10 Questions To Ask When Hiring A Court Reporter
Hiring the right court reporter for depositions and other legal interviews makes a difference in the quality of the transcriptions. Having all the facts and correct information is critical for attorneys to build their cases. Not all court reporters are equally qualified. Knowing which questions to ask when hiring a court reporter ensures that you will determine the most qualified reporter for your needs. The following are 10 questions that you should ask when hiring a court reporter to ensure that you receive quality transcriptions. Kusar Court Reporters is a full-service court reporter agency with a strong focus on accuracy and details in even the most complex legal matters. Call us today at (800) 282-3376 for more information.
1. How Do You Determine Your Work is Factual and Accurate?
Asking a court reporter how they check their work and verify accuracy gives you insight into their attention to detail. For example, many reporters may transcribe a deposition and record it, then play the recording back to ensure that their transcription is accurate. A detail-oriented, precise court reporter will be able to describe their entire process efficiently.
2. Do You Have Topics You Consider a Specialty?
Some law practices may prefer court reporters with experience in a specific type of law, such as criminal defense or litigation. A court reporter may specialize in transcriptions and depositions on medical malpractice cases, for example, which can benefit personal injury lawyers. When reporters have prior experience with a subject matter, it makes them more comfortable with depositions in that sphere.
3. How Do You Handle Stressful Situations?
Pre-trial interviews and depositions can often be stressful. Even though the court reporter is there simply to record the conversation, they, too, can be affected if the mood of the interview becomes combative. A reporter who can keep their cool during stressful depositions is less likely to make mistakes or become flustered. Some reporters may ask for a brief break if the situation becomes overwhelming to ensure that their attention and accuracy do not suffer.
- Do You Feel Comfortable Asking for Clarification?
A court reporter must present themselves in a professional manner throughout the deposition. This includes their demeanor and verbiage when asking for a point of clarification or to request the spelling of a person’s name or a technical term. The court reporter should feel comfortable asserting themselves to ensure accuracy.
For example, they should never hesitate to ask whether a statement is on or off the record. Or, if they did not hear something clearly, they should feel comfortable pausing the proceedings to ask the lawyer or deponent to repeat what they said. A court reporter has a duty to ensure that the record is accurate. Their ability to do so has a significant impact on issues such as settlement negotiations and witness testimony. Experienced, professional, and polite court reporters, like those at Kusar Court Reporters, produce accurate, detailed reports.
5. Tell Me About Your Experience in Technical Litigation
The right court reporter is invaluable for firms that handle technical and complex litigation. Cases such as those involving medical malpractice, defective drugs from pharmaceutical companies, intellectual property, or mass torts typically have plenty of conversations involving technical terminology and legal concepts. A reporter familiar with many of the terms and concepts can ensure a more complete and accurate record of depositions.
6. How Do You Use Technology to Improve the Deposition Experience?
Court reporting firms have a wealth of technological options at their fingertips. A high-quality court reporting firm may utilize different tools to expand its capabilities or reach clients in other cities or states.
Many firms may provide in-house videographers who can record the depositions, allowing attorneys to analyze the non-verbal communication and body language of the interviewees. Videoconferencing capabilities can help law firms reduce the time and expense of travel for long-distance depositions.
The way that the court reporting service presents records is also important. Having booth typed transcripts and digital versions allows law teams to share files and comments more easily, or to make notes on paper copies for personal records. A full-service reporting firm will likely have all of these options available for attorneys, eliminating the need for multiple vendors to document depositions.
7. What Type of Licensing and Certification Do You Have?
This might be one of the most important questions to ask when hiring a court reporter. Many states require court reporters to have a state certification, obtained through taking classes and a test, in order to provide legally recognized court reporting services. The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) also offers certifications similar to those of individual states. If your state does not have a court reporter certification program, then look for reporters who hold the national accreditation.
The legal certifications for court reporters ensure that these individuals have the skills necessary to create accurate transcriptions. When asking about the licensure, be sure to affirm that it is a current license.
8. What Are Your Rates and What Is Included?
Each court reporting service structures its rates differently. Ask the court reporting service how their fees are structured and what services are included. Each one typically has standard page rates and may consist of a certain number of hours, with additional time for an additional fee.
For example, some firms may offer enhanced packages that include online transcripts with 24-7 access, transcripts available in multiple formats, and conference room space. Other firms may charge separately for conference space, videography, multiple formats, or access to an online repository. All reputable court reporting services should be transparent about their fees and what is included. If you need specialty services, ask about fees for those, too.
9. Do You Offer Real-Time Reporting Services?
Real-time repotting services can help an attorney dig deeper in depositions. The court reporter’s computer shows the testimony as they record it, which reduces the lawyer’s need to take notes and can help them spot potential discrepancies in witness testimony. Ask the firm if they provide a rough draft record in real-time, which is an unedited transcript of the entire deposition. Attorneys may be able to use these drafts to help prepare the case while they’re waiting for the finished, edited official transcript.
10. Do You Offer Any Other Services?
Some court reporting services may offer nationwide coverage, which can be helpful for firms with clients or witnesses in different states. Other court reporting firms may offer trial techs, interpreters, or other support services or may be able to recommend reputable ones.
Do You Need to Schedule a Court Reporter?
When your firm needs professional court reporting services, consider Kusar Court Reporters. We offer certified, professional court reporting services and take pride in our close attention to detail and ability to transcribe complex matters. Call us today at (800) 282-3376 to learn more about our services.