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.
The highest priority of court reporters serving San Jose is the accuracy of their transcriptions. Ethical, dedicated court reporters won’t hesitate to interrupt a deposition if their ability to get information on record is jeopardized. This can sometimes lead to ill will among the parties involved. If you’re an attorney, here’s what your court reporter wants you to know.
Why Deposition Interruptions Happen
Court reporters record verbatim speech at 225 words per minute or faster. Speed is important, but accuracy is paramount. Simply put, interruptions happen when a witness mumbles or offers a non-verbal response, or when multiple parties interrupt each other. In these situations, the court reporter must interrupt the proceedings to have the witness repeat the statement. Newly certified court reporters do tend to need to interrupt depositions more frequently, however, they’re typically the least willing to do it. Court reporters with plenty of experience generally don’t need to interrupt as often, but they’re more willing to assert themselves when the situation calls for it.
What You Can Do to Prevent Interruptions
Attorneys prefer to keep interruptions to a minimum, as they disrupt the flow of questioning and answering. Yet, many attorneys don’t realize that they play a direct role in how many interruptions are necessary. It’s well worth the time to discuss some ground rules before you get the deposition started. Clearly explain to the witness that the role of the court reporter is to take down an accurate record of everything that everyone says on the record. In order to do this, the court reporter must be able to hear every word. Establish the following rules:
- Only one person is to speak at one time.
- Wait until the questioning attorney is completely finished asking a question before responding.
- Every speaker should talk with reasonable clarity, volume, and speed.
- No non-verbal responses (i.e., head-shaking or nodding) are allowed.
Additionally, attorneys can help court reporters do their job well by providing a short information packet with the proper spellings of names and common industry jargon.
In late 2013, new HIPAA regulations went into effect that can affect court reporters who provide transcription services pertaining to patient information. The next time you hire a court reporter in San Jose, consider whether any of these updates might apply. Under HIPAA, both you and your court stenographer could be considered “business associates” of the healthcare industry. In other words, if you’re handling a case for a covered entity, such as a health plan or hospital, then by extension, you and the court reporter you hire are subject to HIPAA regulations.
HIPAA requires that all business associates of covered entities have an established Business Associate Agreement (BAA). This document must include multiple provisions, including the specifics of how a court reporter is permitted to disclose and use personal health information (PHI). Other provisions are: Requiring the court reporter to report security breaches in PHI, implement safeguards to protect PHI, and ensure that any subcontractors abide by the BAA.
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