Getting the Most Out of Your Next Deposition


Getting the Most Out of Your Next Deposition

  • 1 Tags

Sheila Atkinson-Baker

Business Series

For greater Accuracy and Quality, Understand the Reporting Process

Experienced, professional court reporters take pride in turning out excellent work. They do this best with your cooperation. Here are some tips.

Speak one person at a time

Although depositions can sometimes become emotional, the court reporter cannot write down what everyone is saying if two or more people are speaking at once. Insisting on all parties speaking in turn makes for a better deposition as well as a transcript that contains all that was said.

Prior to the deposition, give the reporter a list of proper names and specialized terms you know to be a part of the case.

Your court reporter has built a specialized dictionary which handles the electronic conversion of steno into English, but because of the many thousands of word combinations and phonetic similarities, this dictionary is continually being improved. A word list is especially vital when the deposition is being done in Realtime, as the court reporter can then ensure these words will translate smoothly and not show up as “untranslates” in your rough transcript. You’ll walk away from that depo with a much more accurate and usable product.

Plan a short break in the proceedings every hour to hour-and-a-half.

This affords the reporter an opportunity take a breather and recharge her batteries. And you wind up with the accurate transcript that you require.

Let your agency know if you are taking a deposition that would call for a particular expertise in terminology.

The terminology may be in areas such as a medical specialty, chemical toxic waste, construction defect cases, or others. You can then be sent a reporter with a background in reporting that specialty.

Recognize that Full Service means Full Coordination

Choose a court reporting service that provides comprehensive support. Imagine the confusion if every program on your computer ran on a different operating system. No one would stand for it, yet some law firms do exactly that when they retain a court reporting service that does not provide full service.

A deposition may require any or all of the following: a videographer, an interpreter, a process server, a conference room, multi-firm or multi-deposition calendar coordination, Realtime, exhibit repository and master file, specialized litigation software, and so forth. When all these requirements are handled by one source, you can often launch even a very involved deposition with one call. And if it has to be cancelled or revised, one call handles that, too. Put your time and personnel to better use than juggling rolo cards and chasing details.

Insist on a court reporting agency that will make itself available round-the clock seven days a week and will provide court reporters on an emergency basis both locally and out-of-town. All too often the need for a deposition pops out of the woodwork as a case readies for trial. It couldn’t have been predicted and you therefore couldn’t have planned for it. But now it has to be dealt with right on top of an already heavy work load. Your court reporting agency should be your trump card. If you can’t predict the future, you can at least plan your court reporters.

Try Realtime Court Reporting: The Tactical Advantage

Find out about this new court reporting service. Realtime is the instant translation of shorthand notes into English. As the witness speaks, his words come up on your laptop. Realtime provides important advantages.

You no longer need to take notes. Simply mark lines of the transcript as you go along and walk away with a rough transcript. You don’t have to have parts of the testimony read back to you. Just check your screen. It’s easy to move around the transcript with only one or two buttons to push. With the transcript supported by a Realtime program, you’ll be able to connect with litigation support programs that can save a considerable amount of time and money during case preparation. For example, you can link parts of a deposition to other depositions, documents or exhibits.

A prime advantage of Realtime: You are free to fully devote your attention to the witness in front of you. You don’t tip your hand by having to write notes or request readback. Your thoughts remain as private as your laptop. And you can quickly integrate this deposition into your overall case strategy, the same day.

At Atkinson-Baker, we have created a full service, international agency capable of arranging whatever you need to get the deposition and transcript on time. When it’s your case at stake, one phone call to Atkinson-Baker gives you an instant advantage.