The legal profession is full of non-attorney professionals who help make things work. From court clerks and paralegals to transcriptionists and discovery professionals, there are a lot of people behind the scenes helping to move cases through the justice system. Court reporters are one of the oldest and most critical components in the legal system. But a lot of people aren’t completely sure what they do.
At A. William Roberts, Jr. & Associates, our court reporters are dedicated professionals who are ready to help preserve evidence and record live proceedings, even on short notice. Learn more about what we do, and schedule services today.
What Are Court Reporters Responsible For?
Court reporters attend legal proceedings to record what is happening in person. Court reporters in open court may be responsible for ensuring an accurate transcription of every word spoken by the judge, parties, witnesses, attorneys, and even jurors or others in the courtroom. In depositions and other closed proceedings, the court reporter may also take on the additional role of swearing in a witness, notarizing documents, and later typing a clean transcript of the event, which certifies the accuracy of what was recorded.
Stenographers Old & New
Remember that long before there was technology to record verbal statements to audio, someone had to be sworn under oath as a witness to these statements, and that person had to record it in some way. Hence the need for a stenographer.
The practice of modern-day stenography can trace its history to the 18th Century. Thomas Lloyd first began using a crude form of shorthand to record, and he even recorded proceedings from the First Continental Congress. Over the years, shorthand developed into a more widespread practice, and stenography machines were created to help stenographers capture the spoken word even faster.
Today, stenography technology has evolved even further with the introduction of computers and the internet. Realtime court reporting is now possible, which allows court reporters to take down the testimony and immediately feed it to Counsel’s PC or mobile device in real time!
Types Of Legal Proceedings Where Court Reporters Are Needed
Court reporters are used in many modern proceedings. Some of the more common types include:
- Video Depositions
- Motion Hearings
- Settlement Conferences
- Important Contract Negotiations or Disputes
Unique Niches For Court Reporters
Beyond just recording word-by-word accounts from legal proceedings, there are new and emerging niches for court reporters. These include:
- Foreign language reporting
- Closed caption reporting
- Broadcast captioning
- Captioning for the hard of hearing
Court reporting is a profession with a number of potential certifications. These often include:
- Registered Merit Reporter
- Registered Diplomate Reporter
- Certified Realtime Reporter
- Certified Broadcast Captioner
- Certified CART Provider
Why Not Just Audio Tape Proceedings?
This is perhaps the most common question asked about court reporting. The fact is that audio recordings can be flawed. Imagine a key issue in a legal matter, and a witness in a deposition says something. If there is just an audio tape, what happens if later there are multiple conflicting theories about what people hear on the tape? Maybe one person hears a “YES” but others hear a “GUESS.” In other words, recording devices fail, and audio can always be subject to dispute and disagreement. An audio cannot testify, and it cannot sign a sworn affidavit. A court reporter can.
Hire A Certified Court Reporter Today
To schedule a court reporter for your next deposition or to get help with a contested hearing, contact A. William Roberts, Jr. & Associates (AWR) today.