What Court Reporters Wish Attorneys Knew About Booking a Deposition

Every case taken on by an attorney is composed of multiple building blocks. Building blocks such as interviewing witnesses, providing helpful counsel to clients, and gathering evidence. These are just a few examples of the processes that attorneys manage. To successfully win a case, an attorney must be diligent in ensuring these processes adhere to the strictest standards in terms of accuracy, clarity, and, most importantly, legality.

Of course, one of the building blocks of a case involves partnering with a court reporting agency to hold a deposition. The duties carried out by a court reporter can play a critical role in the information-gathering process associated with a case. 

Why the Deposition Process Is So Important

Building an accurate representation of the event(s) associated with a case is critically important since the information gathered in a deposition is often used as the truth. This truth (which may or may not be completely accurate) is eventually imparted to a judge and/or a jury.

There’s always a risk a misunderstanding could occur during the translation/transcription of witness testimony and other critical information gathered in a deposition setting. Whenever a misunderstanding does occur, it adds one more inaccuracy to the story behind the case. For this reason, maintaining the highest standards and having all the tools needed to conduct an efficient and accurate deposition is essential.

Far-reaching Ramifications

Beyond the initial trial, a case’s original deposition can have a significant bearing on an appeal and whether it’s eventually won or lost. As time goes by and memories fade, those involved in the appeal case must rely even more on the accuracy and clarity of the information associated with the original deposition.

The Role of Court Reporter: A Key Component of the Justice Process 

Court reporting is and should remain an impartial component of the process of meting out justice. Professional court reporters understand this, which is one of the reasons why they rely so much on the processes that will help them produce information that is objective, accurate, timely, and precise. When court reporters are given the tools they need to do a good job, it can only help everyone involved in a case. Ultimately, a court reporter’s ability to perform well plays an important role in bringing about true justice.

4 Ways Attorneys Can Help Facilitate a Successful Deposition

If several court reporters were asked about the tools that could help increase their performance, their answers would uncover a common denominator. The common denominator is that attorneys need only make a few small changes on their part, to significantly improve the accuracy, clarity, and timeliness of the deposition process.

Preparation Is Key

Almost anyone’s job performance improves when they’re prepared, and court reporting is no exception. Simply providing the names of all the relevant attorneys involved in a case, along with the proper names of those involved in the deposition, can go a long way to increasing a court reporter’s understanding. 

Cases such as medical malpractice lawsuits, product liability cases, and those that involve intellectual property are just a few examples of cases that involve complex subject material. Cases like these can benefit from providing court reporters with certain types of information to help them prepare ahead of time. When it comes time to perform the actual deposition, having received materials in advance, such as industry-specific terminology, acronyms, etc., will only help increase their ability to listen and accurately interpret information. 

Communicate Special Circumstances or Expectations Up Front

Sometimes an attorney would like expedited service or a rough draft of the transcript. Expectations such as these can be met much more easily when communicated in a timely manner.

If a special circumstance may affect a court reporter’s ability to interpret information, it’s very helpful to disclose the circumstance before the deposition takes place. An example is when a witness has a heavy accent. Having an interpreter readily available can greatly enhance the testimony of the witness. In other instances, a witness may only speak a foreign language, which means arrangements must be made in advance for a translator. 

Facilitate Clear Speaking

It’s always a good idea for an attorney to begin a deposition by reviewing a few basic guidelines with the participants to help increase everyone’s understanding and their ability to communicate. Ideally, an attorney will remind everyone to speak as clearly as possible and in a voice loud enough so everyone can hear. They’ll also remind the group that only one person should speak at a time, which means that while one person has the floor, no interruptions from others and no side conversations are allowed. 

A good attorney will also be on the alert for information that may require further clarification. Acronyms, numbers, dates, and times are just a few components of a conversation that may require clarification. Did the witness say C&N or CNN? If someone refers to a time such as 12:30, do they mean 12:30 am or 12:30 pm?

If a witness mumbles a verbal response or responds with a hand gesture or a head nod, it’s up to the attorney to ensure the conversation doesn’t continue until this information is clarified and presented in a way that can be transcribed by the court reporter.   

Control the Pace of Information

It’s easy to get distracted during a question-and-answer period, and sometimes conversations get heated. Even so, attorneys must keep in mind that someone (the court reporter) is trying their best to listen to and record everything that’s being said. 

An attorney can control the pace of a conversation by giving a witness plenty of time to speak and then only continuing the conversation when they know the witness has finished. If the attorney didn’t understand something a witness said, chances are the court reporter didn’t either, so the witness should be asked to repeat the information.

If a witness interrupts the attorney or someone else who’s present, the attorney can remind the witness to remain silent until the other person is finished speaking.  

Related: The Advantages of Remote Depositions

A New Paradigm — The Remote Deposition Platform

As with many a crisis, both positive and negative changes were born out of the COVID-19 pandemic. The legal system, traditionally a slow adapter to change, had little choice but to take a leap and embrace the use of remote technologies. Looking back, it’s probably fair to say that the leap was far more successful than many in the legal field could have anticipated. 

Even so, some recognized the notion of infusing remote technologies into the process of taking depositions could first benefit from an analysis of the entire procedure. To this end, who better than a court reporting firm could perform a complete analysis of the traditional deposition process and transform it into an intuitive, law-abiding (legal-first) software platform?

The Logical Choice

It’s only logical that a web-based, secure court reporting platform would provide the best of all worlds for legal firms trying to save time and money in today’s legal environment while getting the efficient and accurate depositions they need. 

Professional court reporters care about the important role they play in the judicial process. It follows that no other group is better positioned to ensure that such a platform is developed with the critical features required by their profession. Features such as:

  • A strict legal-first approach throughout every phase of the development of the platform
  • Mirroring of the in-person deposition process from beginning to end, including the use of digital or electronic reporters who serve as notary, videographer, and tech expert
  • Seamlessly handling exhibits from preloading, to live marking, annotating, and witness initialing
  • Private and secure side rooms for client/attorney conversations
  • Searchable rough drafts
  • Using only certified and accredited interpreters
  • Producing a complete and accurate, certified transcript within 5-7 days if required

A complete platform would combine the entire deposition process into a single source solution. This solution would provide the services of a remote court reporter, management of the exhibits, a rough draft of the transcript, a video (synched to the transcript), and a certified transcript. 

A modern, 21st-century remote deposition platform would seamlessly and intuitively manage the entire process, from conducting the deposition and capturing the record, to the production of all related documentation. In today’s legal world, this solution is a reality and is quickly becoming an essential tool for streamlined, efficient depositions.

Related: Remote Depositions in a Post-Covid World

It’s Time to Join the Change Agents

At Remote Legal, we’ve long seen the need to embrace the idea of incorporating 21st-century technologies into the deposition process. To this end, we took the next logical step and developed a remote deposition platform — a platform designed by our own expert team. Our analysis, design, and development processes included a careful review of every step in taking a deposition to ensure we addressed every aspect of this important process. Our platform incorporates all the above-mentioned features and more, since it was designed by and for court reporting professionals.

In addition, unlike the generic (not legal-first) experiences offered by other mainstream video-conferencing technologies, we recognized the importance of ensuring that deposition information is secure and compliant at all times. Our platform safeguards all the information generated during the deposition process by encrypting everything from the streaming services and network use, to the storage of the case data.  

Our remote deposition platform represents the premier unification of the deep knowledge and expertise of a court reporting team with the latest technologies supporting legal proceedings. Join us in bringing the justice process into the 21st century. Contact us today to learn more.

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