Credit: Hovercraft World
Litigation support has grown into a diverse world for legal professionals to peruse. It is rare that attorneys simply require a court reporting or trial support service—more often than not, they need several services for their upcoming case. Court reporting firms have learned that the best way to keep in business is to listen to client needs and include the services they really need in their lineup.
For the longest time, court reporting firms did just that: court reporting. The world of law has become more complex and demanding for attorneys, so naturally, some of that demand shifts to court reporting firms. On top of court reporting, firms now offer anything from transcription, to interpreters, to mediation to keep up with the ever-changing needs of clients.
The best firms, however, incorporate the latest technology into their services. As technology grows more important, legal videography has practically become a right-hand-man to court reporting. These days, court reporting firms that don’t offer legal videography fall short. But what is legal videography, and why is it so important?
A legal videographer is a professional who is responsible for recording legal proceedings with high-quality audio and video equipment. They can be utilized to record a trial, legal deposition, the signing of legal documents, or even to record evidence for trials like damaged property. To work with a firm that officers legal videography, prospective videographers should get their Certified Legal Video Specialist (CLVS) certification from the NCRA. This ensures the professional’s understanding of the field and level of skill. Legal videographers should have a quality video camera, audio mixer, microphones, headphones, and even backdrops at their disposal so a client can get the most out of their service.
There are a number of specificities that legal videographers must keep in mind as they move forward with a case. They must know the differences in the operation of legal videography on a state-by-state basis. It is up to the legal videographer to know those rules and receive the proper certifications and meet the correct industry standards that clients look for. The legal videographer knows what state rules and what federal rules take priority on a job.
The world is full of jargon the average attorney might not know the answer to when it comes to their legal video service, and it isn’t their job. Their legal videographer takes care of the industry specific videos so the attorney has nothing to worry about. For a crash course on becoming a deposition videographer, watch the video below.
Legal videographers are another fantastic resource to have on top of one’s court reporter. By capturing the audio and visuals of a deposition, attorneys can craft a stronger narrative for the courtroom. Some court reporting firms work with an additional legal videography firm or a freelance professional, while others employ in-house professionals. In-house legal videographers are especially valuable, as it gives client the comfort of knowing the standard they expect from their court reporters transfers to their legal videographers.
“In-house legal videography sweetens the deal for many attorneys,” Marti Sutherland-Vidal, Chief Operating Officer of Laws Reporting, says. “When a client knows they can trust your firm, they don’t want to hop around to others and hope they get the same level of support because you don’t offer all the services they need. Offering legal videography in the same place they get their court reporters is a game-changer.”
Sutherland-Vidal’s Miami court reporters at Laws Reporting have offered a variety of litigation services essentially since the firm’s conception. It is what has kept the firm in business for almost 50 years. Given how court reporters and legal videographers work in-tandem on such a high number of cases, it only made sense to add legal videography in Miami to their services.
Many may think legal video services directly get in the way of the work court reporters do, but that is just not the case. When utilized together, a legal video and court reporting service are an unstoppable resource for attorneys. Video synchronization marries these two services together seamlessly: the accurate transcript recorded be the reporter can be transposed over the recorded video so that it appears as captions over the video.
While clearly helpful in nature, it becomes abundantly clear just how useful video synchronization is once one takes a closer look. Attorneys can use their synchronized video during their reviewal process as they prepare for the next step, as it makes clip retrieval far easier (and faster). When used during a trial, this service is especially pertinent for the hard of hearing. It allows them to digest what was said during a deposition or other legal proceeding just as easily as everyone else.
“I would encourage others to earn the CLVS certification because you never know when you may need the skills, even if you are primarily still reporting,” Deborah Alvina, a court reporter and legal videographer, says, clearly illustrating the growing importance of the field.
Despite how closely court reporters and legal videographers work, Certified Legal Video Specialists still don’t have an active role in within the National Court Reporters Association. Given the importance of a quality professional in this area of practice, it is shocking to know that they are often left out of decisions the association makes.
Legal video specialists are making a grand push for their voices to be heard. A vote will be held at the NCRA’s July conference that determines a more active inclusion throughout the organization.
“The CLVS program has been around for 30 years and for us to not have a voice by now, and we’ve been such a team partner of the court reporters… is frustrating.”
Considering how Certified Legal Video Specialists have been practically essential to the world of law for the past several decades, it is only a matter of time before they receive the representation they deserve. Court reporters who work alongside these professionals have long-since been aware of their worth, and the rest of the world would be apt to follow suit.