MY COURT REPORTER IS A REAL PERSON
My regular court reporter is a real professional. She’s well-dressed at depositions, exudes quiet confidence, and consistently produces my litigation services on a timely basis. She is certified and well
trained at her profession.
After many discussions, I’ve discovered that my court reporter is also a genuine person; she’s a wife to a busy executive who travels and a mother to two active sons. She prepares family dinners, shuttles children to athletic events, and nurses family members when they’re ill.
Knowing she has a clandestine life as a human being, I’ve altered some of my behavior to make her job as my regular litigation support team more possible. Here are four behaviors I’ve changed, with apologies for my former presumption:
1. Accurately estimate deposition length.
Because my court reporter must juggle many professional and personal duties, she appreciates knowing how long I need her at a deposition. To be clear, I can’t always accurately predict a deposition’s length; a witness may lengthen the deposition by evading questions, or his answers may open unexpected inquiries. But I give my best estimate of length when I schedule my court reporter. And as soon as I think a deposition may last longer than anticipated, I tell my reporter so she can alter her plans.
2. Permit relief for my court reporter.
Sometimes I require many consecutive days of deposition. I know that lengthy depositions are physically taxing on my court reporter, and requests for expedited production of a transcript add to her burden. My reporter is anxious to provide the service I need, but that can sometimes mean that she arranges help to take a deposition or to help with after-hours production needs. Once I explain my needs, I trust my court reporter to tell me when she needs help, and she arranges for other qualified reporters to assist in taking deposition testimony or producing transcripts or video assets.
3. Starting depositions at 10:00
I like to work early in the morning. But I understand my clients and court reporter must meet other responsibilities during early morning hours. I’ve started to schedule depositions beginning at 10:00 to allow both my clients and court reporter to meet morning obligations. My clients have appreciated the change, and I’ve found that the witnesses are often more alert and ready to answer questions at that hour.
4. Advance notice of expedited production
Sometimes I don’t know I’ll need expedited deposition transcript until the deposition develops, but that’s rare. I usually know in advance that I need an expedited transcript to meet a summary judgment schedule or prepare for a hearing. When I know I may need an expedited transcript, I tell my court reporter in advance so she can make arrangements to produce my transcript quickly.
As I’ve become mindful of my court reporter’s competing professional and personal needs, she is better able to cater to my peculiar needs and our relationship becomes more enjoyable.