Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters - Court Reporting, Legal Videos, and Videoconferencing

For everything you need to know on court reporting, legal video, and videoconferencing.

Court Reporting Technology: From Cicero to the iPad (7 of 7)

Court Reporting Technology: From Cicero to the iPad (7 of 7)

Hyperlinked Exhibits




            Navigating between the transcript and corresponding exhibits can be a waste of time.  With hyperlinked exhibits, attorneys are able to go directly to the desired exhibit without the headache of locating it at the end of the transcript or in a separate volume all together.  In a hyperlinked transcript, if an exhibit is referred to (ex. "Exhibit 1"), every time that exhibit is referenced in the transcript, an attorney can click on the word ("Exhibit 1") and view that exhibit.  Not only does this additional function save time while reviewing a transcript, but it also provides the attorney with an easy and effective way of showing the transcript and exhibits at trial.  Hyperlinked services vary from court reporter to court reporter, so be sure to ask your court reporter or court reporting firm what options and outputs they have to offer.


Online Repositories, Invoicing, and Scheduling






            Today, just about everything is paperless and can be accessed online, so why aren't your court reporting services?  Well, they actually can be.  Things like online repositories and online calendaring allow attorneys and their support staffs to have complete control of their court reporting services with only the click of a mouse.  With online repositories, attorneys are notified via email when their transcripts or videotaped depositions are ready for viewing, giving them instant and remote access to these important case materials.  Online repositories also give other attorneys in your office or experts working on the case the ability to access case materials at any time.  Online calendaring provides attorneys and support staff with the opportunity to conveniently change deposition dates and times, increasing productivity and reducing wasted time.  Electronic invoicing decreases paper usage and eliminate misplaced invoices.  Some court reporters and court reporting firms provide online access to those invoices, a convenient resource when trying to determine expenses when settling a case.  Contact your court reporter or court reporting firm to find out how your law practice can go green and save time and money while doing it.




            A lot has changed since Marcus Tullius Tiro started taking dictations for Cicero in 63 B.C.  Court reporters now instantly stream the text of your deposition to attorneys or experts anywhere in the world.  They arrange for attorneys to depose witnesses and experts on the other side of the country.  Just as lawyers have taken advantage of technological advances, so has the court reporting profession.  The days of providing a plain, basic transcript are over.  Although there is no telling how technology will advance over the next 2,000 years, attorneys can rest assured that the court reporting profession will continue to be there assisting, innovating, and making your life easier long into the future.

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Court Reporting Technology: From Cicero to the iPad (5 of 7)

Court Reporting Technology: From Cicero to the iPad (5 of 7)

Synchronized Videotaped Depositions


Imagine yourself in the courtroom, you are cross-examining the plaintiff (or defendant), and he or she says something contradictory to his or her previously recorded deposition testimony.  Normally, you would attempt to impeach that individual by having her read back her inconsistent testimony from the deposition transcript and the jury would get the general picture.  But what if, instead, you were able to play back a video of the plaintiff making those same statements as if she had just said them?  Not only would the jury SEE the plaintiff making those conflicting statements, but they would also SEE the text from the transcript contradicting the words she just said.  With the advent of synchronized videotaped depositions ("synced videos"), this is now a possibility. 


2e1ax vintage entry Synchronized-Videotaped-Depositions


A synced videos is a transcript that has been synchronized to the videotaped deposition so that the videotaped deposition and the transcript can be played back simultaneously together.  As many attorneys know,  pinpointing a specific word or phrase in a video for play back can be difficult. Fast-forwarding and rewinding can be time consuming and frustrating.  Stopping a video at the wrong moment can be devastating.  Synchronizing a transcript to the videotaped deposition eliminates all of that.  Plus, it provides the attorney with several other beneficial tools for viewing and playing your videotaped deposition.


Benefits of synced videos include:

  • Instantly search your video for a particular word or phrase
  • Highlight key portions of the transcript/video for easy review and recall
  • Annotate key portions the transcript/video for easy review and recall
  • Easily create clips to impeach a witness or to show to the jury
  • Create and share still images from the video
  • Show text and video at the same time to help provide clarity to a witness's testimony


Synced videos are the ultimate addition to an attorney's arsenal.  They provide attorneys with the ability to instantly search and locate important portions of the videotaped deposition, which is pivotal when presenting at trial.   Synced videos allow attorneys to show and play the testimony for the judge and jury, increasing retention and recall.  Synced videos can also be uploaded to Sanction, TrialDirector, and LiveNote, providing attorneys with even more ways to use them.  Contact your court reporter or court reporting firm to find out more about compatibility and formatting options.

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Court Reporting Technology: From Cicero to the iPad (4 of 7)

Court Reporting Technology: From Cicero to the iPad (4 of 7)

Videotaped Depositions


Although videotaped depositions have been around for awhile, it is important to remember the tactical advantage they can provide an attorney in a case.   Advances in technology have only increased picture and sound quality, providing an even more powerful tool for trials and arbitrations.  Even the science shows videotaped depositions and other visual aids are more influential than just spoken words:


Video Camera


  • People forget about 2/3 of what they hear (The Wechsler Memory Scale - 1946).
  • "Trial attorneys unknowingly present arguments and issues that exceed jurors' capacity to understand . . . being confused or feeling intellectually inferior is psychologically uncomfortable, and jurors may respond with resentment and antagonism toward the presenting attorney."  Presenting information visually simplifies and reinforces your point (Enhancing Juror Comprehension and Memory Retention - 1989).
  • Those exposed to graphics are more persuaded to act than those who are not (The Persuasive Effect of Graphics in Computer-Mediated Communication - 1991).
  • Practicing attorneys and non-lawyers prefer to learn and communicate differently.  A majority of non-lawyers prefer visual communications.  A majority of attorneys prefer non-visual communications.  Thus, litigators should bridge the communication divide by using visual courtroom presentations (A2L's Communication Style Study - 2003).
  • Visual aids in courtroom presentations enhance juror attention and improve recall of key events (Visual Evidence - 2010).
  • An immersive use of graphics during courtroom presentations (as opposed to far and few between) yield the best result (Broda-Bahm Study - 2011).


Benefits of videotaped depositions include:


  • Expert Witnesses -  The cost of deposing an expert and then having that expert testify at trial can be cost prohibitive.  By videotaping your expert's deposition, you can simply play it back at trial for the jury and/or judge without incurring the cost of having the expert testify again.
  • Preservation - Witnesses are sometimes elderly, ill, or illusive, and may not be available for trial.  By videotaping their deposition, you ensure a visual representation of that witness's testimony for trial.
  • Visual Presentation -  Videotaping a witness's deposition also provides a visual representation of what the witness's demeanor and non-verbal cues were at a deposition.  When witnesses are aggressive or abrasive during a deposition, videotaping can get the witness to cooperate and answer your questions more freely.  If they do not, you are able to show that demeanor in court.
  • Day-In-The-Life Videos -  Visually capturing the physical nature of how your client was affected by the event in question can prove instrumental in obtaining a favorable verdict or settlement.  By laying out the background and facts, you are able to paint a picture in the light most favorable for your client.


Videotaped depositions provide an impactful and compelling story when presented at trial.  Not only do they keep the judge and jury focused on the case at hand, but they also increase the recall of the key events  that attorney wants them to remember.  Videotaped depositions also save attorneys and their clients money by not having to rehire an expert to come and testify at trial.

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Court Reporting Technology: From Cicero to the iPad (1 of 7)

Court Reporting Technology:  From Cicero to the iPad (1 of 7)

            The concept of court reporting is thousands of years old, and can be traced back to 63 B.C., when Marcus Tullius Tiro, a slave, was given the task of taking dictation for Cicero.  In an effort to keep up with Cicero, Marcus Tullius Tiro developed a system of symbols and abbreviations (i.e. shorthand).  He also omitted short or common words that he could add later by memory or context.  Over time, Marcus Tullius Tiro expanded his shorthand system to include over 4,000 signs, including the familiar ampersand ("&"), which is still widely used today.


In 1877, Miles Bartholomew invented the first successful shorthand writer, which consisted of ten keys that could be depressed, one at a time or in combination, to create a series of dots and dashes, much like Morse code.  In 1964, IBM and the court reporting industry partnered to developed the first computer aided transcription ("CAT") system.  This system produced electrical impulses at the stroke of each lever with an incremental magnetic tape to record and produce a digital recording simultaneously with the written notes on the standard paper tape.  Since then, the court reporting industry has seen additional changes, such as the introduction of realtime (1992) and paperless shorthand writers (2001).


Throughout the years, technology has revolutionized the way court reporters keep the official record.  Technology has also revolutionized the services court reporters provide to attorneys and judges.  From realtime to videoconferencing, court reporters can now offer a wide range of cutting-edge services that enhance the legal experience.  Below are several services that can save attorneys time, money, and effort, or even help them win their next big case.






            "Realtime" is the term for transcription by court reporters using real-time technologies to deliver text to a device (i.e. screen, laptop, iPad) within seconds of the words being spoken.  Think of realtime as closed captioning for attorneys.  At a deposition, realtime allows attorneys to view the deponent's responses in written words so that they can focus their time on pinpointing their questions, rather than trying to remember what the deponent said.  Realtime also allows attorneys to take notes directly in the text and highlight portions for future reference. 


            Benefits of realtime include:

  • Read, hear, and see questions and answers as they happen
  • Quickly create and modify annotations right on the transcript
  • Highlight important text for future reference
  • Scrolling text that you can start and stop at will for pinpoint questioning
  • Easily search the transcript for specific words or phrases


An additional benefit of realtime is the ability to stream the deposition testimony to another location.  Text streaming allows attorneys to monitor or participate in a “live” deposition using a computer or mobile device from a remote site.  Any attorney can participate in the deposition process no matter where he or she is physically located, again saving time, money, and energy.  In large cases, it may be difficult to  coordinate all of the participating attorneys’ schedules.  However, if the deposition is in realtime, attorneys can participate remotely, negating the need to coordinate travel schedules, as well as avoiding the costs and delays thereof. 


Having the ability to send a realtime feed of every word that is said at a deposition or trial is the ultimate tool.  However, it should be noted that not all court reporters can provide realtime.  Being able to provide realtime requires experience testing, and ultimately, a designation of Certified Realtime Reporter ("CRR").  Make sure to ask your court reporter or court reporting firm for a Certified Realtime Reporter when scheduling your realtime depositions.

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