.
- Avoid using an open microphone and speakers (such as are built-into laptops, or a webcam microphone).
- Use a good quality headset and speak clearly and slowly. Headphones with a microphone will help ensure you can be heard and can hear others with maximum sound quality.
- Avoid poor camera positioning. Be sure the camera is forward-facing and focusing on your face.
- Ensure that lighting is adequate. Avoid backlit light sources.
- Avoid noisy and echoing locations. The use of a headset will improve audio quality when this is unavoidable.
- Make sure your background is clear of clutter and identifying information such as personal photos, children’s drawings, posters, heavily marked whiteboards, etc.
- Dress as you would for an in-person court proceeding. Professional attire and appearance for men (Collared, ironed, stain-free shirts, well-groomed, and hair combed). Women should also dress appropriately and in business attire.
Prior to the Zoom Hearing:
When joining the call, you will be placed in the waiting room until you are admitted by the Court. Other than invited participants, no additional parties will be admitted to the call. Do not forward the Zoom invite to extraneous friends, family members, or colleagues. Do not post the Zoom link on public forums or social media outlets.
Recommended Zoom Settings:
Zoom has several settings, and as they update their software some aspects may change. Below are recommended settings to improve the court user experience:
- General: Ask me to confirm when I leave a meeting: ON (Helps prevent unintended departures)
- Video: Enable HD: OFF (Helps prevent poor video performance and usually looks just as good as HD)
- Video: Always display participant names on their video: ON
- Video: Always show video preview dialog when joining a video meeting: ON (Final check before your video displays to others)
Familiarize Yourself with Zoom Prior to the Court Proceeding:
The court will only be using the audio and video functionality of Zoom. Other functions like text chat, screen sharing, etc., may not be used or are disabled for your session, so you only need to learn the basics of using Zoom for audio and video. The following links take you to specific Zoom articles for connecting to a meeting, learning Zoom meeting controls, and testing your video and audio prior to the hearing:
- Joining a meeting: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362193-Joining-a-Meeting
- Attendee controls in a meeting: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/200941109-Attendee-controls-in-a-meeting
- Testing video: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362313-How-Do-I-Test-My-Video-
- Testing computer or device audio: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362283-Testing-computer-or-device-audio
- Joining only by phone: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362663-Joining-a-meeting-by-phone
- Hot keys and keyboard shortcuts: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/205683899-Hot-Keys-and-Keyboard-Shortcuts-for-Zoom
Hopefully, these best practices and tips will alleviate concerns for those headed into a Zoom court proceeding.
I built my law practice on the premise of being a life raft in a sea of sharks. I want to be an advocate for those that have been wronged and are too intimidated to seek help. My firm is here to explore your options, guide you through your legal journey, and give you that safe space to ask questions! There’s no such thing as a stupid question…Only the ones you don’t ask. So, my question to my clients is not “do you have any questions?” But rather “what questions do you have?”
As always, the Kazi Law Firm is standing by to help you in your time of need. Don’t hesitate to contact us today. We specialize in real estate law, landlord-tenant disputes, immigration, and wills & estate planning. Family is at the core of our practice. Just as we treat our family with respect and understanding, we treat yours. Come join the Kazi Law Firm family today!
Why swim alone in shark-infested waters when you don’t need to?