Sometimes a legal team needs to hire its own court recorder — it’s not always a guarantee that every courtroom will provide one. Other times, you may need a court recorder outside of the courtroom, like when you’re gathering testimony, interviewing expert witnesses in advance or just want a conversation properly recorded.
However, how can you be sure you’ve secured a quality court recorder who’s efficient, adept and can deliver a transcript on schedule?
Few people have what it takes to be a great court recorder. Start by considering their credentials. What licenses do they have? How long have they been in the profession? Have they worked with a similar case before?
A certified recorder, including one who’s achieved every requirement and recommendation in your state, will have certain qualities that show he or she is at the top of their game.
When researching and interviewing court recorders, make sure he or she:
1. Has a Spotless Record
Humans make mistakes, and court recorders are no exception. However, their recording skills need to be error-free. Ask about their past experiences, get copies of recordings (that are public record) and find out about their training. Some companies that offer court recording services require background checks, which is an added security bonus for the client.
2. Lives Locally
In some instances, you may need to import a recorder from somewhere else — like when the proceedings are taking place in a rural area where no qualified recorders are nearby. Otherwise, choose someone who’s local. Local residents probably will be more familiar with the courthouses and judges, and the local and state laws, which streamlines the entire process.
3. Has Ability to Multitask
Very few people can actually multitask well (about 2 percent of the population, according to some studies!). Multitasking is a skill and talent, and this ability falls on a spectrum. However, it’s an absolute must for great court recorders. The ability to simultaneously listen and record without error is unique. It should be one of the top skills they tick off in an interview or on their resume.
4. Provides a Fast Turnaround
At some point, you may need a recording almost immediately, and a court recorder should be able to oblige (often with a reasonable added fee). Many times, these quick turnarounds can’t be predicted. The court recorder should be easy to reach, proficient and have the ability to produce transcripts quickly.
5. Has Great Communication Skills
Your court recorder should achieve perfection when communicating in writing, but don’t forget about in-person skills. Particularly if you’ll be working with this court recorder for an extended period of time, you need to mesh well together. Otherwise, it can get pretty awkward calling him or her up and trying to explain what you need.
6. Has Passion
The people who are best at their careers, no matter what they may be, are passionate about what they do. You’ll be able to tell this intuitively when you first connect with a potential court recorder. This career can lead to burnout, so make sure you choose recorders who are on their A-game.
Court recorders and videographers are part of a niche profession. Your best approach is to depend on an agency who vets court recorders for you, tackling the dirty work so you can simply handpick the best of the best.