Month: October 2018

Trends that are Currently Shaping the Legal Industry

There’s no doubt that the face of the legal industry is changing, thanks in no small part to the always-connected global network. Rapid-pace advancements in technology are driving change across most industries, and the legal profession is simply no exception. As law firms work to integrate new technology, while also managing the dramatic age gaps introduced by four separate generations working alongside one another, new approaches to old problems are beginning to take shape.

Social Media and the Legal Profession

When it comes to tech driving change in the legal industry, few things have the power of social media. It’s not just the place where firms promote their services, reach out to potential clients, and work to woo new talent. Social networking sites have the power to discredit witnesses, bolster strong cases, and provide discoverable evidence under amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Another effect of the ability to network beyond borders through social media is an uptick in globalization efforts throughout the industry. Firms are collaborating with peers in other countries and taking a truly international approach to law, but they’re also changing the way they do things at home.

The proliferation of powerful devices and tailored online services today allow more flexibility than ever before. From allowing professionals to telecommute, to the establishment of truly virtual law firms. This best-of-both-worlds approach allows professionals to establish a work/life balance while still serving clients and employers effectively.

Outsourcing and Specialized Web Services

From databases designed to help locate and utilize depositions at lightning speed, to pure outsourcing via external contractors, tech innovation is pushing more firms to evaluate how they staff, where they spend money, and how to create greater flexibility with existing tools and services.

It’s not all about cost, either. Outsourcing some tasks is another way of building the all-important work/life balance necessary for productivity. Tools and services exist today which allow a single professional to manage what would have required dozens of man-hours in generations past.

From streamlining operations to saving money and creating a more hospitable work environment, tech trends are driving the legal profession in a new direction. What would you like to see next? Let us know in the comments.

How to Pick the Right Court Reporter Training Program

Whether you’re exploring your career options for the first time or looking for a change, court reporting is a stable, fulfilling career with earning potential in the 6-figure range.

But the first step to beginning this incredible career is learning the skills needed to become proficient in the industry. These include a strong command of the English language, the ability to meet tight deadlines, effective communication skills, and so much more.

Quickly and effectively building the requisite skill set means finding the right court reporter school to fit your needs.

Here’s how to do it:

Look for Certification

The first thing to do is exercise caution. When you begin to explore your options, you may find plenty of places willing to offer you the world in exchange for tuition fees. Don’t take the hype at face value.

To avoid getting taken advantage of, ensure the schools you are interested in are certified. You can use this NCRA list to cross-reference your choices.

Think About What You Want Out of It

Picture yourself working in your ideal court reporting job. What are you doing?

Take this image of yourself and use it to reverse engineer what you should be doing in school.

Does it require a certification beyond Certified Shorthand Reporter (CSR)? Do you need specialized knowledge such as medical or scientific terminology? What skills do you need to get the job you want? Will you need an associates degree or is certification enough?

Ask yourself as many questions as you can think of before you pick a course.

While continuing education is great, you don’t want to have to go back immediately after completing your training because you learn that you’re missing something required to land the job you really want.

Consider Your Limitations

If you have nothing but time and freedom at this point in your life, you may be able to easily pick whatever school offers the program most tailored to your career goals. But chances are that you have responsibilities that limit the time and/or place you can focus on your education.

You might have young children that make it impossible to move to another state for school or a day job you need to keep to pay for tuition. Whatever it is, the best school for you is the one that can work with your constraints.

Luckily, there are plenty of schools that offer night courses, partial online courses, or that operate completely online.

If you visit the NCRA link we provided above, all of the programs are clearly labeled so you can quickly find the schools with time slots that work best.

Understand the Structure of the Course

Everyone learns differently. You may be the type of person who works best alone, or you may prefer individual guidance, or you might enjoy the structure of a traditional classroom environment.

No matter your learning style, research schools to find one with a structure that matches it as closely as possible. For example, you may think that you’d do fine taking courses online. But there are a number of ways schools offer online learning.

Some schools will provide a webinar style video and a message board to ask questions while others offer a live, immersive experience with tons of opportunities to interact.

Given the option, which would you choose?

Look for student reviews of the program you’re interested in and learn as much as you can about the actual structure of the classes before you make your final decision.

If you’re currently looking for a court reporter school, we’d love to hear from you and answer any questions you have.

Let’s take this conversation to Twitter!

You can tweet us @expertdepos and/or use the hashtag #expertdepostech

What do Court Reporters Need from Attorneys Before a Trial or Hearing?

Court reporters are highly trained professionals who, like attorneys, prepare for a new trial or hearing well in advance. In order to use their stenograph at the required 225 wpm to accurately transcribe the proceedings, court reporters build custom shorthand dictionaries with names and information specific to the case.

To accurately build a complete steno dictionary and create abbreviations for subject matter unique to the case, including names and key phrases, they need attorneys to submit the following:

  1. Joint Exhibits and Witness List – Generally standard forms with the case number, name, court clerk, department, type of hearing; and for the exhibits, the ID, number, date received, and description of each. The witness list includes the name, title, and address of each person an attorney intends to call, as well as a brief summary of the witness’ testimony.
  2. Job Dictionary from the Depositions – The court reporter(s) who reported the witness depositions will have done a lot of the legwork already. Referencing their dictionaries will help the trial court reporter speed up his or her preparations.
  3. Case Citation List – Providing a list of past court case decisions that are relevant to the current case will enable the court reporter to reference them quickly and efficiently at trial.
  4. Points and Authorities – The memorandum referencing important legal points that are discussed in the case, and the authorities that are relied on, is a key document the court reporter uses to prepare abbreviations for trial.
  5. Motions in Limine – Knowing what evidence may be excluded from trial, and evidence that will need to be discussed, enables the court reporter to have a well-rounded dictionary.
  6. Trial Briefs – Gaining access to the facts, evidence, and legal arguments the attorney intends to present enables the court reporter to develop key abbreviations for both names and ideas.

To further aid the court reporter in their preparation, it his helpful to submit as many documents as possible, particularly the Points of Authority, Motions in Limine, and Trial Briefs, in searchable PDF format.

A court reporter is a key ally at trial. Submitting all of the above documents by the required deadline will enable the court reporter to develop a complete case-specific steno dictionary, which is imperative for them to provide clean, real-time transcripts.