stenographer at work

An attorney has many choices when it comes to choosing a court reporter. Here are our tips for choosing the best court reporter for your case’s needs.

1. Choose a Certified Reporter

Court reporters go through extensive training before becoming certified. When choosing a court reporter, it’s important to consider the type of training the reporter underwent as well as whether they passed the three-part licensing exam. The most reputable court reporters attend a state-approved school, requiring three to four years of training, and hold memberships in professional organizations

2. Choose an Experienced Reporter 

What does a court reporter do? is not as simple a question as attorneys may think. Some court reporters handle only trials, while others only have experience at depositions. When choosing a court reporter, it’s important to confirm the type of services a court reporter provides. Ask the reporter if they have a preference and determine whether that works for your particular case. At Aptus Court Reporting, our Calendar and Client Services team brings over 35 years of commitment and attentiveness to your deposition calendar. We provide not only trial and deposition services, but dedicated case management, online scheduling, and location research. 

3. Choose a Reporter with Industry-Standard Fees

Some court reporters charge a rate per page, while others charge appearance fees. These costs vary depending on the region or state and on the types of services provided. Keep in mind that additional services may be included in the fee. For example, a freelance court reporter may charge the lowest rate per page, but you will not have the benefit of case management, online scheduling, or a complimentary space to prep a witness or hold your deposition. 

4. Choose a Reporter with Flexible Availability

Having a court reporter who can be available after business hours or provide expedited services is invaluable. It is reassuring to know the reporter will be available whenever you need them. Larger court reporter companies, like Aptus, have a plethora of reporters ready to serve their client’s needs and, consequently, provide unmatched availability. 

5. Choose a Reporter That Uses Technology Effectively

Electronic exhibits, remote depositions, streaming text, document sharing—technology is used in all aspects of court reporting. In this day and age, you must choose a firm that can keep up with changing times. At Aptus, we are at the forefront of litigation technology. We provide free and instant access to an online case portal and online management of calendar settings, transcripts, exhibits, and invoices—plus personal technical assistance. We use industry-standard software like Aptus Capture, vTestify, and LiveLitigation to provide the most up-to-date services.

6. Choose a Reporter That Goes Above and Beyond

With a complex case, your firm may need a wide array of deposition locations. Perhaps you need more than one conference room. Aptus provides complimentary mediation and trial conference rooms to cover your deposition or hearing. We also provide a Client Services Team that can help research locations if your case requires out of town depositions, leaving more time to focus on litigation. 

7. Choose Aptus Court Reporting

Many large and well-respected firms regularly use Aptus’ services for their court reporting needs. Recently, we were able to assist with the presentation of hundreds of pieces of evidence for a bench trial within a few hours time. If we can handle the complex cases, rest assured we can handle any case. Call Aptus today at 866-999-8310.

OPtimizing Web-based video conferencingIn a previous blog, I outlined some steps to take in order to optimize you web-based video conference (Click here for previous article). Since then, I thought it best to add a few more so all your bases are covered.

6.) Make sure your laptop has anti-virus software. The other day while conducting a test, I saw a little notification pop up reminding me to check my anti-virus software. This isn’t like ignoring an oil change or an overdue library book. No, this is serious! Without the proper anti-virus protection, well, in a word – VIRUSES! Yeah, probably not a good idea to conduct a deposition with privileged information being exchanged when the possibility of cyber hackers exist.

7.) Use external speakers. Laptops come in all shapes and sizes and so do the specifications. One might have a superior camera but limited gain when it comes to volume. Pick up a set of desktop speakers in case you have a soft-spoken speaker or in case the acoustics of the room interfere with the sound.

8.) Disable face-tracking on your webcam. The face tracking does what the title implies, tracks your face. That means every time you move, it will follow your face wherever it goes. So if you’re conducting a deposition and you keep looking down at your notes, the camera will follow your face as you look down. This can make the other participant frustrated and even dizzy with all the movement.

9.) Check your Power Save settings. In order to save power consumption and avoid screen burnout, most computers will either go dark or go into Screen Saver mode. This is common when there is no activity for a predetermined time. Unfortunately, only having a browser window open doesn’t count as activity. In order to avoid having your screen go dark or show pictures of your family vacation while conducting a deposition, consult with your IT professional about changing your Power Save settings during your session.

About the Author: Mike Tisa is the Director of Litigation Technology for Aptus Court Reporting. He is a Certified Legal Video Specialist and a Trial Presentation Professional 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.

As litigators turn to more cost effective ways to conduct out of town depositions, web-based video conferencing is becoming increasingly popular. As an alternative to traditional video conferencing, web-based video conferencing allows more flexibility requiring only a high speed internet connection and a computer equipped with a webcam and microphone. This eliminates the somewhat difficult task of locating two locations that are equipped with traditional video conferencing systems. So if all you need is a computer, internet, webcam and microphone, everything should be set to go, right? Think again…

While having all those items are paramount in order to proceed with your deposition, there are some preliminary steps to consider and take. Here are my top tips for conducting a smoother web-based video conference:


1.) Verify that both locations have high speed internet, not just internet. A hardwired connection is usually the best source for the fastest bandwidth. Since this is an increasingly popular way to conduct depositions, some law firms have dedicated WIFI networks designed specifically for this type of service. This is a luxury and not common, especially at hotels. Make sure your scheduling coordinator asks for a high speed, hardwired internet connection.


2.) Make sure your computer monitor is big enough or at least has multiple outputs. You probably wouldn’t want both the deponent and opposing counsel to have to huddle around a tiny laptop screen. Make sure the monitor is big enough to allow both parties to comfortably participate or use one of your outputs to connect to a larger monitor or TV.


3.) Be prepared by having an audio backup through the phone. As we all know, the internet has a mind of its own. Even with traditional video conferencing systems, freezing and audio dropouts can AND DO occur. Nothing is more frustrating to all parties, especially the court reporter, to be in mid-answer and lose the rest due to poor connectivity. If you are unsure of the internet connection, try setting up an audio backup that integrates the phone with the video. This allows you to see the witness and hear them through the phone while the audio and video sync up with virtually no latency.


4.) Test, test and test again. There is no such thing as over testing when it comes to technology. Have both parties sit at different angles and talk to see where it might be best to place the deponent to ensure they are both seen and heard. Also, try to test using the equipment you will actually be using for the deposition. One computer might work great and the other might require a little tweaking. DO NOT put yourself in the position of having to troubleshoot on the day of the deposition, especially when it could have been avoided.


5.) Make sure the deponent is a good candidate for conducting a deposition this way. While this can be a great and cost effective way to conduct a deposition, it might not be the best way. If the deponent is hard of hearing or soft spoken, it could make for a potentially long day. Constantly asking a deponent to repeat his answer and having them constantly ask counsel to repeat his question can become extremely tedious. It also might sacrifice the quality of the record because more than likely if you are having trouble hearing the witness, the court reporter is also having trouble.

About the Author: Mike Tisa is the Director of Litigation Technology for Aptus Court Reporting. He is a Certified Legal Video Specialist and a Trial Presentation Professional 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.

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.