Be Mindful of U.S. Time Changes when Taking Depositions Abroad

Map from TimeandDate.comFor many people in the United States, the first weekend in November brings mixed emotions.  It’s time to “Fall Back!”  The time changes to Standard Time effectively deleting an hour of sunlight for an entire four months.  Some love the extra hour of sleep falling back brings, while others despise the loss of daylight.  According to timeanddate.com, we can thank one of our Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, for this wonderful idea for the United States, although time changes have been around as far back as the Roman Empire.  Even the set date has changed quite a few times since being instituted officially in America over 100 years ago.  Most recently, in 2007, the duration of Daylight Time was extended by approximately one month.  Presently, Daylight Time starts on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first weekend in November.  Most states follow this schedule except for most of Arizona and Hawaii.

Beyond our natural circadian rhythms getting thrown off by the change in time after living with Daylight Time, or Summer Time, for eight months out of the year, the time change is not normalized around the world!  The countries in the European Union (EU), even those who are not a part of the Union such as Norway and Switzerland, change their clocks on the last Sunday of October.  This is a full week before the United States.   To further confuse the issue, most Asian countries, such as Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, China, and Hong Kong, make no change to their time, after last giving it a shot as recently as 1979.

When planning your depositions in the Fall or Spring — around the season for the time to change — it is very important that you check when and if the time changes from Standard Time to Daylight Time, especially if videoconferencing or conducting the depositions via teleconference from the United States.  You run the risk of one of the parties either being very late or very early!  Thankfully, there are applications for most smartphones with a world clock to tell you exactly the time in other countries, but make sure you check the country’s set date to change their clocks!