Court Reporters and Attorneys look for work life balance

Finding Work Life Balance – Attorneys and Court Reporters

If one decides to live a better life with work life balance and Googles, “How to achieve work life balance,” one would get over 150,000 hits with advice from psychologists, life coaches, and a myriad of other types of people.

After studying the question, and reading a ton of articles, I finally found the answer. Ready?  Work life balance is a myth.  It is impossible to achieve.  There is no such thing, and many people will beat themselves up trying to find the perfect balance.

I believe many attorneys and court reporters can easily work too much, not take care of their bodies, put off family and friends, having fun, until a more convenient time when there is no expedited transcript or hundreds of pages to scope.   When will that time come?  When you’re old?  Infirmed?  Exhausted?

The experts all agree there are five spheres of life that we have to focus on: HEALTH, WORK, FUN, FAMILY, FRIENDS.  If we don’t give energy to any one of these, our life is not fulfilled.  The experts also say that the key is to integrate all five spheres into your life NOW, to not wait, but use the whole of our workday, home life, and be mindful.

HEALTH SPHERE: We cannot put off taking care of our bodies.  Our bodies are fantastic, and we need to respect and take care of ourselves.   The experts all agree it is important to start off the day with a healthy breakfast.  Super busy people have a habit of not eating (no time) until they are so hungry that chips and junk food seem like a perfect solution.  Plan your meals.  Create a quick, healthy lunch routine.

Did you know you can do yoga in your chair? Attorneys and court reporters sit more than probably any other profession.  If you Google “Chair yoga,” you will be shocked how many great videos there are that show us how we can do simple stretching exercises while at our machines, and they’re not weird yoga poses.  The attorneys will never know you are exercising and stretching.

Exercise doesn’t have to be training for a marathon. It can be a walk around the block.

WORK SPHERE: Attorneys talk super fast.  The seven-hour rule is more like nine hours.  Depositions can go from 9:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. easily.  Expedites can come at us any moment like sniper fire.  Some things we cannot control. BUT there are attorneys and reporters who are using their jobs to enjoy life.  When traveling for a deposition, find time to enjoy where you are, even if it is just for an hour.  Your body and brain deserves to enjoy.

When talking about work life, the advice that came up over and over again was organization. Having an organized office, desk, home, and team allows your brain to relax.  When I talk about “organized team,” I mean to be ready with a scopist, back-up scopist, proofreader, housekeeper, gardener, Uber driver, whatever it takes to allow you to do what you do best and make money.

Multitasking has become a big part of our work life because of email, smart phones, and constant information coming at us. BUT multitasking is incredibly bad if you are striving for any type of balance.   In one recent study, Russell Poldrack, a psychology professor at UCLA found that “multitasking adversely affects how you learn.  Even if you learn while multitasking, that learning is less flexible and more specialized, so you cannot retrieve the information as easily.”  People use different parts of the brain for learning and storing new information, and when people are multitasking, the brain scans show people using the part of the brain called the striatum, a region of the brain involved in learning new skills; brain scans of people who are not distracted show activity in the hippocampus, a region involved in storing and recalling information.  Poldrack warns, “We have to be aware that there is a cost to the way that our society is changing; that humans are not built to work this way.  We’re really built to focus.  And when we force ourselves to multitask, we are less efficient in the long run.”

FAMILY SPHERE: Improve family life balance. Don’t be afraid to unplug. Create and stick to a daily routine. Make time for yourself. You need your own time. Take your vacation. Be present. Be consistent. Be accountable. Never feel guilty about taking time for yourself or for taking a vacation. Enjoy every minute. Notice the beauty around you and breathe.

FRIENDS SPHERE: Friends are important. Keep in contact. Don’t keep score. In other words, don’t think, “I invited her over last time. It is her turn to invite me over.” Be loyal. In other words, don’t tell others what your friends have trusted you to know. Remember their birthdays. Deal with any conflict. Be a fan and want for your friends to succeed. Live in the moment. Follow the golden rule. Friends are quality, not quantity.

FUN SPHERE: Find fun wherever, whenever you can. Use music in the morning to help wake you up. Dance in your room. Sing in the shower. Laugh at your pets’ antics. You are allowed to have fun all of the time – so let yourself.

Integration is the key to success

Being off-balance is good for you

Embrace opportunities at all times

Protect your time – Don’t waste time

Learn to say “Let me think about it…” Then think.

Kramm Court Reporting is committed to finding balance and supporting our clients and the reporters we work with in finding their work life balance.

 

@rosaliekramm  (Twitter)

Kramm Court Reporting (Facebook)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deposition Arbitration Room

TIPS FOR TELEPHONIC DEPOSITIONS FOR ATTORNEYS & COURT REPORTERS

Everyone is looking for opportunities to save costs these days in litigation. Many attorneys are choosing to take depositions telephonically so as to not incur travel costs and to save travel time.  Here are some ideas on how to make the telephonic deposition go smoothly.

  1. Have the court reporter with the witness. The reporter is able to swear in the witness and hear every word. As everyone knows, with teleconferences, if two people speak at the same time or there is any type of line interference, it is hard to hear or understand. Having the reporter with the witness ensures a better record.
  2. Advice to court reporters (especially if there are multiple people on the line): Rather than writing down each person’s information, including address and phone number(s), just get the attorney’s full name and website. It is much easier to look up the attorneys and create your appearance page(s) from a website than from scribbling down information over a phone.
  3. Court reporters, speak up if you are not understanding something, can’t hear, or don’t know who is speaking. Before the deposition starts, make a statement, for example, “Please identify yourself before you speak. There are multiple voices, and it is difficult to differentiate between them.” If someone starts speaking, and you are not sure who it is, you may interrupt with, “Excuse me. Who is speaking?” After a while, people will get the hang of it.
  4. Attorneys, if your court reporter interrupts, as discussed above, please be patient and understanding. They are not, in any way, trying to disrupt you. They are only trying to do produce the best record they can of the deposition.
  5. Court reporters, if possible, get a service list before the deposition begins and start inputting your appearance page or get a copy and check off names. You will need to know who the different participants represent. Once again, it is often difficult to get that kind of information with spellings over the phone.
  6. Court reporters, if the firm you are working with agrees and/or if you don’t mind giving out your personal email, give the participants your email address and ask the participants to email you who they represent.
  7. Be confident, court reporter. Nobody enjoys doing a telephonic deposition (or at least most people don’t). If you are polite, organized, and ready for action, your day may turn out to be one of the best ever!

In another related article, we discuss What Attorneys Need to Know When Using a Realtime Court Reporter.

 

@rosaliekramm  (Twitter)

Kramm Court Reporting (Facebook)

Court Reporters - Be Careful with Windows 10 Updates

Court Reporters – WARNING – Windows 10 Updates

One of the great court reporters we work with who is on StenoCat had a HORRIBLE experience setting up in court this week and sent the following alert:

“New Windows update could possibly wreak havoc on your computer settings.

“My computer updated last night, and this morning all my drivers were erased, my Bluetooth was disabled, my software key would not work, and all my COM ports were missing from my Device Manager.

“Also, because that wasn’t enough, my SD card on my writer was “bad” and would not save any new jobs so writing on it and transferring the notes to the computer later was not an option.

“Obviously my writer issue had nothing to do with the Windows update, but it happened all on the same day. Complete system fail.

“While our office staff scrambled to find another reporter to cover my job, I re-loaded my software, my drivers, and somehow managed to get it working in 20 minutes.  I had to write without a dictionary so my tran rate was a big fat zero, and my screen was all red.

“I’ve now reconfigured everything and all is well.

“After you install this latest update, set everything up and test it before you go to a job.  It was probably just a weird thing on my end, but it was super stressful and I want to save you all from living this nightmare.”

_________________________________________________________________________________

From my experience, the best way to handle this problem is to turn off Windows updates.  This is the process according to my Google search:

1.  Click Computer Configuration.

2. Click Policies

3. Click Administrative Templates

4. Click Windows Component

5. Click Windows Update

6. Double click Turn off the upgrade to the latest version of Windows through Windows Update

7.  Click Enable.

Microsoft has made it extremely difficult to stop the updates in Windows 10.  If you can choose to never install updates or you decide when and if you wish to install an update, that is your best bet, in my opinion.

 

@rosaliekramm  (Twitter)

Kramm Court Reporting (Facebook)

CA CCP 2025.510(a) - Court Reporters

CA CCP 2025.510(a) Court Reporters Transcribe Depositions

Last month I was a court reporter for an all-day deposition. At the end of the day, as I was packing up, I overheard an attorney mention the case might settle.  In an effort to do the right thing, I offered to hold my notes and not transcribe the deposition for a few days to save everyone money.  BIG MISTAKE.  I had this conversation with only one party being present.  The attorney was grateful for the offer and agreed to let me know if they would need the transcript.

Our firm’s turnaround time of transcripts is seven business days. On the tenth day, the attorney that was not present for the “hold notes” conversation after the deposition called wanting to know what was going on, “Is there gamesmanship happening?  We count on your firm getting the transcript out at least by the tenth day.  Why isn’t the transcript out yet?”

CA CCP 2025.510(a) states: “Unless the parties agree otherwise, the testimony at any deposition recorded by stenographic means shall be transcribed.”

I apologized to the attorney, admitted I had made a mistake in offering to save the parties money, and promised to get the transcript out immediately.

While my intent was to do the right thing, save litigation costs, I was wrong and should have thought of the consequences of not having all parties present for the conversation.

It is also interesting to note, CA CCP 2025.510(b) states: “The party noticing the deposition shall bear the cost of the transcription, unless the court, on motion and for good cause shown, orders that the cost be borne or shared by another party.”

In the above scenario, if the attorney whom had asked me not to transcribe my notes asked me to never transcribe my notes, and the other side wanted the transcript, the noticing attorney who didn’t want the transcript would be responsible for payment unless the court orders otherwise.

Being a great court reporter means to always be conscious and transparent in every agreement and conversation.

@rosaliekramm (Twitter)

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CA Rules of Court 8.130

California Rules of Court – 2017 Reporter’s transcript

Reading through the 2017 California Rules of Court regarding court reporter’s transcripts, there are some provisions that are particularly interesting relating to timeliness, the cost of transcripts, and the appellant’s ability to deposit a certified transcript.

APPEAL TRANSCRIPT COST:

8.130(b)(1)(A) The amount specified in the reporter’s written estimate; or (B) An amount calculated as follows:

(i) For proceedings that have NOT been previously been transcribed: $325 per fraction of the day’s proceedings that did not exceed three hours; or $650 per day or fraction that exceeded three hours.

(ii) For proceedings that have previously been transcribed: $80 per fraction of the day’s proceedings that did not exceed three hours, or $160 per day or fraction that exceeded three hours.

(3) Instead of a deposit under (1), the party may substitute:

(A) The reporter’s written waiver of a deposit.  A reporter may waive the deposit for a part of the designated proceedings, but such a waiver replaces the deposit for only that part.

(B) A copy of the Transcript Reimbursement Fund application filed under (c)(1)

(C) A certified transcript of all the proceedings designated by the party.  The transcript must comply with the format requirements of rule 8.144.

 

APPEAL TRANSCRIPT TIMELINESS:

Rule 8.130(d): Superior court clerk’s duties

  1. The clerk must file a party’s notice of designation even if the party does not present the required deposit under (b)(1) or a substitute under (b)(3) with its notice of designation.
  2. The clerk must promptly send the reporter notice of the designation and of the deposit or substitute and notice to prepare the transcript, showing the date the notice was sent to the reporter, when the court receives:
  1. The required deposit under (b)(1);
  2. A reporter’s written waiver of a deposit under (b)(3); or
  3. A copy of the Court Reporters Board’s provisional approval of the party’s application for payment under the Transcript Reimbursement Fund under (c).

Rule 8.130(f): Filing the transcript; copies; payment

  1. Within 30 days after notice is sent under (d)(2), the reporter must prepare and certify an original of the transcript and file it in superior court. The reporter must also file one copy of the original transcript, or more than one copy if multiple appellants equally share the cost of preparing the record (see rule 8.147(a)(2)). Only the reviewing court can extend the time to prepare the reporter’s transcript (see rule 8.60).
  2. When the transcript is completed, the reporter must notify all parties to the appeal that the transcript is complete, bill each designating party at the statutory rate, and send a copy of the bill to the superior court clerk. The clerk must pay the reporter from that party’s deposited funds and refund any excess deposit or notify the party of any additional funds needed. In a multiple reporter case, the clerk must pay each reporter who certifies under penalty of perjury that his or her transcript portion is completed.
  3. If the appeal is abandoned or is dismissed before the reporter has filed the transcript, the reporter must inform the superior court clerk of the cost of the portion of the transcript that the reporter has completed. The clerk must pay that amount to the reporter from the appellant’s deposited funds and refund any excess deposit.
  4. On request, and unless the superior court orders otherwise, the reporter must provide the Court of Appeal or any party with a copy of the reporter’s transcript in computer-readable format. Each computer-readable copy must comply with the requirements of rule 8.144(a)(4).

Filing court transcripts for the Court of Appeal is complicated. My staff have found that many attorneys are not sure when the court reporter is to begin finalizing the appeal transcript.  Receiving formal notice of designations under (d)(2) from the superior court clerk triggers the start time in which the court reporter can produce the appeal transcript.  Our company has had frequent requests from attorneys asking us to begin an appeal transcript before the provisions in (d)(2) occurs.  The transcript is finalized, but the court reporter’s hands are tied without receiving the new appeal case number and how many designations/volumes are formally ordered.

Court reporters that provide court reporting services in the California superior courts (hearings and/or trials) study Rule 8.130 – California Rules of Court.

@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)

Kramm Turrentine have Discovery Conference Centre to host depositions

Kramm Court Reporting merges with Donna V. Turrentine & Associates

KRAMM Court Reporting MERGES with PROMINENT north san diego county court reporting firm – DONNA V. TURRENTINE & ASSOCIATES

[Press Release] San Diego, CA – Kramm Court Reporting announces its merger with Donna V. Turrentine & Associates, a prominent North San Diego County court reporting firm with over 40 years of experience.

Founded in 1979 by Donna V. Turrentine, Donna V. Turrentine Court Reporters has provided quality court reporting services to clients throughout San Diego County with an emphasis of serving the Escondido, Vista, Oceanside, Carlsbad, and San Marcos region.

“I am proud that Donna chose Kramm Court Reporting to provide her clients with the same high quality, excellent service they are accustomed to,” says Rosalie Kramm, founder of Kramm Court Reporting.   “Throughout the last several decades I have heard attorneys rave about Donna and her firm, and now I am extremely proud to carry on what she started back in 1979, a first class, professional court reporting firm.”

“After nearly 40 years of court reporting (38 years as Donna V. Turrentine & Associates), I believe it is time to move into a more technologically advanced arena by merging with Kramm Court Reporting. Rosalie Kramm is a leader in providing state-of-the-art court reporting services, and she has a staff of highly qualified office personnel who help operate a friendly and professional business. I believe my clients will be better served by this merger, and together we will continue to serve our clients, old and new, as a larger, stronger entity.”

ABOUT KRAMM COURT REPORTING:

Kramm Court Reporting, est. 1985, is a full-service. Technology driven court reporting firm headquartered in San Diego, CA. By implementing the best industry practices over three decades, Kramm has evolved into an industry leader and is relentless in championing state-of-the-art technology with a specialty in realtime court reporting. “Unwavering” describes our customer service for clients nationwide. For more information about Kramm Court Reporting, please visit our website at www.kramm.com.

 

ABOUT DONNA V. TURRENTINE & ASSOCIATES – COURT REPORTERS

Founded in 1979, Donna V. Turrentine & Associates has been a steady presence in the court reporting industry throughout North San Diego County.

Court Reporter's Deposition Transcript

Court Reporter’s Transcript

Upon occasion our attorney clients are asked by opposing counsel to provide a copy of a transcript that our client had purchased from the court reporter. Our client doesn’t want to feel obligated to give the transcript to opposing counsel and will ask us to give them a legal cite that they can use to tell their opposing counsel to contact the court reporter for the Certified Copy.

The California Government Code provides as follows:

Government Code Section 69954

(d) Any court, party, or person who has purchased a transcript may, without paying a further fee to the reporter, reproduce a copy or portion thereof as an exhibit pursuant to court order or rule, or for internal use, but shall not otherwise provide or sell a copy or copies to any other party or person.

 

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Attorneys and Paralegals working with Court Reporters in Court

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)

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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