Preparing for trial is a stressful process. You need to contact witnesses, gather evidence, prepare outlines, file motions and more. Oh, and you’ll need a court reporter for the proceedings…and maybe a trial tech as well. Aptus Court Reporting can help with those two specific needs. When contacting Aptus to help you prepare for a trial, there are five things we need to know beforehand.

Five Tips for a Successful Trial

1. Scheduling a Trial

Schedule the trial is easy. Simply email our offices at or call us at 866-999-8310. Think of scheduling a court reporter for trial like making reservations at a popular restaurant: The further in advance you schedule; the easier it will be for us to provide a top-notch reporter. Remember, if the case settles or gets extended, Aptus does not charge for canceling within 24 hours.

2. Estimating the Length of Trial

Our sales team receives a lot of calls asking us to provide a reporter on a specific date, which is certainly not a problem, but providing an estimate of how long the trial may go, will help the reporter plan their schedule accordingly as well. Remember the deposition admonition about estimates being okay? If you’re not sure, but think the trial might last two weeks, let us know, even if there’s a chance it will be longer or shorter. There are no wrong answers with an estimate.

3. Providing Trial Transcripts

Aptus’ standard turnaround time for deposition transcripts is 10 business days. That flies out the window come trial. If you anticipate needing daily transcripts and/or roughs produced, please let us know at the time of scheduling. This serves two purposes:

  1. It will help the reporter plan their time accordingly
  2. If he the reporter uses the services of proofreaders or scopists, they can get it to them faster and, in turn, to you faster

4. Using a Trial Technician

Some cases need the aid of technology and the assistance of an experienced trial technician. The “tech” can help you present exhibits and video, digitally, all with the press of a few keys! If you think a tech will be beneficial during your trial, let us know at the time of scheduling. Additionally, we need to know:

  1. How many exhibits you have (again, an estimate is perfectly fine)
  2. If you plan on using any video testimony from transcripts.

Our trial team will follow up with a complimentary consultation.

5. Covering Trial Expenses

It is quite common for both parties to share the cost of the court reporter. Aptus can accommodate those arrangements. We will need written confirmation from both parties that says as much. This way, upon conclusion of trial, we can quickly bill it out to the correct parties.

At Aptus, we have staff with specific skills and technical knowledge. We have the experience to assist with unique situations, like a recent trial that required video conferencing with someone in another country. Contact Aptus today to get a demo tailored specifically for your trial needs.

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.

As a trial tech, backups for everything are a must and should be standard operating procedure when going to trial. Cables, adapters, switchers, amps and most importantly, laptops, all need to be duplicated in the event something fails. Having your case backed up and updated is like car insurance – you have it but hopefully never need it. While car insurance is a legal requirement, backup devices are not, unfortunately. I’ve been doing trials since 2009 and I will admit, I only needed my backup laptop a handful of times. Still, I find myself overly cautious and bring the backup system every time I go to trial. I should add that when I say backup laptop, I’m not talking about an “off the shelf computer.” No, a backup laptop should virtually mirror your main laptop, so it can still function alike.

Most recently, I went to trial in Orange County and while transferring the case during lunch, my backup laptop failed. With the limited time I had, I couldn’t trouble shoot in time for the afternoon session. Rather than roll into the courtroom without a backup, I looked in my bag and saw my iPad. As the bells start dinging in my head, I turned it on, hooked it up to my computer and started loading the exhibits. I have TrialPad, a popular app for trial presentation on an iPad. It’s a simple interface that has some of the same features as Trial Director and OnCue. Luckily, there was no video involved in this trial (TrialPad has limited video editing features), so it was a quick transfer.

Watch the TrialPad demo below.

We resumed trial at 1:30 pm and concluded at 4 pm. Smooth sailing and no need for the iPad, of course. However, since then, I’ve been putting everything on my iPad in addition to my backup laptop. I’m sure I speak for most trial techs when I say that you can never have too many backups or plan B’s. Well, I’m sure I speak for all the GOOD trial techs in that regard. I will also add, at this particular trial, I did not have an Apple TV but only the adapters to plug the iPad into the projector. One of the features of using an iPad is that you don’t have to be tethered to cables (presenting wirelessly would present potentially another challenge). At the very least, I was prepared to still present digitally instead of the using the ELMO.

Every trial tech has their bag of gadgets and their own method for backing up cases. As I write this, I know a lot of techs that hate iPads and the TrialPad app. I certainly understand. Depending on an app-based product to present your entire case can be risky as apps are prone to crashes and failures. However, in a technology driven world where there is an abundance of options, it certainly couldn’t hurt to bring something as a third option before going back to butcher paper. In the end, the jury will appreciate not being subjected to the low-tech ELMO. More than likely, your clients will appreciate it as well.

About the Author: Mike Tisa is the Director of Litigation Technology for Aptus Court Reporting. He is a Certified Legal Video Specialist through the National Court Reporters Association. Mike has been in the legal field since 2007 and is continually researching advancements in the legal technology industry. For more on Mike’s background, visit him on LinkedIn.

After shooting over 1,000 depositions , I look back and reflect on what helped me improve as a legal videographer. Seminars, conferences, technical upgrades and compacting my kit have helped bolster my development and expand my skill set. But the one thing I truly believe made a difference, Trial Presentation. Every videographer knows (or should know) the final deliverable of a deposition can come in a synchronized version. But how many videographers actually know what a sync can do? How many videographers have actually navigated their way through a ‘sync?’ Sure, explaining and understanding the concept of a sync is important, but not as important (in my humble opinion) as seeing it in action. It’s critically important that a videographer understand the full function and limitations of any product they deliver or recommend to a client.

In my view, if a videographer has learned the sync interface and actually played back video clips in trial, it improves their sense of awareness during the original recording of the deposition. Things like microphone and backdrop placement become more important after hearing and seeing some poorly mic’d and framed witnesses played back before a judge and/or jury. Sure, you might be able to hear the deponent when you mic’d them up, but when played back it a large room, the audio might not be as clear as it could have. That one clip could be the turning point to a case and if not properly amplified and heard, it might not resonate with the judge or jury.

I’m not saying videographers can’t be great without going to trial. Anyone that takes pride in his or her work should perform the proper prep to ensure the best quality. But imagine a videographer that has seen the product from beginning to end. They were present for the depo and then present for the playback. They know their product inside and out so that the final deliverable will be flawless. Even if they aren’t the ones who will be showing it at trial, they can relate to the trial tech or consultant that will and would not want to put that person or persons in a difficult position.

A quick story to end on – When I was presenting at trial in St. Louis several years ago, I made clips of a medical experts testimony. The video was from early 2009, when the older BlackBerry phones were still prevalent in depositions. Anyone who remembers them will also remember the annoying buzzing they would create on video when ringing or receiving notifications. In this instance, the buzzing was coming through OVER the answers of the doctor. Of course, as the trial tech I was…scolded (to use a nice term) for letting that happen. Now, though the videographer should have notified counsel that the he was picking up interference, he continued without doing so. Imagine if that videographer knew what could happen at trial if he heard the answers weren’t coming through clearly and how that would affect the video testimony.

Digital Depo

“Excuse me, we have about five minutes left on the tape.” Every attorney that’s attended a video deposition has heard this phrase or some variation. It seems harmless, right? Five minutes is plenty of time to find a good place to stop. Think again. As any attorney knows, the deponent may give an answer that opens the door to a whole new line of questioning, and if you have to stop for a tape change, that can kill the momentum of the depo.


At Aptus Court Reporting, our in-house video equipment is completely digital. This means NO NEED TO BREAK FOR A TAPE CHANGE. The only breaks that occur are the ones requested by counsel or the deponent. I’ve been recording depositions digitally for nearly three years. I’ve noticed something – depositions are actually quicker! “Let’s take a quick break to change the tape” can actually turn into a 20-minute break. As mentioned above, this can negatively impact the flow and momentum of the depo.


Aptus Court Reporting is making a big push to ensure that all of our videographers around the country are making the improvements and upgrades to digital technology. While there are many who still capture to DVDs, we will continue to provide the best possible videographer at your depositions to ensure the quality you should expect from Aptus Court Reporting.


About the Author: Mike Tisa is the Director of Litigation Technology for Aptus Court Reporting. He is a Certified Legal Video Specialist through the National Court Reporters Association. Mike has been in the legal field since 2007 and is continuously researching advancements in the legal technology industry. For more on Mike’s background, visit his LinkedIn profile.