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Realtime, the instantaneous translation of the court reporters stenographic notes into English, first caught broad public attention through its use in the O.J. Simpson criminal trial.
Once primarily limited to the major metropolitan areas, its availability has spread throughout the country and we now have hundreds of reporters available to provide you with this service. In 1998 over ten percent of the depositions we reported nationwide were reported in realtime. In certain places the figure is approaching 40%.
Advantages for Attorneys
The most obvious benefit is immediate access to the transcript. During the deposition one can refer back to a specific question or answer to see if it came out as intended. Was the question answered, or is the witness rambling? Does the question need to be asked again? When specific wording on a question or answer is vital, did it come out exactly right?
Other key advantages include:
- Using it to organize the next day’s deposition in cases where depositions are being held several days in a row.
- Notetaking during the deposition allows for faster summary preparation.
- Seeing things in writing is a tool to being more organized. It can clear up thoughts and keep one focused.
- The ability to use computers gives the attorney a tactical advantage, especially if opposing counsel is relying on memory.
- Errors can be corrected right then rather than after receiving the transcript.
Realtime Rough Disk
The simplest form of realtime is when, at the end of the deposition, the reporter hands the attorney a disk containing an unedited version of the transcript. The attorney can then take it back to the office for viewing and editing. In this case, the attorney does not need to have a laptop computer or any special software, but still gets many of the advantages that realtime provides.
The attorney has a laptop which is connected to the reporters laptop and the attorney receives the translation within seconds of the words being spoken. He can view, search, annotate and issue-code the testimony while the deposition is taking place. This requires a laptop computer with special software loaded. Your sales representative can assist you with the software.
Assisting Your Practice
How realtime can assist you depends on how you choose to use it. Last month, one of our clients did his first realtime hookup. The witness said something which conflicted with data he had gotten from another witness. So the attorney copied that portion of the testimony into a word processor, printed it out and faxed it to the other witness. The other witness then read the testimony and called back before the deposition was over with several additional questions for the attorney to ask. Only with realtime is such a scenario possible.