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Tips for Attorneys about Realtime Reporting

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)

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.

 

@rosaliekramm (Twitter)

Kramm Court Reporting (Facebook)

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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january 1

New 2016 Law Applies to California Deposition Notices

A new law requires language to be added to Notices of Deposition, AB 1197, effective January 1, 2016, authored by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla.

CA CCP 2025.220 now reads as follows with the addition of section (8): 

California Code of Civil Procedure 2025.220

  1. A party desiring to take the oral deposition of any person shall give notice in writing.

The deposition notice shall state all of the following:

(1) The address where the deposition will be taken.

(2) The date of the deposition, selected under Section 2025.270, and the time it will commence.

(3) The name of each deponent, and the address and telephone number, if known, of any

deponent who is not a party to the action. If the name of the deponent is not known, the

deposition notice shall set forth instead a general description sufficient to identify the person or particular class to which the person belongs.

(4) The specification with reasonable particularity of any materials or category of materials, including any electronically stored information, to be produced by the deponent.

(5) Any intention by the party noticing the deposition to record the testimony by audio or video technology, in addition to recording the testimony by the stenographic method as required by Section 2025.330 and any intention to record the testimony by stenographic method through the instant visual display of the testimony. If the deposition will be conducted using instant visual display, a copy of the deposition notice shall also be given to the deposition officer. Any offer to provide the instant visual display of the testimony or to provide rough draft transcripts to any party which is accepted prior to, or offered at, the deposition shall also be made by the deposition officer at the deposition to all parties in attendance. Any party or attorney requesting the provision of the instant visual display of the testimony, or rough draft transcripts, shall pay the reasonable cost of those services, which may be no greater than the costs charged to any other party or attorney.

(6) Any intention to reserve the right to use at trial a video recording of the deposition testimony of a treating or consulting physician or of any expert witness under subdivision (d) of Section 2025.620. In this event, the operator of the video camera shall be a person who is authorized to administer an oath, and shall not be financially interested in the action or be a relative or employee of any attorney of any of the parties.

(7) The form in which any electronically stored information is to be produced, if a particular form is desired.

(8) (A) A statement disclosing the existence of a contract, if any is known to the noticing party, between the noticing party or a third party who is financing all or part of the action and either of the following for any service beyond the noticed deposition:

(i) The deposition officer

(ii) The entity providing the services of the deposition officer

(B) A statement disclosing that the party noticing the deposition, or a third party financing

all or part of the action, directed his or her attorney to use a particular officer or entity to

provide services for the deposition, if applicable. 

___________________________________________________________________________

Below is sample language that law firms can use to comply with Section (8)

The undersigned counsel has been directed to use the court reporting firm that will be used to report the deposition.  

There is a contract between the party noticing this deposition or the entity financing the litigation and the court reporting firm that will be used to report the deposition.  

The aforementioned contract includes the court reporting firm providing services beyond deposition services.

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I Forgot

Oops! The Court Reporter Didn’t Swear In the Witness

The Court Reporters Board of California periodically receives calls from frazzled court reporters who realize they forgot to swear in the witness, and the deposition had started. I know sometimes when an attorney says, “Let’s go on the record.  I need to make a statement,” and then there is colloquy between counsel, everyone’s timing gets off.  The attorneys make their record, and then one of them says to the witness, “Okay.  State your name for the record.”  And there they go…

But then the court reporter remembers that the witness was never sworn in. What does the court reporter do?  The Court Reporters Board of California has been publishing “Best Practices” for different scenarios and situations that happen at the deposition.  The forgetting of swearing in the witness is one such scenario.

The solution suggested by the CA CRB is as follows:

As soon as the reporter realizes the omission, the best practice is to stop the proceeding and place the witness under oath using an extended oath such as: Do you solemnly state the statements you’ve given and the testimony you’re about to give are the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?” 

If the attorneys want to later argue that there is an issue with the deposition before the witness was sworn, that would be their prerogative. In the meantime, the court reporter has done what is necessary to mitigate the situation.

 

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Moscow MVC

5 Tips for a Successful International Mobile Videoconference Deposition

Last month a paralegal called Kramm to inquire whether we could set up a Skype-like deposition (mobile videoconference) to depose a witness in Moscow. The attorneys would be in San Diego. The paralegal had questions about the logistics of setting up the deposition, the quality of the video/audio, and cost. The attorneys also needed the video to be captured for trial testimony.

We suggested to the paralegal the following 5 steps would need to take place for a successful mobile videoconference (MVC) deposition:

  1. Kramm would use Cameo II as the MVC platform due to the fact that the attorneys would use our Polycom videoconference equipment in San Diego, and at the Moscow location there would be a computer with a webcam available for the witness. Cameo II allows the interface of a traditional videoconference unit with an iPad/PC/MAC. (Note: Using Cameo II rather than a traditional VC unit in Moscow saved the client hundreds of dollars.)
  2. The witness would need to be in an office or location that had hardwire internet capability. (Note: The witness in Moscow chose to wear a headset to ensure clear audio. A teleconference number was set up as backup if the audio was not sufficient with Cameo II.   The teleconference was not necessary. The Cameo II audio was excellent, which saved the client TC costs.)
  3. Approximately a week before the deposition, the witness was sent the Cameo II link and went to the deposition site in Moscow to run a test with Kramm’s VC unit to troubleshoot any issues that might come up.
  4. Kramm had a legal videographer in San Diego capture the video/audio feed off of the Polycom unit, and whose job was to QC the video/audio to preserve the testimony for trial.
  5. A Russian interpreter was in San Diego. She interpreted the testimony in a consecutive mode (not simultaneous) which allowed accuracy for the syncing of the transcript. (Note: In past MVC depositions wherein the witnesses were in Serbia and China, the interpreter was with the witness. We leave it up to the attorneys to decide where the interpreter should be located.)

I am happy to report the Moscow deposition went perfectly, and the client was thrilled with the result. Using the newest mobile videoconferencing technology, attorneys can save a tremendous amount of time and money. It is not always necessary to fly to a foreign country or even out of state to conduct a deposition or preserve trial testimony. It does take planning and knowledge of the pros and cons of the different MVC products in the marketplace. If you have any questions on mobile videoconferencing, let me know. Finding solutions using technology for our clients is what we do best.

 

@rosaliekramm Twitter

 

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IME image-01

Court Reporters – Four Tips on What to Expect at an I.M.E.

Attorneys need Individual Medical Examinations to be reported and certified from time to time.  An Independent Medical Examination is conducted by a doctor, chiropractor or physical therapist who has not previously been involved in a person’s care and examines the individual.  There is no doctor, chiropractor, physical therapist relationship.

The following are some tips that I would give a court reporter reporting their first I.M.E.:

  1. Arrive at least 30 minutes early. Upon occasion the examiner will not know a court reporter is scheduled to be present. Arriving early allows for time to ensure everyone is on the same page and in agreement that the examination will be stenographically recorded.
  2. Anticipate having no table or place to put your computer. I oftentimes will use my steno or computer bag as a little table.
  3. A best practice is to print timestamps on the final transcript to allow counsel to know how long each segment of the examination lasted.
  4. Don’t worry about the value of the transcript as far as the doctor or patient describing for the record what is being demonstrated. The transcript may read, “Turn left. Turn right.  Lift your foot.” Just write what is said and don’t think you need to interject because the examiner is not making a good record.

Reporting an I.M.E. is not complicated, but it is helpful to know what the court reporter can expect.

 

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request a transcript

How to Get a Transcript or Video of a Witness if You Are Not a Party to the Case – CA CCP

Once or twice a year our court reporting firm gets a request from an attorney to purchase a deposition transcript of a witness, and that attorney does not represent anyone in the case. Because Kramm has archived past depositions, exhibits, and video, the testimony is available. When we get the call from the attorney making the request, typically she/he is not quite sure how to go about getting the transcript. We will send 2025.570 to the attorney and ask if they want us to proceed and mail out the notice letter. The notice letter will trigger the 30-day clock wherein a party to the case can seek a protective order so that the deposition testimony cannot be sold to the requesting party.

Note: 2025.570 shall only apply to recorded testimony taken at depositions occurring on or after January 1, 1998.

The code section reads as follows:

2025.570. (a) Notwithstanding subdivision (b) of Section 2025.320, unless the court issues an order to the contrary, a copy of the transcript of the deposition testimony made by, or at the direction of, any party, or an audio or video recording of the deposition testimony, if still in the possession of the deposition officer, shall be made available by the deposition officer to any person requesting a copy, on payment of a reasonable charge set by the deposition officer.

                (b) If a copy is requested from the deposition officer, the deposition officer shall mail a notice to all parties attending the deposition and to the deponent at the deponent’s last known address advising them of all of the following:

                (1) The copy is being sought.

                (2) The name of the person requesting the copy.

                (3) The right to seek a protective order under Section 2025.420.

               (c) If a protective order is not served on the deposition officer within 30 days of the mailing of the notice, the deposition officer shall make the copy available to the person requesting the copy.

                (d) This section shall apply only to recorded testimony taken at depositions occurring on or after January 1, 1998.

This method of obtaining transcripts and video only applies to cases filed in California State Courts.

@rosaliekramm – Twitter

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Arbitration Blog

American Arbitration Association – Consumer Arbitration Rules – Who Pays for the Court Reporter?

Even for binding arbitrations, a record of the proceedings may be important for the attorneys and the arbitrator, especially when there are many witnesses and the subject matter is complex. Having computers or tablets with the transcript available to the parties in real-time is an effective tool for counsel when cross-examining a witness.

Our court reporting firm specializes in arbitrations that we host at our Discovery Conference Centre. The question has come up, “Who pays for the court reporter?” The majority of the time, the parties agree to share the per diem for the court reporter, the time that a court reporter is writing the proceedings, but what if one party wants a court reporter present to provide rough drafts and real-time, and the other party doesn’t? What happens in the scenario when the party that didn’t want a court reporter present and didn’t agree to share in the cost of the per diem, after the arbitration has started, wants to order a rough draft or partial final transcript?

In doing research, I found the following Rule from the AAA Consumer Arbitration Rules:

R-27 – Written Record of Hearing

  • If a party wants a written record of the hearing, that party must make such arrangements directly with a stenographer (court reporter) and notify the opposing parties, the AAA, and the arbitrator of these arrangements at least three business days before the hearing. The party or parties who request the written record shall pay the cost of the service.
  • No other type of recording will be allowed unless the parties agree or the arbitrator directs a different type of recording.
  • The arbitrator may resolve disputes between the parties over who will pay the costs of written record or other type of recording.
  • The parties can agree or the arbitrator may decide that the transcript (written record) is the official record of the hearing. If it is the official record of the hearing, the transcript must be given to the arbitrator and made available to all the parties so that it can be reviewed. The date, time, and place of the inspection will be decided by the arbitrator.

Court reporters want to do the right thing and provide transcripts, rough drafts, and real-time to anyone who makes the request, offering the same services to every party. Looking at FINRA Rule 12606 the court reporter is only a   note-taker and is NOT to provide transcripts to all parties unless the panel decides the transcript is the official record. CA CCP Section 2025.310 – 2025.340 tells the deposition officer he/she must offer to provide the same services to all parties at the same time.

The AAA, Consumer Arbitration Rules, makes it clear the parties who want the written record shall pay for the cost of the service, and if there is any dispute, the arbitrator will resolve the dispute.

 

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transcripts_gogreen_001

Deposition Transcripts and Exhibits – Who Needs Paper?

transcripts_gogreen_001

Many of my attorney clients have asked me if I know what other law firms are doing to reduce paper. I know of two firms, one in Milwaukee and another in San Diego, that are completely paperless, but I am thinking my clients want suggestions for basic steps to take so they can eliminate storage fees and save office space, money, and especially the planet.

My first suggestion would be to have a standing order for a case with the court reporting firm to take delivery of deposition transcripts and exhibits in an electronic format only. Of course the original would always be printed for reading and signing and to be filed with the Court, but many times the certified copies are voluminous and not necessary until the attorney needs them for a hearing and/or trial. If the hard copy became necessary, the court reporting firm would ship out the transcript immediately.

Many court reporting firms, including Kramm Court Reporting, have electronic repositories wherein attorneys and paralegals can pull their transcripts and exhibits 24/7 in all formats.  Our Case 24/7TM repository is secure, is HIPAA compliant, and also gives law firms access to their deposition, hearing, and arbitration calendar, as well as notices, erratas, and any other relevant documentation to a case.

If you are interested in ordering electronic transcripts only, please let us know. We would set up the perfect delivery mechanism that would fit your law firm’s needs.