Transcripts: Accurate undertakings, advisements and refusals

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Creating Accurate Transcripts

Undertaking. Advisement. Refusal. These are three oh-so-simple words that lawyers expect to see plainly laid out in their discovery or cross-examination transcripts. But when counsel don’t make it obvious, omissions or mistakes can easily be made.  Creating accurate transcripts is more than just words on the page.

So let’s look at a few things that can confuse the matter.

Example 1: There are back-and-forth exchanges over numerous pages of transcript where undertakings, refusals or advisements are given. Suddenly counsel starts saying “same as before” or “I’ll take the same position as I did last time.” Or just simply use the word “same.”  Huh? Do you even remember what that was? Because wouldn’t it be simpler to say “I’ll undertake to…” or “advisement” or “that’s refused” and be clear? This is where the slippery slope to guessing on the part of the court reporter begins.

Example 2: No acknowledgement at all. Many times I’ve heard a question posed, such as “Will you undertake to…” and then no response. Is that an undertaking? Do I assume it’s an undertaking? Should I, as the reporter, interrupt to ask if it’s an undertaking? Sometimes I’ve thought there is no response on purpose. Again, the court reporter does not want to be put in the position of having to make your undertaking for you, and most likely will not mark it at all in the transcript.

Click here to continued eading about common mistakes that can confuse the matter, and advice on how to keep the record straight.

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