When faced with the prospect of obtaining and paying for court reporting services, the question that may come to mind is, “do I really need a court reporter, wouldn’t my own notes be enough?”
The short answer to these questions are, “Yes you do, and no they would not be”. Here is why:
Having a court reporter present at examinations for discovery means that undertakings given at those examinations will be on the record. The court reporter transcript avoids the possibility of disagreement over what was or was not promised.
Furthermore, if undertakings go unanswered, to bring a motion to compel answers in accordance with the Rules of Civil Procedure, you will need the transcript of the examination to refer to the page and question number for each undertaking.
If your case goes to trial, having the transcript of examinations will be an important tool. For example, you may want to read a witness’ evidence back to them in court, to show that they have contradicted themselves or to otherwise impeach their credibility. Without a verbatim transcript of their previous statement you will not have objective evidence to put before the court.
If, instead, you just ask them about their previous testimony, there is nothing preventing them from denying or altering their past statement. Without a transcript, you will be unable to catch them doing this.
The added benefit of having a court reporter present at examinations is that the reporter can help manage the flow of the examination. Experienced court reporters will help to make sure only one party is speaking at a time, preventing examinations from getting out of control and further ensuring that you will have a clear record of what was said.
Finally, while you may be an excellent typist, you will likely not be able to record, verbatim, what transpires while you are conducting the examination yourself. The court reporter, on the other hand, is there for the sole purpose of creating a complete and accurate record of the examination, which you will be able to refer to and rely on throughout the rest of the proceedings. A court reporter and the verbatim transcript they produce is vital to your legal proceedings.