|Law students taking and defending a deposition with court reporters|
To give the law students a complete experience of taking and defending a deposition, we have them take a deposition with court reporters transcribing their work. At Seattle University Law School, we have a three-day intersession course entitled “Essential Lawyering Skills” that focuses on professional communication, and a major component of the course deals with depositions. The law students read about how to conduct depositions in their Pretrial Advocacy text, receive a lecture on depositions and discuss how to take and defend a deposition. Then, they take a deposition (we have students who are not taking the course act as witnesses for the depositions).
As part of the instruction, Lori Repozo, who is in charge of the Court Reporting program at Green River College, provided the students with practical advice on how lawyers should and shouldn’t take and defend a deposition. For instance, Ms. Repozo discussed the importance of making a proper record and how to do it.
During the presentations Ron Cook did realtime reporting, and the students went online to follow along as Ron transcribed what was said. He also provided the students with advice about working effectively with a court reporter. Mr. Cook is remarkably skilled; he is the 2016 and 2012 National Court Reporting Association (NCRA) gold medalist in realtime Q&A and holds the Registered Diplomate Reporter (RDR) Certification, the NCRA’s most prestigious certification. Also, Ron Cook has been Washington State’s speed champion.
Later, the students were divided into workshop groups, and Green River students who are learning how to be a court reporters (pictured above), were present in the workshops performing as they would during a real deposition, swearing in the deponent, writing what is said and handling the exhibits. Having the court reporters present brings the deposition experience alive and prepares the law students for what they will face in practice.
Following the course, the reporters prepare transcripts that are delivered to the students. This enables the students to see how they performed – how what they said looks in the transcript. The reporters do not clean up the transcripts, allowing the students to see their filler “um”s and “ok”s.