When you think of the most prominent players in a court case, defendants, plaintiffs, attorneys, judges, and jury members may all come to mind. But another person also plays a crucial role during legal proceedings—the court reporter. This trained professional offers an unbiased, high-quality written record of witness testimonies, lawyer statements, and judicial rulings.
There was a time when all courtrooms supplied a court reporter to document trials. However, budget cuts and changing priorities have forced many attorneys and paralegals to fill this position on their own. If you’re not sure whether it’s worth hiring a court reporter, consider how having accurate transcripts of your depositions and court proceedings could make or break your case.
- Cross-examine and impeach witnesses using their own words: If a witness is not entirely truthful, their story may change over time. Without a court record, an attorney has no way to prove what the witness said in the past. But with a written account detailing previous proceedings, the attorney can call out dishonest witnesses and strengthen their case.
- Zero in on certain words and phrases: Recording a deposition is worthwhile for many reasons, but the footage doesn’t replace the need for a written account. In fact, attorneys must still produce transcripts of video recordings. Doing so makes it faster and easier to find specific words and phrases the witness said during their testimony.
- Ensure information is conveyed clearly: While remaining objective and professional, court reporters can interrupt a court proceeding and ask for clarification if witnesses use gestures rather than words or lawyers talk over one another. This ensures the most accurate transcript possible. The same clarity doesn’t exist if you make an audio recording to review later or trust speech-to-text software for your transcribing needs.
- Appeal cases more effectively: Having an accurate transcript of court proceedings allows appeals judges and other related parties to make decisions about a case. Without a court reporter to create a written record, it would be virtually impossible for lawyers to prepare a convincing argument.
- Create real-time closed captions: Court reporters help those with hearing impairments to participate in the judicial process. They do this by connecting their stenotype machine to a laptop. This converts the shorthand in which they record the spoken word into English, creating real-time closed captions that are then displayed on a screen in the courtroom.
- A court reporter demands respect: Simply having a certified court reporter in the room reminds people that every word spoken goes on the official record. This makes everyone more conscious of what they say and how they behave, which may help preserve order and professionalism throughout the proceeding.
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, video and audio conferencing, remote depositions, transcribing services, and much more. For additional information or to request a cost estimate, please contact us today.