When taking a deposition, there are many unspoken rules of etiquette when working with a court reporter that allow them to provide the most accurate transcription possible. Whether you are a seasoned attorney or a relatively new to depositions, your court reporter will be greatly appreciative of your following these simple practices.
Location Matters. Some witnesses may be soft spoken and thus difficult to hear. Be sure to seat the court reporter close to the witness so that they can capture every word.
For the Record. Always verbalize when you are speaking on or off the record. While your tone of voice may indicate this, best practice is always to indicate verbally when you are speaking on or off the record.
Pace Yourself. Speak at a moderate pace. While court reporters are able to transcribe nearly 200 wpm, such a pace can become exhausting. Using a more moderate pace will ensure every word is transcribed accurately. This is key when reading documents into the record. Most people will read much faster than their normal speaking pace so be sure to slow down so your words are captured accurately.
Exhibit A. When entering exhibits into the record, remain silent until your reporter has finished marking exhibits. A reporter cannot mark exhibits and transcribe at the same time.
Objections. As with speaking on and off the record, objections should always be verbalized. Court reporters only transcribe spoken words. Using a hand motion to register an objection may be clear for those present in the room, however it will not register in the transcription.
Spelling and Case Sensitivity. Court reporters have a wide vocabulary spanning many industries but each case in unique. Take the time to spell out key technical terms, case sensitive material, street and city names, and witness names. You may also consider providing a reporter with a list of such key words ahead of time so that they may familiarize themselves with the terminology they are likely to encounter during transcription.
Rush It. Court reporters are used to dealing with rush transcripts and can usually accommodate your needs if you indicate them ahead of time. Remember they will need to schedule their other assignments accordingly so the more notice you can give them, the better.
Think of your court reporter as part of your team in order to anticipate their needs whether that’s speaking clearly at a moderate pace, requesting rush jobs, or assisting in clarification from witnesses.
We hope these rules of etiquette help you the next time you work with a court reporter.
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