The Art of Instantaneous Testimony

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Realtime reporting can be a very useful tool. I know this from my personal experience as a realtime court reporter for over 25 years working on cases of all sizes. Attorneys love realtime because it gives them the upper hand in a legal proceeding. With immediate access to the record, an attorney is empowered to recall, highlight, annotate and stream the live testimony. As technology becomes more prevalent in the legal industry, a tool like realtime gives attorneys a strategic advantage in all of their cases, large and small. One case that sticks out in my mind is a case about an airplane that caught on fire. The key expert for the defense claimed that a temperature warning system failure was not a crucial piece of equipment and that its failure to warn of the increasing engine temperature would not have led to this airplane crash. Using a realtime transcript, the plantiff ’s attorney cross-examined the defense’s expert witness and picked apart many details of his direct exam testimony. In the end, the expert admitted that the pilot should have turned the temperature warning system switch on. If he had done so, it’s likely the plane may have never crashed.

Realtime reporters have the ability to take down over 225 words per minute. Think of realtime as a highly-interactive form of closed-captioning, like a TV show or movie’s subtitling that you can search, highlight and make notes on all at the same time. The transcript is streamed right to your laptop or iPad. This means that using a tablet, the attorney can see the transcript while standing in front of the jury, approaching the bench, or pointing out a line of testimony to a witness on the stand. With the transcript being streamed live to a computer or tablet, multiple parties can be located anywhere in the world while the deposition or hearing is being conducted. I have been in depositions where a remote attorney requested a clarification or challenged an issue because they could read it instantly off of their laptop screen right in front of them. This may eliminate the need for follow-up depositions, saving everyone time and money.

I have witnessed my colleagues and clients embracing realtime reporting and the results have been amazing. They’ve become frontrunners in the legal industry, increasing their visibility within their own community and throughout the country. Realtime works great for back-to-back depositions of multiple witnesses because you can have the text of the transcript of witnesses from earlier in the day right in front of you. During a day of depositions involving a mortgage company and the process of deposing multiple corporate representatives on the same day who had different answers to the exact same question, the attorney receiving realtime was able to immediately point out the discrepancies in their testimony.

With a deep sense of pride in my work, I feel the need to help usher in the new options available in legal technology. I strive to be an ambassador for my clients, teaching the ease with which anyone can jump in and begin to enjoy the benefits of realtime. My clients are true believers and one such client has said, “I became a believer when you showed me how simple it was. When I was deposing an expert, I wanted to remember what the expert said when he was avoiding answering and I had it right there. Realtime did not distract me, it made my concentration better because I didn’t have to worry about notes. Then, in trial, the expert could not escape me. Plus, it impresses the jury when you stand up with the iPad and you have their actual testimony – no wiggle room. You hold the witness accountable on the spot.”

Tips and Tricks for Using Realtime

  • Use realtime in combination with videoconferencing in order to reduce travel expenses.
  • Stream depositions while they’re in progress directly to experts and co-counsel during depositions of crucial and integral witnesses to get assistance with the questioning.
  •  Realtime is extremely helpful when you are trying to impeach a witness.
  •  Rough draft transcripts are available on your computer screen immediately.
  •  Realtime allows an attorney to cut and paste an excerpt of testimony into an email in order to send it to experts or other attorneys during a deposition.•
  • Immediate annotation capabilities.
  • Index and organize the testimony as it proceeds with keyword search capability.
  • Realtime makes the jury selection process seamless by allowing you to highlight jurors’ answers and opinions during voir dire.

Your case doesn’t need to be large or complex to enjoy the benefits of realtime. Win more cases. Increase your income. Wow more clients. Brenda Ray

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