San Diego Superior Court – “Court Approved” Court Reporters – Choosing the Right Court Reporter


As I have written about in past posts, the San Diego Superior Court has laid off all civil litigation court reporters.  Attorneys need to make arrangements to bring in their own court reporter for hearings and trials.

I am proud that five of the “Court Approved” court reporters are working under the Kramm umbrella, and I have been personally going to court to report hearings to get a firsthand look at the procedures put in place to ensure efficiency in having non-employee court reporters cover the Court’s calendar.

I have put together some suggested best practices to help law firms know how to make a good decision when hiring a court reporter for court and what to expect:

  1. Hearings:  There is paperwork that the court reporter needs to provide the clerk when reporting a hearing, whether the court reporter is “Court Approved” or not.  The paperwork includes the court reporter’s CSR number, what type of Computer-Aided Transcription software they are on, et cetera.  The court reporters are responsible for bringing the paperwork to present to the clerk.
  2. Hearings:  If you have a non-Court-Approved court reporter reporting your hearing, the court reporter will bring the paperwork and ask all parties to sign a stipulation that allows the court reporter to transcribe the hearing.
  3. Hearings:  Many times there is more than one court reporter assigned to a courtroom during a Court’s law-and-motion calendar.  Your court reporter should identify herself/himself to you before the first matter and will only report your hearing (unless she/he is hired to report for another party as well).
  4. Archive:  All court reporters, “Court Approved” or not, are required to upload their stenographic notes to an offsite server that has been set up by the San Diego Superior Court.  Each court reporter is to receive their username/password so they can log on and upload their notes.
  5. At the end of the hearing, let the court reporter know whether you want a transcript or not.  Please note that the cost per page of the transcript is set out by Government Code Section 69950.
  6. Trials:  The majority of the judges must have a realtime court reporter.  Be aware that there are different levels of ability of realtime court reporters.  If your trial is complex business, patent, or contains particularly sophisticated subject matter, you will need to select your realtime court reporter carefully to ensure the judge is able to read the realtime feed.  Also, if you are planning to order rough drafts at the end of the day, you will want the drafts to be readable and usable.
  7. Trials:  Ensure that your trial court reporter knows how to produce an appeal transcript if necessary.

Choosing your court reporter in court is important.  There are many incredibly talented Certified Shorthand Reporters, both “Court Approved” and not “Court Approved,” that would do a fantastic job at your trial.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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