Real-time court reporting helps the attorneys and judges review and refer to a trial transcript instantly. With real-time reporting, the lawyers involved in the case do not have to wait for days for a hard copy of the transcript. Reporting real-time can help the legal team to work cohesively with their client and the other attorneys present. Since it minimizes the delay, it helps you keep track of the current events and monitor the course of the case as it progresses.
When we say real-time, we mean the instant translation of the dialogs between the different parties inside the courtroom. The court reporter usually uses a shorthand machine or a stenotype to transcribe the words, numbers, and phrases. The modern stenotype uses real-time transcription software that can translate the short-hand coded phrases into English. The stenotype has 22 keys that can write numbers, words, and phrases as the attorneys, witnesses, defendants or judges as saying them. However, the same information appears on the screen in English. If there is a need, the legal team can choose to screen the transcript in court. It is a smart and useful way of providing all involved parties with a digital transcript of the proceedings.
What is real-time transcription?
Traditional transcription is not instant. It used to take a while for the transcriber to work on the shorthand and translate it into English. There are times when the whole team of attorneys is not present inside the courtroom during the proceedings. The presence of a real-time translation system allows the ones absent from the scene to check the details and react. It also helps them determine what action they will take and what objections they can make. Instead of spending time on reviewing notes and correcting them, the real-time transcription of the dialog allows them to conduct the cross-examination with a complete set of information. There has been more than one case in Seattle WA, where the attorney has found new clues from the witness accounts from real-time notes that have changed the direction of the trial.
There are several other integral benefits real-time reporting provides. Here’s a brief overview of the reasons attorneys and legal teams prefer having a skilled transcriber in the courtroom:
- Increase in precision – the average human being has an attention span of about 8 seconds. People lose focus multiple times a day, and that is entirely normal. However, that is something attorneys and judges cannot afford to do. While presenting the case or defending one, many distractions crop up inside the room. It causes the lawyers to become distracted more than once. The presence of real-time acts as cues to help them veer back in track. It allows all parties involved to refer to the progress visually.
- Helps in rephrasing – several times a day, a lawyer has to face “objection to form.” With real-time, he or she can revisit the question and make subtle changes to the phrasing without changing the intent. Such small touches are sometimes instrumental in deciding the course a legal case takes. It helps attorneys extract information from the witness or the defendant and comprehensively presents the same in the court.
- Making personal notes – new rules and regulations ensure that all parties involved in the litigation can receive copies of the real-time transcript instantly. Attorneys do not have to wait for days to get their hands on written material. A lawyer can utilize the recess between sessions to mark and highlight key points in these notes. The presence of the material in black-and-white helps the legal teams chalk out their plan of approach or counter approach within minutes. Earlier it would take the legal teams days to submit the second deposition, but right now it takes a couple of hours to one evening.
- Finding the right answers to questions – getting pertaining details from witnesses is a challenge every good lawyer has had to face at least once. Their accounts are rarely relevant to the issues or the case. Finding usable material used to be extremely difficult during the early days of stenotype. Right now, with real-time transcription, the attorneys can ask questions or repeat them without repetition from the court reporter. Their dialogs are present in the form of words and phrases for everyone to read. Additionally, the lawyer can ask for confirmation of facts within the long answers given by the witnesses.
- Helps in summarizing – real-time transcription can help with the collection of valuable points, valuable accounts, and case details. The lawyer can use these to question the following witnesses and the defendants without asking the court reporter to read it back. With the help of litigation software, the legal teams can synchronize their notes, marks, and questions from the proceedings. The presence of a litigation software makes the coalition and comparison processes much more comfortable for a team.
As an additional benefit, the presence of a court-reporter in place of a transcription software or machine ensures that the confidential dialog between the attorney and the client remains unrecorded. Human officials can exercise their discretion during different court scenarios that are otherwise impossible for the new-age software programs.
Do you need real-time court reporting?
Real-time court reporting is a critical tool for the litigators, who want to make a difference. Having an actual time feed during a deposition can be advantageous in many ways. Here are a few reasons you might want to consider commissioning the service of a real-time court reporter:
- You will be able to stay on top of the sessions and updates from your office. You do not have to be physically present in the spot for understanding the statement of the witness or countering the same.
- Having a real-time transcriptionist in place will help you save time and money that you would otherwise spend while traveling back and forth between court and office.
- The real-time transcriptionists’ account provides an unbiased transcription of the entire court scenario. You can see and read the discussions as they play out.
- You can choose to mark the essential lines of the testimony or unmark them as you please. People typically use iPads and smartphones to access the texts.
- These files are confidential, and you will not be able to find them online. Therefore, the norm of sharing involves the use of emails or shared chatrooms.
- It enables every attorney and paralegal present inside the courtroom to pay attention to the case, the body language of the people involved and the more delicate details since people don’t have to take detailed notes any longer.
- Additionally, you can search for the mention of specific names or details within the transcription. You can go forward and backward irrespective of the progress of the trail.
- Lawyers get the chance to identify case-specific issues and refer to them by searching for the number assigned to it.
- In case of real-time, accuracy is much higher than traditional court reporting. You can check the reporter’s version of the dialogs between you and the client or you and a witness almost instantly. That gives you plenty of scopes to correct misheard or mistyped words.
- You can choose to connect at any point during the trial, and you will instantly receive the details of the entire process that came before it.
- Most importantly, you can ask your court reporters to edit the transcription and check the changes reflect on the screen instantly during the court hours. You do not have to wait for the extensive procedure that manual reporting and transcription involves.
- It is an excellent value adding tool that promotes inclusion of the differently abled. It opens up new opportunities for legal and paralegal professionals, who are hard of hearing. Instead of having a translator active at all times during the session, they can refer to a more reliable and uniform transcription system that the entire courtroom is following.
How should you begin the search for real-time reporters?
Today, almost all leading legal transcription services will provide you with the option of real-time reporting. Your only responsibility is to find the right one that can help your team and clients by delivering articulate transcription services. That is the reason most people look for certifications and experience in their reporting prospects. Having someone with the necessary training means you can get accurate real-time feedback.
Start by mentioning what you need your reporter to do and what kind of qualifications you seek. In most cases, a responsible agency will ask you for the pleadings, old depositions, and interrogatories to acquaint themselves with the names of the witnesses, defendants, and plaintiff. They will also work on a job dictionary of the case-specific jargons and names well ahead of time.
Sometimes, attorneys and legal members prefer using their laptops or iPads for the real-time needs. In that case, the real-time vendor typically installs a software programme that enables shorthand to English translation instantaneously. It is straightforward and accurate since the applications allow you to download previous sessions’ notes, markings, and the tools necessary to commence a successful real-time reporting during a court session. Anyone with thorough training on the stenotype should be able to assume command of these apps.