CA CCP 2025.510(a) - Court Reporters

CA CCP 2025.510(a) Court Reporters Transcribe Depositions

Last month I was a court reporter for an all-day deposition. At the end of the day, as I was packing up, I overheard an attorney mention the case might settle.  In an effort to do the right thing, I offered to hold my notes and not transcribe the deposition for a few days to save everyone money.  BIG MISTAKE.  I had this conversation with only one party being present.  The attorney was grateful for the offer and agreed to let me know if they would need the transcript.

Our firm’s turnaround time of transcripts is seven business days. On the tenth day, the attorney that was not present for the “hold notes” conversation after the deposition called wanting to know what was going on, “Is there gamesmanship happening?  We count on your firm getting the transcript out at least by the tenth day.  Why isn’t the transcript out yet?”

CA CCP 2025.510(a) states: “Unless the parties agree otherwise, the testimony at any deposition recorded by stenographic means shall be transcribed.”

I apologized to the attorney, admitted I had made a mistake in offering to save the parties money, and promised to get the transcript out immediately.

While my intent was to do the right thing, save litigation costs, I was wrong and should have thought of the consequences of not having all parties present for the conversation.

It is also interesting to note, CA CCP 2025.510(b) states: “The party noticing the deposition shall bear the cost of the transcription, unless the court, on motion and for good cause shown, orders that the cost be borne or shared by another party.”

In the above scenario, if the attorney whom had asked me not to transcribe my notes asked me to never transcribe my notes, and the other side wanted the transcript, the noticing attorney who didn’t want the transcript would be responsible for payment unless the court orders otherwise.

Being a great court reporter means to always be conscious and transparent in every agreement and conversation.

@rosaliekramm (Twitter)

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Arbitration conference room - Kramm Court Reporting

New California Law Certified Shorthand Reporters at Arbitrations – CCCP 1282.5

Governor Brown approved Senate Bill 1007 which gives a party to an arbitration the right to have a Certified Shorthand Reporter transcribe any deposition, proceeding, or hearing as the official record. The bill was authored by Senator Bob Wieckowski, who states, “People are often forced into binding private arbitration just by purchasing common goods or services, so it’s especially important for their protection that a court reporter is present to transcribe the proceedings and create an official record.” And as Larry Doyle, legislative representative of the Conference of California Bar Associations, opines, “In arbitrations, as in all legal proceedings, the existence of a reporter’s transcript can be absolutely essential to obtaining justice.”  Doyle goes on to say, “Without such a record, the reviewing court must assume that the arbitration award is correct, even if the record – if it existed – might clearly show error or misconduct.”

The bill sets forth the following:

  1. The bill would require a party requesting a Certified Shorthand Reporter to make his or her request in a demand, response, answer, or counterclaim related to the arbitration, or at a pre-hearing scheduling conference at which a deposition, proceeding or hearing is being calendared.
  2. The bill would also require the party requesting the transcript to incur the expense of the Certified Shorthand Reporter, except as specified in a consumer arbitration.
  3. The bill would authorize a party whose request has been refused by the arbitrator to petition the court for an order to compel the arbitrator to grant the party’s request to have a Certified Shorthand Reporter transcribe any deposition, proceeding, or hearing, and for an order to stay any deposition, proceeding, or hearing pending the court’s determination of the petition.

Now CCCP 1282.5 reads as follows:

1282.5. (a)(1) A party to an arbitration has the right to have a Certified Shorthand Reporter transcribe any deposition, proceeding or hearing.  The transcript shall be the official record of the deposition, proceeding, hearing.

(2) A party requesting a Certified Shorthand Reporter shall make his or her request in or at either of the following:

(A) A demand for arbitration, or a response, answer, or counterclaim to a demand for arbitration.

(B) A pre-hearing scheduling conference at which a deposition, proceeding, or hearing is being calendared.

(b) If an arbitration agreement does not provide for a Certified Shorthand Reporter, the party requesting the transcript shall incur the expense of the Certified Shorthand Reporter. However, in a consumer arbitration, a Certified Shorthand Reporter shall be provided upon request of an indigent consumer, as defined in Section 1284.3, at the expense of the nonconsumer party.

(c) If an arbitrator refuses to allow a party to have a Certified Shorthand Reporter transcribe any deposition, proceeding, or hearing pursuant to this section, the party may petition the court for an order to compel the arbitrator to grant the party’s request.  The petition may include a request for an order to stay any deposition, proceeding, or hearing related to the arbitration pending the court’s determination of the petition.

(d) This section does not add grounds for vacating an arbitration award pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 1286.2 or for correcting an arbitration award pursuant to Section 1286.6.

Certified Shorthand Reporters are an invaluable part of the judicial process.

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Attorneys - Depositions -
Consciousness

Attorneys – Deposition Transcripts – Consciousness

A common topic at court reporting conferences around the country is attorney consciousness and how attorneys seem to be less aware or even care about the record than in the past; that there are two types of attorneys, attorneys who are conscious of the record and attorneys who are not. I believe all attorneys want and need a good record, but many are not aware of what is happening while a deposition is taking place and get caught up in the moment, wanting to fulfill their mission to get testimony as advocates for their cause.

Conscious attorneys are mindful of each word. Their questions are grammatically correct, don’t contain double negatives, and are a full and complete thought.  When attorneys interrupt the witness or allow the witness to interrupt them, or there is constant talking at the same time, and there is a series of incomplete questions and answers, later on if that deposition testimony is read or shown to a judge and jury, it is going to be confusing.  Recently I have heard anecdotal stories by reporters saying that they will ask for people to speak one at a time and are told to just deal with it, “You can fix it later.”

As a way to learn how to make a clean record, I suggest to young attorneys that they request a real-time court reporter for a deposition or two (or more if the budget allows). It does cost more to have a real-time court reporter, but it is a great way to watch the record unfold, have a chance to pause, and actually read the record to ensure you have what you need with a clean question and answer.

Seasoned, successful attorneys typically make a beautiful record. It is a joy to report attorneys who are conscious of the record.

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Filing the deposition with court - CA CCP

Old-Fashioned Court Reporter?

I have been a Certified Shorthand Reporter for 34 years. When I got out of school, court reporters were still dictating their notes.  There were no computers.  When court reporters were first giving out rough drafts, I thought that was crazy.  Why would an attorney want a transcript that wasn’t perfect?  And then I heard about real-time reporting and thought that would never work.  Why in the world would I let an attorney see my raw writing?  It would be embarrassing.

Now I give out rough drafts and write real-time weekly, including streaming the transcript to remote sites.

BUT I have a feeling I might be old-fashioned in some of my thinking. The new norm is many court reporting firms are owned by non-court reporters, and new court reporters are trained how to punctuate by proofers.  My old-fashioned thinking is they need a court reporter to read their transcripts and teach them the nuances of punctuating a transcript, what to Global, and how to use parentheticals.  Modern reporters who wish to be great will go to seminars put on by their state associations and NCRA, and also might choose to learn online from the brilliant Margie Wakeman Wells on her website Margie Holds Court.  Margie’s website is a tremendous resource with webinars and one-on-one trainings available.  I didn’t know Margie’s website existed until a young reporter asked me if I thought that would help her with her English grammar.  I said, “Absolutely, yes.”

Another old-fashioned idea I have is that court reporters who become licensed shouldn’t put themselves out to be real-time reporters until they have at least two years under their belt. I believe most real-time depositions or trials are going to have complex, sophisticated subject matter, and a new reporter needs time to build speed, stamina, and a sophisticated dictionary.  I understand a new court reporter might have the knowledge to connect computers and send real-time, but my current belief system is that writing thousands of pages and having on-the-job experience would be a prerequisite to successful real-time reporting.  Maybe I am wrong.

As of three years ago, I thought that a court reporter getting out of school had to decide between working in court or freelance and report depositions. With the laying off of court reporters in civil courtrooms in California, the reporters have any option to be a hybrid and do both.  I find many court reporters are still choosing court or depositions, but as time goes on, I have met many young reporters who have a desire to choose court or depositions on any given day.

It has struck me in the last couple of weeks that there are a lot of new ways of doing things, and I am behind. I know a lot about real-time technology, electronic exhibits in depositions, and trial technologies.  I know about social media, connecting with LinkedIn or Facebook, but I am wondering what I don’t know.

My goal is to search out what I don’t know, and my plan is to talk to court reporters around the country at the NCRA convention in Chicago next month and ask them, “What’s happening?”

@rosaliekramm

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Proofer court reporters' transcript.

Seven Tips for Newly Licensed Court Reporters

I have the privilege of working with newly licensed San Diego California Certified Shorthand Reporters. I am extremely proud of their writing ability and the fact they are not scared to learn and use the sophisticated functionality of their CAT software. I consider myself to be their coach.  My goal is their total success throughout their careers, wherever their incredible talent takes them.

In my coaching I have noticed a couple of issues that seem to come up that might be confusing.   Some of the tips would only relate to San Diego or California transcripts and might not apply to other parts of the country.

Tips:

  1. San Diego case numbers are extremely long, for instance, 2015-0000329-CU-PT-CTL. The case number is too long to follow the caption and fit on a line. What reporters do is divide the number up, 2015-000329-, second line CU-PT-CTL.
  2. For the certificate page, the court reporter signs their name on the signature line, and the date line should have the date of your signature, not the date of the job.
  3. Attorneys in Southern California will ask reporters to leave a blank for the witness to fill in, for instance, asking for a telephone number of a doctor. The reporter would leave a blank in a parenthetical format: (Information Requested: ______________________________________.) The index for the transcript would index the request:
  4. INFORMATION REQUESTED TO BE PROVIDED:                                                                               PAGE
  1. Telephone number of doctor                                                                                                                            23
  1. Women are known as Ms. (not Mrs. or Miss). Unless someone says “Mrs.” or “Miss” In a transcript, women are all referred to as Ms. In colloquy it will always be MS. JONES, never MRS. JONES or MISS JONES. If someone asked me to refer to her as MRS. JONES in colloquy, I would do it, but in the past 35 years no one has asked me to do so.
  2. Unlike school, attorneys won’t always sit where they are supposed to, on the left side of the table for plaintiff and right side of the table for defendant. My suggestion is to wait until the attorneys sit down and then assign the left or right bank to their name rather than if they represent the plaintiff or defendant. This is especially important if you have many attorneys present representing cross-plaintiffs, cross-defendants, or third parties.
  3. For some reason possessive seems to be tricky. The only time you write it’s is if the word is a conjunction, and it could read it is. “It’s” is never possessive, for instance, I love it’s hat. (wrong)
  4. Use the California State Bar Attorney search to find elusive phone numbers and email addresses of attorneys. Save it as a FAVORITE. Attorneys have to keep their information current on the site or risk losing their license.

I wish all newly licensed court reporters great success. Please know that experienced reporters all over the country are relying on you to take up the gauntlet and keep our industry alive and strong.  You have our support.  Ask questions.  We need you.

@rosaliekramm (twitter)

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Linda Pool Wins Disney Race

Five Tips For Success and Opportunity – Attorneys, Court Reporters…

In the last few months I have been approached by an attorney who just passed the bar, a financial planner that is selling for a large insurance company, a 53-year-old woman who was just laid off after 29 years working at a grocery store, and a newly licensed Certified Shorthand Reporter, all asking if I had any advice about networking and finding opportunity.  I know from experience certain things, but I wanted to give them “scientific, expert” advice.  Therefore, I did some research and found the following:

  1. A 10th of a Second: A series of experiments by Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov reveal that all it takes is a tenth of a second to form an impression of a stranger from their facial expression and how they present themselves.  You need to be 100 percent ready the moment you walk in the room, smiling, dressed appropriately, and with a positive attitude.
  2. Adjust your attitude:   In a recent Forbes article, Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D., business coach advises, “People pick up your attitude instantly. Before you turn to greet someone, or enter the boardroom, courtroom, or deposition, think about the situation and make a conscious choice about the attitude you want to embody.”  Before you get in the room think to yourself, “It’s show time,” and get energized.
  3. Straighten your posture: Goman also writes, “Status and power are nonverbally conveyed by height and space. Standing tall, pulling your shoulders back, and holding your head straight are all signals of confidence and competence.”
  4. Physical Contact: Reading, “Psychology of a Handshake,” it states, “A good handshake relates positively to extroversion and emotional expressiveness like sociability and friendliness, while a limp handshake is regarded negatively, as being indicative of shyness, neuroticism, and introversion.  Learn how to give a firm, friendly handshake.
  5. Use the Person’s Name:  As Dale Carnegie states, “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”  There is a great article that talks about everything from using someone’s name you meet at a party to an email I found in the Washington Post, “Career Coach:  The Power of Using a Name.”

These five pieces of advice are all doable.  They are physical and practical.  Once a person has their degree, certification, or diploma, I believe you have the tools to embrace opportunity.  The key is to go forth and “do it.”  Congratulations to all of the newly licensed court reporters, attorneys, financial planners – everyone in the workforce.  I wish all of you great success in your careers.

 

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Court Reporters Punch Fear

Court Reporters Punch Fear in the Face

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of it,” said Victor Hugo.

Being a court reporter takes so many skillsets: the ability to write 250+ words per minute accurately, having the intelligence to understand words spoken by every type of expert in the world talking about every subject from mold remediation to DNA sequencing of the human genome, and having to, upon occasion, interact with high-maintenance individuals.

The type of person that becomes a great court reporter is the type of person who knows how to face their fear and master it.

When a person makes the decision to go to court reporting school, they have to take into account only 10 percent of the students actually graduate. They know it could take two, four, six or eight years to become licensed.  To go to court reporting school takes courage and determination, and I would suggest those who face any fear they might have about going to court reporting school, ignore the naysayers that worry for the student and ask, “What is wrong?  Why aren’t you done yet?” have a great career ahead of them.

When a person is first licensed to be a court reporter, there is a fear of all of the “firsts,” first deposition, first hearing, first I.M.E., first arbitration… Great court reporters put their heads down, ask for advice from more seasoned reporters, and take the job.  After 34 years as a court reporter, I still get nervous when I have a “first.”

Because court reporters have a tremendous talent, especially with their real-time skillset, new opportunities are opening up all of the time; for example, there are the court reporters who are reporting the trials at GITMO. I am lucky enough to be a friend of some of those reporters, and I would bet $100 that when they first flew down there they were nervous, and these reporters are some of the most talent court reporters in our nation.  Now, they are a tightknit team, providing amazing instantaneous real-time, scoping and proofing for each other, and have received accolades and praise for their work.

Being a stenographer and transcribing meetings, writing CART, providing closed-captioning are just some of the modern opportunities that court reporters have.

We know the average age of court reporters is 56, 57 in the United States, and the majority are women. I think it is GREAT that as a woman in my mid-50s I have the opportunity to keep walking through my fear/nerves and try new things.  To be honest, I have thought to myself, “I don’t need to learn how to work a webcam and stream video/text.  I can let someone else do it.  I know enough stuff.”  But then I think to myself, “I need to know as much as any other court reporter, so just do it, Rosalie.”  It is about winning.  I remember the first time I provided interactive real-time.  I was super scared, and real-time was so new the attorney stared at the screen the whole day.  He had never seen anything like it before, and he couldn’t help himself and kept stopping the deposition to point out a misstroke or let me know “tier not tear.”  A part of me never wanted to provide real-time again, but then another part of me got mad, and I wasn’t going to let an uneducated attorney stop me from working at getting better, clean up my writing, and then ultimately getting my CRR certification – so there.

This week I reported two public meetings. I didn’t ask any of the reporters that work with me to do them because meetings are always hard, these occurred at night, and it is hard to anticipate what is going to happen or the format.  I wanted to experience the meeting so I could coach court reporters in the future what to expect since we will be doing a series of these. It turned out to be super interesting, everyone there wanted to help me make a record, and they were mesmerized by my real-time screen.

Court reporters are amazing in so many different ways. Having a talent that so few people can master is something to be proud of, and I would suggest trying new things keeps people in their 50s and 60s young.  Punching fear in the face and moving forward is actually fun and is what court reporters do best.

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I Forgot

Oops! The Court Reporter Didn’t Swear In the Witness

The Court Reporters Board of California periodically receives calls from frazzled court reporters who realize they forgot to swear in the witness, and the deposition had started. I know sometimes when an attorney says, “Let’s go on the record.  I need to make a statement,” and then there is colloquy between counsel, everyone’s timing gets off.  The attorneys make their record, and then one of them says to the witness, “Okay.  State your name for the record.”  And there they go…

But then the court reporter remembers that the witness was never sworn in. What does the court reporter do?  The Court Reporters Board of California has been publishing “Best Practices” for different scenarios and situations that happen at the deposition.  The forgetting of swearing in the witness is one such scenario.

The solution suggested by the CA CRB is as follows:

As soon as the reporter realizes the omission, the best practice is to stop the proceeding and place the witness under oath using an extended oath such as: Do you solemnly state the statements you’ve given and the testimony you’re about to give are the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?” 

If the attorneys want to later argue that there is an issue with the deposition before the witness was sworn, that would be their prerogative. In the meantime, the court reporter has done what is necessary to mitigate the situation.

 

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Court Reporter's Deposition Transcript

COURT REPORTERS – WHO IS PROOFING YOUR WORK?

I have the privilege of working with a new California Certified Shorthand Reporter who passed the exam in November 2014.  She wrote me asking if Kramm had any work we could send to her.  My reply was, yes, but I would proof all of her work until she was ready to work on her own with a professional proofer.

I wonder, what happens to the other court reporters that don’t have someone reading over their transcripts?

Recently, I was reading over another young reporter’s work and was very disappointed in the work product.  There were misspellings, non-words, and confusing punctuation.  When I asked, “Why,” I got the response that that was how she had learned to do things in school, and she proofs her own work to ensure everything is correct, “I don’t trust anyone else doing a good job on my transcripts.”  The response made no sense to me.

I realize that most new CSRs or court reporters have limited funds, and it might seem too expensive to hire someone to proof or scope their work.  I would suggest that all new court reporters, no matter the circumstance, whether working in alliance with a firm or freelancing, need to have someone proof their work.   A good proofer will teach how to handle the nuances of putting the spoken word on paper when it comes to making a transcript.

Paying for a proofer has value.  Young reporters are setting themselves up for the rest of their career.  Being known for clean, usable transcripts has a tremendous value.  Being known for sloppy, poor transcripts might haunt you the rest of your life.

Finding a smart scopist/proofer is important.  I believe a retired court reporter would be a good choice, because the experienced court reporter could make suggestions on globals and format.  I see many reporters asking for help on format and punctuation on Facebook.  The problem with Facebook is there can be a myriad of errors that a new reporter wouldn’t know they need to address, and some of the advice might be correct in one geographical area, but wrong in another.

Approximately 10 percent of court reporting students pass the qualifying exams that allow them to practice, and  schools teach and test punctuation, but in the real world, people sometimes speak in an “interesting” way, and weird scenarios happen all of the time when creating a transcript.  Turning out beautiful transcripts is what makes our profession so respected and great.

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IME image-01

Court Reporters – Four Tips on What to Expect at an I.M.E.

Attorneys need Individual Medical Examinations to be reported and certified from time to time.  An Independent Medical Examination is conducted by a doctor, chiropractor or physical therapist who has not previously been involved in a person’s care and examines the individual.  There is no doctor, chiropractor, physical therapist relationship.

The following are some tips that I would give a court reporter reporting their first I.M.E.:

  1. Arrive at least 30 minutes early. Upon occasion the examiner will not know a court reporter is scheduled to be present. Arriving early allows for time to ensure everyone is on the same page and in agreement that the examination will be stenographically recorded.
  2. Anticipate having no table or place to put your computer. I oftentimes will use my steno or computer bag as a little table.
  3. A best practice is to print timestamps on the final transcript to allow counsel to know how long each segment of the examination lasted.
  4. Don’t worry about the value of the transcript as far as the doctor or patient describing for the record what is being demonstrated. The transcript may read, “Turn left. Turn right.  Lift your foot.” Just write what is said and don’t think you need to interject because the examiner is not making a good record.

Reporting an I.M.E. is not complicated, but it is helpful to know what the court reporter can expect.

 

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