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TERMS TO COME TO TERMS WITH

When setting up a deposition, make sure the terms you use get you what you need and want.

REALTIME:

The process whereby the court reporter attaches a laptop computer to his or her Stenograph machine via cable. As they write on the Stenograph machine, the testimony comes up on the laptop screen. A further step in the process is for the lawyers present to hook their laptops up to the reporter's laptop and receive the testimony directly onto their laptop screen. Then by the use of various specific software programs installed into their laptops, lawyers are able to read the text file, make notes, and scroll up or down the proceedings for review of testimony, preparation of cross examination, etc.

Confusion can arise when you call a court reporting office and ask for a realtime reporter, because while many reporters write realtime for their own benefit, they lack the equipment necessary for hooking up to lawyers' laptops. When requesting realtime for a deposition, be clear that the lawyer who will be taking the deposition has the necessary software and that the reporter is capable of hooking up. The number of people who will be in attendance is another important factor to know, as the number of hook-ups available varies with what equipment the court reporter owns.

VIDEO SYNCHRONIZATION AND TIMESTAMPING:

Video synchronization is a process whereby the videotape from a deposition is synchronized with the ASCII file of the court reporter's transcript, allowing the attorney to read the text file and, with a click of the mouse, view the video simultaneously. Also, video clips along with the text can be "marked" for viewing by the jury, thereby avoiding the need to splice the tape.

If timestamping is requested, the reporter synchronizes the clock on their computer with the videographer's camera clock. This enables the attorneys to quickly find a place in the video by fast forwarding to a certain point in the videotape.

DIRTY DISK or ROUGH DRAFT:

Any reporter writing to their laptop at the time of the deposition can, a few minutes after the proceeding ends, supply a disk that contains a rough draft. Many disclaimers apply to this process, warnings that the text is unedited, unproofread, uncertified, so there will be a discrepancy between the page numbers and line numbers appearing in the instant form and the edited, proofread, finalized and certified form.

Many reporters may require the lawyer to sign an agreement, before receiving a dirty or rough draft disk, that they will use the proceedings only as lawyer's notes, not to be cited as a reporter's certified transcript of proceedings. They further agree not to give, share, copy, fax, scan or in any way whatsoever distribute this instant form of the proceedings, and that upon receipt of the final, certified transcript, the instant form will be destroyed.

As with any order of a transcript, the court reporter is ethically required to furnish all parties present an equal opportunity to have the realtime or rough draft.

TICKLER SYSTEM

Okay, you have scheduled a deposition, and all parties to the deposition, including the court reporter, have been notified of the time and place of the deposition. Many of you will have sent a copy of the Notice of Deposition to the court reporting office, as well as an amended notice of any change to any part of the original setting that occurs later, i.e. the time or the location. But for those of you who do not furnish notices, how can you be sure the court reporter has the most up-to-date information, or that you actually called the court reporter instead of just thinking about it?

A tickler system of your own creation can be a cost-saving tool and a stress-saver, as we all know how costly it is, to both your company and to your job performance, to have a minimum of two lawyers and a witness (quite often a doctor) sitting and waiting for a court reporter to show up.

Make sure your system includes a way to let you know that the court reporting office has confirmed the deposition the day before. That way you can rest assured the court reporter has the deposition on their calendar and will be at the right time and place the next day.

ASCII vs. E-TRANSCRIPT

Look at the Facts

Hopefully you are aware that you can receive transcripts via e-mail. Until recently, this was accomplished by creating an ASCII file of the transcript and sending it just like a regular e-mail. But now we have a wonderful program called E-TRANSCIPT. Read the comparison below between ASCII files and e-transcript and see why court reporters, paralegals and attorneys prefer e-transcript.

ASCII:

Page and line integrity loss

Third party programs necessary to create word indices and condensed prints

No password protection

No encryption

Format not secure by e-mail

File is not read-only; can be altered

E-TRANSCRIPT:

No page and line integrity loss

Standardize dissimilar formats

Encryption and password protection assure secure electronic delivery

Recipient needs no special software to open, search, or print

Word index electronically hyperlinked to transcript for instant search results

Word indices are automatically generated when transcript is opened

No need for additional programs to print regular and condensed transcripts and word indices

File is read-only; cannot be altered

Be sure to ask for e-transcript by name when giving your order to the court reporter for a transcript!

REMINDERS FOR TELEPHONIC DEPOSITIONS

When setting a telephonic deposition, be sure there is a speakerphone available at the location of each participant in the deposition.

Be aware of the state law regarding administering oaths. Washington State requires the court reporter to be in the same location as the witness, or else a Notary present at the witness' location must administer the oath.

WHAT THOSE LETTERS MEAN

Ever wondered what the certification letters behind a court reporter's name means? Well, here they are:

RDR = Registered Diplomate Reporter

RMR = Registered Merit Reporter

RPR = Registered Professional Reporter

CM = Certificate of Merit

CCR = Certified Court Reporter

CRR = Certified Realtime Reporter

In Washington State every court reporter must be licensed with the state and must at a minimum pass the requirements for a CCR. In general, the higher the speed, the higher the certification, but written knowledge also plays a part.

Court reporters carry a heavy responsibility as the impartial record-keepers in court and deposition proceedings. As technology continues to change rapidly, and as litigation grows more complex and the judicial system becomes more sophisticated, the effective preparation and assurance of the reporter's competence, both initial and ongoing, proves ever more critical.

Hence, the need for certification, which in addition to the goal of protecting the public, has two primary objectives: to raise the standards of the profession and to raise the personal performance of reporters through the use of testing and continuing-education requirements.

 

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