Achieving accuracy in court reporting requires skill on the part of the reporter and other professionals tasked with creating the record, but attorneys and others in the court or deposition room also have an important role to play. By preparing appropriately in advance and heeding some professional advice for an accurate legal record, lawyers can help ensure that the legal record reflects the truth of what transpired and supports their efforts as the case progresses and upon any future appeals.
Accurate Court Reporting: Advice for an Accurate Legal Record
This blog is the second in a series on the topic of accurate court reporting and best practices for ensuring a clean and accurate legal record. The first blog in the series focused on the role and qualifications of the court reporter. Here, we will discuss how attorneys can prepare and take action during depositions, hearings, and other proceedings to maximize the quality and veracity of the completed transcript and other legal records.
What to Consider When Scheduling a Deposition
An attorney or other individual or group in need of court reporting services should contact the desired court reporter or court reporting agency in advance to determine what services and equipment are needed. This includes identifying personnel needed (court reporter, realtime court reporter, legal videographer, interpreter).
When deciding where the deposition or hearing will take place, consider your office, the court reporter’s office, remote videoconference, or a hybrid remote and in-person setup. Choose a court reporting firm that can provide the services you need, and clarify who will be responsible for various aspects of the process.
For example, if you schedule a remote deposition with Coash & Coash Court Reporting and Video, we will work with you to determine which personnel and services are desired. If Coash & Coash Court Reporting and Video performs the setup of the videoconference, we also provide technical support and run a technical pre-check with any and all parties before the deposition begins. If an attorney opts to set up the deposition, that technical support is not available. Coash & Coash Court Reporting and Video also provides videoconference technical training upon request at no charge.
Expedited Transcripts and Special Requests
Solid advice for an accurate legal record also includes making your needs clear to the court reporter. Attorneys should work in advance with their court reporting firm to coordinate services related to any special requests, like expedited transcripts, giving clear instructions regarding your delivery needs. You may also be interested in obtaining information regarding additional costs that may be associated with various timetables for delivery of expedited transcripts or additional needs like interpreters, realtime, extra equipment for hybrid remote and in-person videoconference depositions, and videography.
Court Reporting Services: Scheduling a Deposition Out of State
If you have to take an out-of-state deposition, Coash & Coash Court Reporting and Video is a member of the National Network Reporting Company (NNRC). Coash & Coash owner and president Jerry Coash Jr. is on the NNRC board of directors. We can help you with all of your out-of-state court reporting needs through NNRC, whose members have become friends as we meet every nine months to strengthen our ties and endeavor to work together to benefit our clients who need to travel for depositions.
For Attorneys: A Court Reporter’s Advice for an Accurate Legal Record
Finally, attorneys—and anyone involved in depositions and other proceedings—can help ensure an accurate and clean legal record by maintaining awareness of the record that is being created. Court reporters may be able to capture as many as 260 words per minute (or more), but many factors can impair their ability to hear and capture what is happening. Keeping this in mind helps individuals remember to speak clearly, avoid interruptions and talking over each other, and clarify possible points of confusion or ambiguity.
Specific actions an attorney can take to help create a clean record include the following:
- Speak slowly, and endeavor to pronounce even the smallest words clearly. When reading, please, please do not speed-read. It is very difficult to articulate each word clearly when speed-reading.
- Pronounce names and technical or medical terms clearly, spelling these out if needed.
- When spelling words or using acronyms, reference a word that begins with the letter (B as in boy).
- Be clear when referencing numbers, stating the full number in question. Please state “one million three hundred fifty,” not “one three fifty.” Another good example is to state “3.121,” “30.121,” or “31.21,” all of which could be but should not be stated using the words “thirty-one twenty-one.”
- Avoid interrupting, and allow a moment before you begin speaking.
- When introducing an exhibit, at least briefly identify the document for the record to distinguish it from other similar documents, and state the Bates number if available.
- Clarify gestures and other nonverbal responses in clear terms.
- Clearly indicate beginning and end points of quotes. The court reporter can often discern the correct beginning and end but not always.
- Express any objections clearly.
- Advise the court reporter explicitly when you would like to go “off the record” and “on the record.”
Want More Advice for an Accurate Legal Record
At Coash & Coash Court Reporting and Video, we strive to provide the highest level of service to our clients. We know the importance and potential impacts of the court reporting services and resulting products we provide. If you would like additional advice for an accurate legal record or you just want to work with a firm that prioritizes client needs and services, reach out to learn more or schedule with us by calling 800-262-DEPO (3376) or completing our online contact form.