Someone outside of the court reporting profession might think that after almost 30 years as a freelance court reporter, you’ve seen it all. But for those of us in this profession, we know that each day brings something new: New settings, new people, new stories, new ways to challenge yourself on the job. But this past week, I had a new experience that I just didn’t see coming.
The day started off at the appointed location, standing in the lobby visiting with the out-of-town attorney who hired us, the videographer from Paradigm, and something a bit unusual: A security officer standing close by, with his attention definitely focused on us. It wasn’t long before a woman appeared, and with her neck becoming red as she spoke, she told us we needed to leave immediately and that we were trespassing. We knew they weren’t messing around, so we headed toward the elevator, with the security guard following. He not only escorted us into the elevator, but all the way out the door, off the sidewalk and into the parking lot. THAT was a first, professionally AND personally.
The attorney was here from the east coast and he explained that these depositions were very important and would be going forward no matter what, but we needed a new location. Thus, we headed to the offices of Paradigm Reporting and Captioning in downtown Minneapolis.
Once at Paradigm, the videographer and I set up. The attorney was all set to go with the two days of depositions scheduled. There was one problem, however: There was no deponent. The attorney decided that, having properly noticed the depositions, they were going forward, with or without witnesses. So the videographer began the tapes and started his usual introductory comments, then turned to me and said, “Would the court reporter please swear in the witness?” What witness? I thought, okay, so, this is a new experience: We have an empty chair with the camera focused on it, the attorney ready to ask questions of it, and me asking it to raise its right hand and promise to tell the whole truth.
After I had sworn in the first chair of my career (and I’m not sure it really counted because it didn’t raise its hand), the attorney proceeded to ask the chair four-and-a-half hours of questions on videotape.
While I am certain that as a court reporter I will continue to run into strange new situations every day, this one may take years to top!