Covering court proceedings in Tennessee falls to the freelance court reporter at times. Occasionally, I am also called upon to cover preliminary hearings at 201 Poplar in Memphis, a/k/a criminal court.
Apprehension: anxiety or fear that something bad or unpleasant will happen
Some freelance court reporters are apprehensive of 201 Poplar — but not the certified court reporters of Omega Reporting! Our goal is to always help each of our attorney clients with any type of proceeding or assignment they request of us.
Below are some easy guidelines for my Memphis colleagues to consider the next time one of your clients calls and requests to book a hearing at 201 Poplar.
- Arrive early (at least 30 minutes) to ensure you get through security and to locate your designated courtroom.
- Travel light — your writer and a small microphone (for your writer if you have that option) and/or tape recorder is the only equipment to bring, as the courtrooms are small and, also, congested.
- Locate your courtroom and alert the deputy at the entrance that you are a court reporter and tell them your attorney client’s name and the case you are there to cover.
- The deputy will direct you to the front of the courtroom.
- Go ahead and set up your equipment where you are seated and wait for your attorney client to arrive.
- Listen carefully for your case to be called. There can be a long wait, as the judge has several different matters to handle throughout the day.
- Your attorney client, when the case is ready, will alert the judge that he/she has a court reporter. Don’t panic — you will have plenty of time to approach the bench before the proceedings begin.
- Your client and/or the deputy will secure a chair for you at the bench. Take your chair, let the parties know you are ready, and that’s it.
The Administrative Office of the Courts is searching for court reporters to provide court reporting services on a continual contract basis in Shelby County. If you are interested, please contact me and I can provide additional contact information.