Common Legal Support Services: Questions and Answers

No trial or deposition can be completed without the use of court reporters. Over the years, the development of new technology has drastically changed the way that these professionals complete their job. Whether you are a law firm, an insurance company, or a corporation, you will be looking for a firm that provides local, responsive legal support services for your next case or deposition. If you are not up to date on modern offerings, you will have some questions, and this article should address them.
Historically, what has a court reporter done?
Traditionally, these professionals served as a stenographer at hearings or depositions, taking note of all verbal exchanges in a process called recording, then converting the record into a written form in a process called transcription. While earlier court reporters used typewriters or stenograph machines, today they have many additional options for recording verbal exchanges.
How do they record discussions today?
There are several methods used today by companies that offer legal support services. Electronic reporting involves using a system of speakers and audio equipment to capture quotes. The professional oversees these devices, and takes note of who is speaking at what time, for easy transcription of the sound files. Voice writing involves the use of a voice silencer, which is a hand-held mask that contains a microphone. When speaking into the voice silencer, the court reporter will not be heard by anyone else in the room.
More advanced methods of recording have incorporated video equipment. Some court reporters will set up and monitor video equipment, and then transcribe the conversation by reviewing the footage. If asked by a client to do so, they can also set up an online video stream of the proceedings so that off-site participants can view everything in real time. A more affordable alternative for legal support services will entail providing clients with a password to access a secured program where real-time reporting is published.
How do they transcribe discussions today?
Usually the Court Reporter, or an assistant, will take the recorded notes and type them up so that a written record exists. This process used to take a long time, but has also been improved with technology. In many cases a firm will offer expedited delivery for a higher rate. If a firm opts to have the proceedings recorded on video, court reporters have the ability to add text captions, as many of these professionals will also be contracted out to provide closed captioning for television viewing.
What kind of firm should I look for when evaluating legal support services?
In addition to the availability of the modern offerings mentioned above, there are a number of factors to consider when looking for a firm that will best meet your needs. The firm should have enough court reporters available to assign an individual or group that works only for you. The firm should be asked to provide references, to prove that their reporters are accurate, quick, and professional. Also, some firms offer on-site conferencing and production facilities for their clients to use. For best results, one should find a firm that offers enough legal support services to tailor a plan specifically to their needs.

A company that offers several legal support services will provide better quality court reporters that will be able to meet your trial or deposition needs.

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