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Court reporter writes realtime to attorneys locally and remotely

9 Tips Attorneys/Realtime Reporting

Having access to the instantaneous transcript provided by a court reporter during a deposition, arbitration, or trial has great value to attorneys. Court reporters can provide the realtime transcript text to attorneys in the deposition suite or courtroom and stream that text to any computer in the world.

The realtime technology has changed in the past two decades. Court reporters used to send the feed via wires (and some still have to in certain courtrooms); then they transitioned to using dongles (USB) ports and routers.  The feed is still for the most part a serial connection which is old technology, but is still the standard.

In my experience 90 percent of the attorneys now rely on court reporters to bring a realtime device (tablet or computer) with the realtime software and drivers already loaded and ready to go.

So what does an attorney that is using realtime need to know?

  1. If you are using CaseNotebook (Thomson Reuters) or TextMap (Lexis Nexis), the court reporter will need to connect to your computer. Popular software that a reporter will use to connect with you: CaseViewNet, LiveLitigation, Stenocast, and Connection Magic.
  2. If the reporter is using LiveLitigation, the reporter can connect locally or stream the realtime text.
  3. If you are using LiveLitigation, CaseViewNet, or Bridge Mobile, you can download free apps to your tablet and  makes notes, marks, and save the transcript as a .ptx file.
  4. If you have installed Bridge on your computer (free software provided by Advantage Software), you can make notes, marks, and export the .ptx file for use in your transcript management software.
  5. The .ptx file once saved in CaseNotebook or TextMap can be updated with the cleaned-up rough draft or final transcript, and you won’t lose your marks and notes made during the realtime transcription.
  6. You can leave the room with your computer or tablet with the realtime transcript during a break, and when you return the transcript will sync back up with the court reporter’s realtime feed when back on the record.
  7. Tip: If you decide to scroll up or mark a portion of the transcript, the realtime feed will stop at the place you are reading/marking. There will always be an icon or a method to turn the scrolling realtime text back on. Ask the court reporter at the beginning of the day how to get back to the scrolling realtime text.
  8. If the reporter is using Stenocast to send the feed, you will need to download drivers into your computer. Go to www.stenocast.com and choose ALL COLORS. Different reporters will have different colored dongles (you don’t need to know why). If you choose all colors, you are covered.

Many realtime court reporters have become techno experts when it comes to serial ports, device managers, and understanding transcript management programs. Our goal is to provide the very best product and service in assisting attorneys in doing their job, and we take great pride in doing so.

 

@rosaliekramm  (Twitter)

Kramm Court Reporting (Facebook)

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.

 

@rosaliekramm   Twitter

Kramm Court Reporting   Facebook

San Diego Sage College Field Trip – Court Reporters

I was asked to speak on a panel for the students of Sage College Court Reporting School in San Diego a couple of months ago about freelance court reporting opportunities and what firm owners look for when bringing new CSRs into a firm.  The other panelists were a CART reporter and a freelance firm owner in Orange County.  It was interesting to me how many of the students were really focused on going into CART or captioning for their professional career.  (I would say 90% were interested in CART/captioning.)

Times have changed, thank goodness.  When I went to school (so many years ago) there was no realtime and hence no captioning or CART.  Because of innovation and technology, court reporters have careers that were not even imagined in the ‘80s.  I will state it once again, the reason there is new opportunity for court reporters is realtime.  What sets us apart from machines is the ability to hear, think, and write what someone says – and include speaker identification and punctuation.  There is new technology that is available, but that technology can’t think.

If a group of people are able to speak in staccato voices with no accents, they enunciate every syllable, and use language that is not unique (no IP or patent-type terminology), and there is no need for speaker identification or Q and A, great!  A machine might be the ticket. 

BUT if a group of people speak with accents, speak at the same time, whisper, or if someone needs a transcript with Q and A and speaker identification, you need a human being who can think.  I believe the skill of a court reporter can never be replaced by a machine. 

The question is:  Will court reporters step up and become great realtime writers?  Will they keep improving their skills and look for opportunity to grow as professionals?  It is up to us as a profession to fight the machines.  We have an ability and skill that no thing can reproduce.  We have the trust of the legal community.  The people of the world are in awe of what court reporters are able to do.  (Tell anyone you are a court reporter and right away they will ask you, “How do you do it?  It is amazing…”)

I am proud of the students I met at Sage College and court reporting students everywhere.  I know they are working hard to bring up their speed and accuracy.  I am proud of my colleagues in this fabulous profession who go out there and take down the spoken word.  I look forward to hearing about the next great job opportunity that will be available to court reporters that we can’t even yet imagine.

Our skill is unique and powerful.  Let’s celebrate what we can do and do it better than ever!  Court reporters ROCK!!!

@rosaliekramm  (twitter)

Getting Out of 160 WPM is Like Getting Out of Del Mar During Rush Hour – Court Reporters

Driving to the Del Mar, Carmel Valley area of San Diego for a deposition can be very stressful for a court reporter, and sometimes it seems to take forever and ever to get there.  It kind of reminds me of getting out of the 140 – 160 speed in court reporting school. It seemed to take me forever and ever (six months). 

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from a court reporting student who has been stuck in 140 – 160 for seven months and wants to know if I have any advice.  A lot of the students in her class have been stuck at that speed for over a year.  She asked me if I have any tips for “cleaning up” her writing.  As anyone who reads my blog knows, I went through school fast, but because of that I did not pick up very many briefs, particularly briefs for phrases.  I had preponderance of evidence (POF) which I was really proud of, but that was about it.  I still am trying to get down “to your knowledge” and “to the best of my knowledge.”  I regret not picking up the phrases and just pounding my way out of school.

My advice for the students stuck in 140 – 160, work on your briefs, particularly phrases.  If you can write three or four words in one easy stroke, you will save a tremendous amount of time and have fewer finger faults. 

I would do an analysis:  Is it jury charge that is holding me back?  Q&A?  Do I have a need for speed?  Is it Congressional?  What test(s) am I struggling with?  Once you have that answer, start focusing on what briefs are utilized in that type of test.  If it is Q&A that is stopping you from getting out of a class, that means you need to get your speed up and learn to get your mind to go blank.    I know I had a horrible time with jury charge because I did not have the briefs, and I would freeze when I heard language that sounded odd to my ear (legalese).  I was really great at Q&A because speed was my strength. 

Stay focused and passionate about becoming a court reporter.  Just like driving through Carmel Valley, it might take me a while to get up the freeway and to the deposition, but I know I will get there.  Sometimes court reporting school might seem like you are moving at a snail’s pace, but I promise you – Pow!   You will start moving forward again and reach your destiny as a court reporter. 

@rosaliekramm (Twitter)

Court Reporting School – Hitting the Plateau and Moving On

Some may consider me to be one of the lucky ones since I got out of court reporting school in less than two years and took my CSR (California Certified Shorthand Reporter) test 15 months after I began court reporting school and passed the test on my first try.  Why I write “may be considered one of the lucky ones” is because I went through so quickly I picked up few briefs and was pretty naïve as a 20-year-old in a field that requires business acumen and social sophistication.  My first two years as a court reporter were really tough, a huge learning curve in many ways, (the subject of a future blog post.)

The focus of this post is to talk about hitting a speed plateau, and what to do next, in my opinion.  My speed plateau was 140 – 160.  I got out of theory in four weeks.  The rest of the speeds, 100 – 120, 120 – 140, every speed I was out of the class in two or three weeks.  I was intense, competitive, and determined.  Then I hit 140 – 160.  Ugh.

My typical day during court reporting school was to wake up, get to school by 8:00 a.m., then at 2:00, when school got out, drove straight to Terra Title Company and type title reports until 5:30.  After work I would go home, have dinner, get out my machine and write for two to three hours.  That was Monday through Friday.  I refereed soccer games all day Saturday and Sunday.  I was obsessed with getting out of court reporting school.

So when I got to 140 – 160 and week one, two, three, four, five, six – month two, month three, month four went by, I was frustrated, angry, and scared.  Every Friday we would get our speed tests to allow us to move on to the next speed.  Every Friday I failed.  I remember vividly the first week of month six, it was a Friday, the jury charge was given, but I missed by four.  That day when I heard I didn’t pass, I got into my peanut butter-colored Opel, drove out of the parking lot, crying.  Rather than driving straight to work, I drove to Harbor Island, parked my car, and looked up at the downtown San Diego skyline.  I remember saying out loud to myself, “That is where I want to be, working as a court reporter.  As God is my witness, I am going to be a court reporter.”  (I loved old movies and Scarlett’s great line about never being hungry again.)   I made up my mind at that moment I was going to pass the jury charge the following week.  It was a new mindset that I had not experienced before.  It is a knowing I can pull up even today when I am in a deposition and everyone is talking 300+ WPM.  I have read about sprinters and marathon runners hitting the wall during a race or in their workouts.  Great athletes, I believe, know how to re-focus and get into this zone, their “Wa.” 

My advice to court reporting students stuck at a certain speed, do the work.  Go to class.  Practice, practice, practice.  You can’t cheat the school or the system or yourself with excuses about missing classes and not practicing.  No one cares if you are too busy, too tired, too distracted, or too…  Reaching the speeds necessary to pass each speed test takes discipline and hard work.  It also takes a mental mindset, a feeling that is difficult for me to put into words. 

I suggest when you are tired, frustrated, and angry just stop.  Find an inspiring and quiet place to sit.  Focus on what you truly want, who you want to be, and make up your mind you have the ability to get there.  Then be at peace with yourself and court reporting school.  Be conscious of that feeling at that moment.  You will need to draw on that feeling to get through school, testing, and work.  That feeling is something that needs to be practiced and strengthened. 

You might think it is a little crazy, but I gave that feeling a name when I went through school.  I called it “Wa.”  (I don’t know how to spell it, since I have never written it down before.) 

During the taking of the California CSR, the CRR, I remember putting my head down and saying to myself, “It is time to be in Wa.”  To this day when the testimony is out of control, I go back to the state of Wa. 

Maybe in a future blog I will try to explain Wa more.   It’s a tough subject.  Being a great court reporter takes tremendous skill, but more importantly it is a mindset that comes from within.   

rosalie@kramm.com

@rosaliekramm