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Participating in a Zoom Video Conference

Last updated: Tuesday, May 5, 2020, 11:00 AM CDT

Important: Any recording of a court proceeding held by video or teleconference, including “screen-shots” or other visual copying of a hearing, is absolutely prohibited. Violation of these prohibitions may result in sanctions, including removal of court-issued media credentials, restricted entry to future hearings, denial of entry to future hearings, or any other sanctions deemed necessary by the court.

If you will be a case participant (aka “panelist”) in a Zoom video conference with the court (i.e., an attorney, debtor, witness, case party, etc.), please follow the guidance below, as adequate preparation and testing of the system will help ensure a good experience for everyone involved. Case participants/panelists will receive login information directly from the court. Panelist login information is not public and must not be shared with anyone other than the appearing attorneys and other direct participants in the court proceeding.

For security and enforcement of court standards, the court may disable some Zoom interactions (such as chat, screen share, whiteboard, Q&A, raise hand, react, etc.).

The court will not provide technical support for Zoom participants or attendees. Please contact the Zoom Help Center, your local IT support, or other online guidance.

Order Establishing Video Conference Hearings

All parties wishing to attend videoconference hearings must provide notice to the court as described in Standing Order 2020-4. Parties with multiple cases set for the same hearing date may submit a single notice listing each case number in the body of the email.

Exhibits for video conference hearings

Any exhibits that will be introduced at a video hearing must be submitted to the court at least three (3) days prior to the hearing by email to orders@lamb.uscourts.gov. The email subject must include the case number and "Exhibits." Each party shall combine its exhibits into one pdf document, and each individual exhibit shall be bookmarked for easy review by the court. All parties shall submit their exhibits to the court separately, and copies of exhibits submitted should also be sent to opposing counsel.

Zoom Account and Software

  1. Participants: If you do not already have a Zoom account, set one up at https://zoom.us. A paid Zoom account is not necessary for any interaction with the court. Attendees do not need a Zoom account, but it does make using the system easier.
  2. Log into https://zoom.us/profile and set your name, phone and email. Including a photo will help identify you when connecting. Attendees do not need a Zoom profile or to provide any identity information, but it does make using the system easier. 
  3. Install the latest Zoom Client for Meetings at https://zoom.us/download. Although Zoom can be used in a browser only, it is very limited. The full Zoom client is required for best functionality and best experience with the system.

Zoom Settings

Zoom has a lot of settings, and as the system updates, certain aspects or features may change. Below are a few settings recommended by the court to improve your video conference.

  • 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)

If you are participating on a computer, a few helpful shortcuts can make it easier to manage your participation:

  • Alt+F1: Switch to active speaker view in video meeting (see only the person actively speaking at the moment)
  • Alt+F2: Switch to gallery video view in video meeting (see up to 49 participants on screen)
  • Alt+V: Start/Stop your own video
  • Alt+A: Mute/unmute your own audio

Recommendations and Decorum

Please follow typical courtroom decorum as if you were physically present in court. The following recommendations will ensure every participant is able to hear and be heard clearly during a video conference:

  1. Mute your phone, and mute all sounds from all other applications (email notifications, chat messaging, etc.).
  2. Avoid using battery power only (laptops, etc.). Plug into a good power source while in a Zoom meeting.
  3. Unless you’ve confirmed the quality is sufficient, avoid using an open microphone and speakers, such as those that are built-into laptops or a webcams. Using a good quality headset (headphones with mic) will often help ensure you can be heard, and can hear others with maximum quality.
  4. Avoid noisy and echoing locations. Use of a headset will improve audio quality when this is unavoidable.
  5. Avoid using speakerphone if dialing in using phone audio. Hold the phone up to your ear, or use a headset with a microphone.
  6. Avoid distracting real or virtual backgrounds. 
  7. Avoid poor camera positioning (if possible). Try to frame yourself so you take up most the screen, at eye level.
  8. Avoid running any unnecessary applications besides Zoom, to conserve your computer’s processing power and networking.
  9. For home networks, if possible, avoid sharing your internet service with others during the session (for example, streaming video or gaming on the same network while participating on a Zoom call).
  10. Formal court dress is not required for court video conferences; however, parties appearing in video conferences with the court should avoid distracting or inappropriate clothing that would be visible during a video conference.

Preparing for a Court Session on Zoom

Before Every Court Session using Zoom

  1. Connect your device to power.
  2. Make sure your internet connection is good: https://www.pcworld.com/article/2048594/how-to-test-your-home-internet-speed.html
  3. Test your video.
  4. Test your audio.
  5. Turn off all audio disruptions (phones, messaging alerts, email alerts, etc.)
  6. Run a quick test to connect with another Zoom user, or use the Zoom test: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/115002262083-Joining-a-test-meeting

If you are experiencing poor internet connectivity that affects the quality of your audio, the Judge or Courtroom Deputy may ask you to switch to "Phone Audio" in Zoom, so that the official court record remains clear and audible. Please reference these instructions to switch from Computer Audio to Phone Audio during a Zoom meeting (PDF).

Public and Media Access

The public may access court proceedings telephonically through the AT&T Teleconference system. During a scheduled court proceeding:

  1. Dial 1-888-684-8852.
  2. Enter the access code 1939988 and follow the prompts.
  3. All lines are muted and will remain in listen-only mode.

Additional Resources

The court will likely use only the audio and video functionality of Zoom. Other functions such as screen sharing, etc., will likely be disabled for your session, and you need only learn the basics of observing or participating in a Zoom meeting by audio or video. Consult the following sources to learn how to select the correct audio and video source, how to mute/unmute your audio, and and how to Start/Stop your video:

  1. Video: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/sections/200521865-Video
  2. Audio: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/sections/200319096-Audio
  3. Learn how to easy mute/unmute with Push to talk: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/360000510003-Push-to-Talk
  4. Hot Keys and Keyboard Shortcuts to start/stop video, mute, etc.: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/205683899-Hot-Keys-and-Keyboard-Shortcuts-for-Zoom