Court reporters are amazing. Having worked with them myself for close to a decade now, I can say this without hesitation. They build massive subject-matter dictionaries, they keep a good poker face, meet crazy quick deadlines, they stay on top of the latest technology, and are consummate professionals. Court reporters, however, for all their amazing powers, are not magical. Put a few protocols into practice, though, and you will wonder if your court reporter is at least a little bit magical.
The first thing you should do to give your court reporter an edge is send them prep materials. Remember that dictionary they build? The more names and terminology relevant to your case they have, the better. Patents, expert reports, etc., are examples of materials the conscientious court reporter longs for when preparing for your depositions. This is even more true for depositions in big case matters, or any deposition requiring realtime. Keep in mind, the earlier you send these precious documents, the better, and there is no such thing as too many preparation materials.
Speaking of documents, the most important to the court reporter is the Notice of Deposition. This saves time and trouble on the day of the deposition. With the Notice supplied ahead of time, the reporter already knows the parties and appearances before the deposition and doesn’t need to bother counsel for this basic case information. With so many depositions taking place virtually, it can be tricky for the court reporter to get all the information from counsel at the time of the deposition, so the Notice is immensely helpful if your deposition will be remote!
Those are the things to take care of prior to the deposition. At the conclusion of the deposition, the court reporter expects the read and sign instructions to the witness to be provided by counsel. The court reporter is bound by a professional code of ethics to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Even a suggestion by the court reporter to the witness that he or she has the right to read and sign may breach this code by intercepting the strategy of one of the parties. It is worth noting that if the witness does not waive his or her right to read and sign and the transcript is not ordered by either party, a transcript will not be produced until one of the parties requests it.
A good court reporter makes all the difference in the deposition room. Good reporters are at the top of their game when they have everything they need to prepare ahead of time, and can focus 100% on fulfilling their role, preserving the record. To that end, make these good calls and protocols your own.