Neeson Court Reporting
To set the scene: a case tried in two courtrooms – one in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and one in Wilmington, Del.; videoconferencing required so that Toronto can see Delaware, and Delaware can see Toronto, including the two judges, the witness, the questioning attorney and the exhibits; two sets of court reporting teams – one in Toronto and one in Wilmington – with two sets of realtime streaming – one emanating from Toronto and one from Wilmington; and only one certified transcript of the entire proceedings delivered by 10 p.m. every night.
The quick facts:
- 23 days of joint trial evidence
- Over 5, 500 pages, with many days with experts being over 300 pages in length
- Thousands of exhibits logged
- More than 20 fact witnesses and more than 20 expert witnesses called
This is the stuff that technical nightmares are made of, yet despite some occasional glitches, the reporting teams, consisting of Lorraine Marino, RDR, CRR, and Gail Verbano, RDR, CRR, of Wilcox & Fetzer in Delaware; Deana Santedicola, RPR, CRR, and myself, Kim Neeson, RPR, CRR, CBC, CCP, of Neeson in Toronto, rose to the occasion and delivered the best technical and transcript services our profession has to offer.
Managing a large undertaking such as the Nortel Networks bankruptcy trial is no easy feat. Neeson took the lead with regard to the management of the trial from the court reporting perspective. That undertaking involved hours and hours of management time that allowed us to ensure:
- The reporters in both locations had screens for viewing both the videoconferencing and the exhibits.
- The reporters had an audio feed from the audio-visual company that was of high quality and could be used both for recording and listening purposes.
- The hard-wired Internet connections in both locations were secure and that the reporters would solely have it for their own use.
- LiveDeposition, our stream provider, coordinated protocols for each stream location to ensure easy connectivity and an “once only” type of setup for the reporters and the users of the system; in addition all parties who were allowed to view the stream were set up in proper groups (hundreds of invitations were involved).
- A dedicated staff member was trained for trial technical support, transcript production of both the rough draft and the late night certified, and management of the repository and exhibit hyperlinking.
As the reporters on the joint trial, we had to work through many issues before we walked through the courtroom door, such as:
- How would we jointly indicate the swearing of witnesses, the various examination types, the court designations, recesses, start and end times, exhibits, and indexing, just to name a few issues. The list is long when you start to go through a standard transcript!
- Develop the protocol for who would be the “cert” reporter and who would be the “check” reporter
- Develop the protocol for merging of transcripts and the responsibility of each reporter in their jurisdiction
- Agreeing on how to split billings and actual court days
- Spellings – Canadian or American or both?