8 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Court Reporter
Sometimes you might need to hire a court reporting company for your business, municipal, or other legal needs. If you find yourself in need of a court reporter but have never hired one before, you might be wondering “Just what should I look for?” It’s hard to make an informed choice when you don’t know the right questions to ask.
When you call a court reporting firm you should ask:
1. How do you protect your clients’ privacy? Court reporters handle a lot of sensitive information from social security numbers to health reports. It’s critical that your court reporting service provide adequate confidentiality. When health information is involved, a court reporting service should abide by Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act standards.
2. Who trains your court reporters? Many states require that a court reporter be certified by that state. The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) also provides certification so if your state doesn’t require a certificate to be a court reporter, then make sure your court reporter is certified by the NCRA.
3. Do your court reporters have experience with highly technical material or material related to my needs? It’s important to have a court reporter who has a general understanding of the material. Abbreviations, jargon, technical terms, and specialized speech that could be relevant to your proceeding will need to be transcribed accurately. Be sure to also ask how the company ensures the accuracy of their reporting.
4. How much do you charge? Find out the cost to have the court reporter at your proceeding, plus any additional fees for transcripts or travel time. Most court reporting services will have a detailed rate sheet. If they don’t offer it, don’t be shy about asking for one.
5. How will I receive my transcript? They likely have various file format options available. Your service should offer electronic formats that are searchable as well as physical copies. Choose an option that fits with your preferred workflow, and not one that will cause you extra work.
6. How do I schedule a court reporter? Can you do it online or does it have to be by phone? How much advance notice does the service need? Find out if you can reserve a court reporter for more than one date. Also, if you like the person who worked for you, can you request them again?
7. Does your service offer video conference deposition services? Not every proceeding needs to be in person. If your service can provide you with a videoconferencing court reporter, then you may be able to save both time and money. If this is possible, make sure you ask about what arrangements you must make for this service.
8. What is the turnaround time on receiving the transcript? This is essential information because if your legal proceeding is time sensitive you’ll need the transcript back within that time frame. Make sure you understand their turnaround policy and be clear about any time constraints you have. If there are additional fees for extra fast service, you need to know that ahead of time as well.
A court reporter plays a critical role in a successful proceeding. Having a good court reporter or service is essential. Asking the right questions will help you get the right reporter for your needs.