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 Old machines, outdated CAT software, and not participating in continuing education opportunities will never work if you want to be successful.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.

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request a transcript

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.

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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!!!

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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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Arbitration Blog

American Arbitration Association – Consumer Arbitration Rules – Who Pays for the Court Reporter?

Even for binding arbitrations, a record of the proceedings may be important for the attorneys and the arbitrator, especially when there are many witnesses and the subject matter is complex. Having computers or tablets with the transcript available to the parties in real-time is an effective tool for counsel when cross-examining a witness.

Our court reporting firm specializes in arbitrations that we host at our Discovery Conference Centre. The question has come up, “Who pays for the court reporter?” The majority of the time, the parties agree to share the per diem for the court reporter, the time that a court reporter is writing the proceedings, but what if one party wants a court reporter present to provide rough drafts and real-time, and the other party doesn’t? What happens in the scenario when the party that didn’t want a court reporter present and didn’t agree to share in the cost of the per diem, after the arbitration has started, wants to order a rough draft or partial final transcript?

In doing research, I found the following Rule from the AAA Consumer Arbitration Rules:

R-27 – Written Record of Hearing

  • If a party wants a written record of the hearing, that party must make such arrangements directly with a stenographer (court reporter) and notify the opposing parties, the AAA, and the arbitrator of these arrangements at least three business days before the hearing. The party or parties who request the written record shall pay the cost of the service.
  • No other type of recording will be allowed unless the parties agree or the arbitrator directs a different type of recording.
  • The arbitrator may resolve disputes between the parties over who will pay the costs of written record or other type of recording.
  • The parties can agree or the arbitrator may decide that the transcript (written record) is the official record of the hearing. If it is the official record of the hearing, the transcript must be given to the arbitrator and made available to all the parties so that it can be reviewed. The date, time, and place of the inspection will be decided by the arbitrator.

Court reporters want to do the right thing and provide transcripts, rough drafts, and real-time to anyone who makes the request, offering the same services to every party. Looking at FINRA Rule 12606 the court reporter is only a   note-taker and is NOT to provide transcripts to all parties unless the panel decides the transcript is the official record. CA CCP Section 2025.310 – 2025.340 tells the deposition officer he/she must offer to provide the same services to all parties at the same time.

The AAA, Consumer Arbitration Rules, makes it clear the parties who want the written record shall pay for the cost of the service, and if there is any dispute, the arbitrator will resolve the dispute.

 

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transcripts_gogreen_001

Deposition Transcripts and Exhibits – Who Needs Paper?

transcripts_gogreen_001

Many of my attorney clients have asked me if I know what other law firms are doing to reduce paper. I know of two firms, one in Milwaukee and another in San Diego, that are completely paperless, but I am thinking my clients want suggestions for basic steps to take so they can eliminate storage fees and save office space, money, and especially the planet.

My first suggestion would be to have a standing order for a case with the court reporting firm to take delivery of deposition transcripts and exhibits in an electronic format only. Of course the original would always be printed for reading and signing and to be filed with the Court, but many times the certified copies are voluminous and not necessary until the attorney needs them for a hearing and/or trial. If the hard copy became necessary, the court reporting firm would ship out the transcript immediately.

Many court reporting firms, including Kramm Court Reporting, have electronic repositories wherein attorneys and paralegals can pull their transcripts and exhibits 24/7 in all formats.  Our Case 24/7TM repository is secure, is HIPAA compliant, and also gives law firms access to their deposition, hearing, and arbitration calendar, as well as notices, erratas, and any other relevant documentation to a case.

If you are interested in ordering electronic transcripts only, please let us know. We would set up the perfect delivery mechanism that would fit your law firm’s needs.

lawbooks

CAN A COURT REPORTER SWEAR IN A WITNESS ANYWHERE IN THE USA? FEDERAL RULES

Deposition court reporters will often travel with cases throughout the USA and the world. Attorneys require technologically savvy court reporters with expertise in complex subject matters.

In my previous blog about the USPTO rules, I found language that would allow counsel to stipulate to allow any person authorized to administer oaths to swear in a witness for a deposition. Upon publishing the blog, I received inquiries from court reporters from around the USA asking if there was similar language for cases filed in federal courts.   This would be particularly helpful for the states that have adopted the Federal Rules as their governing law.

Reading through Rule 28, “Persons Before Whom Depositions May Be Taken,” I came across the following language: “(a) Within the United States or within a territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, depositions shall be taken before an officer authorized to administer oaths by the laws of the United States or of the place where the examination is held, or before a person appointed by a court in which the action is pending. A person so appointed has power to administer oaths and take testimony. The term officer as used in Rules 30, 31 and 32 includes a person appointed by the court or designated by the parties under Rule 29.”

Rule 29 reads as follows: “Unless otherwise directed by the court, the parties may by written stipulation (1) provide that depositions may be taken before any person, at any time or place, upon any notice, and in any manner and when so taken may be used like other depositions.”

I know NCRA has done quite a bit of investigation and has published an opinion regarding administering oaths and is advocating for court reporters to have the opportunity to become authorized to administer oaths by the laws of the United States, which would be fantastic.

I am not an attorney, but I am suggesting that Rule 29 allows for parties to stipulate in writing to giving a court reporter the authority to administer oaths in cases that are subject to the Federal Rules. I would invite any feedback or interpretation of Rule 28 and 29. My goal is to find solutions for the great court reporters who travel with our profession.

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Court-Reporter-Go-To-School

Should I Become a Court Reporter in This Modern Day?

Throughout the years, I have received emails from people all over the USA, people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, asking, “Should I become a court reporter? Will there be a job when I get out? Is there work? Is technology going to take over the industry? Am I too old?”

I always answer these queries honestly and with thought. I ask what the person is looking for, if they are a disciplined-type person, and promise there is work and will be work, BUT ONLY IF YOU ARE GREAT!

Reading through the Harvard Business Review blogs, I came across an article, “Stop Worrying About Making the Right Decision.” The author, Ed Batista, paraphrases Scott McNealy, a co-founder of Sun Microsystems and its CEO for 22 years, who said, “It’s important to make good decisions. But I spend much less time and energy worrying about ‘making the right decision’ and much more time and energy ensuring that any decision I make turns out right.”

Believe me, I know the decision to go to court reporting school is huge. It is expensive and takes a tremendous amount of time and energy.

When making the decision, I suggest one should ask:

  1. Will I be committed to practice? Being a court reporter is liking being a professional athlete. It takes focus, practice, practice, more practice, and a strong desire to succeed.
  2. Do I have a natural talent? If you are able to play the piano well or type fast, you might have a natural ability. People with a natural ability are able to get through school quickly sometimes.
  3. Do I have a lot of things going on in my life, and am I easily distracted? If you can’t spend time with the machine and truly focus on speed and accuracy, you will never get out of court reporting school.
  4. Am I willing to spend the next two years (or more) going to school and practicing, practicing, practicing? While in school I likened the practicing to becoming one with the machine. You have to learn to write with no thought; the words flow through your hands.
  5. Will there be work in the future? What about speech recognition and tape recorders? I went to school in the late ‘70s and people were asking me what I was doing – tape recorders! I promise that tape recorders cannot provide real-time transcripts; people speak poorly, at the same time, and with accents. Speech recognition is not an issue.
  6. Will there be work? The average age of court reporters in the USA is 55. Court reporters who have been working for 30+ years are physically getting tired and don’t want to do the all-day, long depositions. I foresee a tremendous need for great court reporters in the next four, five years everywhere. The shortage is imminent.

I believe that if someone has made the decision to go to court reporting school, they should not worry about if they made the right decision, but spend time and energy to ensure that the decision turns out right – just like McNealy. There is great work waiting for anyone that gets through school. I promise.

 

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ErrorSm

USTPO – When a Deposition Transcript has an Error, What Do You Do?

While reading the rules of the United States Patent and Trademark Office regarding depositions, I came across 37 CFR 2.125(b) and was very surprised to read that if there are typographical or spelling errors in a deposition transcript, the court reporter, aka deposition officer, is to redo the transcript with the corrections. Errata sheets are not accepted by the USTPO. If the corrections are voluminous, the witness may handwrite the correction on the transcript above the original text and initial the correction. BUT “material changes in the text are NOT permitted.”

37 CFR § 2.125(b) The party who takes testimony is responsible for having all typographical errors in the transcript and all errors of arrangement, indexing and form of the transcript corrected, on notice to each adverse party, prior to the filing of one certified transcript with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. The party who takes testimony is responsible for serving on each adverse party one copy of the corrected transcript or, if reasonably feasible, corrected pages to be inserted into the transcript previously served.

A party that takes testimony is responsible for having any errors in the transcript corrected, on notice to each adverse party, prior to the filing of the certified transcript with the Board.

If the witness, upon reading the transcript, discovers that typographical or transcription errors need to be corrected, or that other corrections are necessary to make the transcript an accurate record of what the witness actually said during the taking of his or her testimony, the witness should make a list of all such corrections and forward the list to the officer before whom the deposition was taken. The officer, in turn, should correct the transcript by redoing the involved pages.

Alternatively, if there are not many corrections to be made, the witness may correct the transcript by writing each correction above the original text that it corrects, and initialing the correction. Although parties sometimes attempt to correct errors in transcripts by simply inserting a list of corrections at the end of the transcript, this is not an effective method of correction. The Board does not enter corrections for litigants, and the list of corrections is likely to be overlooked and/or disregarded.

While corrections may be made in a transcript, to make the transcript an accurate record of what the witness said during the taking of his or her testimony, material changes in the text are not permitted — the transcript may not be altered to change the testimony of the witness after the fact.

If corrections are necessary, the party that took the deposition must serve on every adverse party a copy of the corrected transcript or, if reasonably feasible, corrected pages to be inserted into the transcript previously served.

If errors are discovered after the transcript has been filed with the Board, a list of corrections, signed by the witness, should be submitted to the Board (and served on every adverse party), together with a request for leave to correct the errors. Alternatively, the parties may stipulate that specified corrections may be made. If the request is granted, or if the parties so stipulate, the party that took the deposition should file a substitute, corrected transcript with the Board.

 

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SwearIn

USPTO – Great Information for Court Reporters and Attorneys – Swearing in a Witness

As court reporters in the patent and trademark litigation world, we are often asked to report depositions in foreign countries. One of the requests that frequently comes up is, who is going to swear in the witness? Certain countries have rules that would prohibit any swearing in on their soil, such as Japan and China.

In doing research regarding USPTO deposition rules, I found the following:

(1) The testimony of witnesses in inter partes cases may be taken by depositions upon oral examination as provided by this section or by depositions upon written questions as provided by § 2.124. If a party serves notice of the taking of a testimonial deposition upon written questions of a witness who is, or will be at the time of the deposition, present within the United States or any territory which is under the control and jurisdiction of the United States, any adverse party may, within fifteen days from the date of service of the notice, file a motion with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, for good cause, for an order that the deposition be taken by oral examination.

(2) A testimonial deposition taken in a foreign country shall be taken by deposition upon written questions as provided by § 2.124, unless the Board, upon motion for good cause, orders that the deposition be taken by oral examination, or the parties so stipulate.

(b) Stipulations. If the parties so stipulate in writing, depositions may be taken before any person authorized to administer oaths, at any place, upon any notice, and in any manner, and when so taken may be used like other depositions. By written agreement of the parties, the testimony of any witness or witnesses of any party, may be submitted in the form of an affidavit by such witness or witnesses. The parties may stipulate in writing what a particular witness would testify to if called, or the facts in the case of any party may be stipulated in writing

The “Stipulations” language makes it easy for attorneys to take oral testimony and have the deposition officer swear in the witness.

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