What is realtime?
Realtime is a value-added service provided by court reporters to their clients. With realtime technology, the court reporter is able to convert his stenographic notes into text, giving the attorneys and the court immediate access to the testimony being given in deposition or court. This can be accomplished in several ways: via cable between the court reporter’s computer and the attorney’s computer, via a wireless connection on a local area network (LAN) set up by the court reporter, or via the Internet.
Why do I need realtime?
This value-added service can be an important tool to litigators. With a realtime feed during the deposition or trial, you can:
- Attend from your office or a remote location or have your expert or co-counsel attend from the convenience of their offices, saving time and travel expenses
- Concentrate on the testimony instead of note taking
- Mark or unmark lines of testimony by simply hitting the spacebar on your laptop or double tapping the line of testimony on the iPad
- Search forward or backward for specific words, phrases or word roots and set the search to highlight certain words as the deposition or trial proceeds
- Identify case-specific issues and quickly designate portions of testimony pertaining to a particular issue by typing the number assigned to that issue
- Insert notes in the testimony for later reference
- Clear up conflicts in testimony on the spot. Have you ever gotten the transcript back from the court reporter only to find that the answer was not exactly as you remembered it? With realtime, you can verify during the deposition or trial that you have in the record the testimony you need.
- Connect at any point during the proceedings and receive all of the text that came before
- Have all of the court reporter’s editing changes instantly update on your screen
Realtime has also proven very helpful for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Most individuals develop hearing loss after they have already acquired language skills and, for them, it is easier to read realtime text than interpretation through sign language. We have a client who is a very sharp attorney and has practiced many years but was facing retirement because of hearing loss. Using realtime technology to assist her in depositions and court has allowed her to continue practicing law just as effectively as she did prior to her hearing loss.
There have been at least two cases in the United States that were appealed because the litigants, who were deaf, did not fully understand what was going on during the trial. When the cases were retried, realtime reporting was used so that the deaf litigants could take an active role in their trials. In the state of Maryland, realtime was used so a deaf juror could participate in the trial without an interpreter.
How do I get realtime?
There are many vendors that provide realtime technology, including CaseViewNET, Eclipse Bridge, Summation, LiveNote, DeNoto, Visionary, LiveDeposition and Speche.
The best place to start is with the court reporter. Hiring a Certified Realtime Reporter assures you that the reporter has, through testing, exhibited that they have the necessary skills to produce a highly accurate realtime feed. Most realtime reporters will offer what they call “throw-down” laptops or iPads for attorneys to use. In this situation, the software or viewing app has already been loaded and is ready to go when you get to the deposition or trial.
You just need to specify when booking the job that you want realtime provided and want the court reporter to provide a laptop or iPad for viewing. The court reporting agency will ask you for pleadings, interrogatories, maybe previous depositions in the case so the reporter can build a job dictionary of names and case-specific terms or jargon ahead of time instead of on the fly. This will make the realtime transcript much cleaner.
If you prefer to use your own laptop or tablet, we will work with you to see if you need additional software or just the free downloadable viewer. It takes only a few minutes to be up and running. We told one of our clients about the ability to use his iPad for realtime in court one day during a 15-minute recess and by the time court resumed, he had downloaded the app and connected to the reporter’s realtime feed, including all of the proceedings from the start of court that morning. He was impressed at how quick and easy it was.