In the U.S., a deposition is the process of acquiring out-of-court oral testimony of witnesses. This testimony is transcribed into writing by a court reporter for later use in court. Depositions are a critical part of the discovery process, during which attorneys collect information and prepare for the trial.
Court reporters play a vital role in the deposition process. Prior to starting the deposition, an oath is administered by a court reporter. Therefore, everything that a deponent says during the deposition is under oath and is transcribed word-for-word by a court reporter. These written transcripts can then be used as testimony during the trial.
In order to ensure that a deposition is successful and runs smoothly, attorneys must properly plan and prepare. Part of this starts with the booking of a deposition with a court reporting firm. When it comes time to book a deposition with a court reporting firm, here are a few things that attorneys and their assistants need to consider:
- Don’t wait until the last moment to book a deposition with a court reporting firm. Scheduling the deposition as far in advance as practicable will give firms the time to better prepare.
- Inform the reporting firm on the subject matter to be discussed. Some cases are highly technical and require a court reporter who is experienced with handling the technical terminology. By informing the firm of the subject matter to be discussed, the firm can match the right court reporter to the deposition’s needs.
- Inform the reporting firm if there will be a need for a videographer.
- Inform the reporting firm if there will be a need for an interpreter. Many of today’s depositions involve a witness that does not speak English. In order to overcome this language barrier, an interpreter is needed.
- Inform the reporting firm if realtime reporting services are needed. Not all court reporters can perform this task, and adequate time may be needed to schedule a realtime reporter.
- Provide clear directions to the location of the deposition. This will ensure that the court reporter will arrive on time at the correct location.
- Let the firm know if there are any delivery requirements for the transcripts. Sometimes an expedited delivery of the transcripts is needed. By letting the firm know beforehand of any expedited needs, the court reporter can better prepare and set aside the right amount of time to complete the transcripts on time.
Hopefully by following this advice, you help ensure that your deposition will be successful and will run smoothly without any major issues.