Every attorney and witness wants to create a flawless deposition to take with them to court. For this to happen, you need an experienced, reliable court reporter to produce a written record of the testimony. Of course, certified stenographers have years of experience and dozens or even hundreds of depositions under their belt.
If you’re still gaining ground as a new attorney, or you’re a witness who has never been deposed before, you could benefit from hearing a knowledgeable court reporter’s advice. Here’s how to help improve your next deposition.
Tips for Attorneys
You undoubtedly understand the power of an accurate deposition when making your case before a judge and jury. This is why you wouldn’t even think of holding a deposition without a certified court reporter present. Make their job easier with these tips:
- Provide case information in advance. When your court reporter has all the names and technical terminology pertaining to the case, you can expect fewer interruptions and requests for clarification.
- Plan time for markings. After presenting the exhibits, leave a few minutes for the court reporter to transcribe and mark them accordingly.
- Try never to talk over the witness. A clear record requires that only one person speaks at a time. Frequently interrupting the witness can result in a garbled transcript.
- Seat the court reporter close to the witness. This helps ensure the reporter can hear the witness speak clearly without the need to repeatedly ask for clarification.
- Verbally declare when you want to speak on and off the record. Being clear about this ensures the court reporter is prepared to pause and resume transcribing at the proper times.
Tips for Witnesses
Providing your testimony of an event can be stressful. It involves public speaking and keeping a clear head while responding to rapid-fire questions. Here are some tips to help witnesses be effective deponents so their testimony is helpful to the case:
- Listen attentively to the questions and strive to deliver simple, concise answers. Provide explanations if prompted.
- If you don’t know the answer to a question, simply state, “I don’t know.”
- If you don’t understand, request that the attorney rephrase the question.
- Don’t interrupt. Only provide your answer once the questioner has finished speaking.
- Answer “Yes,” “No,” or “I don’t know.” The court recorder can’t document head shakes, nods, or shrugs.
- Request a document review for any questions you can’t recall.
- Don’t allow the opposing party to force you into selecting answers you’re not entirely sure of.
- Remain calm and composed.
- Always provide truthful answers.
Talty Court Reporters provides court reporting services in San Jose. Not only do we accurately document depositions, but we also provide a wide range of other court recording-related services, including video conferencing, audio transcription, conference facilities, interpreter scheduling, and much more. To discover all the benefits of working with Talty, please schedule a deposition today.
Depositions provide important information for attorneys in the discovery stage of the legal process, as well as potentially providing useful courtroom presentations and serving as evidence during the trial. If you need to depose a witness who lives a great distance from you, conducting a remote video conference deposition lets you see and hear one another for a fraction of the cost and hassle associated with traveling, especially if there are multiple witnesses in various locations. Here are our top tips for ensuring a successful video conference deposition.
- Schedule your conference as soon as possible. Video equipment and conference rooms tend to get reserved well in advance, so avoid last-minute bookings to prevent delays.
- Consider hiring a legal videographer. Legal videographers offer high-definition recordings, crystal-clear audio, and video synced with the court reporter’s transcript. These characteristics make a more professional recording for a greater impact at trial.
- Arrange for a court reporter at the witness’s location. Since this is the person giving their testimony under oath, it’s more logical to have a certified court reporter at their location instead of yours. You can use the resulting transcript to help follow the testimony more closely when presenting it in court.
- Keep time zones in mind. If the witnesses live in different regions, make sure there isn’t any confusion about what time the video conference is scheduled to take place.
- Make preparations in advance. Help ensure the conference starts on time by preparing and shipping any exhibits or emailing pertinent documents to every party involved prior to the day of the deposition.
- Provide case information to the court reporter. This gives the reporter time to research the matter, learning of any unique names or industry terms that might come up during the testimony. A prepared court reporter has fewer questions, so the deposition is more likely to go smoothly with limited interruptions.
- Plan a neutral background for the video camera. A professional background free from distractions is best when recording a video deposition.
- Dress appropriately. As a legal professional, formal attire may come naturally to you, but it’s wise to remind your witnesses that their appearance in the recording is important.
- Maintain attentive body language. Even when you’re not speaking during a video deposition, all participants can still see you. Remain respectful and avoid multitasking to come across as the professional you are.
- Adjust your microphone. Ensure the mic is set to a suitable volume. Then, mute it when appropriate, such as if you need to cough or sneeze, or if you’re having a private discussion at your location.
The legal videographers, certified court reporters, and deluxe conference rooms at Talty Court Reporters are just what you need for a successful video conference deposition. We would be happy to answer any questions you have about our legal video conferencing services and the other assistance we provide attorneys, paralegals, and legal secretaries. Contact us today to learn more.
A traditional deposition is a typed transcription of a witness’s testimony. A court reporter transcribes the words verbatim in shorthand on a stenography machine, which translates the words into longhand. This becomes a certified written record for the court.
Did you know it’s possible to enhance a deposition with video conferencing? Here are the benefits of filming your upcoming depositions.
Reduce Travel Time and Expense with Remote Depositions
Teleconferencing equipment makes it possible to collect testimonies from witnesses located all over the world. This allows all parties involved to see and hear one another for a fraction of the cost and hassle required to travel to each location and host the deposition face-to-face, especially if there are multiple witnesses.
Review the Recording Again and Again
In the case of teleconferencing, the video feed is streamed live between participants. It is also recorded for later reference, and digital copies can even be made. This allows multiple people to watch the deposition as many times as they want.
Strengthen Your Legal Claim
While a paper transcript conveys a witness’s literal words, only a video recording has the power to demonstrate facial expressions, involuntary reactions, emotional responses, and irony or sarcasm. This meaningful information sets the scene and context of a case that is lost in written text. A powerful video may be enough to reduce or eliminate charges, influence a jury, or convince a judge to dismiss the case.
The best way to strengthen your claim is to hire a legal videographer. This ensures a high-definition recording with crystal-clear audio and video synced with the court reporter’s transcript.
Record with Minimal Equipment
Filming a deposition is not a complicated task. All you need is a quality camera and tripod, microphones, and lighting. For teleconferencing, you also need a secure and reliable internet connection. A legal videographer working in a conference facility provides everything you need, so you don’t need to invest in the equipment yourself.
View the Deposition on Multiple Devices
Modern technology allows video conferences to be viewed on numerous devices, including computers, laptops, tablets, and cell phones. This way, any involved party can clarify a statement the witness made by pulling up the video on whatever device is most convenient.
Ensure Privacy and Security
The digital nature of modern films could make some attorneys fear for the privacy and security of the witness’s testimony, especially when streamed over the web. Fortunately, today’s video conferencing offers the utmost privacy thanks to secure internet connections, file encryption, and private chat options. These measures ensure that only approved parties can view the recorded deposition.
At Talty Court Reporters, we always recommend filming depositions because of their ability to save attorneys time and money and preserve all the evidence in a case. Our legal video services in San Jose are just what you need to make your upcoming depositions a success. We even offer conference facilities where you can professionally record your footage. Discover all the benefits of working with Talty—schedule your deposition today.
To ensure knowledge of and compliance with current laws, all attorneys, paralegals, and legal secretaries working in Santa Clara County must be aware of updated court reporter policies. Here’s what you need to know about the rules made effective July 24, 2017.
Official Court Reporters are Provided in Civil Cases
The court will provide its own court reporters in cases that are assigned for trial or long cause hearing to the Civil Division or will be heard by a judge assigned to the Civil Division. These include the following types of cases:
- Felony criminal
- Juvenile dependency
- Juvenile justice
- Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Act
- Guardianships of the person or estate
- Civil harassment
- Civil contempt
Parties May Arrange Court Reporters When Not Provided
For hearings and trials in limited, unlimited, and probate matters, attorneys have the right to arrange and pay for a court reporter if an official reporter is not available. Santa Clara County Superior Court has established a policy regarding how a privately retained court reporter can qualify as an official reporter pro tempore. Eligible reporters must file a Stipulation and Appointment of Official Reporter Pro Tempore form and meet the following requirements:
- Have a valid and current California Certified Shorthand Reporter License.
- Be in good standing with the Court Reporters Board of California.
- Not be a current full-time employee of the court. Serving as an official reporter pro tempore must also not interfere with any part-time court employment.
- Be willing to provide current contact information with the court.
- Charge their fees to the party who arranged for their services, not the court.
- Comply with all statutes and rules applicable to official reporters pro tempore, including timely preparation of transcripts in the proper form.
- Demonstrate the highest standards of ethics and impartiality in performing their duties.
- Upload electronic archiving of notes within 48 hours of the proceedings.
- Follow directions from the court and subject to the jurisdiction of the court to the same extent as an official reporter.
- Be available for the read-back of notes within 30 minutes of the court’s request.
- Provide and connect the equipment necessary for real-time reporting or other litigation support services.
Be aware that there can only be one official record of court proceedings, and therefore only one court reporter. If any parties are in disagreement as to who should serve in this capacity, the judicial officer will make the selection.
Talty Court Reporters is your source for experienced certified shorthand reporters in San Jose. Our court reporting services ensure the professional, high-quality, and accurate outcome you expect from a real-time court reporter. To discover all the benefits of working with us, please contact us today.
Law school does a great job of preparing you for the courtroom, but many attorneys find themselves unprepared for what is sure to become a central aspect of their jobs—depositions. Depositions are important parts of case preparation, and they can often help a case stay out of the courtroom at all. That means that you have to be adept at the deposition process, even if law school didn’t give you all the tools you need. As you begin the process of depositions in San Jose , here are the facts you need to know.
You are responsible for hiring a court reporter.
When you go into the courtroom, a court reporter will be there to create a transcript of the testimony. For a deposition, you have to hire a court reporter yourself. Court reporters play an integral role in depositions for the same reason that they are important during trials—you will need a transcript of the deposition so that you can use it in your case preparation and so that there is a record of the testimony witnesses provided under oath. These transcripts may allow you to impeach testimony that witnesses give during trial if it conflicts with what they have said during a deposition.
Technology plays an important part in depositions.
Today, effective depositions rely on technology. During the course of a deposition, you may wish to create a legal video of the testimony or you may wish to conduct a remote deposition. You may also need digital access to transcripts and electronic versions of evidence. Court reporters can often offer these comprehensive deposition services, so be sure to ask about the technology different reporters use as you decide who to hire.
Court reporters can help with document and transcript storage.
When you hire a court reporter, discuss how you will be able to access deposition transcripts and other case-related documents. Often, court reporting firms provide digital repositories that are password-protected, so that you can work on your case from anywhere, anytime, without security-related concerns.
Because everything you say during a trial will be part of the court transcript, there are many things you should consider before presenting evidence for the record. Keep in mind that the court reporter in San Jose who is working your case will create a record of everything, so any missteps you make will not be easily corrected. As you prepare for your case and get your evidence ready for trial, keep these considerations in mind.
The order in which evidence is presented has a big impact on its usefulness. Your case should tell a story that comes together in front of the jury, and your evidence should further the timeline of that narrative. Presenting evidence in a logical order also makes it more understandable for your jury to ensure that is as useful as possible. As you consider the order in which you will present evidence, keep in mind which witness you wish to show it to, whether you need it to have any surprise value, and if there are any witnesses you wish to exclude from addressing the evidence.
In some cases, you may need to present evidence to the court before presenting it in front of a jury to determine its admissibility. If you have evidence that falls into that category, be sure to file your motions early enough in the process that waiting for rulings doesn’t impact the order in which you can present your evidence. Failing to seek the appropriate approval could lead to delays or cause evidence that is necessary to your case to be excluded.
Determine the best way to present the evidence for maximum impact and for ease of understanding. When possible, legal videos can be an effective way to create presentations for the courtroom. Video can also help you present evidence to opposing counsel during discovery. For effective legal videos, work with an experienced team of videographers who understand legal procedures to ensure your videos meet courtroom standards.
When you are preparing a client for a deposition, there are four simple rules you can use to help them give truthful answers without adding extraneous information to the transcript. Remind your clients that the court reporter will record everything that they say, so the answers they give are extremely important. As you prepare for a legal deposition in San Jose , remind your clients of the rules in this video.
Before answering any question during a deposition, your clients should make sure that they have heard and understood the question. They should also be careful to give a truthful answer only to the question being asked, without providing additional information that is not covered by the original question. This will prevent the client from accidentally exposing information that could be used against his or her case.
An outline can be a helpful tool for preparing for a deposition , but it shouldn’t become restrictive. Treating your outline as a rough draft instead of the final version will give you the flexibility you need to conduct a thorough deposition without being restricted by your initial plan. Using your deposition outline to prepare your court reporter in San Jose for any potentially challenging aspects of testimony, such as industry-specific terminology, can also be helpful.
A deposition outline helps you map out the questions you want to ask in the order in which you want to ask them. It also helps you highlight the information you have and what you want to gain through deposition testimony. However, it is important to react to the situation at hand during the deposition itself. As witnesses provide information in the course of the deposition, give yourself the freedom to address new information and change your planned questions in response to new facts. This will allow you to get the most from the testimony without overlooking any important details.
Even if your client has previously given a deposition, he or she might be surprised at how much they’ve changed. These days, video depositions near San Jose are considered standard. This means it’s even more important for your client to make a good first impression, as it’s possible for the opposing counsel to introduce video clips in court . Meet with your client ahead of time, and offer tips on answering questions, dressing appropriately, and helping the court reporter get an accurate transcript.
Consider showing this featured video to your client. It’s a succinct overview of what your client needs to know. The lawyer featured here explains the importance of treating every person courteously, and avoiding defensive language or behaviors. Clients should fully understand each question, and take a brief pause before answering it. It’s important to respond verbally to each question, and to avoid interrupting others so that the court reporter can do his or her job accurately.
Confidentiality is an essential element in building a trusting lawyer-client relationship. After all, if you’re a criminal defense lawyer and your client withholds vital details because he or she doesn’t believe the information will be kept confidential, then the entire case could be derailed. Court reporters in San Jose have a similar duty to abide by a code of ethics, including the responsibility to preserve the confidential nature of the information they record.
Understanding Confidentiality and Attorney-Client Privilege
Even among experienced lawyers, you’re likely to hear some people using the terms “duty of confidentiality” and “privileged information” interchangeably, despite their subtle differences. Both of these legal concepts have the end result of encouraging clients to disclose sensitive information to their attorneys. However, the lawyer’s duty of confidentiality is typically specified in the state’s ethics rules (American Bar Association Model Rule 1.6). The attorney-client privilege, on the other hand, is in common law. It’s essentially a rule of evidence, as it prohibits lawyers from being required to testify about the statements their clients made.
Identifying When Information Is Privileged
The attorney-client privilege applies to many circumstances, even if the person who revealed the confidential information isn’t actually a client. For example, a privileged relationship exists when:
- A prospective client or an actual client solicits legal advice from a lawyer.
- The prospective or actual client intends to keep the information confidential.
- The lawyer acts in any professional capacity.
Attorneys have the duty to keep privileged information confidential, even after the client is no longer a client, and after the client’s death.
Using a Secure Case Management System
Even if you are careful to never discuss the details of a case with anyone who isn’t authorized to have that information, you might inadvertently experience some lapses in confidentiality, especially if you store information electronically. Work with a court reporting company that offers a 24/7 virtual case management system. The security of this system allows you to access your online case file repository at any time without worrying about a breach in information security.
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