Court reporting services are not a new concept, but their use has become more prevalent as the role of a judge or official becomes more important to society. Court reporting can take many forms. It can be as simple as taking notes at a deposition or as involved as preparing a deposition for a court case. There are many court reporting services throughout the United States. This article will discuss the most common services used by courts throughout the country, including a description of the services offered by each, and the advantages of using those services.
Some court reporting services offer real-time transcription services. Transcription services offer the ability to download and store court transcripts electronically. As the court transcripts become more electronically digitized, they are more versatile and useful. Some reporting agencies have also started providing electronic search capabilities on their court transcripts. When a reporter obtains a search of a transcript in this manner, the reporter is able to search back through the transcript to find specific material that may have been omitted or to locate certain words that have been omitted, or to locate and review a flow of information that has been previously omitted.
Court reporters also offer video services in addition to their court reporting services. Video services allow a reporter to present court proceedings through the use of video cameras. Often, video services also include audio recordings of the proceeding. This ability to incorporate audio and video enhances the quality of a proceeding for the courts, the parties involved, the attorneys, the witnesses, and the public. Many people who have attended a court proceeding that was presented via video are impressed with how the proceeding was viewed, the quality of the video, and the professionalism of the court reporting reporters.
Many court reporting services provide transcripts via mail rather than via electronically downloaded paper CD copies. This is done in an effort to save trees that would otherwise be used in the creation of paper CD copies of all court reporting services’ court files. The court reporting companies that maintain the transcripts on electronic storage sites are able to avoid having to replant trees that would otherwise be necessary for the production of paper CD copies of all court reporting services’ court files. In this way, court reporters are preserving the tree-studded lands.
Many court reporting services also offer the same kind of deposition services as the deposition services provided by law firms. Sometimes a party wants to depose a witness, and needs to call that witness “Home Investigator” to ensure that the witness will actually appear before the Court. Sometimes a party is looking for a more concrete proof, such as e-mail copies of electronic communications that the witness might have sent to a law firm or other third party, and the court reporting services that provide these depositions can be a great resource. Especially in complicated litigation involving many parties and many different venues, having the witness to appear in person before the court is very important to obtaining the desired result.
Many court reporting services that provide transcripts also offer transcripts that are certified by the ABA as being true and accurate. If the trial or deposition was performed at a court house, then the transcript is most likely going to be offered to a client that is going to be using the trial as a means of getting money from the lawsuit. If the witness whose deposition was called cannot appear in person, then the trial transcript will be a complete failure. Even if a trial transcript can be found online, it is almost certain that there will be a substantial fee due for this document, and the quality of the transcript will be less than what one would receive from a certified court reporter.
Some court reporting services also provide “real time” deposition services. Real-time services mean that the reporter’s digital recording device is connected to the Internet and can be immediately connected with a user who has a voice connection to the Internet. The Internet protocol will allow the user to make voice calls into the system and get a prompt answer back, as opposed to having to wait for a paper copy to be mailed out. This is an excellent way to expedite the litigation process but is not available for all court reporting services.
If you are interested in real-time court reporting services, you must make sure that your reporter is connected to a national court reporting services company. There is a big difference between online transcription services and real-time court reporting services. Online transcriptions are generally not done live. For that reason, it is impossible to determine the quality of the voice on an online transcript. It is very common for reporters to forward mail to their clients, stating that their reporter will be online at the time they need to meet with the witness, so you should be aware of any time requirements that your reporter may have.