Deposition Reporters Association – Assembly Bill 1461 aka Fairness

Deposition Reporters Association – Assembly Bill 1461 aka Fairness

I am the DRA Rep for San Diego and Imperial Counties.  What does that mean?  I have responsibility for getting critical information to my members.  Being a member of DRA has a myriad of advantages including receiving newsletters that go to the heart of what we do as professionals, describing the latest news, resources, and political action.

The big issue of the moment is our assembly bill that we need to get passed.  Please help us in any way you can get this through.  Our bill is about fairness.  If I, Rosalie Kramm, commit acts that go against the CCP, I jeopardize my CSR license and can get fined.  If a firm that is owned by someone who is not a CSR commits the same act, no CR Board has no jurisdiction over that firm to make them stop.  Anyone on the side of fairness would argue for this bill.

 

 

ASSEMBLY BILL 1461

 

 

April 24, 200

AB 1461,

authored by Assembly Member Ira Ruskin and cosponsored by DRA and CCRA, is an attempt to close an existing loophole that allows some court reporting entities to circumvent regulations imposed on all California Certified Shorthand Reporters and most California deposition reporting firms, particularly regarding the issue of gift-giving.

 

On April 21, 2009 this matter was heard in and passed out of the Assembly Business & Profession Committee by a 7 to 3 vote.

Proponents of the bill:

DRA

CCRA

COCRA

Consumer Attorneys of California

Consumer Federation of California

Court Reporters Board of California

International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (Local 21)

Service Employees International Union

 

Opponents of the bill:

Thomson Reuters

California Deposition Agency Owners & Reporters Association (Veritext, Barkley Court Reporters, Esquire/Paulson Court Reporters, Sarnoff Court Reporters, Golden Gate Court Reporters, US Legal, Merrill Corporation)

 

DRA and CCRA were very well represented by our respective lobbyists, Ed Howard and Jim Cassie, and we thank them for their efforts.

 

We will keep you advised as to the status of this very important bill and may be asking for your support when this matter comes up for future hearings. 

 


John Squires, President
Deposition Reporters Association

 

Have Your Banker Be your Ally

Have Your Banker Be your Ally

Today I was visited by my very favorite banker in the world Chris Burr of Security Business Bank (www.securitybusinessbank.com) and his cash management specialist Lisa McIntire.   Anytime I get to have a face-to-face meeting with Chris, I am thrilled.  He is smart and cares about his clients.  The first thing Chris ever said to me when I met him five years ago was, “Banks are in the business of making money.”  That might seem like an obvious statement, but it is a fair one.  As a client I was put on notice that Chris was a vendor like any other vendor.

I used to put banks (bankers) on a lofty pedestal believing they were heavily regulated and that every bank was the same, basically the same interest rates, fees, programs, blah, blah, blah.

I found Chris through a referral.  I needed a construction loan to do some major remodeling of my building.  I had been banking at BofA.  At BofA everyone seemed to be really young and “new” to the banking world.  I get the sense that the big banks constantly hire young people and let the seasoned people go because it is cheaper on their payroll.  I wanted a banker that I could talk to and trust and who would be around longer than six months so we could have history.

Since meeting Chris, he has not only helped me with my construction loan, but he has spent hours helping me strategize for the future in regarding big purchase items.  I run a court reporting business, and I know court reporting in and out.  Chris knows banking.  Today Chris and Lisa gave me a presentation on electronic deposits, a system that allows us to deposit all checks without ever going to the bank.  Using electronic deposits allows us to create custom searchable fields and generate reports of how much, from whom, and when money has come in.

I have asked Chris to keep me apprised of all new services and features that are offered to clients, even those services may not seem applicable to my company.  I believe having your banker as your ally is a “best business practice.”  I sleep better at night knowing Chris Burr is on my team.

rosalie@kramm.com

Olympiad – Music – Passionate Exuberance

Being an Olympiad – Music – Passionate Exuberance

When I was in high school I was on the Helix track and cross country teams.  It was a place for anyone who wanted to participate in a sport could be on the team, even if that person “sucked.”   I always thought I was a great runner because I was passionate about being an athlete.  I LOVED working out and running.  It did kind of bother me that I would be the “best runner” the first couple of days of hell week, and by the end of the second week of the season, even the new people were beating me (after I showed them the ropes and was their “mentor”).  I would rationalize the fact that everyone was faster than me thinking, “Boy, there is a lot of unbelievable talent here at Helix.”

One day in my sophomore year, my second season on the track team, my coach pulled me aside and said, “Rosalie, I hate to burst your bubble, but you’re slow.”  I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach.  I became incredibly sad, depressed, and almost quit the team.  But I never believe in quitting.  One of my mantras in life is, “I will show them.”

Luckily, the fast runners appreciated what I could bring to the team – passionate exuberance.  Carol Keller, the CFI champ four years in a row, paced me one race my senior year so I could run a six-minute mile and get a varsity letter.  The best time I could ever do alone was a seven-minute mile.  I needed to get the six-minute mile to get that varsity letter.  Carol lost that race to girls who couldn’t believe they were beating the great Carol Keller.  Carol swallowed her pride and ran with me to the finish line losing for the first time in her high school running career.

So what does this story have to do with being an Olympiad and music?   When I was doing road-runs with the track team, I would sing.  One day I pulled a huge banana leaf off a plant while we were running down the street.  I got in front of the runners and pretended it was the Olympic flag.  I started humming the Olympic song – humming really loud – I yelled, “Let’s pretend we are in the Olympics.”  All the girls laughed at first, felt a little self-conscious, but within seconds we were all humming at the top of our lungs the Olympic song.  Our team was so connected at that moment we would have done anything for each other.  Singing as a team became a norm.  Most of our road-runs from then on consisted of singing, humming, laughing, and aspiring to be great!

I never would have lettered in track if it weren’t for singing and pretending.  Carol Keller was one of my “Olympic” team members that day running behind the banana leaf.  In musical comedies, everyone stops what they are doing and starts singing and dancing in unison.  One would think it could never happen in the real world.  That day our track team stopped and were running and singing in unison.  It was the same feeling I got when I was watching those old movies.  With music and “passionate exuberance,” anyone can become a varsity runner, maybe even an Olympiad.  Trust me.

rosalie@kramm.com – Lettered in Track (Varsity)

What happens with the original in So.Cal.

Attorneys – What to do with the original in California?

California is a huge state, and when it comes to Northern California and Southern California, the state becomes even more huge.   The California Code of Civil Procedure Section 2025 is interpreted by Northern California reporters in a much different manner than Southern California reporters.

Northern California reporters believe that the original cannot be stipulated away by law.  Southern California reporters allow the original to be stipulated away for 98% of the depositions.  Who is right?  Who is wrong?  What does that mean to attorneys when it comes to the bottom line – $$$$?

I would suggest that anyone reading this blog and wants to know the language of the law to Google CCP 2025 and read.

But for people who want to know what is happening in the real world, here we go.

Southern California:  Typically, at the end of a deposition an attorney will say, “Usual stipulations?”  The other side will say, “Sure.”  Then it is up to the reporter to say, “And what are the ‘usual stipulations’ in your world?”

Everyone will usually go off the record to come up with some time frames and who gets what.  Then the attorneys go back on the record and state something like this, “We stipulate to relieve the court reporter of her duties under the Code.  The witness may sign the transcript under penalty of perjury rather than going to the reporter’s office and having to sign it before a notary.  The original will go to the witness’ attorney who will have 30 days to get the transcript read and signed, and then the original will be lodged with the witness’ attorney.  The witness’ attorney will provide the original upon request for any hearing or trial.  If the original is lost or destroyed, a certified copy may be used in lieu of the original.  Is that stipulated?”   The other counsel all agree, “So stipulated.”

What does that mean exactly?  Number one, many younger attorneys think this is something they have to do by law, relieve the reporter of her duties.  Number two, the notary thing doesn’t apply in California any longer, but attorneys don’t realize it and put it in the stip anyway.  Number three, many times the witness’ attorney will take the original transcript, tear it apart, copy it, and never buy a certified copy.  Tearing apart an original has destroyed the integrity of the original – but it is common practice that happens every day.  Some attorneys who receive the original then call the court reporting agency who produced the original and ask for the ASCII insisting they have a right to it since they received the hard copy original or they want the original re-bound, a free condensed transcript with word index, blah, blah, blah.

What else does this mean?  This means that attorneys are helping to finance their opponent’s lawsuits.  If an attorney goes by CCP 2025, it creates the situation in which the other party’s counsel needs to buy a copy or have the witness go to the reporter’s office to read/sign the transcript.  Otherwise, one side is paying for all of the transcripts, and the other side is tearing apart originals to create copies.

Northern California:  Reporting firms/reporters don’t allow the stipulation away of the original.  The reporter many times doesn’t want to get into a verbal disagreement with counsel and will just sit there, write down the stipulation, and not say anything.  Then the firm that that reporter works for will either (a) keep the original in-house and write the standard go by code CCP letter, ignoring the stipulation; or (b) send out the original to the witness’ attorney and charge the noticing attorney for an extra copy without saying anything at the deposition.  (This practice also happens in other states around the U.S.)

Attorneys Be Warned:  If you travel to Northern California or any other state, if you take a deposition geographically anywhere in the USA other than Southern California, your stipulation is probably going to cost you money.  It is going to cost you the price of a certified copy.

Is this fair?  Is this a good business practice for court reporting firms to implement this?  That is not for me to espouse to.  This is the way it is.

Therefore, I suggest that noticing attorneys coming out of Southern California go by the California Code of Civil Procedure when it comes to handling the original transcript.  There is a provision in the Code which allows a witness to read a certified copy and to send to the reporter any changes he/she wishes to make via certified letter.

Southern California is the only place in all the United States of America where the “California stip” is used.  Everywhere else the attorneys and reporters don’t know what you are talking about, and you might be charged lots of $$$$$$$$ for saying, “Let’s relieve the court reporter of her duties under the Code…”

Camaraderie – Happy Surge

Camaraderie

Definition:  “a spirit of friendly good-fellowship”

I love being around people who have a “camaradieic” spirit.   I get energy from people.  Belonging to clubs and associations that are working toward a common goal is exciting.  Being a part of Rotary (San Diego Downtown Breakfast Rotary Club) gives me a tremendous amount of energy.  Our club is made up of lawyers, bankers, real estate and insurance people, jewelers, doctors, and a myriad of other professions.  We laugh, sing, share a delicious breakfast in a magical setting atop Symphony Towers in a room of glass walls.

The spirit of Rotary for me is a spirit of giving back and sharing energy with people around the world.  Last week a group of Rotarians in our club was invited by Melissa Blackburn, woman extraordinaire, to volunteer at the Women’s Resource Fair, a fair with the goal of helping homeless women and their children with education, medical care, and providing breakfast and lunch.  I got to be in the breakfast crew, handing out Danish.

All of the women I came into contact with were polite, ready to smile, and grateful.  One woman stood out for me.  Maybe she was a little crazy or maybe not.  She was an elderly Asian woman.  Her husband was there with her, the only man I encountered (other than volunteers) all morning.  I suppose he was there to take care of her.  After drinking her coffee and eating her Danish, she came back up to our table, stood in front of us and started singing.  She had a sweet, soft voice.  She sang a song I hadn’t heard in years, a song I used to love to sing at church.  It starts out, “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.”  Out of nowhere a couple of tears came to my eyes.  A wonderful feeling flowed through me.  Then I quietly sang along with her.  The little Asian woman gave me a wonderful surge of happy energy.

One of my goals in life is to surround myself with people who give happy energy surges and to stay away from people who are energy sucks.  I never know where the great energy may come from.  Being in groups, clubs, and associations where one has comrades and a common goal is a great source for happy surges.

Team S.O.S.

Team S.O.S.

One of my passions is soccer.  I grew up on soccer fields playing with my brothers while my Dad refereed games.  About four years ago I started scrimmaging with a great group of guys who  played in an over 50 league, the Huff-N-Puff league.  After a couple of months of scrimmaging on Thursday nights one of the players, English Chris, asked if I would be their coach.  At first I thought he was joking.  I have a lot of soccer experience being a referee, but never have I coached.  The last thing I needed in my life was another role where I was in charge.

After a lot of cajoling and the players insisting I would be more of a facilitator for subs than a coach, I agreed.  Three years ago was my first game as coach, S.O.S. vs. Aces.  My coaching duties have expanded to being a “real” coach including planning strategy and creating set plays.  What I love about my team is their respect for each other, passion for soccer, and their humanity.  S.O.S. is made up of really good souls.

I will give weekly updates about our games.  We lost this week 6-3 against the Jaguars.   Iiro (Finland), Chris (England) and Simon (Lebanon) scored for S.O.S.  Lonn (USA) was our goalie.  The game was super exciting.  Next week we play the Aces.  I can’t wait.

DRA Convention Report (Technology Specific)

Wow!  There were so many interesting seminars and people to meet at the Deposition Reporters Association Convention, it might take me more than one blog post to get everything mentioned.

I will start with some of the things that made sense to me, and I hope will help my fellow reporters be better than ever!

This blog post will be principally about technology and websites.  A lot of the information I received was from Mike Miller aka www.depoman.com

Paula Pyburn and Mike Miller talked about www.yousendit.com.  It is a free site wherein you can send, receive and track large important files such as wav files to your scopist.

Mike Miller also mentioned www.getdropbox.com.  This is a perfect solution for sharing files with someone.  It syncs your files online and across computers.  For example, if you had a large case with lots of appearances, and the appearances were constantly changing with new associates showing up, you could share your appearance pages with other reporters working on a case, and their appearance pages would be up-to-date with each new appearance you got.

www.synctoy.com is a free product from Microsoft that allows free file synchronization, backup, and data replication.  This is another one of Mike Miller’s suggestions.

Free drivers:   If you are using Stenocast, please know that you will need a driver for attorneys using XP and a different driver for attorneys on Vista.  You can download both drivers at www.stenocast.com.

Please send me any comments or questions.  rosalie@kramm.com

Mentors – Ms. Garcia

Mentors – Ms. Garcia

I believe having mentors in one’s life is invaluable.  I have been blessed with people stepping into my life with encouragement, wisdom, and guidance from a very early age.  I went to Helix High School and graduated in 1988.  In my sophomore year I took typing and Gregg Shorthand.  Typing had always been something I thought was kind of fun.  To me it like a sport, the more I practiced, the faster I got.  I took Gregg shorthand to have business skills to fall back on after graduation.  Luckily, Ms. Garcia was my teacher.  She was a vibrant woman with red hair, thick glasses, and always dressed like a formal secretary with suits, full make-up, and her hair always done in a bouffant style.

Ms. Garcia took me under her wing.  My favorite classes were typing and shorthand.  It was my P.E. class in my mind – pure competition.  Could I be the fastest and best in the class?  By the end of the semester, I was typing at 117 words a minute and was writing Gregg at 160.  Ms. Garcia pulled me aside and said, “This is your talent.  You should be a court reporter.”  When she said that to me, I thought, “I am not going to be a court reporter.  I want to be a businesswoman.  I plan on getting a business degree at SDSU.”

The idea was planted in my brain.  Upon further investigation, I learned what a great career court reporting is.    I did go to SDSU for two semesters and then went to court reporting school that summer just to try it out.  I have never looked back.  Court reporting is the most perfect career for me, and if it weren’t for Ms. Garcia caring about a student and stepping in, I might never have known how great life can be.

rosalie@kramm.com

Lynn Penfield – Brett’s Mom

Brett Penfield
Block 3
Biography
5/16/08

Born in the Midwest with two sisters and a brother, all of them are older than her. Lynn Penfield knew that she wanted to be a certified shorthand reporter when she was only a sophomore in high school. Now she has been a reporter for 18 and half years. She has been happily married for 18 years, in those years she had two boys one is 15 and the other is 12.

Lynn still loves doing her job even for 18 and a half years. The reason she still loves being a reporter is because it is flexible, she gets to meet new people everyday, and sometimes she gets to work at home. Being a reporter, Lynn is really good with computers, but sometimes she needs to call someday for some help with things that she has no control over like if her computer shuts down and she has no reason why. Also her vocabulary expands everyday. She still has a wish involving her computers and that is finical freedom. I can see why she wants finical freedom she probably has a big electric bill from being on the computer so much. In high school she was second in her class.

Even today she is doing homework, but not hers she is helping her sons with their homework and they both are doing pretty good in school. Lynn likes to play card games her favorites are poker, let it ride, and black jack. Also she is very big on fitness and history. She likes to make scrapbooks because it relaxes her. She also likes to make scrapbooks because she cant draw and in scrapbooks you need to cut and paste. Her father is also a big card player and that hobby must have been passed down to her. Lynn is very fit and is still doing fitness.

If Lynn could go back in time and change anything she wouldn’t have moved so far away from her family. Her family lives in Wisconsin, so she is very far away from them and probably misses them. She idolizes her mom (a very big person in her life) because her mom always knew what to do in every situation and her mom is also a good person. That is a person that everybody should idolize. Just like her mom they both have completed so many important goals and Lynn is still working towards some more.

Lynn is a mom and a wife (that’s a full time job). She is a perfect woman and is still trying to be a better person in anyway she can. If she is not working, or taking care of her family she is trying to reach some of those goals she is trying to complete. In my opinion she doesn’t need to be a better person, she is already perfect the way she is. If you ever see her walking down the street say thank you for being such a great person, I know I would.

Bogart

Bogart Sleeping At Work

Bogart Sleeping At Work

Bogart in Aries Room

Bogart in Aries Room

Here you see Bogart.  He is our mascot and keeps us grounded.  Bogart knows he is in a very formal office and stays 98% of the time in his bed.  Sometimes he will sleep on the floor, but as you can see he is always ready for the FedEx guy to come over and throw the ball.

You might ask, “Why would a court reporting firm have a mascot?”  The answer is simple.  Bogart makes us smile and laugh.  There was one time we were a little worried about him because he decided to be bad and ran away for two hours.  We don’t know where he went.  He  sure got into trouble when he came back, opening the front door with his nose and walking in all lotty-dah.  Allison would hardly look at him the rest of the day and gave him the silent treatment.

We have clients come take depositions at our office.  Our conference room is upstairs, and most people don’t notice Bogart.  When a stranger does see Bogart in his bed, he/she inevitably smile and want to talk to him.  He is very polite and only visits when he is approached by someone else first.

I think everyone should have a mascot in their office.  The world would be a happier place.

rosalie@kramm.com