Time is money. In your legal practice, how much time and money could you save by viewing and interacting with a court reporter’s transcript instantaneously in real time at the very moment the words are keyed into the stenographic machine? Lots of time. Lots of money. How much better could you do your job? Lots better.
Interactive realtime technology makes it possible for the spoken word in the courtroom or in a deposition setting to be translated onto your computer screen instantaneously in real time. No more furious note-taking. No more waiting days or even weeks for transcripts.
Realtime technology has been around since the late 1980s, but few attorneys appreciate its potential. Judges have been quicker to do so. Judges often use realtime technology in their courtrooms. Especially in high-profile cases, judges appreciate how realtime technology facilitates instantaneous recall of testimony and instant rulings on objections.
Because the technology is interactive, an attorney in a deposition can highlight testimony, make margin notations, scroll up to previous testimony, and send portions of the transcript over to an expert witness or a paralegal for access as the deposition is still proceeding. The transcript can be sent simultaneously via the Internet to off-site locations.
Some attorneys on the “taking” side of a deposition find that interactive realtime transcription is a bit distracting. If you’re defending the deposition, however, you can be preparing and planning your cross examination using the exact words used in the original question or answer. The same is true for re-direct.
In the past, attorneys were content to receive their deposition transcripts in 10 days or two weeks. When discovery deadlines are approaching, when depositions are scheduled on consecutive days, or when expert witnesses need to review previous testimony for their own scheduled deposition, the advantages of realtime become crystal clear.
Not only is the testimony translated as it is spoken, but at the end of the deposition you have a very readable, useable rough draft — right then, right there. You can email it to yourself to read at home – online or as hard copy — that very night for preparation for the next day’s deposition. You can email it to your co-counsel in another state or to your expert witness.
This is not your final transcript and it won’t be perfect, but at 96-percent-perfect, it’s readable, useful and available immediately.
If you want to test-drive realtime services, either bring your laptop to the deposition so the reporter can connect to your system, or request that the court reporting firm to provide you with a laptop already preloaded with realtime capabilities.
Bridge and CaseViewNet are the most commonly used and best-known interactive realtime viewers. The viewer requires a good wired or wireless Internet connection. Your court reporter can check connection speeds for you and work out any issues ahead of time. To ensure timely installation and good connectivity, arrive at least 20 minutes before the deposition is scheduled to begin.
Realtime Certification for Court Reporters
The National Court Reporters Association wants all court reporters across the country to be realtime certified. Training programs are in place and certification testing occurs twice a year. NCRA wants to provide the legal system with court reporters who can meet the rigid demands of realtime. This requires reporters with the skill and accuracy to generate a good realtime translation.
When interactive realtime technology is requested for a new case, the assigned court reporter may call your legal secretary or paralegal to collect information pertaining to the case, such as names of additional parties, technical spellings and some background on what the case is about. Thus prepared, the interactive realtime reporter can provide you with better translation rates on unusual names and terms. The more work up front, the better your rough draft – and the more valuable this service becomes to you.
Serving the Justice System
Court reporters, especially those who finely hone their skills to become certified realtime reporters, understand that their job is to be the unbiased keepers of the verbatim record, so that our justice system is appropriately served. In addition, court reporters realize that attorneys are our ultimate clients. The services we provide help attorneys, in turn, help them best serve their clients. Interactive realtime transcription is just one of those services.
Hopefully, this article has piqued your interest regarding the ways that interactive realtime transcription can save you time and money, and improve your legal practice. Ask your court reporting firm for a free demonstration at your office or at your next deposition. You’ve got nothing to lose and lots to gain.