Q: What do I do if I’m asked an out of the ordinary question about transcripts?
A: A lot of parties will have questions regarding the types of transcripts they can receive and/or special requests regarding the transcripts and their turnaround times. In order to accurately address these questions/requests, you need to have a thorough understanding of the transcript and delivery options available for our clients.
At the conclusion of a deposition or proceeding, it is the reporter’s responsibility to ask the client(s) if they would like to order the transcript(s), and if so, in what format they would like their transcripts and exhibits delivered. It’s imperative you capture those client orders while still on the record so that there is no question down the line as to what has been ordered and by whom.
A lot of parties will have questions regarding the types of transcripts they can receive and/or special requests regarding the transcripts and their turnaround times. In order to accurately address these questions/requests, you need to have a thorough understanding of the transcript and delivery options available for our clients.
Electronic vs Hard Copies
During this COVID era, the transcript options are simple: Electronic transcripts with linked exhibits, if applicable. Know that when our clients receive an electronic transcript, they can easily print full and mini hard copy transcripts. During non-COVID times, we can provide them with those hard copies, in addition to being able to provide the sealed transcript in states that require those. Some clients prefer to receive their hard copy transcripts mini only or unbound. Be sure to relay any special requests to the reporting firm that will be producing the transcripts.
Confidential and Attorneys’ Eyes Only transcripts can sometimes be tricky. It’s easiest when the entire transcript is deemed as Confidential or Attorneys’ Eyes Only. However, should they only want certain testimony throughout the proceeding marked Confidential or Attorneys Eyes only, it is crucial you have the correct start and stop portion(s) delineated, and that all parties are in agreement with those portion(s) being delineated as such.
Most court reporting firms will have a policy regarding excerpts of transcripts. While excerpts may seem like a reasonable request, it may take hours for the reporter to find the precise area the client is searching for, additionally the testimony will be out of context. Our office policy is you can have an entire day, an a.m. session, or a p.m. session. Otherwise, no excerpts are produced.
It’s also important that the reporter ascertain when the client(s) need their transcript(s). Standard delivery time is ten business days. Be sure to inform a client that rush/expedite fees may apply if they need it sooner than that ten-day delivery. It is also important to note any additional e-mail addresses that the client(s) would like the transcript(s) e-mailed to, such as a paralegal/legal assistant or co-counsel.
Reporters have an ethical duty to deliver the transcript to each party at the same time, unless one party orders an expedite and the other party/parties do not. There are a few exceptions to transcript delivery times. If one party orders an electronic copy and the other orders a hard (paper) copy, the electronic copy will obviously be delivered sooner than the hard copy. The client ordering the hard copy should be apprised of the option to receive their transcript electronically
Often a client representing a witness will not want a transcript copy, but does want to reserve their right to read and sign. In this instance, during COVID, a locked, read-only transcript will be emailed to the witness as necessary. During non-COVID times, the witness or attorney will be sent a notice that the transcript is available for reading and signing at the reporting firm’s office, and that they will need to make an appointment to come in and do so.
Reporters have an ethical duty to contact all parties to a proceeding when an original transcript has been ordered. That means that should a party exit a deposition early or should you receive a backorder, it is your duty to contact that party (or all parties who were present at the deposition or proceeding in the case of a backorder) to confirm whether they would like a copy of the transcript.
Having a thorough understanding of all the options listed above will allow you to ask the right questions at the time of transcript orders, and properly answer any unexpected transcript/delivery questions that may come your way.
Have you been in an “on the job” situation that you were unsure how to handle?
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Jan Schmitt – RPR, CSR, CCR – Principal, Washington
Jan Schmitt has been a professional court reporter for over 30 years, working in Portland, Oregon and Southwest Washington. Her experience and professionalism has attracted and retains the top court reporters and videographers in the region. Our court reporters average over 20 years of experience, with most of them having worked with Jan their entire career. Jan continues to report as well, as she enjoys the client contact and the relationships that develop over years of reporting.