Deposition Reporters




Deposition reporters can work with witnesses before courtDeposition court reporters are those who are responsible for taking sworn testimony from witnesses before a case goes to trial.  Many times attorneys use depositions as tools to determine whether there is even any need to proceed with a case or whether a settlement may be the best option.  

The majority of court reporters who take deposition testimony work as independent contractors, either for themselves or through a court reporting firm.  Though they are generally freelance court reporters, some official court reporters will moonlight as deposition reporters when their court schedules allow.

Taking the Deposition

A deposition is basically sworn testimony taken from a witness in a case.  The witness can be a party to the case or possibly an expert who has been hired to testify as to certain evidence in the case.  In some situations, the witness may be someone who may have seen or heard something to do with a case, but is involved in no other way.  No matter the reason the deposition has been scheduled, it is the duty of the deposition reporter to make a verbatim record of everything that is said by the attorneys and the witness.

Unlike a courtroom setting where the judge or the court clerk swears in a witness who has been called to take the stand, the deposition reporter swears in the witness for deposition testimony.  To be authorized to do this, the court reporter must either be commissioned as a notary public or be authorized by legislation with respect to the granting of a court reporting license in that state.

In addition to making an accurate record of the sworn testimony of the witness, a deposition reporter is also responsible for marking exhibits that are presented during the deposition.  In most cases, the court reporter will maintain custody of the exhibits until the completion of the transcript.  At that point, the original exhibits will be attached to the official transcript and returned to the attorney who took the deposition.  There may be an occasional situation where an original exhibit is entered by someone other than the attorney taking the deposition.  When this happens, generally it will be agreed by the people present, usually on the record, that the court reporter will take that exhibit and have it reproduced, and a copy of it will be included in the original transcript, and the original exhibit is returned to its owner.

After the Deposition

Deposition reporters perform many vital functionsWhen a deposition concludes, the court reporter will begin the process of preparing a transcript from the stenographic notes taken during the proceeding.  This process is called “scoping,” and it is the most time-consuming part of the court reporter’s job.  Research for spellings of proper names and places, medical terminology, and other technical language can take hours to complete.

For this reason, many court reporters pay for the services of a scopist.  A scopist is basically an editor and researcher for deposition or court transcripts.  Taking the raw notes produced by a court reporter, a scopist will go through a transcript and compare the audio recording to the text and make any corrections that may be necessary.  A scopist also performs any research needed to confirm proper spellings and will get the transcript in close to final form before it goes through the proofreading phase.  After this process is complete, the transcript is printed, bound, and submitted to the attorney.

Also read "Finding the Best Court Reporting School" for further information regarding starting a career as a depostion reporter or other types of stenographer jobs.

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Written by , CCR on 10/25/2012 Suzanne has been a court reporter and worked in legal communities for over 18 years. 

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