Do you "clean up" the attorneys' questions, objections, etc., in your transcripts? I imagine most of us do. I've heard about a very few reporters who don't -- actually, just one reporter who does not.

Do you have a personal (or other) guideline/practice that you use in determining whether or not to take something out? I don't take out anything they say if they said "strike that" right after. Sometimes, if the attorney(s) have really made me mad, I won't clean him/her up at all. That has rarely happened, maybe only a handful of times that I can recall, though.

Do you "clean up" the witnesses' stutters/false starts?

Just wondering how everyone handles this.

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No! I absolutely do not clean up attorneys. They said it, they get it. I only had one agency ever ask me to do this, and when I said I didn't think that was right, they dropped it, and we got along fine for years (still do, just hasn't worked schedule-wise for me to work with them recently).

I do the same job whether I'm mad at them or not -- my best. I don't take it out on the transcript, just think hard about whether I want to work with them again. I disagree strenuously with the idea that the reporter's feelings about the attorneys have any effect at all on the handling of the transcript.

No! I do not clean up false starts unless they're an incomplete word, e.g. "The boo -- the book." For that, I would just put "The -- the book." The transcript needs to be complete. That there are false starts is part of the record and in fact might be very relevant to an attorney or judge who is reading the transcript. I know that if I were an attorney and particularly more so if I were a judge, how someone testified, their cooperation with the depo process and the making of the record, and the like. It goes in there, including when an attorney or someone else says, "That wasn't on the record." Unless all the attorneys present stipulate that it doesn't, it's there.

Once I had a witness who kept saying as part of her testimony, "Don't put that in," or "The reporter shouldn't write that." LOL! Of course, I did. And yes, I managed not to LOL until she was long gone.
Completely left out a thought there.

"I know that if I were an attorney and particularly more so if I were a judge, how someone testified, their cooperation with the depo process and the making of the record, and the like" should have been finished with "would be relevant to me when forming my opinions about their basic trustworthiness and ability to testify."

Duh. Sorry for any confusion.
I never clean up anyone, attorney or witness. I leave in all false starts, no matter who says them. Everything stays in.
Hmm, what if the other attorneys in the room want to use the Q attorney's bad grammar, false starts, etc as ammunition for their objection to the question? For that reason alone, I don't "clean" anything up. Last I checked, my certification says I am charged with the responsibility to report VERBATIM.
That's interesting. I've gotten transcripts of reporters who have done the same job/case that I'm working on, and they ALWAYS look much cleaner than my transcripts, with all the dashes and false starts and interruptions.

I was "taught" by the firm I first worked for, for years, that I should clean up attorneys to "make them look good." So that's what I've always done, and that's why I ask. I've never cleaned up witnesses, even if they say, "I -- I -- I don't think -- I think -- I -- I -- I think it was the year before."
I never change grammar. I had an attorney who kept saying, for example, "you was in the right lane" and such, and it stayed that way.

I do clean up false starts and stutters. Just taught that way. I've never had anyone insist that an attorney's stuttering or false starts stay in.

But if most reporters don't do it, I suppose I won't do that anymore. It would certainly save me a whole lot of editing and add, in some cases, probably significantly more pages!
Having worked 12 years for an appellate attorney (I'm not yet a court reporter), I know how difficult it is to glean nuances from bare words on paper. I can definitely see where false starts or mid-sentence changes in thought can indicate lack of certainty, for instance, or even something about an attorney's train of thought. If this happens throughout the transcript, it can add a dimension to the record of the proceedings that wouldn't otherwise be evident. I am disturbed by the idea that a court reporter would "clean up" an attorney's or even a judge's speech.
I never clean up the attorney or the witness now. When I first started reporting in 1988, I was taught to clean up the attorneys' stutters and false starts. I quit reporting for 10 years and returned to reporting about a year and a half ago. Back then they didn't have the little digital tape recorders like they do now and I worry that someone could have one and I wouldn't know it and they could come back at me later for being unfair or whatever if it's obvious I was cleaning up "my" attorney and not the witness or the other attorney. I basically treat every depo like a video depo where I need to put everything in.
Jill: Just curious. How long did it take you to get back into reporting? 10 years is a long time to be off the machine. Did you practice writing on your machine at all during those 10 years? I know someone who took about the same length of time off, and it took her several years before she felt she was able to take depos again.
If the job is videotaped, I do not clean up the attorney. If the job is not videotaped and I like the attorney, I will clean them up a bit, meaning take out a false start or two. That is about it.
I have always cleaned up attorneys/doctors on false starts and all the "okays" that they say when a witness is answering, but as of today I am changing and putting everything in when it comes to the law firms that are getting a 10 percent discount, which is passed on to me, so I want to add the extra lines in which hopefully will added in more pages. My first time in 12 years I have had the discount passed on to me, told the firm I would only take the depos that are not discounted; hence, I did not work for a week and had to back track and do the work just to make some money. I know a little off topic, but I can't wait until work picks up like it used to be. Once that happens, I will never work for a firm that passes the discount on to me.
This is just a discussion. You don't need to be insulting, Laura.


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