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Legal videographer's setup at a deposition

Court Reporters and Legal Videographers = Team

As many of you might know, I am married to a legal videographer, Chris Jordan. Naturally, we met at a deposition, and it was a doozy of a depo.  The deposition took place at the witness’ home.  His two angry Rottweilers greeted us at the door.  The attorneys ordered Domino’s Pizza for lunch, and the witness had a couple of Budweisers.  I thought Chris Jordan was handsome, and therefore I practiced the principle of “act as if,” and acted as if he liked me.

That deposition took place on August 2nd, 1994. Every year I send a thank you note to the attorney who noticed the deposition, and Chris and I celebrate.

What I learned from Chris Jordan is that great videographers genuinely want the court reporters they work with to succeed, have less stress, and produce a great transcript.

What are some of the things videographers do for court reporters?

  1. Provide a live feed of the monitored, clear audio to the reporter’s laptop
  2. Provide a feed from their audio to the court reporter’s headset (and even provide headsets)
  3. Provide a wav file after the deposition for the reporter
  4. If the reporter has a computer issue, take extra time to set up microphones or “do whatever” to give the court reporter more time to troubleshoot whatever the issue might be.
  5. Help to set up iPads around the table and watch to see if the real-time test strokes come up
  6. At breaks offer to get the court reporter coffee, water…
  7. At lunch, offer to grab something for the court reporter
  8. Be empathetic about the level of difficulty, speed, or demeanor of the people at the deposition
  9. When a court reporter starts lifting their shoulders and fidgeting, silently mouth out or signal to the court reporter the time until the next disk change
  10. When necessary, make a disk change before the disk has run out of time

The thing is, many people might say it is the videographer’s job to provide good audio to the court reporter.  But because I work with Chris Jordan and his team of videographers all over the country, I have the privilege of listening to their conversations around the office or maybe while having a beer.  They talk about depositions and court reporters and how much they like the reporters, respect the reporters, can’t believe what court reporters are able to do, and brainstorm new ideas about how to help reporters with different kinds of wav files, compressing files, new software…

I believe legal videographers “go to war” with court reporters, and they get it. I am grateful for their professionalism and kindness and am glad they are on my team.

 

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Kramm Turrentine have Discovery Conference Centre to host depositions

Kramm Court Reporting merges with Donna V. Turrentine & Associates

KRAMM Court Reporting MERGES with PROMINENT north san diego county court reporting firm – DONNA V. TURRENTINE & ASSOCIATES

[Press Release] San Diego, CA – Kramm Court Reporting announces its merger with Donna V. Turrentine & Associates, a prominent North San Diego County court reporting firm with over 40 years of experience.

Founded in 1979 by Donna V. Turrentine, Donna V. Turrentine Court Reporters has provided quality court reporting services to clients throughout San Diego County with an emphasis of serving the Escondido, Vista, Oceanside, Carlsbad, and San Marcos region.

“I am proud that Donna chose Kramm Court Reporting to provide her clients with the same high quality, excellent service they are accustomed to,” says Rosalie Kramm, founder of Kramm Court Reporting.   “Throughout the last several decades I have heard attorneys rave about Donna and her firm, and now I am extremely proud to carry on what she started back in 1979, a first class, professional court reporting firm.”

“After nearly 40 years of court reporting (38 years as Donna V. Turrentine & Associates), I believe it is time to move into a more technologically advanced arena by merging with Kramm Court Reporting. Rosalie Kramm is a leader in providing state-of-the-art court reporting services, and she has a staff of highly qualified office personnel who help operate a friendly and professional business. I believe my clients will be better served by this merger, and together we will continue to serve our clients, old and new, as a larger, stronger entity.”

ABOUT KRAMM COURT REPORTING:

Kramm Court Reporting, est. 1985, is a full-service. Technology driven court reporting firm headquartered in San Diego, CA. By implementing the best industry practices over three decades, Kramm has evolved into an industry leader and is relentless in championing state-of-the-art technology with a specialty in realtime court reporting. “Unwavering” describes our customer service for clients nationwide. For more information about Kramm Court Reporting, please visit our website at www.kramm.com.

 

ABOUT DONNA V. TURRENTINE & ASSOCIATES – COURT REPORTERS

Founded in 1979, Donna V. Turrentine & Associates has been a steady presence in the court reporting industry throughout North San Diego County.

Filing the deposition with court - CA CCP

California Attorneys – Who Files Original Deposition Transcript?

‘Recently I read a stipulation by Southern California attorneys that the court reporter was relieved of his duty to file the original deposition transcript with the court.   Filing the original deposition transcript with the court is not one of the court reporter’s duties.

CA CCP 2025.550 reads: “(a) The certified transcript of a deposition shall not be filed with the court.  Instead, the deposition officer shall securely seal that transcript in an envelope or package endorsed with the title of the action and marked “Deposition of (here insert name of deponent),” and shall promptly transmit it to the attorney who noticed the deposition.  This attorney shall store it under conditions that will protect it against loss, destruction, or tampering.”

Court reporters, Pengad has the perfect envelope with a clear window so that the caption and deponent’s name on the transcript cover page will show through. The Pengad envelope allows for a professional, easy method to seal the transcript and comply with 2025.550.

 

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Court Reporter's Deposition Transcript

Court Reporter’s Transcript

Upon occasion our attorney clients are asked by opposing counsel to provide a copy of a transcript that our client had purchased from the court reporter. Our client doesn’t want to feel obligated to give the transcript to opposing counsel and will ask us to give them a legal cite that they can use to tell their opposing counsel to contact the court reporter for the Certified Copy.

The California Government Code provides as follows:

Government Code Section 69954

(d) Any court, party, or person who has purchased a transcript may, without paying a further fee to the reporter, reproduce a copy or portion thereof as an exhibit pursuant to court order or rule, or for internal use, but shall not otherwise provide or sell a copy or copies to any other party or person.

 

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Attorneys - Depositions -
Consciousness

Attorneys – Deposition Transcripts – Consciousness

A common topic at court reporting conferences around the country is attorney consciousness and how attorneys seem to be less aware or even care about the record than in the past; that there are two types of attorneys, attorneys who are conscious of the record and attorneys who are not. I believe all attorneys want and need a good record, but many are not aware of what is happening while a deposition is taking place and get caught up in the moment, wanting to fulfill their mission to get testimony as advocates for their cause.

Conscious attorneys are mindful of each word. Their questions are grammatically correct, don’t contain double negatives, and are a full and complete thought.  When attorneys interrupt the witness or allow the witness to interrupt them, or there is constant talking at the same time, and there is a series of incomplete questions and answers, later on if that deposition testimony is read or shown to a judge and jury, it is going to be confusing.  Recently I have heard anecdotal stories by reporters saying that they will ask for people to speak one at a time and are told to just deal with it, “You can fix it later.”

As a way to learn how to make a clean record, I suggest to young attorneys that they request a real-time court reporter for a deposition or two (or more if the budget allows). It does cost more to have a real-time court reporter, but it is a great way to watch the record unfold, have a chance to pause, and actually read the record to ensure you have what you need with a clean question and answer.

Seasoned, successful attorneys typically make a beautiful record. It is a joy to report attorneys who are conscious of the record.

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Filing the deposition with court - CA CCP

Old-Fashioned Court Reporter?

I have been a Certified Shorthand Reporter for 34 years. When I got out of school, court reporters were still dictating their notes.  There were no computers.  When court reporters were first giving out rough drafts, I thought that was crazy.  Why would an attorney want a transcript that wasn’t perfect?  And then I heard about real-time reporting and thought that would never work.  Why in the world would I let an attorney see my raw writing?  It would be embarrassing.

Now I give out rough drafts and write real-time weekly, including streaming the transcript to remote sites.

BUT I have a feeling I might be old-fashioned in some of my thinking. The new norm is many court reporting firms are owned by non-court reporters, and new court reporters are trained how to punctuate by proofers.  My old-fashioned thinking is they need a court reporter to read their transcripts and teach them the nuances of punctuating a transcript, what to Global, and how to use parentheticals.  Modern reporters who wish to be great will go to seminars put on by their state associations and NCRA, and also might choose to learn online from the brilliant Margie Wakeman Wells on her website Margie Holds Court.  Margie’s website is a tremendous resource with webinars and one-on-one trainings available.  I didn’t know Margie’s website existed until a young reporter asked me if I thought that would help her with her English grammar.  I said, “Absolutely, yes.”

Another old-fashioned idea I have is that court reporters who become licensed shouldn’t put themselves out to be real-time reporters until they have at least two years under their belt. I believe most real-time depositions or trials are going to have complex, sophisticated subject matter, and a new reporter needs time to build speed, stamina, and a sophisticated dictionary.  I understand a new court reporter might have the knowledge to connect computers and send real-time, but my current belief system is that writing thousands of pages and having on-the-job experience would be a prerequisite to successful real-time reporting.  Maybe I am wrong.

As of three years ago, I thought that a court reporter getting out of school had to decide between working in court or freelance and report depositions. With the laying off of court reporters in civil courtrooms in California, the reporters have any option to be a hybrid and do both.  I find many court reporters are still choosing court or depositions, but as time goes on, I have met many young reporters who have a desire to choose court or depositions on any given day.

It has struck me in the last couple of weeks that there are a lot of new ways of doing things, and I am behind. I know a lot about real-time technology, electronic exhibits in depositions, and trial technologies.  I know about social media, connecting with LinkedIn or Facebook, but I am wondering what I don’t know.

My goal is to search out what I don’t know, and my plan is to talk to court reporters around the country at the NCRA convention in Chicago next month and ask them, “What’s happening?”

@rosaliekramm

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Stress free Court Reporters

How Court Reporters Can WIN the Stress Game

Stress free Court Reporters

Court reporters live with stress. Whether one has just gotten out of court reporting school and is having to deal with their first deposition, first hearing, first interpreter, whatever first, or one is a seasoned court reporter dealing with fast talking attorneys examining an expert witness in a patent case, stress is a part of the court reporter’s life.

In a recent TedTalk, health psychologist Kelly McGonigal said, “Stress is not the enemy we believe it is. In fact, according to a recent study, stress is only a risk to your health if you think stress is a risk to your health.”  In a study of 30,000 people, which took place over an eight-year period, researchers found that people who experienced a high amount of stress faced a 43 percent increased risk of death if they also believed stress is harmful to their health.  She says, “Instead of viewing stress as a health hazard, learn to make stress your friend.”  People who experienced the most stress, but did not believe it was harmful, had the lowest risk of dying. “Believing stress is bad for you was the 15th largest cause of death in the USA last year, killing more people than skin cancer, HIV, AIDS, and homicide.

“If you can change your mind about stress, you can change your body’s response to stress.”

According to the science, we have two opposing hormone responses to life. There are the fight or flight hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, which speed up your heart rate and create the hyper state which allows you to rapidly react your way out of danger; and there is the comfort and trust hormone, oxytocin, which has the exact opposite effects.  When life is difficult, your stress response wants you to be around people that will help you or comfort you, and being around those kinds of people your body has the built-in mechanism to counter stress, creating oxytocin.

Tony DeAngelis describes the hormone oxytocin in his article, “The two faces of oxytocin,” in Science Watch, published by the American Psychological Association, saying, “Oxytocin is produced mainly in the hypothalamus, where it is either released into the blood via the pituitary gland, or to other parts of the brain and spinal cord.” Oxytocin is described as “the love or cuddle hormone” as it increases feelings of trust and emotional bonding.

McGonigal states, “When you choose to view your stress response as helpful, you create the biology of courage. And when you choose to connect with others under stress, you can create resilience.”

I know when I am really worried about a deadline or a future job that I know is going to be super difficult, and I reach out to one of my dear friends in the court reporting world, people I have met at our state associations meetings, NCRA and STAR conferences, people who have the same stresses and pressures, and I ask for help or comfort, and I get the oxytocin flowing, my exhausting adrenaline surge will shift to positive energy. I am really happy to have found Kelly McGonigal’s TedTalk because now I know that reaching out to my friends is not only fun and makes me happy, but it is going to counteract the stress hormones and keep my healthy.

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Proofer court reporters' transcript.

Seven Tips for Newly Licensed Court Reporters

I have the privilege of working with newly licensed San Diego California Certified Shorthand Reporters. I am extremely proud of their writing ability and the fact they are not scared to learn and use the sophisticated functionality of their CAT software. I consider myself to be their coach.  My goal is their total success throughout their careers, wherever their incredible talent takes them.

In my coaching I have noticed a couple of issues that seem to come up that might be confusing.   Some of the tips would only relate to San Diego or California transcripts and might not apply to other parts of the country.

Tips:

  1. San Diego case numbers are extremely long, for instance, 2015-0000329-CU-PT-CTL. The case number is too long to follow the caption and fit on a line. What reporters do is divide the number up, 2015-000329-, second line CU-PT-CTL.
  2. For the certificate page, the court reporter signs their name on the signature line, and the date line should have the date of your signature, not the date of the job.
  3. Attorneys in Southern California will ask reporters to leave a blank for the witness to fill in, for instance, asking for a telephone number of a doctor. The reporter would leave a blank in a parenthetical format: (Information Requested: ______________________________________.) The index for the transcript would index the request:
  4. INFORMATION REQUESTED TO BE PROVIDED:                                                                               PAGE
  1. Telephone number of doctor                                                                                                                            23
  1. Women are known as Ms. (not Mrs. or Miss). Unless someone says “Mrs.” or “Miss” In a transcript, women are all referred to as Ms. In colloquy it will always be MS. JONES, never MRS. JONES or MISS JONES. If someone asked me to refer to her as MRS. JONES in colloquy, I would do it, but in the past 35 years no one has asked me to do so.
  2. Unlike school, attorneys won’t always sit where they are supposed to, on the left side of the table for plaintiff and right side of the table for defendant. My suggestion is to wait until the attorneys sit down and then assign the left or right bank to their name rather than if they represent the plaintiff or defendant. This is especially important if you have many attorneys present representing cross-plaintiffs, cross-defendants, or third parties.
  3. For some reason possessive seems to be tricky. The only time you write it’s is if the word is a conjunction, and it could read it is. “It’s” is never possessive, for instance, I love it’s hat. (wrong)
  4. Use the California State Bar Attorney search to find elusive phone numbers and email addresses of attorneys. Save it as a FAVORITE. Attorneys have to keep their information current on the site or risk losing their license.

I wish all newly licensed court reporters great success. Please know that experienced reporters all over the country are relying on you to take up the gauntlet and keep our industry alive and strong.  You have our support.  Ask questions.  We need you.

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Veronica with little setup

Court Reporters – What is an Oral Reply?

In certain jurisdictions and cases, attorneys hire court reporters to report an oral reply. In my experience, oral replies are typically used in union grievances especially in employment matters.  The court reporter is hired to take down the statement of the hearing officer, grievant, and her/his attorneys.  The hearing officer will swear in the grievant who will give their statement as to why they should not be reprimanded or punished for whatever charge they are being accused of.  For example, a border patrol agent might have gone home early before their shift was over and got paid for that time.

What the court reporter needs to expect is that the grievant many times will read the statement, and what I would suggest is the court reporter in a very matter of fact tone ask for any materials that are read. I will often say, “I need your statement that you read from so I have all of the correct spellings.”

I suggest that the court reporter ask the hearing officer at the end if the grievant is to have the opportunity to read and sign the transcript so you know whether or not to leave a penalty of perjury clause.   The reporter should include a cover page with the name of the governmental agency, the grievant’s name, “Oral Reply of Joan Smith,” and a date line and a certificate page similar or the same as a certificate page a court reporter would use in a court hearing or deposition.

 

 

 

Court Reporters and Legal Videographers - Financial Planning 101

Court Reporters, Videographers – Financial Literacy 101

A few weeks ago, while chatting with Bronwen Drummond, a financial advisor,  it hit me hard that court reporters and videographers, independent contractors, need to have a financial plan to protect their future and understand what is happening with any money they are making.   I know I used to just work, work, work, and not pay attention to what was happening because “that’s not my thing.”  At the age of 50 I decided to make it my thing, and now I feel more calm about the future.

I asked Bronwen if she would create for me a checklist of thinking points for court reporters and videographers.  Here is what she advises:

1.  Establish a foundation that includes a budget, “Save first and then spend what’s left over.  Rule of thumb for allocating your spending – 20%/60%/20%.  20%should be spent on saving and investing.  60% of your income should be spent on essential expenses, i.e., rent, mortgage, food.  20% can be spent on discretionary expenses, clothing, dining…

2.  Establish an emergency fund.  Have 3 to 6 months of living expenses saved.  Protect yourself against the unexpected.

3.  Risk Management – Protect yourself and your family from financial peril with disability insurance, health insurance, and life insurance.

4.  Debt Management Strategy – Educate yourself on the difference between healthy debt (debt that is tax deductible, i.e., mortgage, student loans) and unhealthy debt (credit cards).  DO NOT live on the mentality that you need to pay off your debt before you can start saving.

5.  Wealth Accumulation – Create a strategy for growth!  Where can you put your money so it works for your short-term/mid-term/long-term goals?  Short-term goals are what you want to accomplish between now and two years from now, i.e., down payment on a home.  The place to save your money for a short-term goal might be in a checking or savings account.  This is also where you put your emergency fund (3 to 6 months of expenses).   Mid-term and long-term goals, such as retirement, would use stocks, T-bills, bonds, and mutual funds; real estate.

I have read many experts opine that a third of your savings should be in cash, a third in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and a third in real estate.  The bottom line is having a strategy, setting goals, and then taking the steps to achieve the goals.   Being financially literate is truly not that hard.  It just takes some focus and perhaps a professional advisor along with your accountant and banker (your team) to help you understand where there might be tax savings, what products are on the market that would be perfect for you, and a plan.

I wish for everyone great success and a wonderful future.  We deserve it.

Rosalie Kramm

 

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