Court Reporters: Musicians and Magicians

The other day, I was approached by a witness at a deposition. He shook his head, nodding toward my steno machine, and admitted, "I don't understand how you do that."

My client, an experienced lawyer, agreed.

"I'm not a musician," I explained.  "But if you think in terms of music, the keys are like chords. Obviously, we don't have enough letters for all the sounds, so we use letter combinations. This is the T key, this is the K key, and together they make the D key.

"The letter arrangement goes phonetically like our words do, beginning consonants left, vowels in the middle, ending consonants on right.

"Then we use other letter combinations, or chords, for word shortcuts, common phrases, punctuation, or speaker identification."

I looked up from my machine, and every attorney around the table was focused on me in rapt attention. Surprised, I assumed, "You guys generally know this, right?"

My client said, "I've never heard it explained in a way that I understood before. I just figured you guys had some magic thing going on."

Magic, indeed.


-From our friend, Court Reporter, Jason Meadors