Court reporters offer an invaluable service to lawyers who often rely on the depositions they produce to build their case. Once you have partnered with a court reporter, there are many ways you can assist them to make the process accurate and efficient for everyone involved.
Tips to Help Your Court Reporter
Your court reporter is trained and experienced in capturing the spoken word. However, that individual is new to your case and may not be familiar with your individual needs and expectations. To make things run smoothly, here are some things you, or members of your firm, may want to do:
- Provide a delivery date and time for the first transcript. Include specific details, such as how you expect to get the transcript delivered.
- Be mindful of the session length. Court reporters need breaks, just as do witnesses and lawyers.
- Send a service list and case caption, in order to expedite the information-gathering process at the site of the deposition.
- Provide an extra case caption to the court reporter if necessary.
- Offer a list of industry-specific words or technical terminology you may expect the witness to use. The list should be provided to the reporter before the testimony begins, in order to ensure a correct transcript.
- Properly mark all exhibits to eliminate any potential confusion.
These are small steps, but they make a big difference to your court reporter. A good working relationship means you will get a timely and accurate transcript upon which you can rely.
During the course of the deposition, it helps your court reporter if you guide the activities of the individuals present. The proceeds are formal, and the court reporter has to take a complete and consistent record of what has happened. Here are some tips to help:
- Ask the witness to speak slowly, in particular when reading a document. For many people who are not in a legal environment every day, there is a tendency to mumble or rush through written documents. To get the best transcript, emphasize the need to be slow and clear.
- Keep it professional. Your court reporter needs to know what to include in the transcript, and will assume everything is on the record until told it is not.
- Mind your pacing. The process runs more smoothly if you wait for the witness to finish answering one question before starting another. It also makes for a transcript that’s easier to read.
- Instruct any interpreters to speak in the first person.
Since information is key, it will help you in the long run to make sure the dialogue in the deposition is easy for the court reporter to follow and record.
If you want a court reporter for a real-time deposition, let them know ahead of time. Since this is a human process, events may go overtime. In that case, your court reporter wants to have made arrangements ahead of time in order to accommodate your session.