What do Court Reporters Need from Attorneys Before a Trial or Hearing?
Court reporters are highly trained professionals who, like attorneys, prepare for a new trial or hearing well in advance. In order to use their stenograph at the required 225 wpm to accurately transcribe the proceedings, court reporters build custom shorthand dictionaries with names and information specific to the case.
To accurately build a complete steno dictionary and create abbreviations for subject matter unique to the case, including names and key phrases, they need attorneys to submit the following:
- Joint Exhibits and Witness List – Generally standard forms with the case number, name, court clerk, department, type of hearing; and for the exhibits, the ID, number, date received, and description of each. The witness list includes the name, title, and address of each person an attorney intends to call, as well as a brief summary of the witness’ testimony.
- Job Dictionary from the Depositions – The court reporter(s) who reported the witness depositions will have done a lot of the legwork already. Referencing their dictionaries will help the trial court reporter speed up his or her preparations.
- Case Citation List – Providing a list of past court case decisions that are relevant to the current case will enable the court reporter to reference them quickly and efficiently at trial.
- Points and Authorities – The memorandum referencing important legal points that are discussed in the case, and the authorities that are relied on, is a key document the court reporter uses to prepare abbreviations for trial.
- Motions in Limine – Knowing what evidence may be excluded from trial, and evidence that will need to be discussed, enables the court reporter to have a well-rounded dictionary.
- Trial Briefs – Gaining access to the facts, evidence, and legal arguments the attorney intends to present enables the court reporter to develop key abbreviations for both names and ideas.
To further aid the court reporter in their preparation, it his helpful to submit as many documents as possible, particularly the Points of Authority, Motions in Limine, and Trial Briefs, in searchable PDF format.
A court reporter is a key ally at trial. Submitting all of the above documents by the required deadline will enable the court reporter to develop a complete case-specific steno dictionary, which is imperative for them to provide clean, real-time transcripts.