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The straight up from a veteran court reporter
It’s not uncommon for attorneys and their clients to forget that a court reporter is present during a deposition—after all, they sit quietly, typing away without making a sound or reacting to the testimony being given. And while it may seem very simple and straightforward, the reality is, court reporters have a lot to say – and would offer up several important tips to attorneys, if given the opportunity.
In fact, knowing these things may serve to make depositions go more smoothly and create a more accurate transcript. Here’s your chance to get this information straight from a court veteran – check out these five things all court reporters want attorneys to know about depositions:
1. Mumbling is a no-no
Before beginning a deposition, be sure to remind your client that uh-huhs and um-hums are no-nos. Court reporters can’t really write those kinds of responses and if your witness uses these phrases, you risk getting a lot of [inaudible] comments and an inaccurate transcript. It’s a good idea to stress that court reporters record every word and sound you make during a deposition, so make sure to speak clearly and loud enough to be heard properly.
2. Hold your fire when marking exhibits
If you’re one of those attorneys that keeps firing away questions while your court reporter is marking exhibits, you’re making it impossible to record things accurately. Everyone’s in a hurry these days, but when you’re doing a deposition, you can’t afford to rush. So when you ask your court reporter to mark an exhibit, take a deep breath and allow a pause before you continue with your questioning.
3. Food for thought
Court reporters are highly-skilled professionals, but they cannot be expected to record a deposition while eating. So if your deposition is going to take several hours and you plan on bringing in food to work through lunch, remember to give your court reporter a break to grab a bite and get refreshed. It’s unfair to assume that they should go on working while everyone in the room is eating.
4. Slow down and don’t quote with punctuation
If you’re reading from a document that all parties all familiar with, remember that your court reporter is most likely not. So you should never speed read anything; in many cases, this will just slow down the whole procedure because you’ll be asked to repeat yourself. Also, remember not to state punctuation like commas or parenthesis out loud, otherwise these things will be spelled out in the transcript. If quotation marks are needed for exact quotes, your court reporter will fill them in after the deposition.
5. Take turns
Remember what your mother taught you when you were a kid? The same lesson holds true in your depositions. Not only is it good manners and proper etiquette to take turns while speaking, it’s necessary to get an accurate transcript—a court reporter can’t capture who said what if everyone is talking at the same time.
For your next deposition, be mindful of these important tips that can make the process run smoothly and with the highest degree of accuracy. And if you need a real-time reporter, give us a call at 954-467-6867 or fill out our online quote request form. Our team of reporters is dedicated to providing you with the highest quality transcripts and to fulfilling all of your reporting needs, whether it’s in the courtroom or during depositions, arbitrations, mediations, or conferences.
The human factor wins out every time.
We’re living in a digital world, no doubt about it. And while every industry on the planet has experienced this change in one way or another, some benefit more than others when it comes to the use of certain technologies. In the case of court reporting versus digital recording, many industry professionals still opt for capturing the conversations, testimonies, and everything else that transpires during litigation or other legal processes with a stenographic court reporter rather than using a digital recording. The reality is that nothing can match the quality of stenographic reporting. Here’s why:
1. Whoops—didn’t mean to record THAT.
When it comes to recording events that occur during legal proceedings, digital devices are notorious for capturing conversations that were not intended to be captured. These types of accidental recordings can not only be costly mistakes; they can cost you your case. Accidents like this don’t happen when a court reporter is transcribing, because a professional only reports what he or she is instructed to.
2. He said what?
Digital recordings can be great and they can also be horrible. And when it comes to recording your next deposition or litigation proceedings, you can’t afford the latter. Unfortunately, no matter how high-tech the device is, it’s not uncommon for digital recordings to capture background noises or to provide an end product that is simply inaudible. And when these things happen, it’s almost always discovered after the proceedings have concluded, resulting in major issues, appeals, and other difficulties. On the flip side, live-in-person court reporters do not record background noises and they are trained to capture only words that are spoken and that are relevant to the proceedings.
3. Could you read that back?
When it comes to requests for a readback, which happens quite often during a court proceeding, there’s no comparison to the swiftness and accuracy that a court reporter can deliver. Because he or she is present, attentive, and on top of the testimony that’s being reported, relevant sections can be found within seconds. When using a digital recording device, however, searching through the audio to find the exact testimony requested can not only be time-consuming and arduous, in some cases, it’s just not possible.
4. One step forward—two steps back.
When it’s time for a transcript, digital recordings still have to be transcribed by a professional. So even if you were lucky enough to produce a quality recording of your proceedings, the audio file must be then given to a transcriptionist to produce the official copy. Today’s court reporters can provide a first draft of the proceedings immediately and, using real-time reporting, can show testimony within seconds of the words being spoken on computer screens right in the court room. Less steps, less time, and more cost effective.
5. Let’s review!
Reviewing a digital recording is a lengthy process that most judges and attorneys don’t have time for—if a review is needed, it entails having to listen to the entire recording. Real time court reporting gives judges and attorneys the ability to review and annotate testimony during the course of the proceedings, and court reporters can provide remarks on a computer screen or print a report onsite.
6. Where’s the research?
Using digital recording devices does not give lawyers and judges the ability to perform any research during proceedings. A court reporter, however, can not only call up depositions to compare during testimony, he or she can also access online research and communicate with expert witnesses who may be testifying remotely.
We all know that you get what you pay for, and when it comes to choosing between digital recordings or stenographic court reporting, this sentiment couldn’t be more accurate. Although some attorneys may think they’ll be saving money by using the less reliable method, the reality is, cutting corners only produces a lower quality, less accurate results. And in the case of your next case, that’s a chance you shouldn’t take.
For more useful industry information, visit our blog often and to find out why Boss Reporting is a leader in real-time court reporting services throughout South Florida. And the next time you need reporting services, give us a call at 954-467-6867 or request a free quote online.