Policy and Procedure for Appearances by Zoom

Important Notice to the Media and Public

Persons granted remote access to hearings and other proceedings held before the Court via Zoom or any other communication service are reminded that recording, photographing, rebroadcasting or retransmission of such proceedings (including streaming, screen-shots or any other audio or video reproduction) is absolutely prohibited by policy of the Judicial Conference of the United States. 

A violation of these prohibitions is subject to sanctions, including but not limited to removal of court‐issued media credentials, restricted access to future hearings, or any other sanctions deemed necessary by the Court. See Third Amended General Order 38.

Please note the following applicable to Zoom hearings held before the Court: 

Zoom hearings may be limited to a total number of participants.

The Zoom Webinar format does not include “breakout rooms,” or any comparable means for Panelists or Attendees to talk among themselves.  To confer with a client, an attorney or another person during a hearing do so by means outside of Zoom, such as phone, email, or text.

For security and enforcement of Court standards, the Court may disable some Zoom features.

The Court will not provide technical support for Zoom Panelists or Attendees.  Please contact the Zoom Help Center, your local IT support, or other online guidance.

Connect your device to a reliable power source.  Avoid using battery power only. 

Make sure your internet connection is good.  Click this link to test your internet connection speed.  https://www.pcworld.com/article/2048594/how-to-test-your-home-internet-speed.html

Test your video and audio.  Run a quick test to connect with another Zoom user, or click this link to use the Zoom test: https://zoom.us/test.

Turn off all audio disruptions on your device (phone, messaging alerts, email alerts, etc.)

The court is offering specialized training to prepare you for your upcoming zoom hearing. Each session is 30-40 minutes. Please use the date links below to register for a training course.

Training Pre-requisites:

  1. Review materials on how to join your live training.
  2. Smartdevice or Audio/Visual capability.

Training dates:

September


Friday, September 25th at 10:00 AM


Wednesday, September 30th at 10:00 AM

 

October

Friday, October 2nd at 10:00 AM

Monday, October 5th at 10:00 AM

Friday, October 9th at 10:00 AM

Wednesday, October 14th at 10:00 AM

Friday, October 16th at 10:00 AM

Monday, October 19th at 10:00 AM

Friday, October 23rd at 10:00 AM

Monday, October 26th at 10:00 AM

Wednesday, October 28th at 10:00 AM

 

Be on time. Connect at a minimum 15 minutes prior to the start of the hearing.

Unless otherwise instructed, all parties appearing before the court must wear business casual attire.

Test your audio and video before connecting to the hearing.

Mute yourself when not speaking.

Be aware of your visual appearance, during the hearing you may be visible to the Court and all other Panelists and Attendees.

Avoid using WiFi. Connection via a hard-wire Ethernet cable is faster and more reliable than WiFi. If you must use WiFi, make sure you are in close range.

Avoid running any unnecessary applications besides Zoom, to conserve your device’s processing power and networking capability.

When connecting via a home network avoid sharing your internet service with others during the hearing.

Mute all sounds from all other applications (email notifications, chat messaging, etc.).

Avoid using a mobile device. Although tablets (iPads) and smartphones can be used they are limited, and the performance is inferior.

Unless you have 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 a microphone) will often help ensure you can be heard, and can hear others with maximum quality.

Avoid noisy and echoing locations. Use of a headset will improve audio quality when this is unavoidable.

Avoid using real or simulated backgrounds with distracting colors or images.

Avoid heavy backlighting and any lighting that overly darkens or lightens your screen image.

Avoid poor camera positioning. Try to frame yourself so you take up most the screen, at eye level.

Look into the camera.

Pay attention to what is happening during the hearing.

Avoid excessive movement to avoid distracting others.

Zoom hearings before the Court use the Zoom Webinar format. In this format a hearing participant (for example a party to a case such as a debtor or a creditor, an attorney representing a party, or a witness) is referred to as a “Panelist.” A hearing non-participant, someone attending to listen or observe (for example a member of the press or public) is referred to as an “Attendee.”

A Zoom account is not required to connect to a Zoom hearing held before the Court.

Information to connect to a specific Zoom hearing, consisting of a link, phone numbers, a Webinar ID and a password may be entered as a “Notice of Zoom Hearing” on the applicable bankruptcy case or adversary proceeding docket and accessible via PACER, or may be provided on the assigned judge’s calendar.

From a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android device, click on the hearing link to connect to a Zoom hearing.  Follow the prompts to save (download) and launch the Zoom file.

Enter your email address and name.  Select Join Webinar.  If you receive a password prompt, enter the password specified for the hearing.

Connecting to a Zoom hearing may also be made from an iPhone by using the phone number one-tap feature, or from any phone by directly dialing a listed phone number and entering the Webinar ID provided for the specific Zoom hearing. 

NOTE: Connecting to a Zoom hearing by a phone number is listen only.  To speak to the Court at a hearing the connection must by via the link provided for the specific Zoom hearing.

Connecting to a Zoom hearing begins approximately 15 minutes before the scheduled start time posted for the hearing. 

After connecting to the Zoom hearing, if naming instructions are posted on the screen follow the instructions to identify yourself for the courtroom deputy.

Initially all persons connected into a Zoom hearing are an Attendee.  An Attendee can see and hear the judge and courtroom deputy, but no one can see or hear an Attendee.  When it is time for an Attendee to speak the courtroom deputy will change the Attendee’s status to Panelist.  A Panelist is visible on screen and can be heard by the judge, the courtroom deputy and all other Panelists and Attendees.

An Attendee wanting to speak with the Court during or at the end of a Zoom hearing may click the “Raise Hand” feature.  The courtroom deputy may then open a chat with the Attendee and may place the Attendee in “allow to talk” mode or change the Attendee’s status to Panelist.  In “allow to talk” mode an Attendee is heard but not visible on the screen.

For information about using Zoom go to Zoom Support at https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us

Although a Zoom account is not necessary to connect to a Court hearing, if you use a Zoom account to connect to a hearing follow the recommended account settings listed below. (Log into your Zoom account, click Profile Picture > Settings):

Under the General option:

“Ask me to confirm when I leave a meeting” - Set to “ON” 

This helps prevent unintended departures from a Zoom hearing.

Under the Video option:

“Enable HD” - Set to “OFF”

This helps prevent poor video performance.

“Always display participant names on their video” - Set to “ON”

This helps the Court identify Panelists and Attendees.

“Always show video preview dialog when joining a video meeting” - Set to “ON”

This provides a final check before your video displays to others.