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9 Networking Tips & Tricks = Conventions, Meetings, Conferences

Having belonged to a multitude of state and national court reporting trade associations, as well as being a member of attorney, paralegal and legal secretary associations, I have had the great opportunity of attending receptions, cocktail parties, and events where the objective of the event is to network.

I was in my 20s when I started going to networking events. I remember feeling uncomfortable, a little shy, overwhelmed, and kind of scared that there wouldn’t be anyone to talk to and would look weird standing by myself in a corner. But I kept going because I knew it was important, and I truly wanted to figure out how the world of networking works.

The following are some suggestions for successful networking:

1.  Know your audience and anticipate what they want out of the event.

2.  Are you at an event with colleagues and competitors that want to know how business is going or about new technology that you just discovered and are excited about? Be ready to share information that YOU WANT TO SHARE. Be clear in your mind before you get to the event what is proprietary to your business and what information would be helpful and interesting. Being ready to share interesting information will give people a reason and wish to talk to you.

3.  Are you at an event with clients or potential clients? In my experience, talking about how great my company is or all of the bells and whistles that we have available is totally boring. They want to talk about their business, what they might need help with, who they are as people. Because the court reporting industry is saturated with salespeople and account executives, I have found that many times the moment I mention I own a court reporting firm, attorneys cringe and try to get away. I believe court reporting is the last thing they want to hear about. Sports, weather, and interesting news is a better bet.

4. Are you at an event with businesspeople not related to your particular industry? I believe this is the easiest and most fun group of people to network with. Learning about different businesses, asking businesspeople how they think, make decisions, what their typical day is like is super interesting. Attorneys are lucky. Everyone is a potential client. As a court reporter, I enjoy going to Rotary, Chamber of Commerce meetings with an eye towards knowing people and what they do. Oftentimes, I will meet people that learn I am a court reporter and want to ask me for legal advice or if I know an attorney that does a particular type of litigation or transactional work. There is no better way to network than to refer an attorney client to someone.

5. The key is to listen and always be thinking, “How can I help this person? Who do they need to know? Is there anyone I can introduce her/him to that would be beneficial for all?”

6.  If a person doesn’t want to talk to you, move on, and don’t let your feelings be hurt. I have found many people come to networking events with a specific agenda in mind or to meet a particular person. If they say, “I really want to meet Joe Smith,” and you happen to know Joe Smith, make the introduction. If you just get the vibe they want to move on, excuse yourself and go talk to someone else.

7.  Ways to politely excuse yourself: “It was really great talking to you. I think I am going to go freshen my drink,” or “I need to speak to Ted Smith before he leaves, please excuse me,” or, “It was great talking to you. I hope I see you tomorrow at the seminar,” or, “Do you know Jan Campo? I think it would be great for you two to meet because…” and introduce them.

8.  If you have no one to talk to, find someone else that has no one to talk to. You can go up to them, shake their hand, say your name, and ask, “How long have you been a member,” or, “Where are you from,” or “What seminars look good to you,” or, “Have you tried the shrimp? They’re amazing.” If the person is not interested in talking to you, move on. You can say, “It was nice talking to you. Enjoy the convention.”

9.  If you have a specific agenda or want to be introduced to a person, find someone that knows the person and ask for an introduction. People like to help people connect.

The next time you go to a networking event, know that many of the people there are nervous, probably a little scared, and want to connect. I promise networking is easy, but for some people it takes practice. Don’t waste any opportunity to meet people. I believe networking = success.

@rosaliekramm  Twitter

Kramm Court Reporting  Facebook

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COURT REPORTERS – WHO IS PROOFING YOUR WORK?

I have the privilege of working with a new California Certified Shorthand Reporter who passed the exam in November 2014.  She wrote me asking if Kramm had any work we could send to her.  My reply was, yes, but I would proof all of her work until she was ready to work on her own with a professional proofer.

I wonder, what happens to the other court reporters that don’t have someone reading over their transcripts?

Recently, I was reading over another young reporter’s work and was very disappointed in the work product.  There were misspellings, non-words, and confusing punctuation.  When I asked, “Why,” I got the response that that was how she had learned to do things in school, and she proofs her own work to ensure everything is correct, “I don’t trust anyone else doing a good job on my transcripts.”  The response made no sense to me.

I realize that most new CSRs or court reporters have limited funds, and it might seem too expensive to hire someone to proof or scope their work.  I would suggest that all new court reporters, no matter the circumstance, whether working in alliance with a firm or freelancing, need to have someone proof their work.   A good proofer will teach how to handle the nuances of putting the spoken word on paper when it comes to making a transcript.

Paying for a proofer has value.  Young reporters are setting themselves up for the rest of their career.  Being known for clean, usable transcripts has a tremendous value.  Being known for sloppy, poor transcripts might haunt you the rest of your life.

Finding a smart scopist/proofer is important.  I believe a retired court reporter would be a good choice, because the experienced court reporter could make suggestions on globals and format.  I see many reporters asking for help on format and punctuation on Facebook.  The problem with Facebook is there can be a myriad of errors that a new reporter wouldn’t know they need to address, and some of the advice might be correct in one geographical area, but wrong in another.

Approximately 10 percent of court reporting students pass the qualifying exams that allow them to practice, and  schools teach and test punctuation, but in the real world, people sometimes speak in an “interesting” way, and weird scenarios happen all of the time when creating a transcript.  Turning out beautiful transcripts is what makes our profession so respected and great.

Kramm Court Reporting – Facebook

@rosaliekramm – Twitter

 

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Court Reporters – Four Tips on What to Expect at an I.M.E.

Attorneys need Individual Medical Examinations to be reported and certified from time to time.  An Independent Medical Examination is conducted by a doctor, chiropractor or physical therapist who has not previously been involved in a person’s care and examines the individual.  There is no doctor, chiropractor, physical therapist relationship.

The following are some tips that I would give a court reporter reporting their first I.M.E.:

  1. Arrive at least 30 minutes early. Upon occasion the examiner will not know a court reporter is scheduled to be present. Arriving early allows for time to ensure everyone is on the same page and in agreement that the examination will be stenographically recorded.
  2. Anticipate having no table or place to put your computer. I oftentimes will use my steno or computer bag as a little table.
  3. A best practice is to print timestamps on the final transcript to allow counsel to know how long each segment of the examination lasted.
  4. Don’t worry about the value of the transcript as far as the doctor or patient describing for the record what is being demonstrated. The transcript may read, “Turn left. Turn right.  Lift your foot.” Just write what is said and don’t think you need to interject because the examiner is not making a good record.

Reporting an I.M.E. is not complicated, but it is helpful to know what the court reporter can expect.

 

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2025.520(c) – What Happens if the Witness Can’t Get to the Court Reporter’s Office?

There are two methods for reading, correcting and signing deposition transcripts in California.

Method #1:  At the conclusion of a deposition in California, the deposition officer shall send written notice to the deponent and to all parties attending the deposition when the written transcript is available for reading, correcting, and signing, unless the deponent and the attending parties agree on the record to waive signature.  The witness has 30 days following the notice that the deposition is ready for reading, correcting and signing, or a longer or shorter period if the parties agree in writing or on the record.  The original will remain at the court reporter’s office available for the read/sign.

Because of the logistical issues in having a witness go to a court reporter’s office, language was added to the California CCP, which allows for:

Method #2:  2025.520(c):  Alternatively, within this same period, the deponent may change the form or the substance of the answer to any question and may approve or refuse to approve the transcript by means of a letter to the deposition officer signed by the deponent which is mailed by certified or registered mail with return receipt requested.  A copy of that letter shall be sent by first-class mail to all parties attending the deposition.

This alternative language allows the witness to purchase a Certified Copy and then write out any corrections on an errata sheet or in a letter format, which solves the inconvenience of having to drive to a court reporter’s office to read, correct, and sign the original.

When a court reporter is asked to send the original out to the witness or the witness’ counsel for the read/sign, and the argument is presented that it would be too far for the deponent to travel to get to the court reporter’s office, 2025.520(c) can be cited as a method to resolve the issue.

@rosaliekramm (Twitter)

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What is CART?

Perhaps you’ve heard of CART captioning but you don’t really understand what it is. You are not alone. I once had a prospective client call me, wondering how much room the CART took up! That brought a smile to my face, because I am the CART. She thought I would wheel in a device on a cart that would magically provide instant speech-to-text service. That day has not yet arrived, despite much progress in voice recognition. In order to produce accurate speech-to-text of multiple speakers at high speeds, it takes a person – a CART captioner.

CART – communication access realtime translation – is realtime speech-to-text provided by a CART captioner (stenographer) using a stenograph machine, computer, and special software. Like a court reporter, a CART captioner can write at high speeds, capturing what people say, and turning it into instant text via special software. One way I like to contrast court reporting from CART captioning is by explaining that while court reporters must write verbatim, they do not have to be 100% accurate because they have the opportunity to edit and correct their transcripts. CART captioners, in contrast, do not need to write 100% verbatim, but what we write must be highly accurate and accurately reflect what is being said, no matter how arcane the language, thick the accent, or foreign the name.

CART captioners use much of the same equipment as court reporters, including similar software. However, we must refine our writing and our dictionaries (computer files that translate steno outlines into English words and phrases as well as computer macros) in order to meet the demands of having to accurately reflect unexpected names, terms, formulas, and environmental sounds.

CART captioners develop special skills in order to meet this challenge. Like sign language interpreters, we “finger-spell,” using specially developed steno outlines that are defined as letters that abut one another in order to build an unusual word or name letter by letter. Because we are acting as “ears” for our clients, hearing and writing what they are unable to hear, we must be able to accurately indicate whatever environmental sounds occur, such as a telephone ringing, siren sounding, or dog barking. Unlike court reporters, who are limited to reporting only what is on the record, CART captioners must write whatever is said within the hearing range of the CART consumer.

There is a special code of ethics related to CART captioning as well – taking care not to reveal the name of a deaf or hard-of-hearing client, being sure not to interject oneself into communication except in order to carry out our work, and, importantly, treating the CART captioning file (transcript) as the property of the presenter or our client.

CART captioning is a diverse field that covers all types of events: classroom work – both on site and remote – conferences, meetings, litigation, and broadcast. Maybe CART is in your future.

written by Laura Brewer, CA CSR #5651, RPR, CRR, CBC, CCP, RMR, RDR, CCRR, CSR www.quicktext.com

Beware

BEWARE – Witnesses Unintentionally Waive Right to Read/Sign at their Deposition

Under Federal Rule 30, Depositions by Oral Examination, the court reporter has an obligation to certify not only that the witness was duly sworn and that the deposition accurately records the witness’ testimony, but also the court reporter must note in the certificate whether a review was requested and, if so, must attach any changes the deponent makes during the 30-day period.

According to Rule 30(e)(1), On request by the deponent or a party before the deposition is completed, the deponent must be allowed 30 days after being notified by the officer that the transcript is available in which:

  • To review the transcript
  • If there are any changes in form or substance, to sign a statement listing the changes and the reasons for the change

The key phrase that the court reporter has to respond to is, “On request by the deponent or a party before the deposition is completed.” If the witness and/or their counsel does NOT request read/sign before the deposition is completed, unless the court orders otherwise, the officer must seal the deposition in an envelope or package bearing the title of the action and marked, “Deposition of {witness’ name} and must promptly send it to the attorney who arranged for the transcript. Therefore, the review of the transcript and ability to make changes is waived.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The following is sample certificate language for court reporters to use for Federal cases:

I, Rosalie A. Kramm, Certified Shorthand Reporter licensed in the State of California, License No. 5469, hereby certify that the deponent was by me first duly sworn, and the foregoing testimony was reported by me and was thereafter transcribed with computer-aided transcription; that the foregoing is a full, complete, and true record of said proceedings.

I further certify that I am not of counsel or attorney for either of any of the parties in the foregoing proceeding and caption named or in any way interested in the outcome of the cause in said caption.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this day:

_______ Reading and Signing was requested.

_______ Reading and Signing was waived.

_______ Reading and signing was not requested.

______________________________

ROSALIE A. KRAMM, CSR No. 5469

STAR Board 2014

Great Court Reporters – Use Your Trade Associations for Success

Once a court reporter is licensed, a decision needs to be made: “Do I go work in court? Do I want to work in a freelance setting and report depositions? Is it possible to do both?” There are many factors that would go into the decision. New licensees would ask themselves, “Am I the type of person that likes to go to the same place every day, or am I the type of person that wants to have a flexible schedule and never know where I might end up on any given day?”   In many California jurisdictions, with the layoffs of the civil court reporters, reporters can become a hybrid and work in court and in the deposition setting. I believe the same is true in Florida.

I believe new reporters (and seasoned reporters) are incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to work in both settings and test where they are more comfortable and would be happiest. The key to success for a new licensee is training and support. It can be tough to find teachers, mentors, and cheerleaders, people that would encourage a new reporter to go for it. Joining court reporting trade associations is a fantastic way for new reporters to get what they need when starting out in the profession. In California reporters have the option of belonging to the Deposition Reporters Association (DRA) and/or the California Court Reporters Association (CCRA). Via Facebook I saw the wonderful Mike Miller, Depoman, in Ohio last week. Looking from the outside in, the Ohio State Association seems like a fun association. Florida, Virginia, Texas, and Washington also have marvelous associations with high-energy smart people that give energy.

NCRA has put together programs such as TRAIN, Taking Realtime Awareness and Innovation Nationwide, to teach, mentor and cheerlead reporters who want to do realtime. STAR, the Society for the Technological Advancement of Reporting, is a brilliant place for not only CaseCat writers, but all court reporters wanting to learn more about technology and mureet other like-minded people whom are excited to be court reporters. I am a past president of STAR, and I am an Eclipse writer.

One thing I see happening to some seasoned reporters is a lack of energy or excitement about being a great court reporter, and that gets in the way of success. Old machines, outdated CAT software, and not participating in continuing education opportunities will never work if you want to be successful.

Our profession, both in the court and freelance fields, needs great court reporters. I would suggest all reporters, new or seasoned, to reach out and find the teachers, mentors, and cheerleaders you need to be GREAT! After all, this is the best profession ever.

@rosaliekramm Twitter

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How to Get a Transcript or Video of a Witness if You Are Not a Party to the Case – CA CCP

Once or twice a year our court reporting firm gets a request from an attorney to purchase a deposition transcript of a witness, and that attorney does not represent anyone in the case. Because Kramm has archived past depositions, exhibits, and video, the testimony is available. When we get the call from the attorney making the request, typically she/he is not quite sure how to go about getting the transcript. We will send 2025.570 to the attorney and ask if they want us to proceed and mail out the notice letter. The notice letter will trigger the 30-day clock wherein a party to the case can seek a protective order so that the deposition testimony cannot be sold to the requesting party.

Note: 2025.570 shall only apply to recorded testimony taken at depositions occurring on or after January 1, 1998.

The code section reads as follows:

2025.570. (a) Notwithstanding subdivision (b) of Section 2025.320, unless the court issues an order to the contrary, a copy of the transcript of the deposition testimony made by, or at the direction of, any party, or an audio or video recording of the deposition testimony, if still in the possession of the deposition officer, shall be made available by the deposition officer to any person requesting a copy, on payment of a reasonable charge set by the deposition officer.

                (b) If a copy is requested from the deposition officer, the deposition officer shall mail a notice to all parties attending the deposition and to the deponent at the deponent’s last known address advising them of all of the following:

                (1) The copy is being sought.

                (2) The name of the person requesting the copy.

                (3) The right to seek a protective order under Section 2025.420.

               (c) If a protective order is not served on the deposition officer within 30 days of the mailing of the notice, the deposition officer shall make the copy available to the person requesting the copy.

                (d) This section shall apply only to recorded testimony taken at depositions occurring on or after January 1, 1998.

This method of obtaining transcripts and video only applies to cases filed in California State Courts.

@rosaliekramm – Twitter

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NCRA Court Reporting Captioning Week

Salute to Court Reporters and Captioners – A Terrific Career, Great Future

In five years there are going to be 5,500 job openings for court reporters and captioners.  Why?  The average age of a court reporter in the USA is 55.  I have written in past blogs about people asking me if I believe there is a future in court reporting.  Speaking from all of my years of experience and paying attention to the court reporting industry, I promise that there is great opportunity for anyone that wants to go to court reporting school.

This week court reporters and captioners across the nation are celebrating 2015 National Court Reporting & Captioning Week.  To find out information about being a court reporter go to www.crTakeNote.com.

I salute all court reporters, captioners, and CART writers everywhere in every country.  I believe court reporting is the best profession EVER!  Court reporters rock!!!

@rosaliekramm – Twitter

Kramm Court Reporting – Facebook

 

Rough Draft Photo

CALIFORNIA ATTORNEYS WERE SHOCKED – YOU MAY NOT CITE ROUGH DRAFT TRANSCRIPTS

At a recent presentation to attorneys and paralegals, I pulled up a slide that referenced California CCP 2025.540(b). I asked the audience, “Does anyone ever cite to a rough draft transcript in court for a motion or hearing, in a brief?” The majority of the participants said, “Yes, all of the time.”

When the next slide came up with the code language, the attorneys and paralegals were shocked. One person stated, “But the Courts allow it.”   The code does not allow attorneys to use any portion of rough draft transcripts in court.  I suggested that CCP 2025.540(b) could be used to argue the admissibility of an opposing party’s brief when the rough draft was cited.

The code section reads as follows:  2025.540(b): When prepared as a rough draft transcript, the transcript of the deposition may not be certified and may not be used, cited, or transcribed as the certified transcript of the deposition proceedings. The rough draft may not be cited or used in any way or at any time to rebut or contradict the certified transcript of deposition proceedings as provided by the deposition offer.

The solution to citing portions of a deposition transcript would be to order an expedited transcript from the court reporter or order a final partial transcript that contains the testimony needed for the brief.

Note: If a partial transcript is ordered and provided to one party, all other parties in the case have the right and opportunity to know what portion was ordered and purchase the partial transcript as well pursuant to 2025.510(d), which reads: If the deposition officer receives a request from a party for an original or a copy of the deposition transcript, or any portion thereof, and the full or partial transcript will be available to that party prior to the time the original or copy would be available to any other party, the deposition officer shall immediately notify all other parties attending the deposition of the request, and shall, upon request by any party other than the party making the original request, make that copy of the full or partial deposition transcript available to all parties at the same time.

Rough draft transcripts are incredibly valuable to litigators when prepping for future witnesses and having testimony available immediately after a deposition, court proceeding, or in an arbitration. Court reporters typically insert a statement at the beginning of the rough draft to warn the readers that the rough is not to be used in court. The rules that apply to rough drafts are important for attorneys to know.

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