Working in the legal system is full of twists and turns and high-stakes, high-stress litigation. When you’re in the midst of a deposition, if there’s one thing that can rock your rhythm, it’s an interruption by your court reporter because he or she isn’t getting the record.
Like it or not, interruptions are part and parcel of court reporting and accurately recording testimony. While all court reporters strive to keep them at bay, accuracy is imperative, and the court reporter wants it just as much as you. Make sure you’re playing on the same team as your court reporter by implementing a few of these strategies in an attempt to keep interruptions to a minimum.
- Set ground rules. Interruptions are not solely the fault of court reporters. Attorneys bear some responsibility. One of the easiest ways to minimize interruptions is to set ground rules from the outset to ensure everyone understands what verbatim etiquette entails. Only one person speaks at a time. Everyone should speak loudly and clearly and be cognizant of how quickly they are talking. These apply to the witnesses as well as to the attorneys.
- Give context, when possible. Court reporters are likely entering the deposition or courtroom “blind.” That is, they haven’t been privy to the case details or context. When possible, offer the court reporter or court reporting agency some background information in advance to help them get up to speed on some of the key players in testimony and other helpful information.
- Seek to understand. Accurately capturing the record is more than just acting as a human tape recorder. Seek to understand everything that goes into a court reporter’s job to better work together to achieve your ultimate shared goal. Exercising some empathy can go a long ways in building rapport with your court reporter.
Your relationship with your court reporter is important to the overall success of your case. Working together to minimize interruptions during testimony will help alleviate some of these sticky situations. If you’re looking for a court reporter for your next trial or deposition, give us a call at 800-939-0093.