Realtime Reporting Done By A Newbie
Realtime Reporter – Conquering Your Fears
This past weekend I attended the Wisconsin Court Reporter convention in Sheboygan. One of the sessions was about doing real time. There were three official reporters that spoke about their experiences with real time and “just doing it.” They mentioned things like their first experiences with it and how they felt and such. They also pointed out that you don’t have to be perfect and that judges and attorneys really want it. Now, these ladies all had their certifications and years of experience under their belts, so for them to say that they weren’t perfect, well, it certainly made me think…
I was at a depo today, and the witness was an older gentleman. Almost every time the questioning attorney asked him a question, he would say something like “I can’t hear you.” The witness quickly started blaming his inability to hear on an “extreme sinus condition.” Then the witness started blaming the attorney for having a very powerful voice that was causing an echo in the room, causing the witness to not be able to understand him. To accommodate the witness, we uprooted and moved to a smaller conference room. We started back up again and instantly ran into the same problem. Needless to say, by this time the questioning attorney was very frustrated.
The suggestion was made by defense counsel to reschedule the deposition for another time after the witness had seen his doctor, and that maybe we could attempt it again after his “extreme sinus condition” had subsided. I immediately said to myself, “Oh, no! Now I’m not going to get any pages today.” I asked to go off the record, and then I said something that I still can’t believe came out of my mouth. I said, “I have an idea. Why don’t I scoot over and have the witness and his attorney sit next to me so that they can see my screen? That way it doesn’t matter if the witness can’t hear your question because he can just read it.” So that’s what we did. The deposition proceeded right along, and we got it done.
To my pleasant surprise, I didn’t freeze up and write badly. I wrote exactly the same as I would have written with nobody being able to see it. Actually, I feel like I focused harder than if no one was watching. Everyone was able to read it just fine. Did I have some things in my favor? Absolutely. It wasn’t super fast and technical (just a nice, short, easy car accident-type case). I thought to myself, what a stroke of luck to be able to have my first real time experience be so easy and stress free. Do I feel this automatically qualifies me to take a real time patent case with 12 attorneys hooked up to me tomorrow? Absolutely not, but what I got from the experience was huge to me. It was validation of my writing skills and confirmation that I CAN do it. Most of all, I came away with a new confidence in myself that I didn’t have yesterday (or all the days before that for that matter). Those of you that know me fairly well know what I’m talking about!
My boss suggested that a next good step would be to write real time for an attorney that I feel comfortable with; you know, explain that I’m working on being a real time reporter and ask if I could set up an extra laptop. I think that’s a really good idea and a comfortable way of moving forward. Can you guess what my new favorite saying is? “JUST DO IT!”
Registered Professional Court Reporter