While the primary players in most legal proceedings are the lawyers, the parties involved, and maybe a judge or jury, there is another key personage that’s almost always present and can have a profound effect on the legal progress: the court reporter. More than just glorified stenographers, court reporters try to ensure accuracy and transparency during depositions, arbitration, and trials.
What Is a Court Reporter?
Silent but ever-present, the person typing away in the corner of a courtroom can easily be overlooked. However, they serve a very important function. It’s their job to take in and record every word and utterance conveyed as accurately as possible. They are an invaluable resource responsible for documenting everything that occurs, and the information they collect can form the basis for appeals and court reviews.
How Does Court Reporting Help My Case?
Court reporters are an integral part of the legal system, but budgeting concerns and a shortage of qualified reporters can cause the wheels of justice to grind to a halt. Their transcripts not only provide an archival record of what happened, but they can also be used for clarification and review during a hearing. Reviewing transcripts can narrow focus during court testimony, provide a basis for witness impeachment, and assist attorneys during cross-examination.
Court reporters also mark exhibits during trials and review the previous day’s proceedings to help speed the process during long or protracted court actions. Witness statements and information taken during depositions before a case goes to court can help lawyers devise a legal strategy.
Court stenographers also help take the element of human error and technological malfunctions out of the equation. Despite an increasing reliance on AI, electronic surveillance, and digital recordings, problems like ambient noise and distortions often make recorded materials indecipherable and unreliable. There are also plenty of cases where devices run out of storage or someone forgets to turn them on, making a written transcript essential.
You Can Make the Job of Court Reporters Easier
It takes continual training and diligence to perform the job successfully, but a court record is only as good as its source. Keep in mind that every word or sound uttered in their presence becomes part of the legal record. Lawyers and those giving testimony can help by speaking clearly and at a reasonable pace.
When you need assistance with a legal matter, the full-service firm of Lowery and Associates is ready with the resources and experience to help you.