What Attorneys Need to Know About Rough Draft Transcripts – Court Reporters


Because court reporters have the unique and amazing skill of writing the spoken word in realtime, one of the services a court reporter may provide is a rough draft transcript.  Attorneys can save the cost of an expedited transcript by ordering the rough at the end of a proceeding.

Eight need-to-know facts about rough drafts:

  1. Pursuant to California CCP Section 2025.540(b), When prepared as a rough draft transcript, the transcript of the deposition may not be certified and may not be used, cited, or transcribed as the certified transcript of the deposition proceedings.  The rough draft may not be cited or used in any way or at any time to rebut or contradict the certified transcript of deposition proceedings as provided by the deposition officer.
  2. Pursuant to California CCP Section 2025.220(5)  Any offer to provide the instant visual display of the testimony or to provide rough draft transcripts to any party which is accepted prior to, or offered at, the deposition shall also be made by the deposition officer at the deposition to all parties in attendance. 
  3. California CCP Section 2025.220(5) Any party or attorney requesting the provision of the instant visual display of the testimony, or rough draft transcripts, shall pay the reasonable cost of those services, which may be no greater than the costs charged to any other party or attorney.
  4. There is typically a cost to ordering a rough draft.
  5. Many court reporting firms require the order of a Certified Copy of the transcript if a rough is ordered.
  6. Some roughs are “rougher” than others.  An attorney can expect a rough draft that has minimal or no steno (perhaps only proper names or citation from documents will be in steno).  If a court reporter is offering “free roughs,” chances are the product will not be useable or helpful.  Good/clean rough drafts have tremendous value.
  7.  If a deposition or court proceeding is unusually technical, fast, or difficult, it might take a court reporter longer to get the rough out.  If you are using the same court reporter/same firm in a case, the court reporter will have built up a job dictionary of proper names and abbreviations for commonly used phrases, and will most likely be able to provide a rough within minutes.
  8. Some court reporting firms charge for a “cleaned-up rough.”  If you are receiving a realtime feed into your laptop, there is typically a fee for the realtime feed (which includes the realtime transcript in your computer).  If a party then asks for a “cleaned-up rough,” in other words, a rough draft that the court reporter has gone through and fixed the steno, misstrokes, et cetera, some court reporting firms charge a fee on top of the realtime transcript in your laptop for the “cleaned-up rough.”

The providing of rough draft transcripts is just one of the amazing services a great court reporter can provide in the world of fast-paced litigation.


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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