The Traditional Definition of Court Reporting

court-reporterCourt Reporter – noun

a stenographer employed to record and transcribe an official verbatim record of the legal proceedings of a court.

This is the definition of a court reporter (dictionary.com). Their job, as defined above, and understood by the courts is to capture everything that is being said in the room and then prepare a transcript. There is no official record without court reporters. While simply defined, the duties of a reporter in the modern day are expanding well beyond the “standard definition.”

Then vs. Now – A Court Reporter’s Arsenal of Technology

Let’s look at a few scenarios where technology is becoming more prevalent in depositions both in the actual room and remotely:

Real-time: This feature allows attorneys to instantly view the transcript in real-time, hence the name. This requires the reporter to set up the connection by setting up cloud-based streaming sessions and sometimes troubleshooting the connection to another attorney’s computer. Oh yeah, now you can stream to iPads and tablets as well, so make note of that.

eDepoze: Here’s a quick description of this product. It allows the attorneys to conduct a deposition with no paper exhibits. Using an iPad or laptop, eDepoze’s cloud-based server helps mark and store exhibits with the attorney marking everything. No need for the reporter to keep exhibit stickers. However, her role is still vital to the proceedings. The reporter must first go through a training session with an eDepoze rep. After that, they are a Certified eDepoze Reporter. Great, awesome, terrific. Now, the reporter will be responsible for helping all parties log in, including the witness. Should anything go wrong, since they are the Certified Reporter, are they responsible for troubleshooting as well?

Web-based Video Conferencing: This is a popular medium to conduct depositions. Often times, the reporter will be with the witness while counsel is remote. They may be asked to setup a laptop with a webcam. Sounds easy, right? Is it really, though? What happens if the connection fails? What happens if the webcam fails? What happens if the computer crashes?

When adding in all these technologies in addition to the normal duties of taking down what EVERYONE IN THE ROOM IS SAYING, court reporters end up going well beyond their “defined” role.

What do you think? Should the definition of a court reporter be expanded to include other duties?