5 Tips For Attorneys Working With Court Reporters

attorney and court reporterThe relationship between an independent court reporter and the attorney is symbiotic. Attorneys could no sooner function without court reporting than they could without judges or clients, but they tend to get in the way of the transcription process without even knowing it. Lawyers can help the court reporter enhance performance and accuracy by adhering to a few standards

Be Prepared

Many issues for the independent court reporter can be avoided with proper prep. Schedule depositions well in advance to ensure everyone has time to prepare. Prior to the proceeding, give the independent court reporter a business card and the names of all parties present. Place the reporter station near the deponent for better acoustics. Before beginning, ask all persons in the room to turn off phones and mobile devices. They can interfere with the independent court reporter equipment.

Speak Clearly

Fluency is critical to ensuring the transcription from the independent court reporter is accurate. For example, reading quotes too quickly is a common error. Enunciation, especially at the end of a sentence, and spelling out names will go a long way to preventing delays.

Leave the Exhibits

Once the proceeding completes, the independent court reporter creates the transcription that includes an index of exhibits. Give the reporter time to work with the exhibits before taking them away. If possible, add a second set just for the CRs use.

Read the Body Language

Lawyers can anticipate problems by paying attention to the independent court reporter. For example, if the reporter stops writing, halt the proceeding to see if there is a problem. If the CR looks unsure or puzzled, repeat an answer back to the deponent to ensure it is correct.

Start the Proceeding Slowly

Most deponents are nervous. Nervous people tend to speak quickly. The deponent or witness will follow the lead of the attorney. Starting slowly with forethought and intent will help anyone testifying relax. In addition, it gives the CR time to warm up and acclimate to the voices in the room.

Schedule Breaks

Court reporting is a physical job. Long depositions should include scheduled breaks to allow the independent court reporter time to organize and catch a breather. The reporter sits in a tense position during the entire proceeding. This can lead to stress injury and other physical problems. Taking breaks will keep everyone in the room speaking clearly, as well.

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