Transcribing against the wishes of counsel
(1995) (revised March 2014)
Statement of facts
The Committee has been asked if it would be a violation of the Code for a reporter to participate in the following scenario.
A taking attorney does not want his deposition transcribed. Days later, opposing counsel orders the transcript, agrees to pay the original costs, but requests that the reporter not divulge to the taking attorney that transcription has been requested.
The reporter informs counsel that disclosure would be required if transcription is requested. Counsel agrees. When the reporter informs the taking attorney of opposing counsel's request, the taking attorney objects to transcription of the deposition without his permission, which he declines to give.
1. Is a reporter obligated to inform all parties when a deposition order is received?
2. Is a reporter under the directive of a taking attorney with regard to transcription of a deposition?
To ensure impartiality and fairness, the Committee believes that whenever any party requests a transcript of an official record of judicial proceedings, the reporter should inform all other parties of such request and provide equal access to the record, even if the taking attorney objects.
The reporter's ethics go beyond a financial or professional relationship with a client and focus on the integrity of the reporting profession, maintaining impartiality, and guarding against any appearance of impropriety.
The Committee on Professional Ethics holds that whenever any party requests a transcript of an official record of judicial proceedings, a court reporter must prepare the transcript in accordance with the request and inform all other parties of the request and make the record equally available, even if the taking attorney objects.
To fail to disclose a request or deny access to an official record of judicial proceedings would violate Provision Nos. 1, 3 and 9 of the Code. These provisions state that the member shall:
No. 1. Be fair and impartial toward each participant in all aspects of reported proceedings.
No. 3. Guard against not only the fact but the appearance of impropriety.
No. 9. Maintain the integrity of the reporting profession.
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.