Over the years, I have found that when booking a court reporter for a deposition, some attorneys care a great deal who shows up, while others are interested in anyone with a court reporting license and a pulse! The job of a court reporter – a very vital part of the deposition process – is usually overlooked. We use the phrase, “In our line of work, no news is typically good news!” While we do get the occasional compliment, we typically only hear about any issue that there may have been. It’s funny, some attorneys will actually schedule their deposition around the schedule of their favorite court reporter. That reporter has built a rapport with the attorney, knows their quirks and questioning style, how often they like to break, and they can rely on their reporter to show up timely and do a great job. Some clients don’t have a preference on who their court reporter is as long as they are accurate and timely.
So, why should an attorney care? Well, for starters, those that don’t care will start to care when they have a bad one! Like attorneys, or any profession for that matter, not all court reporters are created equal. Some like all-day jobs, some like only half-day jobs, some love medical depositions, while others won’t take them. Some will only drive to a deposition that is within a five-mile radius from home while others will drive hundreds of miles! Some reporters can get a rough draft to a client within a few hours of completion of the deposition while others will take several days to get a rough draft completed. Juggling the personalities of a court reporter to a particular deposition is a full-time job! You wouldn’t send a reporter to a full-day job who only wants half-day jobs, etc.; therefore, it’s important for a court reporting agency to be able to line up a deposition to fit the personality and skillset of a particular court reporter.
Should an attorney find and request a certain court reporter? It depends. Here are the reasons to build a rapport with a particular court reporter:
They know your questioning style. Believe it or not, this matters. For example, a reporter who is familiar with your style can help plow through a deposition without feeling the need to stop you for being too fast.
They become familiar with your case, the spellings, the parties, and the exhibits. This can help in getting your final transcripts quicker and with more accuracy!
You don’t have to worry about them showing up late. While things do happen – we had a court reporter hit a deer this week while on her way to a deposition! – when you have a “go-to” reporter, you can typically rely on them to arrive on time and ready to go.
You may need them to do you a “favor.” You may have a deposition in an undesirable part of town or need the final transcript for a witness you took on Friday first thing Monday morning. Well, your “go-to” reporter should have no problems helping out an attorney who specifically requests them time and time again.
They almost become an extension of your team. Clients who have court reporters they request can count on them to do a great job. For all of you baseball fans out there, for a long time, Detroit Tigers fans could count on Miquel Cabrera every year to hit above .300, hit over 30 homeruns and drive in over 100 runs. You could pencil it in. You didn’t even have to think otherwise. Your favorite reporter should be automatic too. You know he or she will do an amazing job, produce an accurate transcript on a timely basis and be pleasant while doing it.
For all the younger attorneys out there who haven’t yet found their “Miggy,” like the scouting team, be on the lookout for him or her. You may just need them one day to bail you out of a pinch!