As a court reporter and reporting firm owner, I often discuss different technologies with our clients. And in our industry, the technology-based offerings are many. Realtime, delivering a rough transcript instantaneously during the proceeding to attendees in the room and/or at another location, is obviously a popular subject. There is no question that there are those attorneys who love it and rely on it for their notetaking and then there are those that use their trusted yellow legal pad and their keen notetaking ability. I get it. I do most things these days on my computer or iPad, but there are times when a paper copy or a good pad of paper is the best choice. We recently had a few instances come up that reminded me that realtime is not just for notetaking. It can solve other issues that may come up in a deposition.
One thing that we see often is the use of realtime for someone who is hard of hearing. As a matter of fact, my first realtime job some years ago was for a client who was hard of hearing. The client explained to me that with age he was losing his hearing. Although he still functioned well, he hated to have to keep asking witnesses to repeat what they said or to continually ask me to read it back. For him my realtime screen made doing his job easier and avoided perhaps misunderstanding something the witness said.
For depositions where interpreters are needed, realtime can help speed up the flow. And if you are bound by the seven-hour rule, realtime may be something to consider.
We had a case where all the parties and witnesses needed an interpreter. It became apparent early on that this would be a slow process. It wasn’t the interpreter’s fault but the complexity of the case together with objections and interruptions. There was a lot of reading back or restating the question. This can be dependent, I suppose, on how the interpreters work, either translating simultaneously or waiting for the end of the statement before they begin the translation. In this case we added the realtime screen for the interpreter. It instantly became easier for the interpreter to stay on track and for the depositions to move at a quicker pace.
Realtime can also be helpful for those witnesses who might have a thick accent or even a speech impediment. By putting the realtime screen in front of them, they can review what the reporter reported and correct the misunderstanding immediately.
The last thing I wanted to touch on was sending realtime to an attendee remotely. You may have an expert or party that would like to attend a deposition but cannot. It is as simple as having the reporter email a link so they can follow along and read the testimony. Of course, with a camera added, they could also see the witness and follow along with the testimony. If you would like to be able to chat or interact with that person, a non-discoverable chat function can be added as well.
So realtime at your next deposition for notetaking may not be what you need, but you may come upon a situation where it may be just what is needed. And did I mention there is no longer a need for cords and tokens? The reporter can bring out a sleek iPad or tablet and your “problems” may be solved.
To learn more about remote attendance and scheduling tips, check out our article on 5 Scheduling Tips for Videoconference Depositions.