How We Ensure Accurate Remote Deposition Transcripts


How We Ensure Accurate Remote Deposition Transcripts

Accuracy is of the utmost importance for court reporting agencies, however consistently recording accurate remote depositions is no easy task. Like most other fields, court reporting quickly transitioned to a remote setting due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Court reporters needed to adjust to this new format, as the principles of success for remote depositions differ from the best practices of those that are held in person. In addition, there are certain behaviors that attorneys can practice to ensure accurate transcripts. At Kusar Court Reporters, our court reporters understand how to consistently provide our attorney clients with accurate remote deposition transcripts. Contact us today at 800-282-3376 to learn more.

What Do Court Reporters Do During Remote Depositions?

Skilled court reporters work to ensure that remote depositions go smoothly and that there are no avoidable issues that could cause problems. According to University of Washington School of Law professor Jeff Feldman, a deposition provides both parties in a civil lawsuit with an opportunity to obtain witness testimony before trial. There are a few important techniques that court reporters should always follow to ensure accurate transcripts.

Pre-Deposition Preparation

The work of providing an accurate remote deposition proceeding begins long before the deposition itself. Court reporting agencies work with their attorney clients to compile all relevant documentation and to prepare for each aspect of running a successful remote deposition, including preparing the remote meeting room, uploading all relevant documents and exhibits, and ensuring all relevant parties are invited and able to access the meeting room.

Provide Technical Support

Court reporters are responsible for ensuring that all technical aspects of the deposition are in working order. This includes making sure that both sides are connected to the remote meeting both visually and audibly and responding to any technical issues. Court reporters also act as virtual hosts for these depositions, which includes launching, managing, and ending the virtual proceedings.

Communicate Clearly

Once the meeting has begun, both court reporters and attorneys are responsible for ensuring clear communication between all parties. Remote depositions typically begin with the reporter introducing themselves and asking each participant to state their name and affiliation, which the court reporter uses to produce a record of appearance. This process helps the reporter accurately identify each speaker during the deposition.

A skilled court reporter can effectively set expectations from the beginning of the meeting as well. Different participants talking over or interrupting each other can be a common issue in remote depositions and other types of remote meetings. Setting an expectation that all other parties will wait for the speaker to finish before voicing their own concerns can help prevent this problem. Clear communication is vital for ensuring accurate remote deposition transcriptions and a top priority for the court reporters at Kusar Court Reporters.

How Attorneys Can Help Facilitate Accurate Remote Deposition Transcripts

Attorneys and court reporters are collaborators during the deposition process, whether it is remote or held face-to-face. Court reporters are highly skilled and capable of accurately recording up to 200 words per minute, but there are certain behaviors that attorneys can engage in to make the court reporter’s job much easier. Even the world’s best court reporter will struggle to compile an accurate transcript if attorneys fail to follow the best practices for accurate transcripts.

Provide Enough Pre-Deposition Information

Court reporters can only do their job effectively if they are provided with all relevant information before the deposition. Attorneys have a responsibility to be as thorough as possible in their notice of deposition so that the court reporter has enough knowledge to prepare for the proceeding. The court reporter should also be provided with access to all documents that contain quoted material that will be used in the deposition.

If the topic of the deposition is a niche subject with esoteric words or phrases, attorneys should provide the court reporter with a list of these keywords and phrases. This will help avoid any confusion or delays caused by a term that the reporter is unfamiliar with.

Get Comfortable With Digital Technology

Attorneys should familiarize themselves with the process of remote meetings before the deposition and the digital technologies that allow these meetings to run smoothly. Some key best practices to keep in mind include:

  • Use a high-quality headset to ensure strong sound quality
  • Have witnesses speak close to the camera for clearer communication
  • Speak slowly and clearly while facing the screen
  • Send digital exhibits before the deposition

Avoid Crosstalk

Both legal teams must stay mindful of the communication expectations and avoid talking over one another. The attorney also has a responsibility to disallow crosstalk during the proceedings. For example, if their client speaks over another participant, the attorney has an obligation to remind them to wait until the other party has finished speaking. Court reporters can also interject to ask participants to avoid crosstalk.

Clarify Any Unclear or Nonverbal Responses

Unclear and verbal responses can slow down meetings. Attorneys should do their best to speak as clearly as possible. When questioning participants, attorneys should pause to clarify any unclear statements or responses by the participant. This allows the reporter to record a cleaner and more easily readable transcription.

Spell Out Unique Terms

Esoteric words, such as medical terms, should be spelled out to ensure that they are spelled correctly on the transcript. Additionally, providing a list of these terms ahead of time will make it easier for the court reporter to accurately spell them in real-time during the proceedings.

California Law on Remote Depositions

Each State has their own set of laws regarding oral depositions taken by remote means. In California, any party is permitted to hold a remote deposition as long as they meet the following three criteria, as outlined in Rule 3.1010 of the 2022 California Rules of Court:

  • Provide notice of deposition or subpoena to the witness
  • Make all arrangements for other participating parties
  • Any party or attorney may be physically present at the deposition if they provide written notice at least five days before the deposition

Contact Our Court Reporters for Remote Deposition Services

If you are a litigator, you already understand the importance of accurate remote deposition transcripts. While remote depositions differ significantly from in-person proceedings, attorneys can ensure accuracy for either type of proceeding by seeking guidance from a team of experienced court reporters. At Kusar Court Reporters, our team is well-versed in the changing digital landscape and understands how to hold effective remote depositions. We are ready to guide your attorneys through each step of the deposition process, from preparing ahead of time to facilitating communication during the proceeding and providing detailed records afterward. Contact our team of dedicated court reporters today at 800-282-3376 to start preparing for your firm’s next remote deposition.

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