What Attorneys Need to Know About Rough Draft Transcripts – Court Reporters

Because court reporters have the unique and amazing skill of writing the spoken word in realtime, one of the services a court reporter may provide is a rough draft transcript.  Attorneys can save the cost of an expedited transcript by ordering the rough at the end of a proceeding.

Eight need-to-know facts about rough drafts:

  1. Pursuant to California CCP Section 2025.540(b), When prepared as a rough draft transcript, the transcript of the deposition may not be certified and may not be used, cited, or transcribed as the certified transcript of the deposition proceedings.  The rough draft may not be cited or used in any way or at any time to rebut or contradict the certified transcript of deposition proceedings as provided by the deposition officer.
  2. 2.        Pursuant to California CCP Section 2025.220(5)  Any offer to provide the instant visual display of the testimony or to provide rough draft transcripts to any party which is accepted prior to, or offered at, the deposition shall also be made by the deposition officer at the deposition to all parties in attendance. 
  3. 3.       California CCP Section 2025.220(5) Any party or attorney requesting the provision of the instant visual display of the testimony, or rough draft transcripts, shall pay the reasonable cost of those services, which may be no greater than the costs charged to any other party or attorney.
  4. There is typically a cost to ordering a rough draft.
  5. Many court reporting firms require the order of a Certified Copy of the transcript if a rough is ordered.
  6. Some roughs are “rougher” than others.  An attorney can expect a rough draft that has minimal or no steno (perhaps only proper names or citation from documents will be in steno).  If a court reporter is offering “free roughs,” chances are the product will not be useable or helpful.  Good/clean rough drafts have tremendous value.
  7.  If a deposition or court proceeding is unusually technical, fast, or difficult, it might take a court reporter longer to get the rough out.  If you are using the same court reporter/same firm in a case, the court reporter will have built up a job dictionary of proper names and abbreviations for commonly used phrases, and will most likely be able to provide a rough within minutes.
  8. Some court reporting firms charge for a “cleaned-up rough.”  If you are receiving a realtime feed into your laptop, there is typically a fee for the realtime feed (which includes the realtime transcript in your computer).  If a party then asks for a “cleaned-up rough,” in other words, a rough draft that the court reporter has gone through and fixed the steno, misstrokes, et cetera, some court reporting firms charge a fee on top of the realtime transcript in your laptop for the “cleaned-up rough.”

The providing of rough draft transcripts is just one of the amazing services a great court reporter can provide in the world of fast-paced litigation.

@rosaliekramm  Twitter

Federal Rule 30(e) – What to do if Reading/Signing is Requested – Court Reporters

Rule 30

(e)  Review by Witness; Changes; Signing.

At a deposition, if the deponent or a party requests to read/sign their transcript before the completion of the deposition, the deponent shall have 30 days after being notified by the officer (court reporter) that the transcript is available in which to review the transcript and, if there are changes in form or substance, to sign a statement (errata sheet) reciting such changes and the reasons given by the deponent for making them.  The officer (court reporter) shall indicate in the certificate prescribed by subdivision (f)(1) whether any review was requested and, if so, shall append any changes (errata sheet with changes) made by the deponent in the time allowed.

Court reporters need to pay attention during federal/district court cases whether or not there is a request made by the witness or counsel for reading/signing.  If there is no request made, the court reporter’s certificate page should so indicate.  I believe many court reporters don’t always pay attention to the jurisdiction under which a deposition is taken, whether in State Court or Federal Court.  It is important to understand Rule 30(e) so the proper certificate is appended to the deposition transcript if a deposition is taken under the Federal Rules.

Please leave any comments you might have.

@rosaliekramm (Twitter)

What Attorneys Need to Know About Their Court Reporter at a Realtime Deposition

When an attorney, judge or paralegal participates in a deposition with a realtime court reporter providing instantaneous translation of the testimony, there are best practices that the attorneys can employ to create a better record and get the most out of the realtime service.

Following are 10 tips for attorneys coming from a court reporter’s perspective:

  1.  Have your laptop computer available at a minimum 15 minutes before the deposition begins (30 minutes is preferred) so the court reporter can load necessary drivers into your computer and troubleshoot any comport issues.
  2.  If you don’t have realtime software on your laptop, request the court  reporter to bring an extra laptop or netbook with realtime software installed and ready to go – “plug and play”’  
  3. As an alternative to Tip #2, ask the court reporting firm to have the court reporter bring Bridge or CaseViewNet (free software) to the deposition to be installed in your computer.  For the installation of new software, it is essential you have your laptop available at least 30 minutes before the deposition is to begin.  (You can go online to download the Bridge software at no cost.)  
  4. Have a “serial port.”  The majority of new laptops/netbooks do not have a serial port so you need to have a “virtual serial port.”  Belkin and IOGear are popular brands.  Fry’s typically has virtual serial ports in stock. 
  5. If you purchase a virtual serial port, install the drivers before you get to the deposition.  In many instances, drivers are installed via a website, and you need to be online for the installation.  Some law firms/deposition suites do not have easy internet wireless access.
  6. Be extremely conscious of the record.  Admonish the witness not to speak when anyone else is speaking, and the attorneys, too, need to be respectful of the realtime record and not speak over one another.  This tip applies to all depositions, whether there is a realtime court reporter or not.
  7. Don’t worry if you see steno show up in the transcript or if the reporter writes “tier” instead of “tear.”  Court reporters write things out phonetically, and even though realtime court reporters have trained themselves to write for your eyes and write without conflicts (their, there, they’re), when writing on the fly, there may be a proper name that comes up that the reporter doesn’t have in his/her dictionary, and the word won’t translate, or the court reporter may make a misstroke.   The court reporter can read the steno.  The final transcript will have the correct name/word. 
  8. If you do believe the court reporter misheard a word or number, because something comes up incorrectly on your realtime screen, and the witness was not clear, it would be fine to ask the witness to clarify, “Did you say internet or intranet?”  As a realtime court reporter, I prefer to get it right.
  9. After the deposition is over, it is a common practice that the realtime court reporter will send or have sent a “cleaned-up” rough draft to you as a part of the realtime service so you can import the cleaner version into your realtime software and maintain your marks and notes. 
  10. Understand that not all court reporters provide realtime.  When you wish to take a deposition and have realtime services provided, you must inform the court reporting agency that you would like a realtime court reporter.  Many realtime court reporters have special certifications that indicate a proficiency in realtime court reporting.  CRR and CCRR are two of the certifications that a court reporter can attain.  Becoming a CRR or CCRR requires a timed speed test with an incredibly high translation rate (perfect writing). 

Realtime depositions are essential when streaming the transcript text to remote locations.  Using realtime at a deposition also allows attorneys to mark testimony, make notes, see the exact question and answer that might later be used as a clip at trial to be presented to the trier of fact.   Realtime is a powerful tool for litigators. 

I am incredibly proud of my colleagues who write realtime.   There is an increased level of stress to be perfect and write for your eyes. 

Please leave any comments or questions about realtime court reporters.  It is one of my favorite subjects.

@rosaliekramm  Twitter

International Court Reporters – China

One of our clients two weeks ago asked us if we could provide a court reporter and legal videographer for a deposition in Dalian, China.  I started researching the location and Chinese law regarding taking a deposition in Mainland China. 

The first thing I found out was Dalian is a major city and seaport in south Liaoning Province in Northeast China.  Using Google maps, I also learned that Dalian is over 500 miles from Shanghai.  Shanghai has the nearest videoconference facility available for public use. 

Upon further investigation I found out that traditionally, Chinese authorities do NOT recognize the authority or ability of foreign persons, such as American attorneys, to take voluntary depositions of willing witnesses, even before a U.S. consular officer, Article 27(1) of the U.S. – China Consular Convention of 1980 notwithstanding.  The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, reports that the United States is seeking a clarification from the People’s Republic of China regarding its recognition of the right of U.S. Consular Officers to take voluntary depositions of U.S. citizens in China.

The State Department provides the following:  “Taking evidence in China for use in foreign courts is problematic.  China does not recognize the right of persons to take depositions, and any effort to do so could result in the detention and/or arrest of U.S. citizen participants. “

Upon discovering the consequences of swearing someone in to give testimony, I advised my clients that everyone would be at risk involved in the deposition, my court reporter, my videographer, and the attorneys themselves.  I would never want to see anyone thrown into a Chinese jail because of attempting to take a deposition.

Solution:  Videoconferencing.  We have set up the deposition to have the American participants attend the deposition at our conference center in San Diego and have the witness in Shanghai.  We will suggest to the attorneys they not ask the court reporter to “swear” the witness in, because that could potentially put the witness at risk.  The State Department suggests that attorneys fly the witness to a country that doesn’t have the laws/restrictions such as China does.

The world is getting smaller all of the time as businesses go global.  Kramm Court Reporting is always looking for ways to use technology to save attorneys money, time, and still get the job done.  More importantly we protect our court reporters and legal videographers – certainly never wanting to break the laws of China (and ending up in jail).

Please leave any comments.  Your comments are valuable to all of our readers.

@rosaliekramm Twitter

Twitter – Why?

Anyone who knows me knows that I love people, I love talking, and I love success stories.  When I was a young girl, my grandmother used to pay me to be quiet.  She would give me a nickel if I could give her five minutes of peace.   It was tough to earn that nickel because I always had a lot to say.

43 years later, I have Twitter.  The idea that I can communicate my thought(s) at any single moment, control what I communicate, and let people into my life in little sounds bites is mindboggling.  Not only that, but I get to know what is happening in other people’s lives, the people I choose to follow, people who are interesting and enrich my life, people who might be “strangers” that I have a connection with from all over the world.

One of the people I have been following is @AdrianDayton.  I follow him because it was suggested that I do so by @JustinRFrench.  JustinRFrench is my personal social media guru.   (In the world of Twitter, a person puts the @ before a name when you are singling that person out to talk to or follow.)

At the California Bar Association meeting held in San Diego last week, I bought Dayton’s book, “Social Media for Lawyers:  Twitter Edition.”  I have been tweeting for the past four months, messing around, having fun, protecting my tweets, and collecting followers of mostly fellow court reporters who thought what I was doing was funny, amusing, and maybe someday would have value.

Reading Dayton’s book has opened my eyes to the power of Twitter.

I’ve been following Dayton on Twitter for the past month, and I find his tweets and story to be informative and positive with action steps.  I could tell he is a kind, smart man who wants his followers to be successful.  Remember, I love success stories.

Dayton writes in his book about the basics of Twitter, how to get started, the theory of Twitter, and how to utilize the power of Twitter particularly as a businessperson.  I use the word “businessperson” on purpose.  The title of the book reads, “Social Media for Lawyers.”  I would argue that Dayton’s book transcends law and could apply to any business in the service sector.   Dayton goes into why one should follow certain people, how to collect information, jump into a relevant conversation, the etiquette of tweeting, and most importantly how to start “contrarian thinking.”

Last week I listened to @StephenFairley of The Rainmaker Institute speak, and he used the phrase, “contrarian thinking.”  That is my new FAVORITE phrase.  (I used it in soccer this morning when a defender kept stealing the ball from me over and over again.  I needed to start thinking contrary to what would be my normal thought pattern to beat that guy.  I told my team, “We need to start using contrarian thinking,” and we scored.)

I highly recommend Adrian Dayton’s new book.   It is an easy, fast read.  Attorneys would “get it” immediately.  Twitter can be fun, but more importantly, it can be a way to create opportunity.  Dayton gives you the tool of Twitter to be a social media rainmaker.

If you want to follow me, I’m at @rosaliekramm.  I want to hear success story after success story for my fellow court reporters.   Let’s Twitter.

CAUTION:  What you say on Twitter is for the world to read.  No one should ever write anything that is mean, angry, or gives out proprietary information.  The world is watching and reading.  Protect your tweets and be smart.  Twitter is a tool to be respected.