10 Tips for Barristers and Solicitors When Using AV in the Courts

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In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been an extensive Audio Visual (AV) expansion throughout The Courts Service. The Courts Service response to Covid-19 included the initiation, management and support of the first Virtual Courtroom program in the history of the State. This included the completion of extensive AV expansion works across The Courts Service’s nationwide network of over 50 Technology Courtrooms. 

At Fitting Image, we provide the AV infrastructure and maintenance for the Courts throughout Ireland, so we’re well-versed in the best setups to keep solicitors and barristers operating smoothly and securely. Whether you’re working from the office or working from home, there are a number of considerations barristers and solicitors should take into account in order to achieve the best results—and to maintain a high level of professionalism. Below are our top 10 tips:

  • Connectivity

 It is incredibly important to ensure your setup works successfully and that you have a decent internet connection. Setting up a call with a friend or colleague in advance is a great idea in order to test this. If your Wi-Fi connection is poor try to get a direct wired connection. It is most definitely worth the investment.

  • Lighting 

The right lighting is extremely important when it comes to looking professional when on camera. Rather than your lighting coming from behind or to the side of you, casting you in a shadow, the light source should come from in front of you.

  • Audio 

Audio quality is another key factor to successful video conferencing with a number of solutions to suit different environments. Having a good-quality laptop should suffice when in a quiet area, however a headset may be more beneficial. If you are accompanied by another colleague that you wish to listen in or contribute to the call then a good quality desk speaker is a good option.

  • Positioning

Your positioning in front of the camera is also very important when participating on a video call. You do not want to be too close or too far away from the camera. Instead, you want to be seen from the top of your head to your shoulders or from the waist up.

  • Camera 

It is recommended to keep your camera at eye level and to look into the camera rather than at the screen. However, if that’s an issue and you need to look at the screen as you talk, have the camera and screen at the same level.

  • Test, test, test

We recommend testing your set up by starting a call and taking a screen shot. This will show you what people on the other end of the video call will see.

  • Keep it tidy

To maintain professionalism, keep the area that you are making the call from as simple and tidy as possible. A messy area and background will distract whoever you are calling and will look unprofessional.

  • Makeup

You shouldn’t need to worry about makeup when video conferencing as the lights shouldn’t be that bright. However, if you’re nervous or feeling a little warm, it can be a good idea to wipe your face with a soft cloth to stop the shine or use a little bit of powder on your face.

  • Clothing

In terms of clothing, we recommend avoiding pinstripes or checks, as well as bright white or black clothing as these colours can affect the camera. Instead, we recommend neutral-coloured clothing when video calling if possible.

  • Seating

Although it may seem obvious, having a comfortable chair is extremely important when working from home. Investing in a quality, comfortable chair is highly recommended, as you don’t want to be uncomfortable if you are on a call for an extended period of time.

The Courts Service use of Audio Visual technology is not only the way forward but has also proven to be a viable new approach for conducting their work. By following the above steps and advice we have provided, barristers and solicitors can successfully adapt to this new approach whilst maintaining the highest level of professionalism.

“The longstanding and continuing contractual relationship between The Courts Service and Fitting Image has been one of mutual benefit, with Fitting Image proving to be an innovative, reliable and consistent partner to The Courts Service in all endeavours.”

– Rob Rogers, Head of ICT operations.

Above all, video conferencing is the way of the future and should be taken seriously. If you or your law firm would like help with your video conferencing setup, don’t hesitate to contact us at 01 460 2112 for assistance.