Three Ways to Create a Better Courtroom Environment and Record


Have you ever wondered how a courtroom’s environment can impact the record? Do you want to receive clear transcripts of court proceedings as soon as possible? Would you be interested in easing one of the biggest challenges court reporters face? If yes, then you might want to learn how to create a courtroom environment that respects the record.

At Stewart Richardson, we recently finished two trials that demonstrate the importance of the courtroom environment and how it relates to the record. Read the case summaries below, and then check out our suggestions to see how you can respect the record and help create a better transcript.

Case #1

Our first case required expert testimonials on a specific subject. Both sides kept the testimony focused and in terms that the jury would understand. They also seemed to respect each other, even when arguing a point or objecting. Although both sides were passionate advocates for their clients, the courtroom environment remained very civil for the duration of the case.

Case #2

In our second case, the testimony was not nearly as technical. However, creating a transcript was a much larger challenge because the attorneys, judge, and witnesses were almost always talking over one another. In this case, the environment was hostile, and no one seemed to have any regard for the record.

The Importance of the Courtroom Environment for the Record

In both cases our court reporters were allowed to be in the courtroom with permission of the Court, but we were not acting as the official court reporter. Therefore, our reporters were not allowed to speak up when more than one person was talking at a time or if they couldn’t hear something, as they would in a typical deposition setting.

As you might have guessed, this presented a much bigger challenge for our reporters during the second case than it did in the first. The records for these cases ended up extremely different, with the second one being longer, filled with interruptions, and it required more time to edit.

Three Ways to Create a Better Courtroom Environment and Record

As an attorney, it’s important to remember that you and the other people involved in the trial create the record, not the court reporter. Here are three ways you can help create a better courtroom environment and thus create a clearer record.

1. Let only one person talk at a time

Transcripts where multiple people talk over one another require more time to edit, are extremely difficult to capture as they happen, and take up more pages than a transcript where everyone is polite and has only one person talk at a time.

2. Use focused and understandable terms in expert testimonials

Using focused and understandable terms in an expert testimonial requires less questions and creates less confusion in the courtroom. Court reporters will want to make sure they understand how to spell the technical terms, so if they don’t know one, be patient when they speak up and ask.

3. Remember that silence doesn’t show up on the record

A key piece of advice from one of our court reporters is that silence doesn’t show up on the record. Take the time to formulate a good, intelligible question in your head before you start to speak rather than fumble for the right words out loud. Read this, for instance:

Q. What was the — where exactly — how many feet — well, can you estimate how far back you were from the stoplight?

As you can see, fumbling over a question makes the record harder to read and more difficult to write!

Schedule One of Our Expert Court Reporters

We know that not every case and courtroom environment is under your control, but with these three suggestions you can make a better environment for record-taking. If you know you are facing a challenging case, schedule one of our court reporters that can handle any environment by clicking here.

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