Depositions are among the most flexible discovery devices available to attorneys and paralegals. The goal is always to take effective depositions that will prove useful in court. The process involves working closely with a court reporter who documents the proceedings. Follow these nine tips to help the court reporter you’re working with do their job successfully.
- Prepare a notice of deposition: Everyone who is to appear at the deposition should be sent a notice detailing the time and place where the event will be held. Provide this notice of deposition to your court reporting agency when scheduling the meeting to ensure the court reporter has all the required information in advance.
- Hire an interpreter if necessary: If anyone involved in the deposition has weak English skills or a heavy accent, consider hiring a legal interpreter from the court reporting agency. This eliminates any chance of confusion when recording the testimony of that individual.
- Instruct the witness ahead of time: Provide full instructions for the witness to follow while the court reporter is recording the deposition. This helps reduce delays during the proceedings and ensures a smooth, streamlined process.
- Label all exhibits: Court reporters need to keep track of the evidence to ensure consistency in the record. The exhibits should be numbered sequentially with easy-to-read labels before the deposition begins.
- Introduce yourself: At the start of every deposition, remember to introduce yourself to the court reporter. Present your business card and indicate the company you work for. Formal introductions help get the proceedings off to a good start.
- Introduce the witness: Ask each witness to state their name, along with the spelling, to ensure accuracy in the record. The witnesses should provide any other pertinent information that the court may require, such as their mailing address, phone number, and place of employment. The exact information needed may vary for each witness.
- Provide regular breaks: The job of recording a deposition is mentally exhausting. To help the court reporter stay sharp, schedule 10-minute breaks every 60 to 90 minutes. Be sure to give everyone a 30-minute lunch break as well.
- Speak loudly and clearly: Instruct the witness and others in attendance to annunciate clearly and speak slowly. Also, be careful not to talk over one another. These simple instructions help the court reporter take down every word accurately with fewer interruptions and clarifications required.
- Allow the court reporter to remain impartial: As Officers of the Court, court reporters are required to maintain a neutral viewpoint, so avoid asking for their opinion on the testimony.
With these tips, your depositions should stay on track and serve as useful as possible. At Talty Court Reporters, we utilize the latest technology to deliver the very best results in your legal case. Turn to us for top-quality court reporting and transcribing services, video and audio conferencing, remote depositions, and much more. For additional information about our services, or to request a cost estimate, please contact us today.