With hard economic times hitting New Mexico, many of the public services we take for granted, including having an official court reporter in our courts to competently handle the taking and preparation of transcripts, are a bit up in the air. Money is no longer in the budget for the official and court reporters are disappearing at an alarming rate. What is an attorney to do? Rely on the audio recording, if one is made in the courtroom?
Anyone involved in litigation knows that relying on an audio recording can be a roll of the dice. There are many potential problems that can occur. Someone may forget to turn the recording device on. The recordings could be lost. When it comes to transcribing the audio, creating an accurate record of the proceeding can be difficult, even when you hire the best court reporters and/or transcribers to do the work. The quality and setup of the audio recording equipment and the acoustics of the room may affect the clarity of the recording. The speakers may not enunciate clearly. The identification of speakers is a guess.
Are you willing to rely on an audio recording and transcriptionist who will not be present at the court to handle the work that is the important culmination of the hours and hours of the pre-trial and deposition process?
Many attorneys are deciding that instead of relying on the audio recording that the court provides, they will hire a freelance court reporter to cover the proceeding to ensure a more accurate and usable record.
When hiring a court reporter for court in New Mexico, it is important to think through what type of reporter is right for the job.
Is every court reporter comfortable working in court? Do they have the experience? A layperson may say, “What’s the difference? Words are words.” However, there are differences.
3 Questions to Consider When Hiring a Court Reporter for Court:
- Is the court reporter comfortable with and good at read back? A major difference between a deposition and court is that a jury can be present. With a jury, read back is inevitable. When performing depositions, arbitrations, etc., read back can be minimal. For a trial, a court reporter may need to read back for an hour.
- How soon will you need to review the record? Litigants know how critical it is to listen to and remember everything that is spoken when they are preparing their next steps. Realtime reporting allows you to follow the spoken words on your laptop or tablet live in court or remotely via the internet. You and/or your litigation team would be able to mark important testimony as it is given in order to refer to it later. Expedited and rough draft transcripts all help the litigants to prepare for the next witness and the next day without relying on their yellow pad for exact verbiage at trial. Neither realtime, expedited nor rough draft transcripts are available with audio recording. A small percentage of court reporters can provide these.
- How technical is the terminology in the case? When facing a tough case, especially highly technical or medical, having the exact words is a huge help in cross-examining the expert the next day. Find out if the court reporter is comfortable with the terminology that will be used so you’re likely to get a more accurate rough draft transcript for your review.
When finding a court reporter for court, consider the above questions and thoughts and discuss them with your court reporter or reporting firm.
If you have any questions about this, call us at (505) 830-0600. And, if you are looking for a court reporter for court, we do provide court reporters for court throughout the state of New Mexico and specialize in realtime reporting, expedited transcripts, rough drafts, and are comfortable with highly technical terminology.