July 18, 2019
Creating useful depositions is the ultimate goal for any reputable court reporter, and it requires a lot of careful planning and execution. Attorneys and paralegals often wish to receive valuable tips from court reporters on how to ensure a smooth deposition. Here are ten tips from court reporters for achieving useful testimonies for your clients:
Ask for a Notice of Deposition
Make sure you provide the Notice of Deposition to the court reporting agency when scheduling the deposition. This will not only help you to save your valuable time but will also ensure that the court reporter has all the required information, ahead of the meeting for preparing the transcript.
Ensure Regular Breaks
The court reporter’s role is mentally and physically exhausting. Consider scheduling short breaks of around 10 minutes each after every 1.5 hours, and also include a lunch break of 30 minutes.
Make Proper Introductions
At the start of every session, make sure you introduce yourself to the court reporter, provide your card, and indicate whom you are working for.
Always speak loudly, and as clearly as possible as the court reporter takes down every word, each of us speaks. That way, the reporter can hear and understand what everyone is saying.
Instruct the Witness in Advance
Remember to give a full set of instructions to the witness in advance, which they have to follow while the court reporter is recording the deposition. This will help the reporter to get a complete and accurate record of the entire proceeding without delays.
Clarify the Witness’s Information
During the court deposition, ask each witness to clarify their personal information by stating and then spelling their name. They should also state any other information the court may require such as their address, place of employment, and phone number. This information may be different for each witness.
Make Sure All Exhibits Are Appropriately Marked
Court reporters need to label and maintain track of the exhibits introduced at the session to ensure proper consistency and numbering sequence. Allow sufficient time to the reporters to mark each exhibit appropriately before you proceed with your next question.
Expect Court Reporters to Stay Impartial Throughout
Court reporters are deemed as Officers of the Court who need to maintain their neutral viewpoint at all times. They need to be impartial and cannot make any “judgment calls,” so avoid asking them for their opinion on the testimony.
Remind Everyone to Stay Silent During Recording
The reporter can handle one person speaking at a time. Therefore, you should remind everyone in the room to maintain complete silence during the recording. This way, the reporter can get a complete and accurate record of the entire proceeding without interruptions.
Request an Interpreter If Needed
Always have a few qualified interpreters on hand, as you never know when you will need their service. This will be beneficial to you if the witness’s English is weak or if they have a heavy accent. You may consider hiring specialists of American Sign Language, Spanish, and a commonly used local language.
Follow these court reporters’ tips to keep your depositions on track and as useful as possible.
Colleen Jilio-Ryan is the Owner of Jilio-Ryan, a Tustin based premiere law consulting firm. The firm along with its certified court reporters is dedicated to providing the highest quality deposition and litigation services to attorneys, insurance companies, and corporations. With her sincere efforts, Colleen is committed to meeting the highest standards of the legal industry, and is an industry leader when it comes to on-time court reporting and deposition scheduling.