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Zoom court appearance prep: Check for cat filters

Now that a lawyer has appeared as a kitten in a Zoom court hearing, we can add another item to the list of Zoom hearing best practices: Check the webcam for filters before joining the meeting.

Last week an attorney accidentally joined a video conference of a civil forfeiture court hearing while using a webcam filter that made him look like a confused white kitten.

“I’m here live. I’m not a cat,” Presidio County Attorney Rod Ponton told Judge Roy Ferguson.

“I can see that,” replied Ferguson, whose district covers five counties in West Texas, including the town of Marfa from which Ponton was calling.

The short video clip, which was shared online by Ferguson, ends with others coaching the attorney on how to remove the cat filter.

The judge said on Twitter: “These fun moments are a by-product of the legal profession’s dedication to ensuring that the justice system continues to function in these tough times. Everyone involved handled it with dignity, and the filtered lawyer showed incredible grace. True professionalism all around!”

Ponton said he has received calls from around the world and has appeared on national television. “I always wanted to be famous for being a great lawyer. Now I’m famous for appearing in court as a cat,” he said.

So, when setting up a Zoom session for an attorney remember to:

  1. Select a location that is relatively quiet and manageable.
  2. Connect the device to power.
  3. Make sure the internet connection is good. Connection via a hard-wire Ethernet cable will always be faster and more reliable than WiFi.
  4. Test the video. If you use virtual backgrounds, select something neutral.
  5. Test the audio. Know how to mute and unmute the voice as well as sounds from all other applications (email notifications, chat messaging, etc.).
  6. Turn off all audio disruptions (phones, messaging alerts, email alerts, etc.)
  7. Run a quick test to connect with another Zoom user, or use the Zoom test:
  8. And, now, check for cute filters, especially if there is a chance a child has been using the computer.










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