Is there a set / standard format for a deposition? Not the process - the format of the text document.

For example are page numbers and line numbers always the same?

If so what are the rules around the format?

I need to parse the document down for a computer application.

This is really more of a comment but I think it presents better up here:
There are not that many steno machines. They were around before computer files so do not look at it as as an interchange format. Cannot find specs on them but I suspect they only put out so many formats so I just need to chase them all down.

  • 1
    Which court system do you have in mind when you are asking this question? Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 18:51
  • @JasonAller I am not an attorney. We do litigation support in the US and I am asked to parse down depositions so we can extract more detail. For example have page X line Y be a separate row in a database so can retrieve at that level.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 18:56
  • What jurisdiction does your software handle depositions for? Federal? Certain states? I don't know the answer to your question, but as legal procedure varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, I can tell you for sure that you'll be seeing variations across the board. You're probably better off looking at some sample depositions provided by your employer/client and inferring patterns from that. Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 3:56
  • @JustinLardinois Multiple jurisdictions and multiple states. Yes I can examine existing and derive the format based on inspection but I don't want to be in the that business. My question is if there are formal rules and what I am getting from you is no.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 5:59
  • @Frisbee What you're getting from me is that if there are rules, they will vary across the board. I think a good answer to your question would require a lot of detail specific to your situation; your organization's legal department would probably be a better resource than Stack Exchange. Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 6:08

1 Answer 1


You're unlikely to find anything that is identically placed across all jurisdictions in the United States.

In terms of parsing a deposition, you're better off using a training corpus of depositions to identify the language that is used for certain elements, so that you can extract that information based on the form it takes, rather than its positioning on a page.

  • I don't care about the language. I don't know what corpus is? And I was not thinking position on page. I will try an figure out what you are saying.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 2:25
  • Basically, you get a large amount of deposition data, and go through it and tag patterns that indicate a certain element that you're looking for, then you tell a computer to look for these patterns and do that in the future. It's never going to be 100%, and you do have another option, which is getting examples of depositions from every jurisdiction and analysing those, keeping in mind that they're subject to variation and change.
    – jimsug
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 2:27
  • OK I would never preemptively go after depositions. Just deal with what hits me. I can't really tell the computer just look for patterns but I can give the user parameter to feeds in. I see other products that just do width and lines per page. I know it is a fine line but don't want the computer practicing law.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 2:34

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