As a court reporter from the old days, I have learned the importance of briefing words and phrases especially when writing realtime. With briefs a court reporter makes fewer finger faults and can write with bursts of speed that will make your day a great one rather than “hanging on for dear life.”
When I went to court reporting school, I went through too fast and didn’t pick up many briefs. I was a pounder and stroked my way through the syllables figuring I would decipher later what I was trying to write. Luckily, I did learn the number bar and never had to write out numbers. When I started writing realtime in the late 1990s, my writing was a mess. I had conflicts and over 160K dictionary entries.
One day, thanks to my dear husband, Chris Jordan, legal videographer and perfectionist, I saw the light, deleted my main dictionary, and started all over again. I went through the Tabor’s Medical Dictionary and put in suffixes and prefixes, went through Webster’s and added words. I got out the Yellow Pages and added proper names of businesses and took out my Thomas Brothers to stroke out street names.
Life with a new dictionary has been empowering – and allowed me to pass the CRR.
I love briefing phrases. Here are five that I use all of the time:
- board of director(s) – BOEKT(S)
- promissory note – PROET
- first amendment – FAEMT (second amendment SAEMT) et cetera
- fair characterization – FAIRKS
- motor vehicle accident – MOIT
The bottom line is using briefs is liberating. Learn them. Use them. As an older court reporter, I am always pushing to write faster with fewer strokes. I don’t want to be stagnant in my writing. There is a great book called “Brief Encounters” that is available in electronic format or as a book. If there is a word or phrase that stops you in your tracks over and over again, create a brief and practice it. Don’t struggle. I used to freak out if I heard the word “entrepreneur” in a deposition. Once I learned the brief “PREUR” I couldn’t wait to report a deposition about entrepreneurs.
This post is meant to inspire court reporters to write cleaner, faster, and have less editing time. It is so much more fun being a court reporter having a bundle of briefs at your disposal to help you fly through the testimony.