How to Get Court Transcripts Properly

June 28, 2021

How to Get Court Transcripts Properly

You may be asking how to obtain a transcript if you’ve participated in a court action such as a hearing, trial, or deposition. Alternatively, you may possess an audio recording of a proceeding for which you require a transcript but are unsure where to begin. The process is somewhat different depending on if you need a transcription from a legal transcription provider or a court reporter

Here’s how you can get a court transcript: 

1. Request a transcript directly from the court

If you join court proceedings and a court reporter is present, the court reporter has most certainly written a transcript. If you’re represented by an attorney, it’s preferable to seek him first. Transcripts are pricey to obtain, but it's possible that your lawyer has already secured one and can give you a copy. 

2. Obtain a transcript on your own

You must contact the appropriate court if you don't have an attorney or if you’re requesting case records in which you aren’t a party. Confirm which court deliberated the case then reach out to the court reporter. Most courts have online resources in requesting a transcript so make sure to check the corresponding court’s website.

Determine first why you’re asking for the transcript before filling out your order form. Some forms may need you to put which part of a proceeding you desire a transcript for as well as if it’s needed for an appeal.

There’s a chance that you won't be able to get transcripts if the court has sealed them. However, the general rule is that if the public is allowed to attend the court hearing, there should be no reason for you not to obtain a transcript.

3. Record the proceeding and use a transcription service

Always double-check beforehand whether recording a proceeding or a phone call for getting a transcript is permitted. Many courts have laws prohibiting audio and video recording of sessions so be wary of these rules. It’s also a good idea to ask for consent from concerned parties before recording to avoid any issues afterward.

Once you have the court recording, you can order transcripts from a transcription service provider. Court transcripts contain sensitive information so make sure that your provider isn’t just precise and fast but also complies with the privacy policies.

How Court Transcripts Can Help Your Case

Even the strongest legal cases can contain facts and important elements brought into doubt. Having said this, it’s best to obtain transcripts to make your argument stronger and more beneficial to your case.

  • Court transcripts can help you devise trial plans- Examining a transcript before your trial can help you prepare your entire strategy. Reading a detailed transcript can help you better understand what was stated during the deposition including subtleties and word choices that you may have missed. You can also take notes, emphasize testimony, and review your case without fear of misinterpreting or forgetting what was said.
  • Court transcripts can help you set tones- Transcripts aren’t only valuable in retelling what was said in a deposition but also the emotion. The manner in which witnesses tell a narrative can reveal how they felt at the time. You can set the trial’s tone by repeating how something was uttered.
  • Court transcripts can help you draw up appeals- Transcripts can be used as proof in an appeal since they provide a verbatim account of what every participant says. For example, if your client was convicted on a technicality, you can review the transcript to figure out what went wrong and note procedural flaws that can be used to support your client's appeal.

Court transcripts play a vital role in remembering and verifying testimonies, so it’s best to know the proper way of requesting and utilizing these legal documents.

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