The College of Court Reporting recently tweeted a comedic photo of a man with a huge smile, standing in front of a whiteboard with a senseless algorithm of letters and numbers on it, and the caption was “Trying to explain court reporting to pretty much anyone.” Similarly, I was talking to a friend about my position here at Planet Depos, and he was trying to understand the concept of the court reporting industry. He asked about seven or eight questions in a row, and it became quite difficult to explain it all. Some of the questions included:
Why do you need court reporters at all? You need a professionally trained court reporter to record legal proceedings so that the verbatim record is preserved accurately and impartially. If someone isn’t there to document the proceeding, each side will present their own take on what was said.
Do court reporters work only in the courtroom? In addition to official court reporters who are employed by the courts and work inside the courtroom, there are freelance court reporters who provide services through the discovery phase of litigation for depositions.
Why would an attorney schedule a videographer? While the court reporter prepares a written record, the videographer will capture body language, intonation, facial expressions, and gestures that cannot be conveyed through the written record.
Why do attorneys need to hire freelance court reporters? Can’t they just keep a reporter on their payroll? No. The court reporter is bound by a Code of Professional Ethics to serve as an impartial officer of the court who has no bias, financial or otherwise, in the outcome of the proceedings.