Legal Tips

What to Look for in a Court Reporter

It’s common knowledge within the legal community that good depositions tend to result in favorable plaintiff outcomes. However, what is not as well-known is how to find the best court reporters to transcribe your depositions. It really boils down to knowing what to look for in a court reporter.

court reporter

One of the reasons that good reporters are in such high demand is that it’s not an easy job. Successful court reporters possess excellent communication skills, terrific organization skills, and must also be up to date with technology. But these are just the basics when it comes to court reporting. If you’re planning to hire a reporter for your deposition or other court-related needs, the following are five specific traits to look for.

Strong Degree of Professionalism
It is of vital importance that your court reporter bring a professional demeanor to your depositions. For example, imagine the type of setback that you could face if your court reporter was late to a deposition. Alternatively, what if you hired a court reporter who made a habit of interrupting you while you were questioning the witness? You want to look for a court reporter that is able to maintain a high degree of professionalism at all times.

Good Grammar and Punctuation Skills
Another quality that court reporters should possess is proficient grammar and punctuation skills. For example, if your court reporter has bad grammar and punctuation skills, it could have a major negative impact on your report. Even something as small as misplacing a comma can have an adverse effect.

Given the nature of the courtroom, you simply can’t afford to have these types of mistakes.

A Great Listener
Listening is another critical skill for courtroom reporters. They must be able to block out all distractions and give their full undivided attention to the speaker. Listening skills are important to the context of the report. For example, being able to differentiate homophones is important for the context of your report. Listening intently will allow your court reporter to understand the difference between too and two or air and heir, etc.

Likewise, since witness testimonies can trigger a host of emotions, it’s very common for witnesses to rush through their statements. A court reporter must be able to keep up with the pace of the testimony — no matter how fast it is delivered. This requires an incredible amount of concentration and listening skills, along with strong stenography skills.

Knowledgeable on a Variety of Subjects
Depositions or even courtroom reporting often requires that the reporter have specialized knowledge or understanding of medical, financial, legal or other specialized fields. Otherwise, it would be difficult to properly document the proceedings or depose the witness. A good way to ensure that your court reporter is knowledgeable in a wide variety of professional fields is to see what types of cases they’ve been involved in, and then choose the reporter who has the most experience in your required field.

Guarded with Privileged Information
Court reporters are often privy to sensitive information that falls under attorney-client privilege. Hence, it’s important that you find a court reporter who will treat this information with the same confidentiality that you would observe as an attorney.

If you use these tips to find the right court reporter, you could be well on your way to successfully closing more cases. However, seeking out these candidates on your own is not without its own set of risks.

Fortunately, there is an easier way. Rather than screen countless court reporters yourself hoping to find the right one, save some time and money by hiring the experienced court reporters from a trusted service provider in your area.