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Court Reporters = Stamina

5 Tips for Building Mental Stamina (Attorneys, Paralegals, Court Reporters)

Great attorneys, court reporters, videographers, and paralegals all perform in their jobs at the highest level and can get far on their raw ability, but as Robert E. Corb, Ph.D, the Director of Sports Psychology Program at UCLA in the article “5 Tips for Building Mental Stamina” points out, “What separates the truly elite from the rest is that they know how to use their minds.”

Professionals in the legal field need mental stamina to deal with quick deadlines, expedites, and many hours of focused inquiry and writing.  Corb suggests the following tips to build mental stamina:

1. Think Positively:  “Self-confidence is the most important mental characteristic that athletes (legal professionals) need,” says Corb.  We’ve all seen highly-skilled athletes who    lose their self-confidence fall apart.

How do you get more self-confidence?  Corb urges people to listen to what they’re telling themselves.  “If you keep saying, ‘I’ll never be able to do this,’” before a speed test or jury trial, “then you won’t be able to do it. If you say something enough to yourself, you’ll make it come true.”

I think we all have heard the advice, “act as if.”  The experts suggest that you replace the negative thoughts with positive thoughts on a conscious level, and in time interrupting    the negative thoughts and replacing them with positive ones will have a real effect on what you want to succeed at.

2. Use Visualization: “Some athletes use visualization right before a game to practice mentally,” says David Geier, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon and Director of Sports Medicine at the   Medical University of South Carolina.  “A basketball player might close her eyes and think what a free throw will look like.”  Visualization can give you a mental space to rehearse.
Corb also says, “I tell people to visualize past achievements.  It’s almost like a highlight reel that you play back in your mind.  Focus on times you felt really good, and remember  that feeling.  It can give you a real boost.”

3. Plan for Setbacks:  As an attorney you might lose a client, and as a court reporter in school you might not pass a speed test you thought you were ready for.  These things happen.   Corb suggests, “One of the things that separates elite athletes is their ability to hold up after a setback.  They don’t spiral out of control.”  How can you regain your confidence  when things go wrong?  “You need to practice techniques to re-center yourself,” Corb says.  Athletes use different methods to become re-centered:  a sequence of stretches, a  positive mantra they repeat to themselves, a specific song they play in their head or iPod; 30 seconds of deep breathing. The experts say to have a plan in place so you know what to  do when the pressure mounts.

4. Manage Stress:  “Not all stress is bad,” says Geier.  “The fight or flight response can push you harder during an athletic competition.”  Corb points out, “Positive stress  (excitement) and negative stress (anxiety) really have the same physical effects.  Your heart rate and breathing go up.  Your pupils dilate.”  Use excitement to get amped up, but if  it is tipping you into panic, that’s bad.  It is up to you how you interpret the “stress.”
5. Sleep More:  Studies have shown that getting enough sleep can improve reaction time and split second decision making.  (7 to 9 hours a night is the goal.)
Develop a Plan to Build Your Mental Stamina

Mental stamina is a skill.  Building your mental stamina takes practice, and the experts say to have a plan.  Building mental stamina will have a tremendous benefit for your life.

 

@rosaliekramm  (Twitter)

Kramm Court Reporting (Facebook)

Deposition by Written Question

CFR United States Department of Labor OSHA Deposition Guidelines

Reading through the Code of Federal Regulations, OSHA guidelines regarding depositions, there are many differences from Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30 when it comes to the court reporter and videographer. The provisions are set out as follows:

2200.56(a) General. Deposition of parties, intervenors, or witnesses shall be allowed only by agreement of all parties, or on order of the Commission or Judge following the filing of a motion of a party stating good and just reasons.  All depositions shall be before an officer authorized to administer oaths and affirmations at the place of examination.  The deposition shall be taken in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, particularly Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30.

2200.56(b) When to file. A motion to take a deposition may be filed after the filing of the first responsive pleading or motion that delays the filing of an answer, such as a motion to strike.

2200.56(c) Notice of taking. Any depositions allowed by the Commission or Judge may be taken 10 days written notice to the other party or parties.  The 10-day notice requirement may be waived by the parties.

2200.56(d) Expenses. Expenses for a court reporter and the preparing and serving of depositions shall be borne by the party at whose instance the deposition is taken.

2200.56(e) Use of depositions. Depositions taken under this rule may be used for discovery, to contradict or impeach the testimony of a deponent as a witness, or for any other purpose permitted by the Federal Rules of Evidence and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, particularly Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 32.

2200.56(f) Excerpts from depositions to be offered at hearing. Except when used for purposes of impeachment, at least 5 working days prior to the hearing, the parties or counsel shall furnish to the Judge and all opposing counsel the excerpts from depositions (by page and line number) which they expect to introduce at the hearing.  Four working days thereafter, the adverse party or counsel for the adverse party shall furnish to the Judge and all opposing parties or counsel additional excerpts from the depositions (by page and line number) which they expect to be read pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 32(a)(4), as well as any objections (by page and line number) to opposing party’s or counsel’s depositions.  With reasonable notice to the Judge and all parties or counsel, other excerpts may be read.

2200.56(g)(1) Telephone depositions may be conducted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(b)(4)

2200.56(g)(2) If a party objects to a telephone deposition, he shall make known his objections at least 5 days prior to the taking of the deposition. If the objection is not resolved by the parties or the Judge before the scheduled deposition date, the deposition shall be stayed pending resolution of the dispute.

2200.56(h) Video depositions. By indicating in its notice of a deposition that it wishes to record the deposition by videotape (and identifying the proposed videotape operator), a party shall be deemed to have moved for such an order under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(b)(3).  Unless an objection is filed and served within 10 days after such notice is received, the Judge shall be deemed to have granted the motion pursuant to the following terms and conditions:

Stenographic recording. The videotaped deposition shall be simultaneously recorded stenographically by a qualified court reporter.  The court reporter shall administer the oath or affirmation to the deponents on camera.  The written transcript by the court reporter shall constitute the official record of the deposition for purposes of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(e)(submission to witness).

2200.56(h)(2) Cost.  The noticing party shall bear the expense of both the videotaping and the stenographic recording.  Any party may at its own expense obtain a copy of the videotape and the stenographic transcript.

2200.56(h)(3) Video operator. The operator(s) of the videotape recording equipment shall be subject to the provisions of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 28(c). At the commencement of the deposition the operator(s) shall swear or affirm to record the proceedings fairly and accurately.

2200.56(h)(4) Attendance. Each witness, attorney, and other person attending the deposition shall be identified on camera at the commencement of the deposition.  Thereafter, only the deponent (and demonstrative materials used during the deposition) will be videotaped.  Identification on camera of each witness, attorney, and other person attending the deposition may be waived by the attorney for the parties.

2200.56(h)(5) Standards. The deposition shall be conducted in a manner to replicate, to the extent feasible, the presentation of evidence at a hearing.  Unless physically incapacitated, the deponent shall be seated at a table or in a witness box except when reviewing or presenting demonstrative materials for which a change in position is needed.  To the extent practicable, the deposition shall be conducted in a neutral setting, against a solid background, with only such lighting as is required for accurate video recording.  Lighting, camera angle, lens setting, and field of view will be changed only as necessary to record accurately the natural body movements of the deponent or to portray exhibits and materials used during the deposition.  Sound levels will be altered only as necessary to record satisfactorily the voices of counsel and the deponent. Eating and smoking by deponents or counsel during the deposition will not be permitted.

2200.56(h)(6) Interruptions. Videotape recording will be suspended during all “off the record” discussions.

A couple of the more interesting provisions require the videographer to be sworn in to video fairly and accurately, and no eating or smoking is permissible at the deposition.

Kramm Court Reporters & Legal Video has the court reporters and videographers that are familiar with the rules and are happy to answer any questions you might have about your next deposition.  Here is a link to more information about Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 30(e) regarding reading/signing depositions.

 

@rosaliekramm  (Twitter)

Kramm Court Reporting (Facebook)

Deposition Arbitration Room

ATTORNEYS – 8 ADMONITIONS FOR DEPOSITIONS

As a court reporter, I have sat through thousands of depositions and heard thousands of variances on the admonitions attorneys give the witness at the beginning of a deposition.  Many attorneys have a checklist that they use so as to not forget any particular admonition.  These eight admonitions are the most common:
1. All testimony is under oath just as if the witness were testifying in a court of law.  Penalty of perjury laws apply.

2. Answers need to be audible, no shakes of the head, shoulder shrugs.  “Uh-huh” and “huh-huh” are difficult to interpret in a written form.

3. Witnesses may estimate, should not guess.  (Example:  How much change is in my pocket? = Guess.  How much change is in your pocket? = Estimate)

4. Everything that is said is being taken down by the court reporter verbatim, unless everyone agrees to go off the record.

5. You will have an opportunity to read/sign the deposition transcript and make corrections you believe are necessary.

6. Allow question and any objections to be stated before you speak.  The court reporter cannot take down more than one person speaking at the same time.  Otherwise, the record will be jumbled, and the questions and answers will be disjointed.   Pause before answering so counsel have a chance to object to a question.

7. Objections are for the record.  Unless your counsel instructs you not to answer, you are to answer.  The judge will later decide what questions and answers will be allowed in future proceedings.

8. Breaks are allowed.

________________________________________________________________________________

Admonitions that might bring objections or waive Federal Code provision:

1. You must answer a question that is pending before being allowed to take a break.

2. You will have a chance later to read/sign transcript; but if changes are made, and they are substantive, that can reflect poorly at trial on your being truthful while at the deposition.  (Court reporters are taught that if this admonition is given in a deposition that falls within the Federal Rules, Rule 30 comes into play, and the witness will have the right to read/sign.)

In another related article, we discuss Witnesses Unintentionally Waive Right to Read/Sign Under Federal Rules.

 

@rosaliekramm  (Twitter)

Kramm Court Reporting (Facebook)

 

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!!!

@rosaliekramm – Twitter

Kramm Court Reporting – Facebook

 

Court Reporters and Legal Videographers – On and Off the Record – Federal Rules v. CA CCP

Court reporters and legal videographers need to know when to be on and off the record.  The first thing the court reporter needs to know is what jurisdiction the deposition they are reporting falls under.  Is it a California state court case?  Is it a Federal district court case?  Is it a FINRA arbitration?

Under the California Code of Civil Procedure, CCP 2025.470, the court reporter may not go off the record without stipulation by all counsel unless a party or the deponent moves for a protective order.  Unless the court reporter hears the two words “protective order,” she/he must stay on the record.  I would suggest that the videographer would fall under the same rule.

Under Rule 30(d)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure a litigant may suspend a deposition at any point for the purpose of filing a motion to terminate or limit the deposition on the grounds that it is being conducted in a manner that unreasonably annoys, embarrasses or oppresses the deponent or the litigant.  If such a suspension is sought, the deposition remains postponed until such time as the court issues an order.

I believe a best practice in a district court case or any deposition that falls under the Federal Rules is for the court reporter/videographer to stay on the record until all counsel agree to go off the record or the parties physically leave the deposition (and the parking lot).  The party or parties need to really leave, not just threaten to leave and walk out for a couple of minutes.  As a court reporter I wait for the remaining party to give me permission to pack up and leave.

As I have written in a previous blog, at a FINRA arbitration, the court reporter goes off and on the record at the request of whomever is hiring the court reporter unless the court reporter has been designated by the arbitration panel to be keeping the official record (rather than the tape recording being the official record).

When asked to go off the record, I get a verbal agreement by all parties, I put my hands up in the air, and say in a strong voice with a smile, “We are off the record.”  I want to always guarantee there was no misunderstanding and that no one can later say, “I never agreed to go off the record.  I wanted you to transcribe the part when John Smith called me a blankety-blank.”

Court reporters have a duty to protect the transcript and know when to be on or off the record.

 

@rosaliekramm

 

Kramm Court Reporting – Facebook

Court Reporters and Realtime – Wires or Wireless?

Once a realtime court reporter goes wireless and sends their realtime feed to an attorney’s computer, it is hard to go back to wires.  Carrying the little bag around full of tangled wires with the little box is not efficient.  AND YET twice in the past three months my firm has had the situation in which the client made it clear using a wireless connection to be unacceptable and demanded wires.

Wires were demanded in one situation because the subject matter of the job was “top secret” and the client was worried that someone could pick up a wireless feed in another room…  I know court reporters reading this will be rolling their eyes, but as the saying goes, “The client is always right.”

Another law firm we work with won’t allow wireless realtime for their attorneys because once, four years ago, a court reporter’s feed stopped, and testimony was dropped on the attorney’s screen.  The firm does not allow wireless realtime and won’t allow the necessary drivers to be loaded onto the computers.

Chris Jordan is always a part of every buying decision my court reporting firm makes when it comes to computers and technology.  When I need to buy a new laptop as a court reporter, Chris insists I purchase the laptop from my CAT vendor so it is built for the job.  I spend more money than a reporter buying a laptop from a Fry’s or BestBuy, but I have a serial port, a PCMCIA card slot, as well as USB ports.  Many would argue PCM cards and serial ports are outdated technology, and they would be right, but in our world, we need serial ports.

I love using Stenocast.  If I can get a driver loaded on an attorney’s computer, it is so much easier to have a successful hook-in, not having to deal with USB-to-serial dongles and their drivers.  BUT if an attorney needs to use wires, I have to be ready.  My advice:  Don’t throw away or lose your realtime wires/box.  One day you might get the GREAT JOB because you can write as a retro-realtime court reporter.

 

@rosaliekramm  Twitter

 

 

Happy Court Reporters and Happy Staff = Success

As a follow-up to my last post regarding Steve Jobs and his message to the Stanford graduating class of 2005 (and court reporters), I did some research on job happiness and came across an article in the Harvard Business Review, “The Happiness Dividend” by Harvard Teaching Fellow Shawn Achor, founder of Good Think, Inc.

Achor begins his article with statistics from the Conference Board Survey and CNNMoney that 84% of the working population is unhappy with their jobs and that employees are the unhappiest they have been in the past 22 years since the Board started tracking job happiness.  He goes on to state, “the single greatest advantage in the modern economy is a happy and engaged workforce.  A decade of research proves that happiness raises every business and educational outcome:  raising sales by 37%, productivity by 31%, and accuracy on tasks (important for court reporters) by 19%, as well as a myriad of health and quality of life improvements.”

Given Achor’s research, the question is not whether happiness should matter to firms, but what can a firm do to raise the level of happiness of their staff and court reporters/videographers?

“The first thing for everyone to do is recognize that happiness is an advantage at work.”  As Achor states, “This will encourage you to seek happiness in the present instead of waiting for a future success.”  And he goes on, “You can literally train your brain for higher levels of happiness at work by creating habits to increase job satisfaction.”  Here are five suggestions on how to change your happiness factor:

  1. Write down three new things you are grateful for each day
  2. Write two minutes a day describing one positive experience you had over the past 24 hours
  3. Exercise for at least ten minutes a day
  4. Meditate for two minutes, focusing on your breath in and out (breathe from stomach)
  5. Write one quick email first thing in the morning thanking or praising a member on your team

From reading Achor’s article, I have come to the conclusion that happiness can become a habit, and one of the keys to success is becoming conscious of the good things in your life and appreciating others around you.  I don’t believe anyone wants to be miserable at work or on the job.  Sometimes things come up that are beyond your control (tough witness that speaks with a heavy accent about new technology) or court reporters turn in their work with wrong dates or email addresses, and the production team has to send it back and/or re-print a job.  But I bet during those days when things seem to be extra difficult or jobs come in with lots of little mistakes, there is probably a positive thing that happened as well, and that is what needs to be focused on.  (Another suggestion is to play happy music when it is an extra tough day.)

As Achor writes, “investing in happiness pays great.”  I wish for all court reporters, legal videographers, and court reporting staff a happy 2012 and thus much prosperity.

@rosaliekramm  Twitter

Traveling Court Reporters – International

Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking at the DRA Convention in Anaheim with the great Laura Brewer, past Intersteno speed champion and international CART provider.  Our topic was “Court Reporters – Travelling Abroad.” 

Here are my top 10 takeaways from the session:

  1. Health – be proactive and take precautions so the day you are to perform, you are not ill.  Laura advises, “Don’t work on transcripts on the plane (unless you have to).  Use the time on the plane to sleep.”  Take precautions when eating foods and drinking water in countries that have no filtering system.  (Great Tip from Laura:  When in a country that you ought not be drinking the water, put a wash cloth over bathroom water faucet to stop you from unconsciously wetting tooth brush.)
  2. Bring two of everything.  Some international reporters even bring two writers; but bring two of everything.  I have a double-laptop computer bag that I can carry on.  If you are forced to check your machine case, take your writer out and put it under the seat in front of you.  I have heard of nothing but disaster stories from court reporters who have had to check their machines. 
  3. Checklist:  Tomorrow prepare a list of items you will bring when you get the call to go international so it is easy to check off what you need, and you are not stressing out if you have got everything.  Add to the list as new situations arise. 
  4. Swearing in witnesses:  Get a written stipulation of counsel that the reporter can swear in the witness on an international assignment; or attorneys need to hire a notary/official from country that you are traveling to for swearing in the witness
  5. China – go to http://www.chinalawblog.com/2009/01/taking_depositions_in_china_it.html and check it out.  If you attempt to depose someone in Mainland China and swear the person in, you could be thrown in jail.  Know the laws of the country you are going to.  I use Google to do some basic research.
  6. Be Great – International depositions and arbitrations are typically very technical and many times relate to patents, complex business, and product liability.  90% of the depositions we have covered worldwide require a realtime court reporter.
  7. Reality – Nine out of ten international depositions that are put on calendar are canceled, and most of them get canceled within two days before your flight is to leave.  You need to be flexible.
  8. VISA – My favorite visa site is:  www.itseasy.com  I used this site to get my visa to travel to Russia with NCRA.  The site is EXCELLENT for knowing what you need in the way of a visa, working visa, how to get a quick visa to a particular country (if you have a last-minute job). 
  9. Shipping of Equipment:  We were advised not to ship equipment internationally (i.e. with FedEx).  One reporter told of a story where her second set of equipment was stuck in customs, and she couldn’t get to the equipment until after the job was over.
  10. Paperwork:  Bring a copy of the Commission or Order of the Court that the attorneys have procured so they can take the deposition.  If you get stuck coming into the country with your equipment, having official paperwork might help you get through.  In Japan, you have to have a deposition visa (when they see your steno machine, it is a red flag), and you have to have the deposition at a U.S. Embassy.

There was a ton of great information disseminated at the seminar.  After we were finished, reporters came up to me and asked, “What can I do to be an international court reporter?”  I suggested the reporters create a “Travel Resume” and send it to court reporting firms who do international work.  I believe a “Travel Resume” should contain such things as the fact you have a passport, if you are a CRR, CCRR, RMR, et cetera; the fact that you have two of everything (list the equipment you will travel with).  Let the firms know you are “READY TO GO.”

Having the unique talent of being a court reporter gives you the option of traveling international for work.  The key to success is being great, being flexible, and a strong desire.  The world is your oyster.

Please leave any comments and advice for court reporters everywhere on this post.  I truly love hearing from everyone.

@rosaliekramm (Twitter)