We’re all human and we make mistakes. When it comes to taking a deposition, it’s important the court reporter is as prepared as they can be so errors are minimized. Often overlooked because they’re the quietest person in the room, they’re also among the most important. Here’s what your court reporter wants you to know before your next deposition.
Help the Reporter Help YOU
All too often we hear from our reporters that the attorney failed to provide a witness list, industry terminology, and/or preparation of the witness. Don’t be that attorney! Our reporters appreciate when you give them as much information as you can about witnesses, deposition location, and technology (for a remote deposition). It will save time for everyone.
Want to be the rock star client for them? Provide lunch when it’s an all-day deposition. It will keep proceedings moving forward and no one has to leave the building.
Leave Time for Exhibits
Speaking of saving time, please be sure questions have been fully asked and answered before asking the court reporter to mark exhibits or they could miss an important piece of testimony. What they miss will have to be re-stated and recorded and can make a deposition drag on for longer than it needs. This is especially true if there is an expert witness with several pieces of evidence to which they are referring.
Prepare the Witness
When witnesses are sworn, they’re told to tell the truth. As the attorney, it’s important that they tell the truth without embellishment or opinion. Remind them to state the facts as they know them, answering questions clearly and directly, and avoid nodding or saying, “uh-huh,” and other non-words. The reporter needs the exact spoken words so if the witness is nodding instead of saying, “Yes,” you will need to provide clarification for the official record.
It’s especially important if you’re preparing an expert witness. Because they know so much about their area of expertise, they may have a tendency to give too much information when answering a question. At trial, they may have to face cross examination which can ruin your client’s case. It’s best to prepare them ahead of time.
The more you can do to prepare your team, including client and witnesses, the better for the outcome of the case.
If you’re in need of a court reporter for an upcoming case in the Pittsburgh area, contact us today!