All posts by Mark Miller

about court reporting

Fun Facts About Court Reporting

Fun Facts About Court Reporting

This blog is about fun facts about court reporting. When you think of court reporting, the last thing you associate it with is fun, right?  Well, we would like to turn those thoughts around and brighten up court reporting with a few fun facts you probably didn’t know.

  1. Scribes were present with our Nation’s Founding Fathers as The Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights were drafted. Also,  President Lincoln entrusted scribes to record the Emancipation Proclamation.
  2. The ampersand (&) is one of the earliest examples of shorthand.
  3. Capturing the record of important proceedings dates back to the Fourth Century B.C.
  4. Charles Dickens began his career as a court reporter at the age of 16. It was during his four-year career as a court reporter and law clerk that he first learned shorthand. Michelle Pfeiffer also studied to be a court reporter just before the roles that made her famous.
  5. Annual salaries of captioners and court reporters can reach up to (or even exceed) $80,000.
  6. According to an industry outlook study, there is currently a demand for more than 5,500 court reporters and captioners.
  7. There are a few different types of court reporters. There are the court reporters that work in a courtroom all day and actually work for the court system; then there are freelance court reporters who mainly focus on depositions for attorneys in civil litigation.

If you are looking for court reporters that are the right fit for your needs, I invite you to schedule a deposition today. We have been serving attorneys and law firms in Phoenix, AZ for over 30 years. Come see the difference that we make in Phoenix court reporting.

attorney preparing witnesses depositions

Attorney Tips for Preparing Witnesses for Depositions

At Phoenix Deposition Services, we’re proud to provide several certified court reporting services that are highly beneficial to both attorneys and clients alike. From our video conferencing and deposition services to real-time court reporting and several related areas, we ensure you have access to quality deposition content as quickly as possible so you can move forward with your case.

Whether you’re an experienced attorney with years on the job or a newer entry to the field, managing a witness for a deposition is a tricky but vital area to consider. Let’s look at a few basic tips we can offer on properly preparing and managing a witness, including several areas that will maintain your own legal integrity and will ensure you’ve checked all the proper boxes.

Pre-Deposition Practice

For starters, it’s important to understand that the vast majority of people you might call as a deposition witness have no experience with the procedures associated with this or any part of a courtroom. Most people simply haven’t been in these situations before, so they might be nervous or somewhat intimidated by what’s facing them.

For this reason, it’s important to adequately prepare them in advance. It’s vital for us to make a major distinction here: As an attorney, you cannot actively coach the witness on what to say or how to respond to certain questions favorably. However, you can absolutely provide examples of the sorts of questions they might receive, detail the procedures that will take place, and explain why the deposition is important and how it may impact the case. You can also give general tips on deposition etiquette and other areas not directly related to the case in question.

Reviewing Court Rules

Another important area to go over with your witness is any rules or regulations present in the courtroom. Let them know about the kinds of motions or objections you might make as an attorney, plus inform them of any conferencing rules that are present for the deposition.

This conferencing area is important – witnesses must know the procedure for private conferences if they wish to speak with you during the deposition. In addition, they should be made aware that these kinds of conferences, if allowed (they might not be in some situations), might lead to general distrust or related issues with their testimony. If at all possible, encourage witnesses not to engage in a private conference unless absolutely necessary.

Clients and False Statements

In a rare situation where your witness makes an untrue statement that you know is false, the law is clear: It requires you to “remonstrate with the client confidentially, advise them of the lawyer’s duty of candor to the tribunal and seek the client’s cooperation with respect to the withdrawal or correction of the false statements or evidence.”

In other words: If your witness lies and you know it, you are legally required to start a private conference with them and advise them to recant their statement. For this reason, it’s also very important to inform your witness in advance about the vital nature of being truthful and honest throughout the deposition.

For more on preparing and managing a deposition witness, or to learn about any of our court reporters or video depositions, speak to the staff at Phoenix Deposition Services today.

certification

Types of Certification for Court Reporters

Types of Certification for Court Reporters

This blog is about the types of certification that court reporters can possess and which one will be right for your needs.

  • Registered Professional Reporter (RPR). One of the most basic reporting certifications is passing the RPR exam. This is a skills test on literary phrases, question responses, and jury charge material and must be given at a speed of up to 225 words per minute. Reporters must also pass general knowledge tests involving court reporting practices, professionalism, and technology platforms. In addition, reporters must complete three continuing education units every three years to maintain RPR status.
  • Registered Merit Reporter (RMR). RMRs carry all of the qualifications as RPRs, but RMRs have passed their speed skills tests with a score of 240 words per minute or better.
  • Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR). CRRs have additional skills in instant voice-to-text (known as realtime) transcription. These reporters are required to pass a test accurately transcribing in realtime at speeds up to 200 words per minute and must complete three continuing education units every three years.
  • Certified CART Provider (CCP). Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is an assistive technology that allows hearing-impaired individuals to read spoken dialogue in realtime. A CCP must be able to deliver realtime reporting in CART software at speeds between 180-225 words per minute, as well as completing three continuing education units every three years.

If you are looking to become a court reporter and have received adequate schooling, you may obtain your certification by following this link. For more helpful information about court reporting please visit our website’s blog page.

If you are looking for professional and certified court reporters in Arizona, schedule online today with Phoenix Deposition Services.

factors wrongful termination depositions

Important Factors in Wrongful Termination Depositions

Important Factors in Wrongful Termination Depositions

This blog is about important factors in wrongful termination depositions. Among the more difficult and occasionally awkward forms of civil cases out there, wrongful termination cases stand out. Clients in these cases often feel as though they’ve been treated unfairly, while companies will maintain that termination was well within their rights and did not break any area of the law.

At Phoenix Deposition Services, our court reporters are regularly called out to provide video conferencing, reporting and other services for wrongful termination cases. These cases will often contain contradicting accounts of events and potentially combative statements, and attorneys preparing for such cases should proceed accordingly. In addition, here are three prominent themes that will generally be given high priority during these cases, allowing attorneys and their clients to focus on the proper details.

Company Policy

While most wrongful termination cases come down to context and detail, one area that’s generally on the side of the plaintiff is the company’s own worker policy. Attorneys and clients should go over all documentation or other materials the employee received when beginning work at the company, documents that generally contain detailed information on company policies.

For instance, many larger corporate entities have processes that eventually lead to termination: Employees will be allowed one or two formal warnings in some cases, or maybe disciplined more lightly as a warning before being terminated. If you can prove, however, that the company did not follow such a procedure that’s laid out in their policy, you’ll have a leg up toward proving wrongful termination. In addition to viewing specific documentation, work for evidence that the policies therein were clearly communicated and explained to employees.

Importance of Supervisors

A former supervisor may become one of the most important deponents in any wrongful termination case. This person can act as a witness for the employee’s performance, work ethic, and other important areas. Attorneys and former employees should confer in advance here, as not all supervisors will necessarily give friendly answers and some might not be credible. However, in cases where harassment or retaliation from a supervisor played a role in the termination, deposing this person will become even more vital for different reasons.

Work History

Finally, one of the best ways an employee can present their case for wrongful termination is to establish a strong, reliable work history. This can include both the job they were dismissed from and previous employment situations – if necessary, former supervisors or coworkers from these previous jobs can even be deposed to provide evidence of the employee’s hard work. If work history records show positive areas, such as Employee of the Week/Month awards or some other recognition, be sure to highlight these prominently while making your case.

For more on what to expect during wrongful termination depositions, or to learn about any of our video depositions or other services, speak to the staff at Phoenix Deposition Services today.

right court reporter

Choosing The Right Court Reporter

Choosing The Right Court Reporter

Choosing the right court reporter may often prove difficult when you have traveled to an unfamiliar city and there are so many court reporting firms to choose from. One mistake can cause many trickle-down negative effects onto your case, in court, and during a deposition.  When the outcome of your case depends on accurate information to be well-organized by a professional Phoenix court reporter, follow these tips.

Ask if their facilities will meet your needs

Before scheduling your next deposition, first ask if their facilities will meet the needs of your clients and the number of deponents and staff you may have in attendance; if your clients have special needs, such as needing wheelchair access to the building; can these needs be met through the conference suite provided by your court reporter; will it be a quiet and professional atmosphere for you to conduct business.

Be sure to ask about high-speed internet access or proper video conferencing equipment.

Can your court reporter set up an interpreter or video recording of the deposition if needed?

When a witness is not able to be present, video-recorded testimony can be a very powerful tool to a judge or jury in court. Perhaps an expert witness will not be present for your day in court.  Ask your potential court reporting firm if they will be able to provide Hi-Def, high-resolution video recording of their deposition. Perhaps an interpreter is needed. Can your court reporter provide this as well?

At Phoenix Deposition Services, we cover a wide array of services to meet your needs by professional and precise Phoenix, AZ court reporters. Call us today or schedule your next deposition using our easy online scheduling page.

divorce deposition

What to Expect During a Divorce Deposition

What to Expect During a Divorce Deposition

This article is about what to expect during a divorce deposition and the role court reporters play in that. There are many different kinds of legal cases that may require depositions for a few reasons, and one of the more frequent types seen is for divorce cases. Divorces can be stressful and occasionally messy legal affairs, and when there’s significant enough disagreement, depositions may be involved in the process.

At Phoenix Deposition Services, our court reporters and video depositions are available for a wide variety of case types, including divorce proceedings. These are often done involving witnesses who were compelled to appear rather than those who did so voluntarily and may include questions in a few important areas. Here are some of these areas to understand.

Income and Asset Division

Financial areas are often at the center of many divorces, and the deposition process is often used to help uncover certain areas that may be tougher to get at otherwise. You have to be prepared for potentially detailed questions here, including those that are relatively intrusive and get into specific areas of your finances.

It’s important to note that while it may be tempting to withhold certain information during this part of the deposition, doing so is both illegal and extremely risky. Attorneys are able to ask questions about any part of your finances, including any publicly available documents, and you will be under oath during this questioning. Lying or omitting information is a direct contradiction of the law and should be avoided no matter what.

Child Care and Custody

Another common debate point during divorces is the care and custody of any children involved, and this area will take high priority during several elements of divorce cases, including depositions. Custody won’t be determined solely during these hearings, of course, but they present a significant opportunity for both sides to present their case in terms of care and resources for the child.

During this section of a deposition, prepare for personal questions. They will refer to care areas for the child, scheduling concerns for each parent, financial capabilities within the childcare realm and several others. Being willing to admit to areas where compromise is necessary can actually go a long way in these situations, provided both parties can be reasonable.

Health and Personal Habits

Finally, depositions may uncover certain other pieces of information that wouldn’t come to light otherwise during a divorce. Personal habits and traits might come up, such as parents who abuse drugs or alcohol or have been unfaithful within the marriage. Past criminal records may come up in these depositions, and once again, you should take great care not to lie or omit information, even if you think it will benefit you at the moment – the negative outcomes far outweigh the positive ones.

For more on what to expect during a divorce deposition, or to learn about any of our video court reporting or other services, speak to the staff at Phoenix Deposition Services today.

litigation

Litigation Tips for A Successful Deposition

Litigation Tips for a Successful Deposition

This blog is to inform our audience about litigation tips for a successful deposition. At Phoenix Deposition Services we provide many services to aid in the deposition process and to litigation itself. These services are often vital to a given deposition, allowing for expedient tracking of records, statements and streamlining the preparation process for litigators on every side of a case.

Over the years providing these services, we’ve seen just about every possible situation or behavior from litigators – and we know the kinds of things that work and don’t work in this situation. Here are a few basic tips we can offer in litigation to avoid mistakes and ensure a smooth, effective deposition that accomplishes the desired goals.

Avoid Stipulations on Record

You may have the ability to put stipulations onto the record at the start of the deposition, but we generally recommend against this. This will allow the opposition to reserve their objections and may lead to some trickle-down issues later on in the case. It’s advantageous to you if your opposition makes their objections during the actual deposition itself, allowing you to counter them immediately rather than waiting for trial.

Witnesses and Competence

In certain high-stakes cases, you may have witnesses looking to evade your questions. One of their primary methods for doing so will be to dodge claims of competence – they may say they don’t remember a given event, for instance, or don’t understand what you’re asking them.

If you sense this kind of difficulty could be at hand, it’s best to lead the witness to admit their own competence at a separate angle. The best litigators try to accomplish this before they ask sensitive questions about the case so that once those questions come up, witnesses cannot then back out and say they were not competent.

The Litigation “Witching Hour”

Within the deposition world, this is a term used to describe when the patience of a given witness begins to wear down. Many opposing witnesses have been coached or have prepared responses, but you can wear away at this and steer toward the truth if you work at it. Tactics here will vary depending on the subject matter and the witness’s personality.

Awkward Silence

A great tool at your disposal in any deposition? Simply being silent. Many people become very uncomfortable in prolonged silences, and witnesses often ramble or say things they wouldn’t otherwise when they’re uncomfortable.

Non-Speaking Objections

If your opposing counsel in a deposition is highly argumentative and will not stop objecting, you may want to consider requesting a non-speaking objection. If approved, this will force the opposing counsel to make their objections in a way that will not direct your witness toward answering in a way that benefits them, a common tactic used to evade the truth.

For more on how to avoid any mistakes during a deposition, or for information on any of our court reporter or video conferencing services, speak to the pros at Phoenix Deposition Services today.

making depositions convenient reporters

Making Depositions Convenient for Reporters

This blog is about making depositions easier for court reporters. For several parties involved, from attorneys to judges and others, the certified court reporter provides numerous benefits. Depositions simply wouldn’t be as valuable or meaningful as they are without a great transcript and record-keeping from the court reporter, making their services essential.

At Phoenix Deposition Services, we’re also here to tell you about the other side of this coin: How clients, attorneys and others involved in the deposition process can take small little steps to assure the real time court reporter’s job is done correctly. We’re here for your convenience, of course, but this street goes both ways and the right approach here will ensure perfect record-keeping and transcripts from your deposition. Here are some important areas to go over with your attorney ahead of time.

Introductory Information

If at all possible, time should be taken ahead of the deposition to give the court reporter a basic list of names, terminology or other important words that might be used. This allows them to add this to their dictionary and note it before any possible errors take place. In turn, this will lead to a more error-free transcript and will also improve turnaround time if you require documents quickly after a deposition.

Regular Breaks

In a given deposition can benefit from breaks every now and then, particularly if the deposition is a long one, and the court reporter is no exception. This gives them a chance to rest and stretch, plus benefits you with a brief break from what can be stressful proceedings. Once again, this kind of approach will lead to a more accurate transcript.

Clear Expectations

Every deposition is different and has different goals, and for this reason, it’s vital for you and your attorney to communicate any special expectations before proceedings get underway. This includes things like making a request for a real time reporter in advance – these require special certifications. Other similar requests might include expedited services, immediate rough transcripts or video reporting services, all of which are easily handled so long as there’s adequate warning and preparation time.

Speaking Habits

Finally, while your attorney likely has experience with the deposition process, you should be made aware of a few speaking habits if you’ve never been in one before. Try not to talk too quickly or mumble, and never cover your mouth or obscure your voice in any way. Reporters are trained never to ask you to slow down, so doing this will ensure they can stay accurate.

In addition, while we know depositions are a place where arguments can take place, the interests of all involved should be on preserving a good record. For this reason, try to avoid interrupting or talking over others wherever possible, even in heated moments, to allow for better transcription of what is said.

For more on how you can help make things a little easier for your court reporter, or to learn about any of our certified court reporting services, speak to the pros at Phoenix Deposition Services today.