A poor transcript can have a tremendous impact on a lawsuit. It could mean the difference between a winning or losing verdict.
Consider a malpractice lawsuit heavy on medical terminology. “You can have words that look almost exactly the same, but if you change one of the vowels it’s a whole other body part!” says Suzanne Hand, the founder of Hand Court Reporting.
This is why Hand Court Reporting invests more time than the industry standard in training the reporters they hire and diligently proofreading their work. Most agencies on Long Island do not train their reporters beyond the required 40 hours that they must observe. In many cases, these students spend those hours in a courthouse, a completely different experience from sitting in on a deposition.
At Hand Court Reporting, our top students are selected to enter into a special training program that includes at least six months of observation in as wide a range of scenarios as possible. The trainees do this before they even begin to transcribe depositions.
Once a reporter is ready to begin transcribing, the student is shadowed by one of our experienced court reporters. Afterwards, they compare their transcripts. This method serves as a teaching tool that shows not only mistakes that may have been made, but what the finished product must look like. Precision is a key standard that Hand Court Reporting requires all reporters to uphold.
That's why proofreading skills are so important to Hand Court Reporting. All new reporters' transcripts are subject to a proofreader until Hand is confident in their ability. Even seasoned reporters who have 20 years of experience prior to coming to Hand Court Reporting have to undergo this oversight. They may not be new to court reporting, but if they are new to the agency, they will be proofread—no exceptions.
Most reporters eventually hire a proofreader of their own because a second pair of eyes is always beneficial, especially if the proofreader is proficient. The additional oversight gains a great reputation for the court reporter, and that means more jobs. But first they have to pass muster. Hand recounts what happened when a new court reporter was coming on board and her work was proofread by one of Hand's staff.
“We had someone last year who changed her proofreader after we proofed her proofreader!” Hand said. “She was shocked. She couldn’t believe how bad her proofreader was. She was thrilled to switch to our proofreader.”
Hand will periodically spot-proof every court reporter as a quality-control measure to ensure optimal work. Precise transcription could make or break a case for a client. Hand has built a stellar reputation on being a dependable asset to every client she serves.