Q: What do I do if the attorney becomes argumentative and condescending towards me?
A: We cannot stress enough how important it is to remain professional, polite, and courteous, no matter what happens or how the attorneys in the room are behaving.
You may encounter a situation where an attorney becomes argumentative and/or condescending toward you as the reporter or videographer. I have had reporters in the past contact me during a break in a proceeding extremely upset with how the attorney is interacting with them, even to the point of saying “you’re the worst reporter I’ve ever worked with.”
I know when you’re in the middle of situations like this it’s easier said than done, but you must remain professional, polite, and courteous. If necessary, just say “I’m sorry you feel that way. I will check with the office to see if relief is available and how quickly they can get here.” Typically, what ends up happening is cooler heads end up prevailing and, if necessary, they can always adjourn and continue another day. It’s never a good idea to argue with attorneys, as nothing ever good comes from that. Besides, they’re trained in being argumentative, and some have honed that skill very well.
We cannot stress enough how important it is to remain professional, polite, and courteous, no matter what happens or how everyone in the room is behaving. Never take anything said in these situations personally. As the Guardian of The Record, your job is to protect the record, making an accurate transcript of what is said and happens in that proceeding.
Have you been in an “on the job” situation that you were unsure how to handle?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with a scenario you’d like a solution for!
Joe Grabowski – RMR – Principal, Maryland
Joe Grabowski, RMR, principal of Gore Brothers/Veritext began reporting in the Baltimore/Washington, DC area in 1976 and started providing realtime to attorneys and the deaf/hard-of-hearing in the mid-1980s. Joe has covered depositions in various locations in the United States, Spain, Greece and has taken statements from survivors of WWII German concentration camps in Poland.
Joe is a member of the National Court Reporters Association, past president and board member of the National Network of Reporting Companies, and past president of the Maryland Court Reporters Association. Joe is chairman of the Education Advisory Committee of the Maryland Court Reporters Association and was appointed by Chief Judge Robert M. Bell to the State of Maryland’s first Court Reporters Committee.