Reporter's relationship to litigants
(Originally written 1987; Revised 2013)
Statement of facts
Upon appearing for a deposition or any other proceeding, the reporter finds that the reporter is related to one of the attorneys.
Is it the reporter's responsibility to advise counsel of the relationship?
If the reporter becomes aware of any relationship that may reasonably call into question the reporter's impartiality, it is incumbent upon the reporter to disclose that relationship as soon as known. This gives counsel the opportunity to object or waive any objections on the record to the reporter's reporting of the proceeding. If any objection is raised, the reporter must withdraw and offer to attempt to obtain another reporter. Counsel may elect, however, to select a reporter of their own choosing.
Reasons requiring disclosure include, but are not limited to:
- The reporter is related by blood or marriage to an attorney of record, an attorney present at the deposition, a party or a deponent. "Related by blood or marriage" is defined as including a parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, great grandparent, great grandchild, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, niece and nephew or the spouse of any such person.
- Any other relationship which may reasonably cause the reporter's impartiality to be questioned.
Obviously, it is not possible to list all relationships that may be a conflict of interest or give the appearance of a conflict. Therefore, the Committee recommends that whenever a reporter is unsure of whether to disclose a relationship, the reporter should disclose the relationship as soon as known. For further discussion on this topic, please refer to Public Advisory Opinion No. 3.
It is the Committee's opinion that failure to disclose any relationship that might reasonably call into question the reporter's impartiality is a violation of Provisions 1 and 2 of the Code of Professional Ethics. These provisions state that the member shall:
No. 1. Be fair and impartial toward each participant in all aspects of reporting proceedings, and always offer to provide comparable services to all parties in a proceeding.
No. 2. Be alert to situations that are conflicts of interest or that may give the appearance of a conflict of interest. If a conflict or a potential conflict arises, the member shall disclose that conflict or potential conflict.
THIS PUBLIC ADVISORY OPINION REFLECTS THE STATUS OF THE LAW IN MOST JURISDICTIONS. MEMBERS ARE REQUIRED TO CONFORM TO THE ACCEPTED PRACTICES SET FORTH IN THIS PUBLIC ADVISORY OPINION TO THE EXTENT THAT SUCH PRACTICES ARE CONSISTENT WITH THEIR OWN APPLICABLE STATE AND LOCAL LAWS, RULES AND REGULATIONS.