Seven Qualities to Look for in a Court Reporter

Preparation For First Legal DepositionIf you are looking to hire a phoenix court reporter or anywhere else, just like any other new hire, if you already have an idea about your expectations, as well as what you need from the service.  There are also several “serious” needs whenever you hire someone, so be confident about your overall expectations.

Court reporters are critical to any legal proceeding. To better serve you in this regard, listed below are seven areas that should be on your list of must-haves:

1.  Court Reporters Must be Competent

Competency is a multiple edged sword, as it is more than just having a license.  The reporter should be licensed, and you can’t have qualms about asking for qualifications and perhaps more important, recommendations. Note here that the recommendations must be verifiable. If this information isn’t easily accessible on a website, then ask for and receive the information.

Experience can vary, and it is easier to hire a court reporter for the court who is experienced in depositions. You don’t have to have the exact experience as long as they have a similar experience, and proof of a cool head under fire.

2.  Punctuality in the Court Reporting Field

A court reporter can never be late. Everyone else can be tardy, and often are, but the court reporter is held at a standard above the rest and should always be early, never frazzled, and over prepared.

3.  Timely Turnaround on Transcripts

Can the court reporter handle an expedited request? Are they able to recognize that counsel has forgotten a trial is coming up so quickly that the normal process is not going to meet review deadlines and point it out? You need a confident court reporter.  One who has top skills, can be an asset and not be a drag on proceedings, and always delivers high-quality transcripts.

4.  Emphasizes Attention to Details

When it comes to court reporting, details are critical. For example, information is indexed to make it easy for counsel to reference it, so it’s important that the court reporter pays attention to the minutiae—including and up to spelling words properly.

The reporter needs to ensure they have all the information needed to prepare a transcript.  Many attorneys look to the court reporter to organize and keep control of the exhibits so being meticulous is a skill set you want. Attention to detail is a reflection of the best court reporters.

5.   Pleasant Demeanor

The court reporter must know their business, but be able to gently guide witnesses or deponents and never take sides. Willingness to coordinate the needs of all parties, and ensure that all present are comfortable, and at ease is also important, as it contributes to an environment of unity.   The court reporter is there to protect the record as opposed to advancing theories or opinions.

6.   Timely Turnaround

Verbatim transcripts of legal proceedings such as depositions, meetings, and hearings is an absolute must. A court reporter’s work is sent to all parties and counsel involved.  Errors in any of these areas can be detrimental to someone and can be highly costly. Likewise, delivery of the transcripts promptly is just as important as the work being exact. Delivery before a deadline, instead of arriving at the last possible moment gets high marks and recommendations.

7.    Professional Court Reporting Firm

A court reporter must deeply understand their business and always be prepared and know what’s expected of them. The reporter must know the players, agencies, attorneys, judges, advantages, facilities, and abilities of the parties involved. The court reporter should also dress in a professional manner.  Hence, attire should never get in the way of the job.

In Summary

Those are the top seven areas that should be high on your list of priorities the next time you need to hire a court reporter.  Other areas include availability, fees, well spoken (no speech impediments or problems speaking before a crowd), if you need to hire other vendors to complete the service, and the ease of use in being able to hire the court reporter.

The reporter should also be mobile and able to get around the city during normal business hours.  Likewise, everyone has time when they must take off for personal reasons but trying to squeeze those in between appointments can be a disaster waiting to happen. So it also helps to find a reporter whose personal life doesn’t interfere with their work life.

There are many more areas, but the seven listed above are the ones you shouldn’t do without — ever. If you have questions about this article or would like to learn about court reporting in Phoenix, AZ contact Phoenix Deposition Services at (602) 230-2499 or complete our form today!