Court reporting is a difficult career path that not everyone is suited for. In the Bay Area, as in all of California, court reporters must go through rigorous training and certification requirements . Top-notch court reporters continually strive for higher levels of excellence throughout their careers, such as by completing continuing education programs. Arguably, the word that most often comes to mind when defining excellence in this field is “accuracy.” It’s true that these professionals must be accurate at all times, but the following abilities and characteristics are also crucial.
Whether in a courtroom, at a deposition, or in a boardroom, neutrality is crucial. Court reporters abide by a strict code of ethics, which prohibits them from commenting or opining about a case. Even if an attorney or other party engages in chitchat with a court reporter after a deposition, the court reporter will not offer speculation or opinions about the testimony.
Legal depositions, hearings, and trials often bring sensitive information to light. Witnesses may need to answer questions about their finances, or testify about personal situations. Even when the information they record is not of a sensitive nature, good court reporters will never repeat it because they understand that confidentiality is a top priority. Additionally, these professionals hold in confidence all written records they see and off-the-record conversations they hear.
Excellence in court reporting requires consistent punctuality. It isn’t acceptable for these professionals to show up late to a deposition or a trial, as doing so would delay the entire proceeding and derail everyone else’s schedule. Excellent court reporters always plan to show up early to assignments. This allows them some time to set up their workstation and review any last-minute information from the attorney, such as industry-specific terminology or acronyms that may be relevant to the testimony.
Much of the time, court reporters are the proverbial fly on the wall. They listen attentively and record every word spoken on the record, but they don’t often speak up, and they never call attention to themselves unnecessarily. However, the best court reporters understand that certain situations do require assertiveness. A court reporter will speak up if he or she needs a witness to speak up or repeat something, because this ensures accuracy.
The legal field isn’t known for strenuous physical labor. Attorneys, court reporters, and law clerks spend much of their days sitting around a conference room table or at a desk. Court reporters in the Bay Area might try to get up and walk around every now and then, but this isn’t always possible during a lengthy deposition. By facilitating proper ergonomics for these long question and answer sessions, attorneys and court reporters can at least reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries.
An ergonomic chair and work surface can help prevent chronic medical problems like tenosynovitis, tendinitis, lower back pain, degenerative disc disease, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Some legal professionals have made the switch to a standing desk for very long depositions. This can help with blood circulation, but it’s still necessary to ensure the working surface isn’t too high or too low. It should be at the height that allows the arms to be perpendicular to the floor when the shoulders are relaxed. With a few simple modifications, attorneys and court reporters can get through long depositions with their health intact.
From self-checkout kiosks at the grocery store to order fulfillment robots at Amazon’s massive warehouses, there are countless jobs that technology could completely take over. Fortunately, professional court reporting services will never be one of them. That’s because digital recorders simply don’t have the capacities that human court reporters in the Bay Area do. No matter how “smart” a device is, it cannot replicate the human intelligence of court reporters.
Court reporters are interactive and adaptable.
One of the key functions of a court reporter is to read back the transcript verbatim when an attorney or judge requests it. Humans are able to quickly adapt to this need and fulfill it, whereas a “smart” digital recorder can’t. Hypothetically, say that a witness is testifying about seeing the defendant’s gray truck on the street where an accident took place. An attorney can ask the court reporter to repeat what the witness just said about how fast the truck was traveling. The court reporter will understand exactly what the attorney is asking for, whereas the digital recorder might repeat back every sentence with the word “truck” in it.
Digital recorders aren’t always accurate.
Court reporters are highly trained professionals who can write at least 225 words per minute on a stenography machine. Digital recorders can record rapid speech, but often do so inaccurately. For instance, a digital recorder won’t know the difference between the words “pair” and “pear” or “mail” and “male.” This is a serious problem for a field in which every word matters. In contrast, court reporters can process speech in context. And if anything is unclear, court reporters can ask the speaker to repeat a sentence or speak louder.
Court reporters never suffer technological breakdowns.
Another major reason why digital recorders can never replace human court reporters is that humans are reliable, and machines often aren’t. A malfunctioning digital recorder may have long gaps in the transcription, or it may shut down entirely. The attorneys and involved parties might not know about this problem until the proceeding is over, which could cause a serious miscarriage of justice. Professional court reporters will never have this problem.
At Pulone Reporting Services, our transcript repository makes it easy to access your case information while helping you cut down on paperwork. By using our transcript repository in the Bay Area , everything you need to work on your case from anywhere is at your fingertips.
When you use our transcript repository, the transcripts of your depositions and court case will be digitized, so that you can access them whenever needed. You can also use the repository to manage your case calendar and deposition schedule, to communicate with the other people in your team, and to view and manage your court orders and filings. The online access system is completely secure and can only be accessed by authorized users with the appropriate login credentials. For complex litigation, we have a separate repository to provide you with the tools you need to manage your most difficult and demanding cases with ease.
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.
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.
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.
Court reporters train extensively to be able to quickly and accurately capture every spoken word on the legal record. They are essential for legal depositions, hearings, and trials, but the legal setting isn’t the only one in which professional court reporting services are helpful. In the Palo Alto, California area, court reporters often work within the corporate setting.
If your executives still designate someone to take minutes by hand at the start of each meeting, it’s clearly time for an upgrade. The work you accomplish at each meeting is too important to risk losing it. Professional court reporters can capture each presentation, suggestion, and debate without missing a word. You’ll be able to look back on a transcript to improve your understanding of the issues, identify matters that require further attention, and recognize individual employees for their contributions.
Industry conferences, both small and large, can benefit from the presence of a skilled court reporter. Industry conferences can be chaotic events, and the sheer volume of information exchanged can test a person’s memory. Having a court reporter present will give you a reliable, written record of your conference. As an added bonus, you’ll be able to share this record with individuals who were unable to attend the conference.
Negotiations can be tough, especially if your company is trying to get a better price from a vendor or initiate sales in a new market. Negotiations can also be lengthy, and it’s easy to lose track of important information. With a court reporter present to keep an official record, tentative compromises and proposals cannot be disputed later on. It’s also essential to have a written record of all agreements so that a contract can be drafted later on.
Court reporters can assist your company with two kinds of interviews: Recruitment and informational. No matter how talented your human resources department is, it’s always helpful to have a record of a job candidate’s responses during his or her interview. This is particularly true when it’s tough to choose between a few well-qualified candidates. Media outlets and authors can also rely on court reporters to capture the content of an interview. The full interview may be published as is, or the record can inform the final published work.
Video conferences are changing the way people do business. From lawyers using video conferences for depositions to companies using video conferences instead of hosting business trips, video is connecting people like never before. If you are considering conducting a video conference in Palo Alto , you’re likely to have some questions about what to expect. Here is what you need to know.
When should I consider using video conferencing?
Any time you need to have a meeting with someone out of town, you can replace the physical meeting with a video conference. Video conferencing can be used to connect a large number of meeting participants who are scattered around the globe, or it can be used to simply connect two people for a discussion. Video conferences can be used for business meetings and for depositions, if you follow legal guidelines for recording the deposition. Your court reporter can help you set up your deposition appropriately.
What are the benefits of video conferencing?
Video conferencing is both cost-effective and convenient. By conducting a meeting via video, you can avoid all of the expenses involved with traveling, from airline tickets to hotel fees and food. When you host a conference with people in many different locations, that can add up to significant savings for your business. You can also avoid the wasted time involved in traveling for a single meeting. Simply log on, conduct your meeting by video, and get back to your usual activities.
What should I consider before I have a video conference?
Before you have a video conference, you will need to ensure that you have an appropriate location with adequate audio and visual tools. Your standard computer mic and camera will usually not be sufficient, so you may wish to consider renting space in a dedicated video conferencing room staffed by professionals who can ensure that your conference goes smoothly.
An interpreter can play an important role in depositions of non-English-speaking witnesses. Often, when you hire a court reporter in San Jose, he or she can provide recommendations or make the arrangements for an interpreter in the language you need. When you hire an interpreter , there are a few strategies that can help you work with them more effectively.
Watch this video for advice for speaking through an interpreter. First, be sure to hire an interpreter who is court-certified or registered, depending on the language spoken by the witness in your depo. Speak clearly and slowly enough that your interpreter can easily understand you. Face the person you are questioning, rather than the interpreter, to engage him or her, especially if you are questioning someone via video conference. Be sure to watch for cues from the interpreter for when to stop and allow time for the translation to take place.
People who serve on a jury are not picked by hand, and they will need to understand the case in order to make a fair judgment. This can be especially tricky when it comes to specialized concepts that the average person might not understand, but video conferencing solutions near the Bay Area can be of help. Working with quality court reporting services is your best bet, as they can help ensure that everyone in the courtroom understands the point you are trying to make. Keep reading for a quick look at helping jurors understand technical concepts.
Describing specialized concepts out loud may be enough for some people, but in a court case it’s crucial that everyone adequately understands the information being presented. If you are working with information that is not familiar to most people, you might want to prepare exhibits that you can use to illustrate key concepts. Thanks to modern technology, this can include pictures, videos, and even animations. You can quickly refer back to these elements throughout the case so that everyone on the jury can refresh their memory when necessary. Helping jurors understand technical concepts is crucial when it comes to arriving at a verdict and achieving justice.
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