Remote depositions dominated the headlines in the legal industry this past year.  It appears this trend will carry over into 2021 and maybe even beyond.  While Aptus Court Reporting and the industry as a whole were familiar with remote technology pre-2020, at the very least, the reporter would still be in the same room as the witness, allowing for easier capturing of testimony and seamless exhibit management.  Having all participants appearing remotely carries its challenges, and we’ve polled our reporters, videographers, and exhibit techs to share their feedback. What we’ve compiled below are the Top Ten Tips and Lessons learned to help ensure your remote depositions proceed as smoothly as possible.

Wishing you a Happy New Year and flawless remote depos in 2021!

  1. Practice, practice, practice. Conducting tests is the best way to make sure the technology is working before the day of the deposition. Being familiar with the technology and how all parties receive/view potential exhibits leaves far less room for delays and postponements.
  2. Provide exhibits to the reporting firm in advance. It is incredibly helpful when the reporters/exhibit techs have access to exhibits the night before the deposition at the latest. This allows them to prepare for the deposition, which results in less interruptions during the deposition and, when applicable, a better real-time transcript. The more information you can provide the better, and sending that information the night before versus right before the depo sets everyone up for success.
  3. Know your options for presenting exhibits. Inquire about exhibit-presentation options.  Aptus offers free training specifically tailored to how best to present your exhibits.  You can present and introduce yourself, have the videographer present (if your depo is noticed for video), or hire one of our exhibit techs to manage your exhibits.  
  4. Use the call-in option for audio.  If you have any difficulties with voice, volume, or clarity at the beginning of the proceedings or during testing, use the call-in option versus your device’s audio. Call in from either a cell phone (if you have good reception) or a land line.
  5. Clearly identify yourself. If you are calling in by phone, please identify yourself to the reporter and restate who you are when you start objecting or speaking.  Only the phone number is shown on the screen when you dial in by phone, so the reporter has no way to know who you are unless you say it out loud.
  6. Patience is a virtue. Allow time for technical issues (which inevitably can happen), such as audio feedback or connectivity glitches, to get resolved.  Make sure to log on to the deposition at least 15 minutes before the deposition begins.
  7. Limit Cross-Talk. Pause between the question and the answer to allow the next speaker to begin.  When two people speak simultaneously on Zoom, no audio will come through and it will be impossible for the reporter to capture the testimony.
  8. Use headphones. It makes a HUGE difference if participants wear headphones.  The sound quality is far better, and there are fewer times when the speaker is unintelligible.
  9.  If you’re speaking, let the reporter see your face. If the witness is in the same office as their counsel, testify from separate rooms so that masks can be removed.  It is very difficult for a reporter to capture testimony when they are unable to see the person’s face.
  10. Use mute and silence notifications. Be mindful of notifications “dinging.” It can be very distracting and interferes with the audio quality, which leads to more interruptions.  Mute all electronic devices and mute yourself if you are not the questioning party.  Remember that dogs will bark and children will play in the background and Zoom will pick up even the slightest sounds.

To learn more about Aptus’ remote deposition offerings and best practices, schedule a free training session: Schedule one here

The demand for real-time court reporting has skyrocketed in the past few years. Technology offers us immediate access to information. That instant gratification has become the norm. It’s no surprise then, that the same need for immediacy has taken its hold on the legal field, too. While the technology isn’t necessarily new, the benefits continue to assist and improve the litigation process.

Watch This Video Demonstration to See RealTime in Action

*Scroll down for video transcription

Here are three key advantages of real-time reporting that often get overlooked:

Immediate Access

As mentioned, technology has given us an insatiable appetite, creating a must-have-now mentality. Realtime reporting allows immediate access to courtroom proceedings. By viewing the record as it is created, an attorney can ensure that:
Questions are phrased artfully
Questions are answered
All relevant questions are asked

Additionally, the search feature allows attorneys to seek out specific words, phrases or highlighted sections within the transcribed material. Entering a search term or phrase in the search bar will take you to the highlighted section while the real-time transcription is still taking place. With a click of a button, a court reporter can pick up where the current line of questioning is taking place.

Highlight Key Points

Realtime reporting provides an opportunity to flag or highlight key points. Much like highlighting key passages in a book or article, the real-time software has built-in features to highlight a word or section. This is called issue coding. Some issue codes are pre-set but some software allows reporters to create their own issue codes. An example of some of the preset issue codes are:

1.) Follow-up

2.) Doc/Info requests and

3.) Credibility

Reporters can also attach notes to these issue codes, giving them more detail.

Immediate Availability When the Session Is Finished

While attorneys have handwritten notes at their disposal, being able to immediately scroll back through testimony allows them to touch on new points that may or may not have been included in their notes. This allows them to immediately review and save the information. After the deposition or session has finished, all notes and issue codes can be exported to a load file (normally. ptx) and uploaded to case management software for review. This might prove more efficient to some rather than rifling through handwritten notes on a legal pad.

When you want the most effective court reporting service possible, ask for real-time reporting. Realtime reporting offers immediate benefits and allows the information you need to be at your disposal in…. real time.

Request RealTime for your next deposition.

Video Transcript

Hi, I’m Mike Tisa with Aptus Court Reporting and here’s a quick demo of RealTime Software and how it can help you in a deposition. First off, this particular platform is called KFewNed and it’s the desktop version and there’s also a version for iPads as well. Let’s get started. We’ll go into Demo Mode and it’s already preloaded with a sample transcript so it’s not taking down what I’m saying but as you’ll see here, RealTime gives you the question and answer in, just like its name, real time.

You’re able to see the question you asked or opposing counsel asked, then see the answer given by the witness. And you can also stop it and review something if you like. Let me try that again. So as you can see here, we’re getting the questions and answers in, you guessed it, real time. So if I’m the taking attorney, I can see my question and then I can also see the witness’s response or if I’m opposing counsel, I have a record of everything being said in RealTime. Think of this as a DVR but with text.

So as you can see here, we’re scrolling, if we wanted to stop, we just kind of click, hit the space bar and it’s gonna continue giving you RealTime but it’s gonna stop in the section you want to review. So if you’re reviewing something, whether you’re the taking attorney or the opposing counsel, you’ve the ability to mark something. You just highlight a line and you can hit space bar and it’s gonna highlight that with a mark there. You can add a note additionally too so if it’s something you need to follow up on, a doc. review, whatever it may be, you can mark that and annotate it and then you’re gonna get a red line or whatever color you deem it to be.

You have the ability to go back and look at what you wanted to review. To go back to where RealTime is going on currently, just hit the follow the RealTime button and there you go, question and answer going on currently. Another great feature you can use within the RealTime is this Word Index or you can search for a particular word. So let’s just put something in my car and there you go, it takes you there and if you keep hitting the return button, it’s gonna go to every spot in the transcript where the word car is listed.

So it’s great if you have a proper noun, if you have a word that didn’t make sense, or a key word that triggers something in your mind that you want to go back and review, you can stop the transcript and look at it. So while you’re on a break, you’re gonna come back and follow up on something, it just makes it really easy to review rather than the longhand of writing on a legal pad. And there you go, there’s a quick demo for you.

RealTime reporting is becoming quite common in depositions and if you’d like an extended look in our extended demo, give us a call at the information provided, Aptus Court Reporting. Thank you.

Making sure it works!

This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many litigators do not test their technology before presenting their case at trial. If the first time you try your case is at trial, you’re already off to a poor start. Understanding your technology’s capabilities is essential to properly presenting your case. Trial Presentation Technology, i.e. Trial Director, Sanction, On Cue, PowerPoint, etc. are quite common, maybe even a standard when it comes to presenting evidence in trial. However, perhaps because of the commonality, litigators often overlook the aspect of understanding not only what the software can do, but what it can’t do.

Any trial tech/ hot seat operator will have at least one horror story from their trial experience. Most of those stories revolve around an attorney asking him or her to “punch up something” or “make this document” do whatever they’ve envisioned in their minds. Unfortunately, sometimes what they ask cannot be completed due to limitations of the technology. This results in a look of disgust or frustration from the litigator, as well as a missed opportunity for them to properly illustrate their point.

Preparing for Success with Trial Technology

A simple way to avoid this pitfall is to setup a practice session with your trial tech. Make sure you both are on the same page and that you, as the presenter, know what you want and clearly communicate that to your tech. Just 15 minutes of rehearsal can go a long way with grasping the features of a software platform.

Some attorneys prefer not to “dive in” until the day of trial to avoid the standard out-of-court hourly fee associated with trial presentation. However, appearing unprepared during the trial could come at a far greater cost than a comparatively small line item of pre-trial preparation. Most trial techs make rehearsal before trial standard practice to ensure the best outcome possible.

Again, for optimal performance, rehearse as much as you can with your trial tech. As wise man from The Big Bang Theory stated, “the key to acquiring proficiency in any task is repetition.”

There are several reasons why voice recording is not the best option for quality court reporting and accurate transcripts. Here are four reasons:

1. Accuracy

Anyone who has used a smart-phone personal assistant such as Siri can tell you that computers have not reached 100% accuracy at understanding human language. Add in regional or national accents and the likelihood of understanding declines rapidly. In the same vein, the accuracy of digital voice transcription is often questionable. Voice recognition software does not always pick up the right words or sounds, creating a faulty transcript. Some voice-to-text software companies boast about how its software is between 80-85% accurate. Do attorneys really want a device that only has an 80-85% chance of getting a yes or no answer captured correctly? Court reporters deliver reliable and accurate court transcriptions and can ask counsel to have a deponent or witness repeat testimony if needed. Their training and experience takes precedence over software that does not get the job done.

2. Human Element

Voice recordings pick up other sounds that may impact client/attorney privilege by recording their private conversations. Court reporters can distinguish between what should and should not be recorded in addition to providing immediate clarification on what was recorded during a legal proceeding.

3. Equipment Maintenance & Operation Become a Problem of Ownership

Many courtrooms are experiencing issues with proper maintenance and even operation of voice recording equipment. Equipment and software can be flawed or outdated, negating the accuracy of the transcript. In some cases, recording equipment hasn’t been turned on in trials that were later appealed, with no record simply because the machine was not turned on. Courts have slowly begun re-implementing the use of court reporters for these reasons. While the application of computer technology in the judicial system is welcomed, when it comes to capturing testimony, the use of a court reporter is still necessary.

4. Security Versus Convenience: Smart Devices in the Legal Process

Voice recording has now moved into the mobile application market, offering voice and video recording. There are MAJOR security issues with the types of devices used and the integrity of the recordings if used with an unsecured phone or device. Unsecured devices pose the risk of sensitive and confidential information being disseminated without the permission, which can violate the protections of the deponents, victim, defendants, and/or legal teams.
Highly trained and qualified Court Reporters remain the most reliable avenue to maintain the accuracy and integrity of testimonies.
Aptus Court Reporting provides global court reporting services using the latest technology and reporters. For more information, call us today.

We are definitely in the electronic age of technology. Paper files can be hard to keep track of and keep secure. Aptus provides a solution: electronic copies for clients with a private link to a secure repository where clients can view and download a full PDF, a mini PDF, or a .PTX (e-trans file).

Exhibits can be viewed and downloaded digitally, and files are available at your fingertips whenever you need them.

Benefits of electronic copies:

  • hyper-linked exhibits in PDF transcripts

  • electronically-signed transcripts

  • all exhibits included in one secure link

  • can be easily emailed to multiple counsel

Out with the old and in with the new! Technology is an ever-changing force in the legal industry and we are here to make sure your firm is kept up-to-date with the latest advancements.

Contact your sales rep to make sure you’re accessing all the features your electronic deliverables have to offer.


California court reporters are among the many victims of drastic budget cuts sweeping through the state judicial system. According to Silicon Valley’s Mercury News, Governor Jerry Brown and the California legislature reduced the state court’s budget by $350 million in 2012 and 2013 isn’t looking much better. State courts are expected to see additional budget cuts of an estimated $200 million.

This dismal trend has certainly been felt in the San Diego court-reporting field. JD Supra Law News reported that as of November 5, 2012, the San Diego Superior Court only provides court reporters for criminal hearings and civil cases. As an effect of this cutback, the court was stripped of 30 San Diego court reporter positions. But this is just the beginning. The San Diego court system is expected to reduce the budget by an additional $33 million and implement 50 to 75 additional layoffs.

Other cities are experiencing the same hardships. The Los Angeles Superior Court let go of 60 official court reporters last year, reducing the budget by $10.2 million and this year will only bring more reductions. San Francisco court reporters have felt a similar squeeze, laying off 24 court reporters in 2011 as the trend towards privatizing court reporting continues to increase.

As court reporters in San Francisco all the way down to San Diego continue to get laid off, it has become incumbent upon the litigators to arrange their own reporters. Though some courts are turning to recording devices as an alternative, many civil cases so not allow this as an option. The risks of having no record of legal proceedings are daunting, and parties are grappling with the loss of opportunities for appeal since appellate courts require written transcripts.

To compensate for this void, many litigants are turning to companies like Aptus to provide skilled court reporters. At Aptus, a talented and reliable team can pick up the slack generated by these budget cuts, mitigating the disadvantages of the court’s shortcomings. Whether you’re looking for a San Francisco court reporter or your needs are in San Diego, Aptus has multiple offices on the west coast that can deliver quality court reporting services exceeding your expectations.