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)

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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)

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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)

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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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Proofer court reporters' transcript.

Seven Tips for Newly Licensed Court Reporters

I have the privilege of working with newly licensed San Diego California Certified Shorthand Reporters. I am extremely proud of their writing ability and the fact they are not scared to learn and use the sophisticated functionality of their CAT software. I consider myself to be their coach.  My goal is their total success throughout their careers, wherever their incredible talent takes them.

In my coaching I have noticed a couple of issues that seem to come up that might be confusing.   Some of the tips would only relate to San Diego or California transcripts and might not apply to other parts of the country.

Tips:

  1. San Diego case numbers are extremely long, for instance, 2015-0000329-CU-PT-CTL. The case number is too long to follow the caption and fit on a line. What reporters do is divide the number up, 2015-000329-, second line CU-PT-CTL.
  2. For the certificate page, the court reporter signs their name on the signature line, and the date line should have the date of your signature, not the date of the job.
  3. Attorneys in Southern California will ask reporters to leave a blank for the witness to fill in, for instance, asking for a telephone number of a doctor. The reporter would leave a blank in a parenthetical format: (Information Requested: ______________________________________.) The index for the transcript would index the request:
  4. INFORMATION REQUESTED TO BE PROVIDED:                                                                               PAGE
  1. Telephone number of doctor                                                                                                                            23
  1. Women are known as Ms. (not Mrs. or Miss). Unless someone says “Mrs.” or “Miss” In a transcript, women are all referred to as Ms. In colloquy it will always be MS. JONES, never MRS. JONES or MISS JONES. If someone asked me to refer to her as MRS. JONES in colloquy, I would do it, but in the past 35 years no one has asked me to do so.
  2. Unlike school, attorneys won’t always sit where they are supposed to, on the left side of the table for plaintiff and right side of the table for defendant. My suggestion is to wait until the attorneys sit down and then assign the left or right bank to their name rather than if they represent the plaintiff or defendant. This is especially important if you have many attorneys present representing cross-plaintiffs, cross-defendants, or third parties.
  3. For some reason possessive seems to be tricky. The only time you write it’s is if the word is a conjunction, and it could read it is. “It’s” is never possessive, for instance, I love it’s hat. (wrong)
  4. Use the California State Bar Attorney search to find elusive phone numbers and email addresses of attorneys. Save it as a FAVORITE. Attorneys have to keep their information current on the site or risk losing their license.

I wish all newly licensed court reporters great success. Please know that experienced reporters all over the country are relying on you to take up the gauntlet and keep our industry alive and strong.  You have our support.  Ask questions.  We need you.

@rosaliekramm (twitter)

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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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Court Reporters Punch Fear

Court Reporters Punch Fear in the Face

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of it,” said Victor Hugo.

Being a court reporter takes so many skillsets: the ability to write 250+ words per minute accurately, having the intelligence to understand words spoken by every type of expert in the world talking about every subject from mold remediation to DNA sequencing of the human genome, and having to, upon occasion, interact with high-maintenance individuals.

The type of person that becomes a great court reporter is the type of person who knows how to face their fear and master it.

When a person makes the decision to go to court reporting school, they have to take into account only 10 percent of the students actually graduate. They know it could take two, four, six or eight years to become licensed.  To go to court reporting school takes courage and determination, and I would suggest those who face any fear they might have about going to court reporting school, ignore the naysayers that worry for the student and ask, “What is wrong?  Why aren’t you done yet?” have a great career ahead of them.

When a person is first licensed to be a court reporter, there is a fear of all of the “firsts,” first deposition, first hearing, first I.M.E., first arbitration… Great court reporters put their heads down, ask for advice from more seasoned reporters, and take the job.  After 34 years as a court reporter, I still get nervous when I have a “first.”

Because court reporters have a tremendous talent, especially with their real-time skillset, new opportunities are opening up all of the time; for example, there are the court reporters who are reporting the trials at GITMO. I am lucky enough to be a friend of some of those reporters, and I would bet $100 that when they first flew down there they were nervous, and these reporters are some of the most talent court reporters in our nation.  Now, they are a tightknit team, providing amazing instantaneous real-time, scoping and proofing for each other, and have received accolades and praise for their work.

Being a stenographer and transcribing meetings, writing CART, providing closed-captioning are just some of the modern opportunities that court reporters have.

We know the average age of court reporters is 56, 57 in the United States, and the majority are women. I think it is GREAT that as a woman in my mid-50s I have the opportunity to keep walking through my fear/nerves and try new things.  To be honest, I have thought to myself, “I don’t need to learn how to work a webcam and stream video/text.  I can let someone else do it.  I know enough stuff.”  But then I think to myself, “I need to know as much as any other court reporter, so just do it, Rosalie.”  It is about winning.  I remember the first time I provided interactive real-time.  I was super scared, and real-time was so new the attorney stared at the screen the whole day.  He had never seen anything like it before, and he couldn’t help himself and kept stopping the deposition to point out a misstroke or let me know “tier not tear.”  A part of me never wanted to provide real-time again, but then another part of me got mad, and I wasn’t going to let an uneducated attorney stop me from working at getting better, clean up my writing, and then ultimately getting my CRR certification – so there.

This week I reported two public meetings. I didn’t ask any of the reporters that work with me to do them because meetings are always hard, these occurred at night, and it is hard to anticipate what is going to happen or the format.  I wanted to experience the meeting so I could coach court reporters in the future what to expect since we will be doing a series of these. It turned out to be super interesting, everyone there wanted to help me make a record, and they were mesmerized by my real-time screen.

Court reporters are amazing in so many different ways. Having a talent that so few people can master is something to be proud of, and I would suggest trying new things keeps people in their 50s and 60s young.  Punching fear in the face and moving forward is actually fun and is what court reporters do best.

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CA Rules of Court 8.130

2015 California Rules of Court – Appeal Transcripts – Court Reporters Do Not Provide “Fee Waivers”

Due to the fact that many civil courtrooms throughout California no longer have court reporters, and attorneys need to bring in a pro tem court reporter for hearings and trials, some of the procedures in regards to filing appeal transcripts are new to both attorneys and the pro tem court reporters, and there has been some confusion because of the language used by law firms when requesting the preparation of appeal transcripts.

If a person Googles “fee waiver California appeals court,” you will find a definition of fee waiver that is not related to what court reporters are asked to provide to attorneys when attorneys need a court reporter’s transcript for their appeal.  A fee waiver in the context of California courts is defined in Government Code Section 68631 relates to a Court granting waiving of fees because a person is indigent.

Reading through the 2015 California Rules of Court, Rule 8.130, Reporter’s transcript, I found 8.130(b)(3)(A)  which references a reporter’s written waiver of a deposit.  Many attorneys refer to this provision as a “fee waiver” when asking the court reporter to bill them directly for a transcript and not ask the clerk to collect the money to save time in filing the appeal.   The court reporter is not being asked to waive their transcript fees.

2015 California Rules of Court, 8.130 reads as follows:

(a) Notice

(1)A notice under rule 8.121 designating a reporter’s transcript must specify the date of each proceeding to be included in the transcript and may specify portions of designated proceedings that are not to be included. The notice must identify any proceeding for which a certified transcript has previously been prepared by checking the appropriate box on Appellant’s Notice Designating Record on Appeal (Unlimited Civil) (form APP-003) or, if that form is not used, placing an asterisk before that proceeding in the notice.

(2)If the appellant designates less than all the testimony, the notice must state the points to be raised on appeal; the appeal is then limited to those points unless, on motion, the reviewing court permits otherwise.

(3)If the appellant serves and files a notice designating a reporter’s transcript, the respondent may, within 10 days after such service, serve and file a notice in superior court designating any additional proceedings the respondent wants included in the transcript. The notice must identify any proceeding for which a certified transcript has previously been prepared by checking the appropriate box on Respondent’s Notice Designating Record on Appeal (Unlimited Civil Case) (form APP-010) or, if that form is not used, placing an asterisk before that proceeding in the notice.

(4)If the appellant elects to proceed without a reporter’s transcript, the respondent cannot require that a reporter’s transcript be prepared. But the reviewing court, on its own or the respondent’s motion, may order the record augmented under rule 8.155 to prevent a miscarriage of justice. Unless the court orders otherwise, the appellant is responsible for the cost of any reporter’s transcript the court may order under this subdivision.

(5)Except when a party submits a certified transcript that contains all the designated proceedings under (b)(3)(C) with the notice of designation, the notice of designation must be served on each known reporter of the designated proceedings.

((b) Deposit or substitute for cost of transcript

(1)With its notice of designation, a party must deposit with the superior court clerk the approximate cost of transcribing the proceedings it designates and a fee of $50 for the superior court to hold this deposit in trust. The deposit must be either:

(A)The amount specified in the reporter’s written estimate; or

(B)An amount calculated as follows:

(i)For proceedings that have not 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.

(2)If the reporter believes the deposit is inadequate, within 15 days after the clerk mails the notice under (d)(1) the reporter may file with the clerk and mail to the designating party an estimate of the transcript’s total cost at the statutory rate, showing the additional deposit required. The party must deposit the additional sum within 10 days after the reporter mails the estimate.

(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 a Transcript Reimbursement Fund application filed under (c)(1).

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

(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 a Transcript Reimbursement Fund application filed under (c)(1).

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

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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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