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Realtime court reporter writes to computer screen

What Attorneys Need to Know When Using a Realtime Court Reporter

When an attorney participates in a deposition with a realtime court reporter providing instantaneous translation of the testimony, there are best practices that an attorney can use to create a better record and get the most out of the realtime service.

Following are 7 tips for attorneys coming from a court reporter’s perspective:

  1. If you need to use your own laptop because you are utilizing Case Notebook, Case Map, or a different case management software, and it is the first time you are working with a particular reporter, it is important to arrange a meeting with the court reporter/court reporting firm so that drivers can be loaded (if necessary) into your laptop and any connectivity issues that might come up can be resolved. It is very difficult for a court reporter to troubleshoot problems onsite minutes before the deposition or hearing is to begin.

 

  1. If you don’t have realtime software on your laptop, request the court  reporter to bring an extra iPad or device with realtime software installed and ready to go – “plug and play”

 

  1. As an alternative to Tip #2, you can install free software into your computer. Go online and download Bridge software.

 

  1. Don’t worry if you see steno show up in the transcript or if the reporter writes “tier” instead of “tear.”  Court reporters write things out phonetically, and even though realtime court reporters have trained themselves to write for your eyes and write without conflicts (their, there, they’re), when writing on the fly, there may be a proper name that comes up that the reporter doesn’t have in his/her dictionary, and the word won’t translate, or the court reporter may make a misstroke.   The court reporter can read the steno.  The final transcript will have the correct name/word.

 

  1. If you do believe the court reporter misheard a word or number, because something comes up incorrectly on your realtime screen, and the witness was not clear, it would be fine to ask the witness to clarify, “Did you say internet or intranet?”  The court reporter will appreciate the clarification.

 

  1. After the deposition is over, it is a common practice that the realtime court reporter will send or have sent a “cleaned-up” rough draft to you as a part of the realtime service so you can import the cleaner version into your realtime software and maintain your marks and notes.

 

  1. Understand that not all court reporters provide realtime.  When you wish to take a deposition and have realtime services provided, you must inform the court reporting agency that you would like a realtime court reporter.  Many realtime court reporters have special certifications that indicate a proficiency in realtime court reporting.  CRR and CCRR are two of the certifications that a court reporter can attain.  Becoming a CRR or CCRR requires a timed speed test with an incredibly high translation rate (perfect writing).

 

 

Realtime depositions are essential when streaming the transcript text to remote locations.  Using realtime at a deposition also allows attorneys to mark testimony, make notes, see the exact question and answer that might later be used as a clip at trial to be presented to the trier of fact.   Realtime is a powerful tool for litigators.

If you have any questions about realtime court reporting, give us a call at 800.939.0080.

 

@rosaliekramm  (Twitter)

Kramm Court Reporting (Facebook)

 

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)

Arbitration conference room - Kramm Court Reporting

New California Law Certified Shorthand Reporters at Arbitrations – CCCP 1282.5

Governor Brown approved Senate Bill 1007 which gives a party to an arbitration the right to have a Certified Shorthand Reporter transcribe any deposition, proceeding, or hearing as the official record. The bill was authored by Senator Bob Wieckowski, who states, “People are often forced into binding private arbitration just by purchasing common goods or services, so it’s especially important for their protection that a court reporter is present to transcribe the proceedings and create an official record.” And as Larry Doyle, legislative representative of the Conference of California Bar Associations, opines, “In arbitrations, as in all legal proceedings, the existence of a reporter’s transcript can be absolutely essential to obtaining justice.”  Doyle goes on to say, “Without such a record, the reviewing court must assume that the arbitration award is correct, even if the record – if it existed – might clearly show error or misconduct.”

The bill sets forth the following:

  1. The bill would require a party requesting a Certified Shorthand Reporter to make his or her request in a demand, response, answer, or counterclaim related to the arbitration, or at a pre-hearing scheduling conference at which a deposition, proceeding or hearing is being calendared.
  2. The bill would also require the party requesting the transcript to incur the expense of the Certified Shorthand Reporter, except as specified in a consumer arbitration.
  3. The bill would authorize a party whose request has been refused by the arbitrator to petition the court for an order to compel the arbitrator to grant the party’s request to have a Certified Shorthand Reporter transcribe any deposition, proceeding, or hearing, and for an order to stay any deposition, proceeding, or hearing pending the court’s determination of the petition.

Now CCCP 1282.5 reads as follows:

1282.5. (a)(1) A party to an arbitration has the right to have a Certified Shorthand Reporter transcribe any deposition, proceeding or hearing.  The transcript shall be the official record of the deposition, proceeding, hearing.

(2) A party requesting a Certified Shorthand Reporter shall make his or her request in or at either of the following:

(A) A demand for arbitration, or a response, answer, or counterclaim to a demand for arbitration.

(B) A pre-hearing scheduling conference at which a deposition, proceeding, or hearing is being calendared.

(b) If an arbitration agreement does not provide for a Certified Shorthand Reporter, the party requesting the transcript shall incur the expense of the Certified Shorthand Reporter. However, in a consumer arbitration, a Certified Shorthand Reporter shall be provided upon request of an indigent consumer, as defined in Section 1284.3, at the expense of the nonconsumer party.

(c) If an arbitrator refuses to allow a party to have a Certified Shorthand Reporter transcribe any deposition, proceeding, or hearing pursuant to this section, the party may petition the court for an order to compel the arbitrator to grant the party’s request.  The petition may include a request for an order to stay any deposition, proceeding, or hearing related to the arbitration pending the court’s determination of the petition.

(d) This section does not add grounds for vacating an arbitration award pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 1286.2 or for correcting an arbitration award pursuant to Section 1286.6.

Certified Shorthand Reporters are an invaluable part of the judicial process.

@rosaliekramm (Twitter)

Kramm Court Reporting (Facebook)

Court Hearings and the Court Reporter

Best Practices for Attorneys re the Court Reporter at Hearings

In many county courthouses throughout California, Friday is law and motion day. Every hour a new calendar is called by the judge with approximately 10 matters.  Attorneys will hire a court reporter to report their hearing if they feel it is important to have a record of the proceedings for a later date.  Many attorneys have more than one matter to cover on any given Friday and will rush in, argue their motion, and then immediately leave.  In these situations, it is tough for the court reporter to get the appearances.  Even though the judge will have counsel state their appearances for the record, later it is incumbent upon the court reporter to track down the address, phone number, and email address of each attorney.  Using the California Bar Attorney Search is helpful, but sometimes attorneys say their names incredibly fast, mumble, or have a common name that is shared by many other attorneys in California.

As a court reporter who has reported hundreds of hearings, I thought it might be helpful to suggest best practices to ensure an accurate and quick transcript.

  1. Find time to hand the court reporter your card with information written on it including who you are representing.
  2. When you state your appearance, speak slowly and clearly.
  3. If you cite a case or points and authorities, be ready to email the documents to the court reporter.
  4. When reading a cite, read slowly and enunciate each word. Don’t feel as if you need to rush and skip over the small words.
  5. If you are appearing via CourtCall, state your name and law firm clearly, and spell your last name.
  6. Let the reporter know if you will need a transcript of the hearing. The court reporter will not assume you automatically want the transcript. Many attorneys don’t want the transcript until and unless there is an appeal.
  7. If you know you will want a transcript before the hearing, have whomever is calling the court reporting agency to let the reporter know beforehand a transcript is being requested to be immediately written up. The agency will not send a court reporter who has a backlog and might not be able to quickly get the transcript out.

Court reporters want to do a good job for you. The more information they have, the more efficient they can be in getting out a transcript.

 

@rosaliekramm

Kramm Court Reporting (Facebook)

Attorneys - Depositions -
Consciousness

Attorneys – Deposition Transcripts – Consciousness

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

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

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

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

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@Rosaliekramm – Twitter

Stress free Court Reporters

How Court Reporters Can WIN the Stress Game

Stress free Court Reporters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@rosaliekramm  Twitter

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Veronica with little setup

Court Reporters – What is an Oral Reply?

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

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

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

 

 

 

Court Reporters and Legal Videographers - Financial Planning 101

Court Reporters, Videographers – Financial Literacy 101

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rosalie Kramm

 

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Court Hearings and the Court Reporter

Motion GRANTED re Court Reporters’ Page Rates

Government Code Sections 69950 and 69954 regulate page rates an official court reporter may charge for transcripts in California Superior Courts. A lawsuit was brought by attorneys against an independent court reporting firm for charging more than what the Government Code provides for.   On Friday, January 8, 2016, the Court ruled on a motion brought be the Defendants for judgment.  The following is language from the ruling by Amy D. Hogue, Judge of the Superior Court.

“The Court is concerned, moreover, that government regulation of private court reporter rates compromises strong countervailing public policies favoring free enterprise and competition. The Court also agrees with Defendant that regulating the rates for private reporters may have additional impacts on the free market and potentially reduce the economic incentive for highly qualified private court reporters to serve as official reporters pro tempore.”

“With tax payers are no longer providing official court reporting services to all litigants and private reporters generating their own salaries, insurance and benefits, it is difficult to justify regulating private reporter rates as a matter of public policy.”

“The Court rejects Plaintiffs’ interpretation of the applicable statutes and finds that Plaintiffs have failed to state an actionable claim. The Court therefore GRANTS Defendant’s motion for judgment on the pleadings,” Amy D. Hogue, Judge of the Superior Court.

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