The idea that a court reporter is a quiet person present at the testimony is often misleading. There are more things to be done in addition to getting the transcript produced. The court reporter has to follow up and make sure that a number of things are done from production of a transcript to delivery and follow up. The mission of many court reporting associations is maintaining professional standards of practice. Many reporters use state-of-the-art technology to achieve professional excellence.
In this article, we will cover each step of court reporting, including taking up the deposition, production of the transcript, delivery of transcript and follow up. Failures in any of these steps will cause a lot of troubles for the attorneys and for the court reporter. Most importantly the court reporting agency will not get requests from the same client if they fail in any of these steps.
Take Up the Deposition
Besides the witness and the attorneys, a court reporter attends the deposition. This person is liable to record the whole testimony. Sometimes the deposition is videotaped to be used in the trial. Although the audio recording is ok for producing the transcript, videos may be needed during the trial if the witness cannot attend the trial due to illness or disability. The court reporter should follow the attorney’s instructions and clarify in advance whether video recording is needed.
Production of Transcript
The reporter is liable to transcribe the question and answer session. If the deposition is tape recorded then the reporter transcribes it on paper later. Court reporters spend a considerable amount of time on producing the transcript. Since the transcripts are going to be signed by the witness, any missing data may cause complications and delays in producing the deposition.
Court Reporting: Delivery of Transcript and Follow Up
The reporting firm sends the transcript to the witness’s attorney or directly to the witness except in certain circumstances. A witness is given a 30-day period to read, correct and sign the deposition. The reporter should track the time and inform the attorneys that the corrections are made or if the deposition is signed.
It often happens that the reporting office never hears back from the witness. In that case, the transcript is put in a sealed envelope together with a follow-up letter and sent to the attorney who took the deposition for safekeeping. All counsels receive copies of correction pages.
In case the reporting office fails to send the transcript to the attorneys, the paralegal, secretaries and the attorneys themselves become very nervous. They will call the reporting office to find out what happened with the transcript.
Here are some of the questions for a reporting office to answer:
- Did the deponent read and make corrections?
- Did the deponent sign the certificate page?
- The number of an attorney engaged in the case. Their location.
- Does the deponent need more time to make corrections and sign the certificate page?
Sometimes the attorney may change something. The reporting firm should check with the counsel, when necessary, and find out how things are going to be handled on that specific case.
So, court reporting is not merely transcribing the question and answer session. It is more than that. If a reporting office does not follow up properly, it is more likely that the attorney will never call the office again.
Basically, these were the main steps in court reporting. Professional standards in each of these steps ensure timely and accurate production of the deposition.
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