Shana at BerkeleyLaw for website5The increased use of voice-activated technology has led the general public and some legal professionals to believe that court reporters are on the verge of extinction. But savvy judges and litigators know that no machine, device, or app can replace the highly skilled live court reporter.

In September 2010, the National Court Reporters Association published this article by Jerry Kelley, CRR: Judges and Litigators Explain Why They Prefer Realtime Reporters to Recording Devices.

There are myriad reasons why court reporters will continue to be needed into the distant future — far too many to list here. At a minimum, as guardians of the record, they ensure (1) Accuracy, (2) Confidentiality, and (3) Impartiality

Ana Fatima Costa Consulting fills a void in the legal field by providing court reporters for mock depositions and mock trials in collaboration with law professors, law firm administratros and litigators. 

At these mock events, as in real life, court reporters offer an invaluable service. Law student and attorney participants appreciate court reporters’ involvement because their presence contributes a sense of solemnity to the mock experience and serves participants in two crucial ways:

(1) Interrupting as needed to ensure the integrity of the record. This provides a “reality check” to participants to be more mindful that every word is being transcribed into a permanent record and to avoid speaking too fast, talking over one another or mumbling.

(2) Producing a rough draft or final transcript. This useful tool helps participants learn how to improve their performance when presenting their case, questioning and defending witnesses, or testifying as expert witnesses. 

In real life, some litigators and judges do not like to be interrupted and may question a court reporter’s competence. These legal professionals may not be aware that it is a court reporter’s legal and ethical duty to provide a verbatim record of the proceedings. If a court reporter is unable to hear or understand what participants are saying — when they speak over one another, incoherently, or too fast — it is his/her duty to interrupt.  

The Court Reporters Board of California, the licensing and disciplinary body of all court reporters in California (akin to the California Bar Association), states clearly in its Best Practice Pointer No. 1:  How to Interrupt Proceedings:  

“The fundamental duty of a court reporter is to protect the record, including interrupting if the accuracy of the record is jeopardized.”

Click on the Bulletin image to read my article, The Court Reporter’s Dilemma: Interrupt or Drop.

(Originally published in the August 2015 issue of the Bulletin, a publication of the Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF), it has received the most “Likes” and Views of any post in BASF’s history.) 


Contact me to schedule court reporters for your mock deposition and mock trial events.


— Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati (since 2008)  

  • Litigation skills training courses with 2nd-year associates

— Berkeley Law (since 2012, fall and spring semesters)

  • Mock trials and deposition skills training courses with 2L and 3L law students

— San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association (since 2013)

  • Mock trials with law students from four Bay Area law schools

— John F. Kennedy College of Law (2017)

  • Mock deposition skills training courses with law students

— U.C. Hastings College of the Law (since 2017)

  • Mock deposition skills training courses with law students

More opportunities are in development . . .

The above featured photo was taken at a mock trial at BerkeleyLaw on November 21, 2015, in collaboration with Adjunct Professor and Alameda County Assistant Public Defender Charles Mandeville Denton, III (wearing the light blue jacket). 

The court reporting student is California CSR candidate Shana Ray, who has been legally blind since birth. Learn more about Shana and this event here.