10 things your court reporter wants you to know
…that may help you in your next deposition.
Context – When we walk in the door, assume we don’t know anything about the case. Providing spelling of proper names or technical terminology before a deposition begins can help us create a cleaner transcript the first time around, improving the quality of our readback, realtime computer-to- computer translation, and even a rough transcript, if you order one.
Who are you – Keeping in “context” with the above bullet point, it would be helpful for us if you could provide a case caption, along with your business card, to ensure we get the correct information for the cover pages of your transcript.
Neutrality – We are neutral third parties, officials of the court, and we are not supposed to give, or even have, an opinion of how we think your case is going. In reality, we only ever hear one side of the evidence, so we wouldn’t make good judges anyway!
Special Circumstances – There are many different ways a deposition can be taken. If you can let the reporter know in advance what special circumstances to expect, this will ensure that the deposition does not have to be rescheduled, and also that it will run smooth and efficiently. Examples would be “realtime,” expedites, roughs, etc.
Timeout – Short breaks every hour or two not only help us rest and stretch, but also help with our endurance throughout the day. A long day with very few breaks may actually impede the integrity of the transcript as we become fatigued, and no one wants that to happen!
Fast Talkers – Pauses in between fast talkers are invaluable. They allow us to catch up and prevent us from having to interrupt and slow everyone down. A 3- second pause in between the questions and answers can help immensely.
Arguers – Heated arguments are often unavoidable, but you should know that if you want what you’re saying on the record, you must try your best not to interrupt and talk over others. Otherwise, it is virtually impossible to get what you’re saying on the record.
Mumblers – A mumbler is usually more difficult to take down than a fast talker, so please speak up clearly, and avoid covering your mouth with your hands.
“Exhibit A” – While verbally assigning exhibit markers, please pause for just a minute to allow us to physically mark them before resuming with questioning. We can’t type and mark at the same time.
Video – Beware: Everything that can be heard on the video will be transcribed. We mean everything!
Authored by Stephanie Leslie, CSR #12893
Regal Court Reporting, Inc.
Stephanie has been a court reporter since 2004 and has co-founded Regal Court Reporting, based in Orange County, California. Her greatest passion in the court reporting field has been to mentor students and newly licensed reporters, walking them through the practical, everyday duties of a court reporter, the disciplines not always taught in school curricula. Her favorite area of law is medical malpractice, and the most fascinating thing to her about depositions is the different dynamics between counsel – from objections to witty banter commonly experienced in the proceedings.
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