• A Look at the Training and Credentials Needed for Court Reporting

    Court reporters are highly trained professionals who must adhere to specific education and licensing rules. Before you hire court reporters in San Jose to assist with your deposition or legal proceeding, make sure that they have the appropriate credentials required under California law.

    Court reporters go through several steps to become licensed in California. They must attend a state-approved court reporting program that includes training in English, law and medical terminology, transcript preparation, computer technology, California and Federal laws that apply to court reporting and on-the-job training. Overall, they must complete a minimum of 660 academic hours and 2,300 hundred hours of work on a stenograph machine. Court reporters must also pass the state licensing exam. The exam consists of three portions of grammar, law and technical terminology and stenographic skills testing. To pass, court reporters type at least 200 words per minute with 97.5% accuracy. Court reporters must also pass a criminal background check and renew their license annually to be eligible for reporting assignments in legal matters in California.

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  • Deposition Corrections 101

    When a deponent wants to change his or her deposition testimony from what the transcript reflects, there are several factors to consider. Although changing the testimony is per California law, doing so is not always in the best interest of your case. After you receive a transcript of testimony from your court reporter in San Jose and discover that your client needs to make a change, here is what you need to know.

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    What are some reasons for correcting depositions?

    Generally, the reason to consider changing deposition testimony is to make sure it accurately reflects everything that the deponent knows about the case. If the original testimony left out important details or could otherwise be misinterpreted, correcting it during the deposition review prevents the need for the deponent to have to change his or her testimony during trial. Substantive errors about facts of the case or transcription mistakes that change the meaning of the testimony can all adversely affect a case, even before it gets to trial, if depositions are used in pretrial hearings and negotiations. For these reasons, correcting a deposition that contains errors could be advantageous.

    What are the drawbacks of correcting depositions?

    Although correcting a deposition prevents the opposing counsel from pointing out inconsistencies in testimony at trial, the need to correct testimony even during the deposition review opens the door for the opposing counsel to call all of that deponent’s testimony into question as unreliable. Making corrections could also highlight a weakness in your case that might otherwise have gone unnoticed by the opposing counsel. When you make corrections to any part of a deponent’s testimony, you could inadvertently miss small details that should have been updated during the change as well, which can cast the testimony as unreliable overall.

    How can you decide whether to correct a deposition?

    Correcting small changes, such as typos or other minor transcription errors, is easily accomplished without impacting your case. For more substantive changes, you must weigh the value of correcting the transcript before trial and potentially opening up new challenges in the case to the impact of changing testimony on the stand during the trial.

  • Who Should Attend a Deposition?

    During a deposition, the conference room generally holds only the deponent, examiner, deponent’s counsel, and the court reporter. Other attorneys may be present, depending on the case. Legal depositions aren’t generally entertaining affairs that attract eager viewers, but in some cases, it may be appropriate to rent a larger conference room in Palo Alto, California, to seat additional people.

    If there is a language barrier, it is necessary to have an interpreter present. Ideally, that interpreter should have extensive experience working in legal settings, and he or she should have general knowledge of industry-specific terms that may come up. It’s also a good idea to have a videographer present to capture a visual record of the deposition. The examiner may decide to have a portion of the video recording admitted into court as evidence to be shown to the jury. Less commonly, an expert or consultant may attend the deposition. They may be asked to lend their expertise on particularly technical subjects. If the presence of a consultant is not desirable, the attorney may suspend the deposition and request a court order to exclude the unwanted party.

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  • Essential Tips for Using Deposition Testimony in Court

    When you exit the conference room after a successful deposition, you might already be planning how to best use the court reporter’s transcript to prepare your case for trial. However, you shouldn’t neglect to plan for the use of deposition testimony in front of the jury. Consider looking for legal videography services in Palo Alto, California to help you put together a courtroom-worthy presentation.

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    Check the local court rules.

    The introduction and use of deposition testimony in court is subject to state and local court rules. Always check these rules to ensure you are in full compliance. You may need to provide pretrial disclosures for any portion of the transcript you will use during the trial and for any legal videography you plan to introduce.

    Lodge the official deposition transcript.

    The court reporter will give the deposition witness and all the parties written notice when the original transcript is ready to be read, corrected, and signed. Under the California Code of Civil Procedure , the deponent has 30 days to perform these actions. Then when the case is set to begin trial, the attorney who has custody of the original transcript must file the document with the court. In some cases, a transcript with the court reporter’s certification may be lodged when the witness is introduced to testify.

    Lay a foundation for the deposition testimony.

    Before you can read part of the deposition testimony to the court, you must identify it for the court reporter’s record and ask permission for yourself or your witness to read from it. In some cases, it may be appropriate to use foundational testimony. Foundational testimony serves to enlighten the jury about the significance of deposition testimony and any inconsistencies in the witness’ statements. For example, you could ask the following questions:

    • Do you remember giving this testimony?
    • Do you recall being under oath to tell the truth?
    • Did you have an attorney present to represent you?

    Then you can launch into a line of questioning that highlights the witness’ inconsistent testimony. It may help your case to show a clip of video-recorded testimony from the deposition and compare it to the witness’ testimony during the trial.