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Deposition Arbitration Room

ATTORNEYS – 8 ADMONITIONS FOR DEPOSITIONS

As a court reporter, I have sat through thousands of depositions and heard thousands of variances on the admonitions attorneys give the witness at the beginning of a deposition.  Many attorneys have a checklist that they use so as to not forget any particular admonition.  These eight admonitions are the most common:
1. All testimony is under oath just as if the witness were testifying in a court of law.  Penalty of perjury laws apply.

2. Answers need to be audible, no shakes of the head, shoulder shrugs.  “Uh-huh” and “huh-huh” are difficult to interpret in a written form.

3. Witnesses may estimate, should not guess.  (Example:  How much change is in my pocket? = Guess.  How much change is in your pocket? = Estimate)

4. Everything that is said is being taken down by the court reporter verbatim, unless everyone agrees to go off the record.

5. You will have an opportunity to read/sign the deposition transcript and make corrections you believe are necessary.

6. Allow question and any objections to be stated before you speak.  The court reporter cannot take down more than one person speaking at the same time.  Otherwise, the record will be jumbled, and the questions and answers will be disjointed.   Pause before answering so counsel have a chance to object to a question.

7. Objections are for the record.  Unless your counsel instructs you not to answer, you are to answer.  The judge will later decide what questions and answers will be allowed in future proceedings.

8. Breaks are allowed.

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Admonitions that might bring objections or waive Federal Code provision:

1. You must answer a question that is pending before being allowed to take a break.

2. You will have a chance later to read/sign transcript; but if changes are made, and they are substantive, that can reflect poorly at trial on your being truthful while at the deposition.  (Court reporters are taught that if this admonition is given in a deposition that falls within the Federal Rules, Rule 30 comes into play, and the witness will have the right to read/sign.)

In another related article, we discuss Witnesses Unintentionally Waive Right to Read/Sign Under Federal Rules.

 

@rosaliekramm  (Twitter)

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Kramm accepts Aurelio Altruism Award at NCRA annual convention

Rosalie Kramm Receives 2017 Santo J. Aurelio Award for Altruism

The National Court Reporters Foundation recognized long-time NCRA member Rosalie Kramm, RPR, CRR, San Diego, Calif., with the 2017 Santo J. Aurelio Award for Altruism. The award was presented to Kramm during the Awards Luncheon on Aug. 12 at the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo, held in Las Vegas, Nev.

The Santo J. Aurelio Award is given to a working court reporter with more than 25 years of experience who has given back to the profession and to the court reporting community with no expectation of any reward.  “Having the respect of my peers and colleagues means so much to me.  I love my profession,” Kramm stated.

Kramm began her career as a court reporter in 1981 working for Robinson & Vint Court Reporters. In 1985, she opened Kramm Court Reporting. According to comments submitted by those who nominated her, Kramm is regarded in the profession for her professionalism, willingness to help, and love of promoting the profession.

Press Release – NCRA

 

Avoid Cyber Attacks

Law Firms Beware – Ransomware: 9 Tips to Avoid Cyber Attack

Upon listening to a panel of cybersecurity experts, I came to the conclusion that law firms and court reporting firms are vulnerable to the most prevalent cyber attack, ransomware.  Ransomware is defined as “a type of malicious software that is designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.” Many times, the currency used to pay the ransom is Bitcoin.

Advice given by the experts includes these 9 tips to avoid a ransomware cyber attack:

1. Regularly update your Windows, Mac, Linus software especially when the update is security related.

2. Install antivirus software and keep it up-to-date to block emerging malware.

3. Be wary of suspicious emails and pop-ups.  What is suspicious?

  • Look at email address of the sender to see if it is coming from a legitimate email.
  • Look for obvious typos and grammatical errors in the body of the email.
  • Hover over hyperlinks and see if it would direct you to a suspicious web page.
  • Banks, doctors, the IRS will never ask you to send sensitive information like your SS number.

4. Often pop-ups windows that advertise software products that remove malware have ransomware in the pop-up ready to attack.  Don’t click through to learn more or download these products.

5. If you are a victim of ransomware, immediately disconnect your computer from the internet, and then report the crime to law enforcement.  Seek help from a technology professional who specializes in data recovery to see what your options might be.

6. Look into purchasing cybersecurity insurance.

7. If you are storing your data offsite with a third-party vendor (colo site), ask them if they have cybersecurity insurance.  (The answer should be yes.)  Ask your vendor to add your firm as an additional insured on the policy.

8. Educate your personnel on not opening suspicious emails or pop-ups, “But the dancing bunny was so cute… I clicked on it.”

9. Don’t allow personnel to check personal email from their workstation or have their smart phone, personal computer, or other devices connected to their workstation.

Along with following these above steps in our offices, Kramm Court Reporting has taken steps to protect sensitive data that we have online including having our Case 24/7 repository be SSA 16 compliant and having our backup locations encrypted over VPNs, and SSL certificates are used. If you are one of our clients, you can be assured that we have proactively done and continue to do everything we can to protect your information from these attacks.

In another related article, we discuss How Paralegals + Legal Assistants Can Benefit from Court Reporting Technology in the Cloud.

 

@rosaliekramm  (Twitter)

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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.”

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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)

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Deposition Arbitration Room

How Paralegals + Legal Assistants Can Benefit from Court Reporting Technology in the Cloud

Having worked with many law firms throughout my career in the court reporting industry, I have found that leveraging technology is a powerful way to save a tremendous amount of time and create efficiencies. Using a cloud-based, cyber secure calendaring system and repository allows 24/7/365 access to vital, time sensitive information and documents.

The following services are ways paralegals, legal assistants, and attorneys can utilize cloud-based technology:

1.  Online repository that houses transcripts and exhibits/notices/correspondence for all of your law firm’s cases. For security purposes, check to ensure the repository is SSA 16 compliant as well as the backup locations offsite are encrypted over VPNs and SSL certificates are used.

2.  Mobile app that gives the same access to the transcripts/exhibits/correspondence with the same cyber secure benefits mentioned in Item 1.

3.  Online calendar that shows all of your calendared hearings, depositions, and trials. You do not have to worry whether or not a matter is on the court reporting company’s calendar or if the time/location are correct. Just go online and check.

4.  The calendar would also be available on a mobile app and includes Mapquest directions.

5.  Invoices and Statements: You can check and see if an invoice was paid by logging in or checking the mobile app.

For more information or to learn about our cloud-based technology (Case 24/7), please call us at 800.939.0080.  We would love to work with you.

@rosaliekramm (Twitter)

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Woman-Owned Business Enterprise Certification

Attorneys Marketing: California Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (WOBE)

Kramm & Associates, Inc., dba Kramm Court Reporting, has been recertified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (WOBE). The purpose of the certification is to assist law firms and attorneys to win contracts by having their court reporting vendor (Kramm) have the SMBE certification.

In doing research in how to assist our clients with their marketing objectives, I came across the following article in Inc. Magazine:

Corporations, the federal government, and state agencies all want to do business with minority-owned companies. The Department of Transportation, for example, requires that recipients of its funding award a percentage of contracts to minority-owned businesses and many large companies have goals for buying from minority-owned suppliers.

“The reason for such mandates is twofold. First, contracting with minority-owned businesses is important to customers: ‘Corporate America understands that you cannot expect minorities to buy things when you haven’t done business with minorities,’ says Steven Sims, the vice president of the National Minority Supplier Development Council. Second, it’s responsible: ‘It’s important because we have an obligation in government to ensure that all firms in our state have an opportunity to participate in contracts that are paid for with tax dollars,’ says Luwanda Jenkins, the special secretary of minority affairs for Maryland.

“To meet their objectives, private and public sector firms search for minority-owned suppliers through programs that have formal certification processes. If you’re not certified, you can miss out on business ranging from a marketing opportunity to reduced-competition access to a public contract.” Sarah Kessler – Inc. Magazine

Please contact us today if you would like us to send you our WOBE certification for your next government RFP.

 

@rosaliekramm  (Twitter)

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Court reporters, paralegals, legal assistants find time.

Legal Assistants & Paralegals: Turning a Word doc into a Fillable PDF

Paralegals, legal secretaries and others in administrative positions in the legal field deal with many different types of documents.

As a court reporter and owner of a court reporting firm, my staff and I certainly have to deal with our fair share of documents.

Filling out documents and forms sure can be time consuming!

Receiving a Word document that requires multiple blank lines to be filled in can be extremely time consuming.
It is a waste of time to have to print it out, handwrite in the information, scan the document, name it, save it somewhere, and then send it back to the sender.

Looking for a solution, I found the following steps that allows us to reformat a Word document to a fillable PDF and thought it might be helpful if I shared this with you. These steps involve using Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat.

1.  Open the Word document.
2.  Go to “FILE” and then choose “Save as Adobe PDF”. If you do not see this option, choose “PRINT.”  Make sure the printer selected is “ADOBE PDF.”  Click print.
3.  Word will ask you where to save the file.  Choose your desktop or where you want to find the file.
4.  Your computer will create a PDF file, and it will open automatically in Adobe Acrobat editing.
5.  At this point your document is a basic PDF.  Click on “TOOLS.”  Then click “FORMS.”  Then click “CREATE.”
6.  Acrobat will ask which document. Choose “Use an existing file.”  Click “NEXT.”
7.  On the next screen choose “Use the current document.”
8.  Acrobat will try to detect the fillable fields.  You might have to edit some of fields manually.
Acrobat might think decorative lines are to be fillable fields.
9.  If you see a form field that you don’t want to be fillable, click on it.  It will highlight in
blue.  Press the “DELETE” button on your keyboard.  You aren’t deleting the line on your form, just
the fillable field Acrobat set incorrectly.
10.  When you think your form is ready, click the “PREVIEW” button and proof that the fillables are correct.
11.  If you want to make additional edits, click on “Edit” (where “Preview” had been).  You will return to
the form editor.
12.  When you are satisfied with your form, use the “SAVE AS” feature and save the form wherever you wish.

Kramm Court Reporting salutes legal secretaries, legal administrators, and paralegals and we will be posting more articles in the future that we believe will be helpful to you.

@rosaliekramm  (Twitter)

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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)

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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.

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