Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Depositions and the Court Reporter

A large part of the work activity undertaken by court reporters is creating a written record of testimony given by an individual involved in a case taken under oath by an attorney. This is referred to in most states as the taking of a deposition or in some states like New York as “Examination before trial.”  Depositions are an important activity which generally occurs in civil and criminal legal cases prior to trial or arbitration proceedings.

When a lawsuit is instituted, the parties involved in the suit often exercise the right to conduct discovery, which is the process of formal investigation used to learn more about the deponent’s knowledge concerning the case. A deposition can be taken of anyone who may have relevant information about the facts of the case. Discovery can include direct questioning, requests for documents and written responses to interrogatories (written questions.) These methods allow the parties to find out what the facts are and what each witness knows.  Often, the purpose of taking a deposition is to allow a witness to give relevant testimony without having to appear in court. This may be because the deposed individual is unable or not required to appear. Another reason depositions are taken is for the purpose of gathering witnesses' statements prior to trial testimony, so what they state at trial can be compared to what they stated during their deposition testimony. Attorneys also often use the opportunity of taking a witness' deposition to evaluate how the witness' testimony may reflect on merits of their case. In other words, attorneys may use the deposition as an opportunity to meet and hear from an individual and evaluate whether or not they will be effective when appearing before a jury. 

Judges or other members of the court are not generally present during depositions, but can if requested in some instances be called in to help settle disputes, which often arise amongst attorneys representing adversarial parties in a case. Individuals who appear at a deposition have the right to have an attorney present with them during the proceeding.

A court reporter’s job is to create a word-for-word account of what is said during the deposition so that transcripts of the event can be created and maintained for reference. The court reporter is often also a notary public, authorized to administer oaths to witnesses and certify that his or her transcript of the proceedings is a verbatim account of what was said. The court reporter plays an integral role in the deposition.  Accuracy is critical since the transcript of the deposition can be entered as evidence during the trial.  Similar to the official transcript during a trial, the written record of what takes place during a deposition is kept indefinitely and can used in subsequent cases by attorneys working on appeals or cases that are similar in litigation context.

Depositions are generally not held in a courtroom and instead take place at a court reporter's office, law office or in some instances at the location of a deponent’s residence or place of work. Accurate Stenotype Reporters provides comprehensive facilities for attorneys needing to take deponent testimony in the Florida state capitol or surrounding region. ASR’s facility includes conference rooms equipped with the latest generation of video conferencing technology which makes it possible for Attorneys to choose to attend depositions remotely, which can save a firm significant amounts of money and time associated with having to travel in order to gather testimony. The video taping of depositions is also a frequent practice of attorneys, and ASR provides comprehensive video productions services, including the ability to in-house sync video testimony to written transcripts.

Accurate Stenotype Reporters is an industry leader in court reporting and transcription services.  Accurate Stenotype Reporters has been serving the legal community of the Florida state capitol and its surrounding areas since 1976. The court reporters and support staff at ASR are dedicated professionals, providing the most technologically-advanced reporting services in the industry. When the nation's law firms are involved with history-making cases, Accurate Stenotype Reporters is the selected reporting agency. A few past examples are the Tobacco Litigation, Florida Power & Light, DuPont, Constitution Revision Commission, and the U.S. Presidential Election of 2000.


  1. Very informative, helpful website. The only court reporting firm in Tallahassee that I would use!

  2. I found this very helpful since I am having my deposition taken soon and I had no idea what to expect. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Thank you for sharing the information.

    I absolutely agree with this. The role of a court reporter is an important factor when any activity is undertaken during the hearings of any court case. Now days, numerous firms are providing the service of court reporting.

    One of the recognized firms that I recently came across on the internet, named as the Magna legal service is providing the service of court reporting at NYC.