Differences in Court Reporting for Hearings vs. Trials in D.C.

When you’re running your own small firm, you know how important it is to keep costs low. You usually don’t have a problem outsourcing your court transcription, but you’ve got a couple of big cases coming in that require extra effort— especially if they go to trial. Should you rely on recorded testimony, or should you hire your own court reporter for live transcription?

Benefits of Court Reporters in Hearings

If you do not choose your own court reporter for a hearing, you may be able to obtain one from the court roster. However, reporters usually rotate and which one you get depends on the court calendar. This is only if the court has on-staff reporters; many smaller courts are moving toward digital recording services only for hearings. If you have hired your own reporter, you can set up real-time transcription so there is no delay in receiving a written copy of the hearing. If there is no reporter or you rely on the court, you will have to request a transcript after the hearing (which may not be available for several days) and pay the per-page cost.

Benefits of Court Reporters in Trials

Most courts still require a live court reporter for trials. There is often more than one reporter assigned to a particular courtroom, meaning that the reporter may change throughout the many sessions of your trial. In addition, not all court reporters are suited to every type of trial. If your trial requires extensive discussion of patents, business law, or any other complex subject matter, he or she may make errors in the transcription that cause delays. Hiring your own court reporter will not only give you a faster turnaround time for transcripts, but you can also request a reporter who has knowledge of your particular case and retain the reporter for each court session. You may also ask if your trial court reporter knows how to produce an appeal transcript if the case is unsuccessful.

Many attorneys who prefer to videotape their clients’ depositions have trouble making the switch to live stenographers. While there is nothing wrong with recording depositions and sending them out for transcription, there are enormous benefits to having your own court reporter present at a hearing and during trial proceedings. Both you and your client have a lot riding on the outcome of the case, and real-time transcription can make the difference between many future referrals and the loss of a settlement.

Do you need a court reporter for an upcoming hearing in Washington, D.C.? Visit our online scheduler page to give us a brief description of your needs and we will contact you with a list of options within the hour.

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