Court Reporters’ Pet Peeves

I have discussed in several posts how important a clean deposition transcript is in my practice. One way to help produce a clean, useable transcript is to make it easier for the court reporter to do her job. Thanks to the court reporters from Esquire Solutions’ Las Vegas office, here are a few ways you can make their jobs easier.

EsquireADMake Sure We Can Hear You!

A good transcript is impossible if the court reporter cannot hear what is going on. Giving the court reporter the best opportunity to hear you is not as easy as it seems.

First, how is the room configured? The reason a court reporter typically sits at the end of the table, between the witness and the lawyer, is because then they theoretically should not turn their faces away. If you are looking away from the court reporter when you say something, it is very difficult for you to be heard. If you are taking a video deposition and the court reporter cannot sit at the end of the table, position yourself so you talk directly across her the court reporter to reach the witness.

Sometimes I am forced to take depositions in very confined spaces, like a doctor’s personal office. Envision your office, reduce it by 50%, add an oversized desk and a filing cabinet. Then try to imagine cramping 3 lawyers, a doctor and a court reporter in there for a deposition. I have experienced this regularly when deposing doctors in solo practice. When it does, I sit right next to the court reporter to make sure I am heard. If the building has a loud air conditioning system, speak up. If it becomes necessary to question the doctor about something on the computer screen in the corner of his office, do not turn your back to the court reporter because then you will not be heard.

The lawyers and witnesses also must avoid overlapping. Overlapping is what happens when two or more people speak or, in some instances, shout at once. Remember, what cannot be heard or understood, cannot be reported.

I Will Interrupt to Protect the Record!

The court reporter’s obligation is to report the proceedings. If the court reporter cannot hear the question or the answer, the court reporter may interrupt to protect the record. This may disrupt your flow of questioning or the witness’ answer, but the reality is your flow is meaningless unless it on the record.

Remember When & How We Can Go Off the Record!

As discussed in a prior post, Nevada has specific guidance about how and when a court reporter stops reporting a deposition. Please remember it and do not ask the court reporter to do something that cannot be done.

If You are Out-of-State, Explain How the Transcript is to be Handled!

Court reporters know their jurisdiction. When I go to other states, however, I generally do not expect the local court reporter to know Nevada’s transcription requirements. Explain to the court reporter that signing is waived unless reserved and the original is sent to the noticing attorney. This will help streamline production and avoid problems at trial.