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

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Court Reporting Technology: From Cicero to the iPad (6 of 7)

Court Reporting Technology: From Cicero to the iPad (6 of 7)

Electronic Transcripts


Have you ever asked your court reporter for an "E-Transcript," expecting an electronic version of the transcript, but were confused and frustrated when you received it and were unable to open it?  If so, then you are not alone. That is because an E-Transcript is just the newest (and very confusing) example of a genericized trademark.




Just as Rollerblade, Xerox, and Kleenex became the genericized names for their industries, E-Transcripts have become the genericized name for electronic transcripts in the legal industry.  In the early 2000s, Thompson Reuters, the creators of WestLaw, LiveNote, and Case Notebook, created a proprietary software, Westlaw Case Notebook Portable E-Transcript or E-Transcript, that allowed attorneys to view and manage their transcripts on their computers.  It also allowed them to integrate their transcripts with other Thompson Reuters programs, such as Case Notebook.  


As you can infer, to view your E-Transcript, you need to download E-Transcript's free viewing software.  This is where the trouble begins.  Sometimes attorneys may not have access rights to install programs on their computers.  Sometimes they may not have internet access to download programs.  As a result, although it may be a fabulous tool, requesting an E-Transcript may not always be the best choice.


So what should you do if you do not want/need an E-Transcript?  Although it may depend on your court reporter, most court reporters should be able to provide you with a PDF version of your transcript that is word-searchable and not in an E-Transcript format.  They may also be able to provide you with a Microsoft Word version as well.


Benefits of PDF transcripts include:

  • Word-searchable
  • Hyper-linked indexes that take you directly to any word or exhibit
  • No downloads required
  • Works on almost any computer
  • Easily shared with other attorneys in your office and/or experts


Understanding what an E-Transcript is and when an attorney might require one will reduce confusion for all parties.  Often times a PDF version of the transcript will suffice or even work better than an E-Transcript.  When ordering your next transcript, discuss with your court reporter what electronic options they can provide.

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