Five Steps to Help You Get Out of Court Reporting School

  1. Passion:  The machine must become your passion.  A court reporting student must be consumed with practice.  I liken court reporting to becoming a professional athlete.  It takes practice, practice, and more practice.  You have to become “one with the machine.”
  2. No excuses:  (Part 1)  There cannot be any excuses for missing school or not practicing at home.  Becoming a court reporter takes a lot of time and effort.  That is just the way it is.  To get out of school, you have to be disciplined.
  3. No excuses:  (Part 2)  I would hate to hear a court reporting student whining about the test(s) being too fast or too hard or the reader not being clear enough.  You just have to put your head down and write.
  4. Plateaus:  Most students reach a speed they can’t seem to get out of.  I was in the 160-180 class for six months because of a distraction (boy).  Do not beat yourself up if you are stuck in a speed.  Instead, shift your mindset.  When you go to school, practice being “in the moment.”  Put all of your energy and attention to school and what you are doing.  This is a great habit for when you pass your licensing test and are in the real world.  There will always be distractions.  The skill is learning to turn it off.
  5. Energy:  From what I recollect, and I hear it is still true today, there are people at court reporting schools who are not happy and therefore want everyone around them to be unhappy.  They congregate in groups in the break or lunch rooms and play the blame game for why they are not out of the particular speed or out of school.  GET AWAY FROM THOSE PEOPLE – THEY ARE POISON.  Hang around the teachers if you need interaction with people.  Better yet, at breaks, play some happy music with your IPOD, take a walk around the building, breathe, come back in, and sit and write the words of the song you are listening to on your machine.  Listen to energizing music.  (In court reporting school I had a theme song, Frank Sinatra’s, “The Best is Yet to Come.”  I played it every morning before school dreaming of when I would be a court reporter.)

To follow me on Twitter:  @rosaliekramm

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. – Lettered in Track (Varsity)

Camaraderie – Happy Surge


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.

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.

Allison’s Art

Allison's Art


I am lucky enough to be surrounded by a wonderful staff.  Allison runs our production department.  Allison started at Kramm Court Reporting on September 1, 2006.  As you can see by the photo, Allison is artsy.  She found an old manual steno machine out back.  She secretly took it home, found a perfect little table for it, and planted happy yellow daisies in a pot.

Allison and Sheri (Sheri works with Allison in production) share what is known as the Aries room (the production room).  Both Allison and Sheri are Aries. A lot of our reporters are Aries.  I think the Aries people have formed a little informal club and like to hang out in the Aries room.  It is a peaceful room with the window typically open, a candle burning, and our mascot Bogart sleeping in his bed.  Bogart comes to work every day and keeps us sane.  I believe having one of God’s creatures in our office keeps us grounded.  He stays in the Aries room 98% of the time, only coming out for treats from Steve and Clark and to play ball with our FedEx guy.  Sometimes Walter comes over with Linda (an Aries reporter) and Walter and Bogart play together.

It might sound like all fun and games around here.  I can assure you Allison and Sheri and all of the Aries reporters work really hard.  Our production department gets things done right and on time.


The Summit – The Sun and Stars

I am proud of my team.  Kramm Court Reporting is about to host Summit II.  Our first Summit was at the W Hotel in August 2008.  We had 14 reporters there along with Chris Jordan and Clark Wilson.  Clark runs our calendar and Chris, as you might know by now, runs video and technology.  Clark was in charge of coordinating all of the details for The Summit.  He did a marvelous job.  The food was amazing.  Clark knows how to throw a party.

We introduced the exciting new innovative technology that Kramm Court Reporting is doing for our clients.  The reporters were incredibly wonderful in embracing everything we were showing off.

I believe the best part of Summit I is the fact that reporters did some of the presenting.  Lynn Penfield went through and showed everyone all of her “gadgets” and magic ways of being organized.  Lynn is a Virgo through and through.  She shared everything from a laundry bag that folds up and can hold exhibits to how to have her depo assignments go straight to Outlook and how she could send Clark her days off electronically.

Then Jane Bramblett talked about Sugarsync.  It is a sweet way to send massive files (wav files) that costs 0.0.

Linda Pool and Nichole Miller shared their experiences with wireless realtime.

On January 24, 2009, we will hold Summit II.  We have a full house.

I know from experience many firms have reporters that would rather not help their fellow reporters be better than themselves.  It is human nature in the freelance world to take care of yourself and be jealous of people who might get a job that you want.   We all suffer from the same crippling disease of jealousy sometime or other.

About 16 years ago I was in Puerto Vallarta to take a deposition.  I was sitting by the pool with my wise friend, Patty O’Neil, who had come along to keep me company.  The depo was only about two hours long, so there was time for fun.  Patty is super wise.  She gave me some wonderful advice.  She said, “Rosalie, why don’t you just be the sun that shines light on the people around you and let them be stars?”  Her words totally resonated with me.  I knew that by holding back what I know to “be better than everyone else” was wrong and actually went against my nature.  It takes practice and consciousness to break the bad habits of jealousy, but the payoff is marvelous.

What is happening is the individual reporters get to be the sun and shine on each other during our Summit.  Our team is stronger than ever.  The feedback from the reporters is positive.  Everyone is becoming empowered.  Everyone gets to be a star.  The energy is addictive.

I would wish for all my profession that we can alternate being the sun and the stars.  I love court reporting.   I would love it if our profession could shine on the world of litigation and make this a better place.

The Wall Street Journal

About two years ago I decided that I needed to know more about the world and particularly finances.  As a court reporter, I am privy to hearing about almost every subject on the planet.  I am attracted to complex business litigation and intellectual property because both subjects are fascinating and completely out of my “box.”  I have a basic high school education.  I was a C, B student.  I really struggled with math and science.  I took the minimum amount of math classes in high school (2) to graduate and barely got through them.  I tried really hard, but my mind didn’t work that way.

So two years ago I set a new goal, understanding high finance and the marketplace.  In my mind’s eye I see people of my past who would read this raising their eyebrows, thinking, “Rosalie trying to understand market fluctuations?  Short selling?  She is dreaming.”  That is my old, negative thinking at work.  I scoff at those thoughts.

Two years ago I subscribed to The Wall Street Journal – hard copy every morning on my front porch and online access.  Before subscribing to The Journal, I had always loved reading The Wall Street Journal when I was traveling, staying at a hotel that gave me access to it.  I kind of thought The Wall Street Journal was for super sophisticated people who did complicated business, and I was sneaking into their world as an imposter when I got my hands on a paper.

So for the past two years I have gone through the Journal on a daily basis.  My rule is that I at least read all of the headlines and the first two paragraphs of every article.  If I am bored or totally lost, I just move on.  I’d say about one-third to two-thirds of the paper I read completely.

It just hit me today that I am really starting to get it.  I understand so much more than I did two years ago.  I am reading more of the articles all the way through.  Being a firm owner, I am becoming more confident because I am learning that the “super sophisticated businesspeople” share a lot of the same insecurities, decision making quandries, and need for advice as I do.  Of course, they are in a league of their own, but when it comes to business acumen and philosophy, it is incredibly interesting to find out how these people think, and I try to find parallels with my business and learn from them.

I still struggle with percentages and ratios.  Luckily, I have smart people around me who can get me answers.  I have found reading The Wall Street Journal has absolutely made the world bigger for me.  I feel connected to the international economy as well as the US economy – not just California and San Diego.  My “box” has expanded.

The economy sucks right now.  That is just the way it is.  I believe the more I understand what businesses around the world are going through, the better I can protect my business and my people, make smart decisions, and weather the storm.

I love my Wall Street Journal.  I would encourage everyone to read it.  You don’t have to be a big business exec.

A Court Reporter in Russia

In early October of this year, I was lucky enough to go to Russia with NCRA through People to People with a delegation of court reporters.  Past Presidents Merilyn Sanchez and Laurel Eiler were our leaders.  35 court reporters spent 10 days seeing the historic sites of Moscow and St. Petersburg and meeting with attorneys, judges, and court secretaries (court reporters) of Russia.

In Russia the person who is in charge of the official court record is a court secretary.  To be a court secretary, a person must first be an attorney.  Being a court secretary in Russia is considered to be a stepping stone on the journey to becoming a judge.  70% of the judges of Russia began as a court secretary.

Court secretaries do not create a verbatim record of a courtroom proceeding.  Rather, the court secretary takes what we would consider to be minutes of a trial and documents the “important events” of a trial.  The newer courthouses are putting in ER to supplement and back up the “minutes” as recorded by the court secretary.

There are many similarities between the USA court system and the Russian court system.  They do have jury trials.  One difference is if a person is found to be not guilty in a criminal trial, the prosecution can appeal the decision to a higher court.  There is no double jeopardy.

One of the highlights of the trip was going to the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation.  It is a court that considers cases relating to the compliance of the federal laws.  It is the first judicial body of constitutional review in the history of Russia.  The Court was created in October 1991, after Soviet time.  In its very first decisions, the Constitutional Court confirmed the supremacy of international human rights law.

As a delegation, every representative of the court system who spoke to us was very open.  We were never told we couldn’t touch on a certain subject or ask specific types of questions.

In the past I might have been hesitant to accept a reporting job in Russia thinking it might be difficult or intimidating.  I would encourage any reporter who gets the opportunity to travel to Russia to go.  It is a beautiful country.  The people are kind.  It is safe.

Have your passport ready just in case you get the call, “Can you go to Russia to cover a deposition?”  (You will need a visa – go to