According to the American Bar Association, most civil cases are settled before trial by mutual agreement between the parties. It is estimated as many as 80-90% of cases settle before trial, usually after the discovery process. Why is that? Counsel can make intelligent predictions of the outcome of a trial once discovery is completed. Trial is expensive, and the outcome less certain than a mutually agreed-upon settlement. Many will choose to avoid the further expense, and possible emotional toll, if counsel is telling them to consider settling instead.
Depositions play a huge role in the discovery process and are instrumental in making the case for or against settling. The court reporting services selected for depositions can help make a compelling argument either way. Skilled attorneys reviewing transcripts and videos are well-situated to assess the chances for a win in court and advise their clients accordingly. Here are key services to consider scheduling for your depositions that can influence that important decision.
Realtime translation. Realtime is the near-instant translation of the court reporter’s shorthand into English. Realtime translation is performed by court reporters who can deliver an instant verbatim record of the proceeding at an extraordinarily high degree of accuracy. This technology phenomenon allows attorneys and their teams to view the testimony in real time, as it is being spoken. The huge benefit here is being able to instantly highlight text for the purposes of follow-up questioning, impeachment, and the like.
Realtime is immensely valuable, and many attorneys when they experience realtime for the first time, are spellbound, even asking reporters for demonstrations of “how do you do that?!” after the deposition. It is important to note that this incredible service is not provided by all reporters, and if you want to schedule realtime for your deposition, you should let the agency know immediately, as these skilled reporters book up fast. Realtime streaming is also available to remote members of your team.
The rough draft. Having the unofficial transcript within hours of the proceeding contributes to more thorough preparation for further depositions. More prep leads to a more efficient deposition, and the cycle keeps going and giving. You can also aid the reporter in delivering an accurate rough draft by keeping these key tips in mind.
- Provide key terminology and spellings to the reporter
- Provide any prep materials that may be useful to the reporter
- Admonish the witness to wait for the full question before answering
Video. An accurate transcript is essential to your case. Even the most accurate transcript doesn’t quite tell the full story. Stark black and white questions and answers are compelling, but the witness’ whole demeanor can make or break their testimony. While the reporter takes down the spoken record, the videographer captures all the non-verbal communication, the nuances that the transcript cannot communicate. These non-verbal cues, revealed on video, like realtime and the rough, can lead to follow-up questioning, open a new line of questioning, and ultimately can contribute greatly to either impeaching or supporting a witness’ testimony.
Court reporting professionals are neutral parties, whose job it is to record what happens during a legal proceeding. Attorneys frame their questions and select exhibits and documents to build their case. When an unbiased team takes care of capturing the record, attorneys can evaluate the strength of their case. They can determine the merits and deficits in the opposing side’s case. They can make a fair estimate of further expenses involved in litigation. They can weigh all the factors and discuss options with their client. They can give their best, informed recommendation to their client.
Planet Depos has been scheduling depositions and legal proceedings for over a decade. To read more about how court reporting helps your case, see the PD blog page. To schedule your next proceeding, contact Planet Depos at 888.433.3767 or schedule online.