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Ethics, integrity key components of court reporting at Neesons

By AdvocateDaily.com Staff

An ethical and integrous record of proceedings is much more than putting some words on a piece of paper, says Neesons Court Reporting founder and president Kim Neeson.

There are numerous components to her company’s quest for a clear and accurate record “that everyone can rely on,” Neeson tells AdvocateDaily.com,

“It starts with the training of the person charged with creating and preparing that record,” she says, noting that Neesons’ reporters have received certifications through various professional associations.

All of her reporters are also authorized by the province to administer oaths.

“If you’re swearing people and don't have authority, it could impact the record by rendering it null and void in the event a witness challenges it,” Neeson explains.

At Neesons, those basic skills are nurtured and developed through mentorships with senior staff as well as ongoing training and guidance in literacy and comprehension.

“It’s important to take those words that are spoken, and put them into a transcript that reflects what was really said,” says Neeson, who takes some of her inspiration from Eats, Shoots & Leaves, author Lynne Truss’s famous comical treatise on the importance of punctuation.

“Much of the litigation we do deals with very complex issues and technical language, whether it’s drug patents or medical malpractice suits with experts galore,” Neeson says. “We also deal with international companies whose representatives may not have English as their first language.

“In all those cases, capturing what they’re really saying is very important,” she adds.

Neeson prides herself on a workforce that will go the extra mile to ensure the accuracy of a transcript, whether by speaking up to request clarification during a hearing or engaging in extra research back in the office.

“In the old days, we went to the phone books to look up the spelling of names or to medical and pharmacological dictionaries to get words right,” she says. “Now, much of that research can be done online, but you have to care about the integrity of your record in order to do it.”

The company also applies its own safety net, with a quality control process to ensure that the reporter’s final product is up to scratch. Newly qualified or recently hired reporters regularly have their work checked by more experienced professionals, including Neeson herself, until she’s satisfied that they are operating to the company's standard. Even then, quality control checks are performed at random to keep everyone on their toes.

“From a company perspective, we also hold a great deal of confidential information that is stored in a way that maintains its integrity,” Neeson adds. “You need to have the right type of security in place so that private information is not getting out into the public domain.”

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