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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I feel your pain, Rosalie. That has happened to me ONCE, and I was not informed of the discount by the CR firm until after the fact, when the job had already been turned in. If I remember correctly, the job was, like, an O & 6, and the discount applied to all the copies as well! I was out hundreds of dollars. I was livid, like you are today. I told the CR firm that the next time I'm assigned to a client who has "special rates," I want to know BEFOREHAND so I'm not blindsided.
Nope! Never have - never will! Even though in 1983 I was told to by my first firm. I was a rebel :-) My grandfather, a superior court judge, said it's a no-no so I never have done so.
Just echoing what everyone else has already said. I don't clean up anyone. They say it, they get it.
I have never "cleaned up" anything. So I guess you now know two;) lol. The only thing is when they stutter or false start about 5 times, I usually will only show two or three, because if there's any more than that, I think it muddies up the depo way too much. I am always paranoid that something will come back to me and I will be criticised for it. That's the reason I don't do any of that.
Erica, that's exactly what I mean. If they start a question with "And -- and -- and -- and -- and what did you do next?" is it really necessary to leave all the "ands" in there? Yes, I've had attorneys who actually speak like that. Does it really compromise or add the record if you take out one or two ands or leave them all in?
Well, my concern, as I believe someone stated already, is that another attorney could use that little bit of cleaning up to show either bias on our part or that we aren't competent. And I've had attorneys use such things to show that a witness was tired, not understanding, show that an attorney was inadequate etc. :-)
Quyen, excellent point, and what I was thinking reading down through the thread. When I first started out, I cleaned up attys and did so for about 15 years probably. I even had a macro that deleted a false start as I was writing (Delete from HERE back to the beginning of the sentence). Nowadays, I don't clean up ... but I also don't sweat missing one of those and's. Does it compromise the record? I don't believe it does. Good point.

This may be a regional thing, and from reading CSRnation, I am aware that California has their own set of guidelines for some things.

I can remember two incidents about cleaning up proceedings. I used to work with one court reporter who always cleaned up her attorneys. She was a good reporter, very conscientious about the quality of all her transcripts, which I admired. I learned a great deal from her when I was a newbie to this industry.

One evening, she was required to go to a man's home (the deponent) to do a deposition. He had Lou Gehrig's disease. Two counsel were present, one for each side. She instructed me to be sure to clean up the attorneys, but, most importantly, she wanted me to clean up the deponent. There were various times when he'd stop talking, and his breathing would be heavy. He'd then request a cup of water, and they'd go off the record. This happened numerous times.

Well, I did exactly what she said, and one of the attorneys complained, saying he was there, and he knew there were stuff missing. The entire deposition had to be redone. I know the court reporter was only trying to produce a comprehensive record, but, in this instance, the transcript should have been verbatim.

When the Casper Weinberger trial was in Federal District Court, the official court reporter was cleaning up some attorneys and the judge. This particular judge had a habit of saying "mm-hmm" and "yeah," to which the reporter would change to "yes." BIG MiSTAKE!

One of the attorneys complained to the judge that the transcript was not an accurate record. The chief judge called the entire court reporting staff of the Federal District Court into his chambers and lectured them that ALL TRANSCRIPTS MUST VERBATIM, even judges' spoken words.

I think all legal proceedings, whether it is a court trial or deposition, should be verbatim. That way, you don't have to worry about it coming back to bite you in the you-know-where down the road.
That reminds me of a depo I reported once where the deposing attorney had had a stroke in the past and was never fully recovered; i.e., his speech was impaired. Actually, his speech was next to unintelligible. But for some crazy reason he felt he was still capable of doing depo's. He was so hard to report. It was one of those situations where no one really understood his speech/questions and so they would constantly ask me to read back. (Like I understood, yeah, right!) I put down what I heard, I interrupted constantly to ask for him to repeat. And I wrote verbatim what he tried to say....the record came out very garbled, but that just simply reflected that his speech was very garbled and unintelligble. I hope that record was worthless to the case but priceless to underscore that that attorney should NOT be taking depositions!!!
Quyen, excellent post. When I started reporting in 1987, I was taught and told by several agencies that it was my job to "clean up" the attorneys. I believe this was the norm back then. This meant false starts that were not of a substantive nature, bad grammar, etc. Shortly thereafter, I became employed by the court, and everything changed. I was now only to write verbatim, period. I resigned from court and entered the depo arena again a year ago and wanted to know how the depo agencies/reporters handle this. I was given a "potpouri" of responses. The consensus of the people I spoke with was that I should continue writing verbatim.
Quyen, I didn't touch my machine for about eight years and let my Texas license lapse. As far as I was concerned, I was never going to report again! When I decided to get back into reporting, I purchased the Court Reporting at Home course to start from scratch and learn a new, conflict-free theory. We didn't have to worry about conflicts the first time I was in court reporting school.

My speed came back really quickly at first, but then I hit a wall when I got to the upper speeds. I'd say it took me about a year and a half before I was ready to take the RPR, which qualified me to take the Texas CSR (but my practice habits weren't the best).

I'm back doing depos now but "try" to keep it part-time. If I only go out once during the week, it's always a little 50-pager. But if I go out two times in a week, they're both all-day jobs and one will end up being rush. Can't win!
We were taught never to send an attorney or judge up on appeal sounding like an A__. We were taught to edit, as long as it didn't change the content of what was being said, with the exception of the witness. We are never to edit a witness. HOWEVER, with the high tech era and all of the tape recordings being made these days, I very seldom edit anyone. Now I almost always put in all of the false starts, etc. We don't help them anymore, so they have cut their noses off to spite their faces again! :) And, I have never met anyone who speaks the English language perfectly, no matter how many initials they have after their name, and I've been around a long, long time. Again, use your good judgment because every job, every situation, is different. Have a good day. pjs


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