A Guide to Court Reporter Etiquette

Court reporters in the Bay Area, Silicon Valley, and San Jose, CA, offer an essential professional service. Court reporters not only provide a permanent record of what occurs during a trial or in a deposition; they also create incontrovertible records of meetings and other gatherings. If you need a professional to accurately transcribe each word of an event, you have likely used a professional reporter. If you are interested in court reporting services, read on to learn about how you should act in the presence of a court reporter, including allowing proper proximity, making verbal cues, and spelling complex terms.

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Allow Proper Proximity

Court reporters should always be seated as close to a witness or speaker as possible. Some legal cases involve sensitive issues, and you never want to make your witness or the opposing counsel's witness feel uncomfortable. Still, accurate court reporting depends on the court reporter being able to transcribe everything a soft-spoken witness says. Even if your conference room or courtroom is small, try to seat court reporters within just a few feet of the speaker.

Make Verbal Cues

Remember, court reporting services can only transcribe what you say. While this rule seems intuitive, many speakers and attorneys forget. Instead of waving your hand to signal an objection or pointing your finger to identify a particular document, always use verbal cues. For example, say "the document on the left entitled Deposition" instead of gesturing and saying "this document." If you do not speak, the court reporter will not transcribe your action. That means that your record may fail to reflect everything you intended to communicate.

Spell Complex Terms

Attorneys, judges, and arbitrators are especially prone to using sophisticated legal words. While these words may be easily defined by lawyers, they are less familiar to laypeople. If you are using industry-specific terminology, always spell the word slowly for court reporters. Otherwise, your court reporter will have to guess at the proper spelling, which will make the record imprecise. You can also provide your court reporter with a list of commonly used words ahead of time.