Pretty cool isn’t it?” Wayne County (Michigan) Circuit Court Judge Daniel P. Ryan says about realtime reporting in his courtroom. “I used to make notes, such as ‘inconsistent with previous testimony,’” Ryan declares. “Now I can mark it and make any annotations I want.”

The judge’s enthusiasm for realtime reporting technology is understandable when you consider that judges usually take reams of notes by hand on legal pads. The realtime reporting technology allows court reporters to convert their stenographic notes instantly into English text. In the case of Judge Ryan, his court reporter Linda Cavanaugh allows the judge to see the converted transcription on his laptop screen where he can make annotations directly to his copy of the transcript. He can search for names or keywords and save the transcript as a working record of the trial. The lawyers also can see the transcript on their computer screens.

Realtime reporting is the latest in a long history of court reporting innovations in the courtroom for capturing testimony. Digital dictation and transcription have made it possible for judges and attorneys to have quick turnaround in an area that used to take weeks. With realtime reporting, the working transcript is available on the spot as an unedited draft, and the final transcript can be delivered within hours — even minutes — of adjournment.

The stenographic machines used today in courtrooms are computerized, and the realtime software translates the steno “language” into a digital format. The reporter builds a translation dictionary with the words, names, places, or events that are likely to be used so that they translate correctly. During a trial, hearing, or deposition, speed is extremely important in realtime reporting. A court reporter who wants to be certified nationally must be able to take testimony at speeds up to 225 words per minute; court reporters average 180 or more words per minute.

Realtime reporting has opened up a world of possibilities in the courtroom. Attorneys can organize their annotated testimony into more accurate notes. They can cut and paste individual notes from the transcript to print a report or create a document on-screen. Realtime reporting can be used in conjunction with other realtime technology to create a video record of the trial so that testimony appears on the screen with the video record of events in the courtroom.

As Judge Ryan declares about realtime reporting, “It’s an absolutely phenomenal tool.”

AcuScribe of Austin, Texas, provides a full range of litigation support services, including realtime reporting and reporting personnel support in Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. AcuScribe provides experienced court reporters, court transcriptionists, court videographers, and realtime court reporters. Retrieval services include obtaining legal documents for pending legal matters, including criminal records, tax documents, property ownership records, divorce records, and previous litigation records. Call 512.499.0277 or toll free 800.497.0277. Emailinfo@acuscribe.com. http://www.acuscribe.com

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