I know attorneys, paralegals, and their staff work long and hard on any given case. An accurate and concise deposition transcript is critical to the furtherance of that case and the case’s ultimate resolution. After 37 years in this industry, this is what I know I know about working with your trusted reporting firm or reporter for the best record possible:
I know that being organized and sharing information with the court reporting firm ahead of any deposition can not only optimize the time spent at the deposition, but it can also help make a more accurate record. For instance, at the time of booking, send the reporting firm the notice with the proof of service and let them know about any special requests, i.e., the need for an expedite, a realtime request, or even that the deposition could go into the evening.
I know that reporters, although incredibly talented, can only report one voice at a time. One of the easiest ways to produce a concise transcript is to avoid and/or try to control any overlap. I know this is an admonition given at probably every deposition, but once the deposition starts moving along, it is important for everyone to continue to be mindful of this. At the end of the day, the goal is to have clear questions and clear answers and not have a fragmented record.
I know that having the reporter in the room with the witness is the best way to proceed. In the perfect world, the attorneys, witness, and the reporter are all in the same room. With the uptick of video and teleconferencing, however, the witness and attorneys may not be in the same room. If it is at all possible, have the reporter in the same room with the witness. This eliminates any concern regarding the administration of the oath. Also, remember to plan ahead for exhibits so they are available to all attendees.
I also know that using the same reporting firm on a case makes everyone’s life easier. The reporter(s) gain an understanding of the case, a rapport is built with all involved, orders can be standardized, and exhibit binders, either paper or electronic, can be more easily managed.
Finally, what I know for sure is that we all appreciate consideration. I read something funny a few months back on Facebook. A friend, a fellow reporter, posted on a court reporting group’s page that he, the reporter, had walked into a deposition room on a patent infringement case and the attorney handed him a typewritten list of all the odd terms in the case and then proceeded to bring in lunch. My friend told the attorney that he was going to post his good deeds on Facebook and that he thought the attorney would get 500 “likes” by the end of the day. Well, by the end of the day, reporters from around the country were not only “liking” the post, they were passing the hat to send this attorney to the Bahamas. At the end of the day, there were 748 “likes,” three marriage proposals, and that trip to the Bahamas. I cannot guarantee you a trip to the Bahamas if you share a word list, but I can say you will have a great transcript and a big thumbs up or a “like” from your reporter.