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One of the best parts of attending conventions is hearing the war stories told around the dinner table by seasoned veterans. Some of these tales involve how they outwitted the opposition, but there are also those of the “I’ll never do that again” variety. It’s the combination of these experiences, both good and bad, and what they learned from them, that distinguish the top notch litigators. As General Colin Powell put it, “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, learning from failure.”
After fifteen years and a quarter of a million depos, we have a few stories of our own. Nearly all are along the lines of how we managed to arrange a realtime reporter in the middle of nowhere on an hour’s notice, but now and then we do have our own horror story.
One of these took place about six years ago. The reporter involved was a member of the national association, was advertising in their directory, and had the necessary state certification. Everything seemed to be in order in the interview, so we hired her for a deposition.
But everything was not as it seemed. It was like one of those horror movies where the gardener is actually a serial killer or an alien in disguise. Without going into all the details, I’ll just say that it took hiring a P.I. and working with the state licensing board to finally get the transcript out of her, and it wasn’t even a very good transcript.
We only made that mistake once. Anyone else looking in the directory or searching on-line could make that same error, and enough did to keep her in business for years. The hundreds of other depositions we have done in that city have all been done by other, and better, reporters.
That is where our experience really helps our clients. You can’t always tell how someone will do until you have actually seen them in action. We have now tried out thousands of reporters over the years and have selected out those whom we know we can trust to do an excellent job day in and day out.
Yes, it is possible to find a court reporter out of the phone book, just as it is possible for a lay person to check a legal self-help book out of the library and try to be his own lawyer. It does work some of the time. But when a case really matters, there is no substitute for experience. And when it comes to the court reporting field, no one has more experience than us.