Court reporting has found its place in popular media since the late 18th century. You can see the mention of court reporters back in the day when the newspaper was merely a pamphlet, and the court reports were a part of it. The reporters and transcriptionists are parts of the more significant legal picture. They help the judges, lawyers and their clients during the trial. In fact, these professionals have all the educational qualification and training they need to influence the outcome of a trial.
How has court reporting evolved over the years?
There have been significant changes in the method of reporting. Earlier, the professionals used pen-and-paper to note down the dialog between the lawyer and the witness, the lawyer and the defendant, or the attorney and the judge. Soon, the stenotype replaced this method, and over the last couple of decades, up until the late 20th century, many stenotype machines came and went. Each device made the task of the court reporter a little easier than before. In 1950, IBM worked with the US military to develop the modern stenotype machines that included symbols and words that were translation friendly. Next, it was the era of computers and software technologies. Very soon, people were hooking their steno machines with PCs and laptops for direct translation of shorthand into English. It eliminated the need for a translator and sped up the process.
Right now, several courthouses are trying out fully automated dedicated real-time court reporting machines that can “listen” and record the conversations. In fact, these machines can transcribe in real-time. However, not all judges, attorneys, and clients prefer them since they often “mishear” words. Since they are automated, they lack the discretion than human reporters have. They keep recording and transcribing even when the client and his lawyer are sharing a word in private. They are static systems, and they still face a severe threat from manual court reporters, who take help from applications on their iPads or smartphones to transcribe the shorthand messages.
In the 21st century, online libraries of legal documents and Certified Access Real-time Translation (CART) have increased the accuracy of the transcripts and allowed faster turnaround. Modern stenotype machines have microprocessors, several sensitivity settings and LCD screens that directly present the shorthand content in English. That definitely supports the real-time translation in courtrooms and allows instant rechecks of spellings, names and other vital data. Technologies like translation software and voice recognition are improving the process of real-time court reporting considerably. That is also one of the leading reasons for being a court reporter, or a stenographer has become genuinely challenging. It to listen, type, monitor applications and proofread at such high speeds.
Why should you consider adding a real-time court reporter to the team?
People often wonder how real-time is more helpful than traditional stenotype. Studies show that people involved with a deposition including the clerks, clients, counsel and legal assistants can benefit from the presence of a real-time reporter in the court. A service like this brings many salient advantages with it.
Live reviewing of the process – real-time reporting enables the council to take a look at the content immediately. As the reporter writes the details down, the attorneys and their aides can view it and form follow-up questions that can help the case. In fact, attorneys find real-time reporting very useful when they have to rephrase a question or come up with a rebuttal to their opponent’s points.
Off-the-record messaging – there are times when the lawyers present inside the courtroom have to consult their team back in the office. The presence of a written system enables them to do so through instant messaging without losing any time. It cuts down the time delay between two depositions, and it helps the people involved utilize recess hours effectively.
Saves money – apart from saving time, this system saves a lot of money. Without the presence of a real-time court reporter, an attorney and his full team would have to shuttle back and forth between their office and the court during the trial. However, with this system in place, they can have the rough transcripts long before the final transcript is ready. They can start working on the second deposition even before they leave the room and at the same time, they can remain in touch with their team.
Enhances the reach – members of the council, who may be unable to attend depositions can also have access to the real-time transcript from their respective locations. All it takes is internet access and a secure connection. You can access the details of a case you have helped with, even when you are vacationing with your family. It makes the deposition and litigation process more convenient for everyone.
Instant access – this is the most lucrative advantage of any real-time reporting process. The attorneys and other parties involved can view the material without any time lapse between the dialog and the written translation. Attorneys can restate previous questions and find actionable information from lengthy interviews with the witnesses. Instant access increases the effectiveness of the questioning and cross-questioning process in court.
Searching the transcript for keywords – the process of searching for specific facts inside written transcripts used to be entirely manual. It used to be a tedious and arduous process that involved the help of transcribers and paralegals. The present system of software programs and tools of court-reporting allows the users to search for the mention of specific names, locations and other details using the exact keyword. The search is as easy as using any search engine (like Google), and the attorney can access all the pertaining information within a couple of seconds. Introduction of real-time has been a great time-saver for everyone involved.
Personal notes and comparisons – since each team can get an own copy of the same transcription material, they can mark specific points, make notes and issue code text as per their convenience. They can print multiple copies and tally the records among the team. The legal professionals can do all of this and more during the deposition. You no longer have to wait for the transcriptionist to send the hard copy of the final notes to your office.
Encourages participation – there have been a few cases in Seattle, where experienced attorneys had to reconsider their profession due to hearing limitations. The introduction of real-time court reporting has been helping them tremendously in continuing legal practice. They can continue to practice due to the intervention of is one of the many real-time reporting services that offer help to the differently abled in the legal setup. The presence of professional court reporters encourages individual participation from each member of a legal team, the clients, and the defendant equally.
After the trail ends the legal professionals and the paralegals can take the manuscript home with them. All they have to do is hit “Save” on their laptops or iPads. In fact, several litigation services also help their clients with the operation of the software applications for real-time transcription. Most of the popular software programs are compatible with modern Windows, Linux, and iOS. Therefore, finding a device of your choice to note down your observations on the live transcription is not difficult. Many attorneys and self-representing clients have used their iPads and laptops to keep track of the litigation process. The user can easily save the personalized content on their device of choice using LiveNote or CaseMap or a similar application. You can leverage these apps irrespective of your location.
How will the choice of deposition and trial support service influence the outcome of your litigation?
Your deposition needs a court reporter service since having reliable, trained and highly skilled professionals working to increase the accessibility of case-related information will help your client and team. These professionals undergo rigorous training, and they have multiple academic certifications that qualify them to be reporters. In many cases, attorneys or their clients have decided to forego court reporting services only to find out that it is mandatory in their state. In such an event, the court appoints a reporter to the case, and there is no question of choice. To avoid such a situation and to maintain a professional environment inside and outside the courthouse, you should seek the help of a reputed court reporting and litigation support service.
Additionally, you must ensure that the vendor you pick provides highly professional service. Depositions may contain information of delicate nature that can influence the opinion of the people outside the courtroom. Confidentiality is a necessary pre-requisite for picking a reporting team. Check their credentials and their history of work to ensure that you are working with the correct team at the right place.
Approaching a complete litigation support service gives you access to all the resources you will need during the trial. Apart from live reporting and transcription services, you will also require video depositions, video conferencing, trial support, and interpreter services. Having a team of highly trained professionals to assist you in every step of the way will definitely increase your team’s chances of winning the case. The service provider you pick can determine the course of your trial to a great extent.