The next time you have to travel for a deposition, hearing or a meeting with a client, keep the following in mind to ensure that your trip goes off with a hitch.
Confirm everything. Confirm everyone’s attendance - the court reporter, the witness, opposing counsel, co-defense counsel. Have your secretary call everyone and confirm that they will be there. You don’t want to find out a key party can’t attend after you’ve already boarded the plane.
Make flight arrangements early. Once you learn you have to travel, make flight arrangements. The sooner you make them, the better fares you’ll get. Also, when reserving a flight, purchase refundable tickets. Often, hearings or depositions are canceled or rescheduled at the last minute. If that happens, you don’t want to be stuck with a non-refundable ticket.
Make sure your car rental agency has its vehicles on the airport’s premises. Time is money. Make sure if you’re going to rent a car, that the car rental agency has its vehicles at the airport. Taking a shuttle to an offsite facility can be very time consuming.
Get a weather report. Check the weather to ensure you’ll be dressed appropriately. Traveling from Miami to New York in January requires a change in wardrobe.
Find convenient accommodations. Instead of staying at a hotel near the airport, find a place close to the deposition or hearing site, to ensure you arrive with plenty of time.
Get detailed directions. Before you leave the office, get detailed directions from the airport to your hotel and from your hotel to the deposition or hearing site. And don’t rely on Mapquest. Online map sites can be wrong and confusing. Call ahead and obtain detailed directions directly from the hotel or the court reporter’s office.
Prepare an itinerary. Have your secretary prepare an itinerary that has all your travel arrangements, directions and any other relevant information. This one-page reference source will prove very useful as you from one from place to the next.
Take everyone’s phone numbers. Have everyone’s phone numbers, from the court report to opposing counsel, in case you need to reach them for any reason.
Allow plenty of time. Whenever you travel, allow plenty of time to get there. Assume there will be traffic, that airport security will be slow, that weather will be bad and that flights will get delayed. Plan accordingly.
Pack snacks. Sometimes you won’t have time to grab lunch when you’re running from the airport to your deposition. Pack some protein or snack bars in your briefcase in case of such an emergency.
Take extra work. Because you’ll be giving yourself plenty of time when you travel, you’ll face some dead time in the airport. Take extra work with you so you don’t lose precious billable time. A lot of things can go wrong when you travel for work. You can avoid most problems by planning ahead. Plan wisely.