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:
- 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.
- 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”’
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.