Keep An Eye On The Court Reporter To Assess His Or Her Progress

As an attorney speaking in court, it's easy to be focused on what you're saying, what you're about to say, and how the judge or jury seems to be reacting to your words. You should also devote a little bit of attention to the court reporter. This officer of the court is an ally because he or she is meticulously writing down the things that you and your witnesses are saying, which can be valuable afterward when someone needs to go back and review a statement. Because court proceedings can sometimes go quickly, it's possible for the court reporter to fall behind — especially if he or she has trouble with someone's name or accent. Court reporters will sometimes interrupt quietly, but there's no harm in you checking to see if he or she on track. If you keep your eye on the court reporter, here are some things to watch for.


As a court reporter types, he or she will often have a neutral facial expression. Should the proceedings become difficult to follow, however, you may notice a visual change. The court reporter may begin to frown or shake his or her head. Because they're trained to be professional, these changes will be subtle; a court reporter isn't going to make dramatic faces that distract people in court. When you pick up on one of these indicators, you can slow your speech, take a brief pause, or ask the court reporter if he or she is following with ease.

Looking Through Notes

Attorneys will sometimes give court reporters notes that contain information that the lawyers will reference as they speak. For example, if an attorney will be referencing a lot of people who have confusing names, he or she might first give the court reporter a list of these names and their spellings. If you've done so, watch to see if the court reporter seems to be rifling through these notes in between moments of typing. This can indicate some confusion, which you can help with a pause or clarification.

Glancing At The Judge

If a court reporter needs to interrupt for any reason, he or she isn't apt to just blurt something out. Rather, the court reporter will frequently try to catch the judge's eye and may even make a small signal to let the judge know that he or she needs to clarify a name, spelling, or title. Watch for the court reporter's interactions with the judge. It's possible that the judge isn't paying attention to the reporter, and you can quickly intervene and keep things on track.

For more information, reach out to a company like Brentwood Court Reporting Services