Some law firms give little thought to the court reporting firms they use for litigation. They may assume that all firms have court reporters who are similarly trained and experienced, or they may stick with a court reporting service they have traditionally used without assessing whether the reporters are meeting the law firm’s needs in the most effective way. The reality is that choosing a highly experienced court reporter can make the deposition process easier, decrease the stress of your legal team and clients, ensure the accuracy and integrity of the record, and save time and money for everyone involved.
When you are choosing the right court reporting firm to support your depositions, it can help to ask the following questions about their reporters, among others.
Is the court reporter professional and confident in their work?
It is of utmost importance that a court reporter presents themselves in a secure and professional manner throughout the entire deposition. Of course, this involves showing up on time and turning transcripts around promptly. Perhaps more importantly, it is critical for the accuracy of the record that your court reporter is assertive and in control of the deposition—for example:
- If the court reporter does not hear something clearly, he or she should ask the deponent or attorney to repeat what was said
- If the court reporter does not know how to spell a term that was said, he or she should ask for the spelling
- Court reporters should never hesitate to ask whether something is on or off the record
As an officer of the court, the court reporter has a duty to ensure the accuracy of the record—the accuracy of the reporter’s work can have an impact on issues as important as settlement negotiations and examination and cross-examination of witnesses. It’s critical that counsel use professional, well-regarded, and experienced court reporters for their depositions.
Does the reporter have experience working in highly technical litigation?
Many law firms who regularly use court reporting services handle complex litigation, and having the right court reporter can be invaluable. Cases involving mass torts, pharmaceuticals, medical malpractice, intellectual property, or similar issues will involve highly technical terminology with which the court reporter should be familiar. This helps ensure a complete and accurate record that you can rely on in the event of a trial or an appeal.
Does the court reporter have access to technology to improve the deposition experience?
Court reporting firms in today’s society have access to many types of technology that can increase the convenience and reliability of the deposition process. Some tools a high-quality court reporting firm should provide include:
- In-house videographers who can assist in capturing non-verbal aspects of the depositions
- Videoconferencing for long-distance depositions, which helps avoid the expense and time of travel
- Real-time transcription technology so attorneys can see the text within seconds to help ensure accuracy and allow for clarifications during the proceeding
To maximize efficiency, law firms should make sure to choose a full-service court reporting firm. The last thing you need to do is spend time working with a different vendor for each aspect of your deposition. Seek a court reporting service that provides not only top-notch reporters but also the full-service assistance you need for a successful deposition.