Author: ExpertDepos

Effective Ways a Court Reporter Can Assist in a Case

Winning court cases often comes down to the details. Having an accurate, detailed account of every court appearance, witness testimony, and deposition can make a substantial difference in preparing a winning argument. Court reporters offer the specialized service of detailed transcripts of legal proceedings, which can assist attorneys in preparing the best case.

While it was once common for courts to provide a court reporter, this is no longer the case. If an attorney wants the benefit of a detailed transcript of legal proceedings, they need to obtain the services of a qualified court reporter. Hiring a court reporter is a worthwhile investment that can ensure legal teams have the unbiased recording of word-for-word discourse that can impact their case.

Top Benefits of Using a Court Reporter During a Case

Memory and even audio recordings are unreliable. It is vital to legal proceedings to have an accurate account of every word that is said. Court reporters specialize in creating realtime transcripts of depositions and court proceedings that create a lasting record for use by attorneys; both during a trial and for future legal actions. Some of the top benefits of hiring a court reporter to record all proceedings pertaining to a case include:

  • Accurate recording of testimony for counseling witnesses and checking for discrepancies in accounts from one day to the next
  • Recorded account of court proceedings for future legal actions or appeals
  • Record of depositions, even those not admissible in court, for planning trial strategies
  • Realtime recordings to assist the hearing impaired or to translate for language
  • Less expensive and more accurate than relying on audio recordings that will also need to be transcribed after the proceedings

Having access to the transcripts in both realtime and in legal preparation for a case can be invaluable. Attorneys on both sides of a case can benefit from the professionalism and accuracy of an unbiased court reporter to record the details of all legal proceedings.

Are you looking for copies of transcripts to witness testimony? Check out Expert Depos, your source for certified witness depositions.

Depositions and How They Are Valuable to Litigation

Nearly 90% of lawsuits are settled before trial, and the face-to-face questioning sessions known as depositions are often pivotal to the outcome. Part of the discovery process, depositions are a powerful tool that both parties can and should use to understand the evidence available, discern details, and ultimately create a strategy for success.

Preview

The primary value of a deposition is to give each side a fair preview of the evidence. Learning all of the facts pretrial is crucial to avoiding surprises that could impact the outcome. Additionally, depositions are used to create support documents for future actions.

Preserve

Depositions also serve to preserve witness testimony. If a witness is unable to appear in person during a trial as a result of death, serious illness, or location and travel restrictions, a deposition may serve as their official testimony.

Obtain

In general, depositions allow for broader questions than would be permissible during a trial. A deposition can be a way to gain admissions from a witness or obtain testimony that is unfavorable to the opposing side. Getting a witness to commit to testimony is vital. Once the witness is committed to their testimony, counsel can prepare to impeach opposition with inconsistencies or contradictions.

Evaluate

Depositions offer the opportunity to evaluate a witness or other party’s understanding or awareness of issues in the case. It’s also a chance to take the measure of a witness: are they credible? Are there gaps in their knowledge? How do they present themselves?

Depositions are one of the primary methods of learning the strengths and weaknesses of a case. The integrity, presentation, and knowledge gaps of a witness can be used to determine their strength at trial. All answers provided during deposition questioning are transcribed and printed. Experienced counsel can use the written deposition to predict the likely outcome of a trial, and thus can make a determination on which witnesses to enlist, whether to settle, and for how much.

The Best Tool

All phases of discovery are important, but depositions provide the best tool for seasoned counsel to educate themselves about the facts of the case, evaluate witnesses, and plot the most effective strategy. Search for a witness, and buy a certified transcript copy of the deposition directly from the court reporter. Simple as that. Try it now.

Top 10 Skills of the Best Court Reporters

What differentiates the top-paid, successful court reporters from other colleagues in their industry? Like any profession, there are those who excel at court reporting and possess the skills that make them more valuable. Honing these skills can help those new to the field obtain higher pay and prestigious positions. Here are the top 10 skills of the best court reporters to emulate for success in this specialized field.

  1. Focus. Court reporters must be able to stay focused and not be easily distracted. The key of court reporting is catching every word and meaning during proceedings, without ever losing focus.
  2. It is always important to be on-time as a professional and court reporters are no exception. The best court reporters plan to be at their designated court at least 20 minutes before they are scheduled to begin, to ensure they do not delay the court proceedings.
  3. Professional appearance. Top court reporters dress appropriately and professionally to blend within their court setting.
  4. Attention to detail. Court reporting is all about details. Meticulous attention to detail is a skill the best court reporters possess.
  5. Grammar specialist. Grammar is an essential skill for court reporters. Adding in the correct punctuation and using the correct version of words can impact the meaning of the deposition.
  6. Business etiquette. Working with members of the court requires business etiquette and manners befitting the environment.
  7. Impartial and stoic. Excellent court reporters can remain stoic and impartial while recording any type of discourse, regardless of the topic. Personal opinions and reactions are never revealed by the best court reporters.
  8. Confidence. Successful court reporters are confident and poised when working in front of others; speaking up to clarify information when needed.
  9. Research and prepare. Court reporters at the top of their field do the necessary research and preparation before their assignment; knowing the court, judges, and background for the case.
  10. Accuracy. Not only the grammar, spelling, and punctuation need accuracy; all dates, numbers, and corresponding information must be accurate in transcripts.

Embracing these skills can help you achieve success as a court reporter and gain the experience needed to excel and become one of the best in your field. With experience can come greater earning potential. Find out how you can earn extra income by selling copies of your transcribed documents. Take the court reporter tour on the Expert Depos website.

Meta: Do you wonder if you have the skills necessary to become a successful court reporter? Review the top 10 skills the best court reporters possess to excel in this specialized career.

Court Records and Proceedings: What is Public and Why?

Attorneys, journalists, professors, and other professionals will often cite court records and proceedings
in their line of work. Most court records are deemed public record, allowing almost anyone to access the
information by request. Transcripts of depositions and court testimony can often be obtained through
the court system or by purchasing copies owned by court reporters. However, there are some
exceptions on what can be made public and what cannot.

Federal Regulations Regarding Court Records

The right to obtain court records is protected under the Freedom of Information Act of 1966, signed into
law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. This law gives citizens the right to access most federal agency
documents, including court records, with a few exceptions. Some information pertaining to national
security, law enforcement protocols, and trade secrets may be labeled confidential and not considered
available to the public.

While the laws can vary on what information is available from state agencies, most follow the federal
guidelines on what information from courts and other agencies is deemed public. The exceptions are
also followed. In most cases, the following information is protected and not made public, even when
revealed in court proceedings and records:

  • Mental health records
  • Juvenile court records and proceedings
  • Drug and alcohol treatment and court records
  • Social security numbers, bank account numbers, and certain other financial information
  • Domestic violence proceedings
  • Paternity and adoption court records

These records are kept confidential to protect those involved in these cases. Records may be sealed or
off-limits, except to members of the agency involved.

Court Reporter Transcripts

Unless they contain confidential information protected by state or federal laws, most court reporter
transcripts can be obtained by the public. This can be a lucrative extra source of income for court
reporters if they sell copies to attorneys, journalists, and other interested parties.
Court reporters who wish to earn extra income by selling copies of their legal transcripts can join Expert
Depos for free. Check out our court reporter tour on our website to learn more.

Tips for Newly Licensed Court Reporters

Entering the specialized service of court reporting can be exciting and nerve-racking. Even with
extensive training and preparation, there will be situations that may be confusing for newly licensed
court reporters. It can help to know some of the common issues other court reporters have
encountered and overcome. Here are some tips that can make the transition into the real world of court
reporting easier.

Planning and Preparation are Key

Everyone, regardless of their tenure or position, has to go through a first day on the job and learn the
nuances of their profession. The same is true for every court reporter. To make it easier, be prepared
and plan ahead for those first days and assignments. Research the court or law firm you will be working
at; know the lawyer, deponents, judges, other names, and research the location. Plan to be early to
avoid feeling rushed.

Common Court Reporting Errors

Attention to detail is important for all court reporters. However, there are a few details that are
commonly missed by those beginning their careers. Plus, court reporters will find that unlike their
training, court and depositions can vary greatly depending on where they are held, and the other
professionals involved. Here are a few common errors made by court reporters you’ll want to avoid:

  • Possessive grammar. Court reporters need to be grammar experts, but possessive punctuation
    can be tricky. Remember that “it” does not use an apostrophe for possessive; only “it is” is
    written as the conjunction “it’s.”
  • Use Ms. Women, married or single, should be referred to as “Ms.”, unless specifically referred
    to as “Mrs.”
  • Certificate page date. When the court reporter signs the certificate page, the date should be the
    date the page is signed, not the date of the assignment.
  • Attorney tables. While it is common for plaintiffs to sit on the left and defendants on the right in
    the courtroom, this is not always the case. Assign the left or right tables based on where the
    attorneys sit—never assume the seating is standard.

There is so much to learn as a new court reporter, but with experience will come confidence and
improvement of skills. Another tip for new court reporters – there also comes an opportunity to add income
by selling transcript copies on Expert Depos. Check out the site to learn how to join for free.

Meta: As a new court reporter, there are bound to be some errors made. Use these tips to avoid
common mistakes and improve your skills as a court reporter as you gain experience.

Elements of a Great Legal Tech Conference

Legal professionals flock to legal tech conference events every year, seeking ways to improve themselves and their careers. While conferences provide an unparalleled level of access to networking opportunities, education on upcoming advancements, and industry buzz; all legal tech conferences simply aren’t created equal. There are those which will always stand above the rest, and most of those standout conferences have a few things in common.

The best and most effective conferences will provide attendees with a variety of benefits, so it’s important for content planners and organizers to offer more than just a high-profile keynote speaker. Here are a few elements shared, at least to some degree, by many of the best legal tech conferences.

Inspiration and Innovation

Legal professionals are certainly looking for things they can put into practice right away, but they also want to know what they should be looking out for months or even years down the road. For this reason, legal tech conferences should feature a good balance between practical measures, which can inspire immediate improvement and the innovation of the near future. Attendees should leave with a clear vision of not only the ways they can apply what they’ve learned in the present but also an idea of developments coming down the pipeline they should keep an eye on as they advance.

Speaking of inspiration; keynote speakers are, well, key. It’s easy to shoot for a recognizable name, whether or not they’re actually legal tech insiders, but it’s not always best. Great legal tech conferences may have keynote speakers with minimal experience in the industry itself, but the message they deliver should always be relevant and inspiring. Speakers should always be the kind of people legal professionals want or need to hear from in order to grow and develop professionally, in one way or another.

Amenities and Accommodations at Legal Tech Conferences

Enormous convention halls offer space for plenty of programming and exhibitions, but they can also affect everything from the flow of the schedule to the attendees’ ability to network.

A tightly-packed programming schedule in a sprawling convention center means attendees are always rushing from one spot to the next, with little downtime to eat, network, or take a deep breath. Great conferences will offer enough programming to keep everyone busy, but not so tightly scheduled no one has time to discuss ideas and network. The best conferences also offer a bit more in the way of healthy meal options, access to quality-of-life conveniences, and space to work together.

What are some aspects of tech conferences you’ve loved in the past? Share your best conference experiences in the comments.

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.

Attorneys Caroline Song Lloyd and Alex Borchert to Speak at National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) Convention

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Attorneys Caroline Song Lloyd and Alex Borchert to Speak at National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) Convention & Expo in New Orleans, LA

NEW ORLEANS – Caroline Song Lloyd, General Counsel/Partner at Expert Depos, and Alex Borchert, Customer Relationship Manager for RealLegal, a Thomson Reuters company, have been been invited to speak at the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) Convention and Expo, to be held August 2-5 at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans in Louisiana.

In a joint seminar, Ms. Song Lloyd and Mr. Borchert will discuss technologies that are emerging to change the practice of litigation, how it affects court reporters, and the need for new safety measures to protect their electronic work product. Specifically, Mr. Borchert will discuss how to safely adapt to the changing world of legal technology and the benefits of using electronic safety measures so court reporters can further protect against sharing of work product. Ms. Song Lloyd will discuss how court reporters can take advantage of changing legal technology by utilizing new revenue streams opening up in the court reporting industry. Specifically, Ms. Song Lloyd will discuss ways in which the court reporting industry can ethically take advantage of technology for new revenue in a manner that faithfully adheres to the rules and regulations that govern the court reporting industry.

In addition to her role at Expert Depos, Ms. Song Lloyd is practicing as a defense attorney in the greater Los Angeles area and continues to serve on the editorial board of Los Angeles Lawyer magazine, a publication of the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA). Additionally, she is a member of the NCRA Committee on Professional Ethics (COPE).

Mr. Borchert is a licensed attorney with a background in Personal Injury and Immigration law. Prior to working with Thomson Reuters, he worked with a small Personal Injury firm while also giving his time with Legal Aid (non-profit affording professional legal help to those who traditionally lack funds and access to the American justice system).

The National Court Reporting Agency (NCRA), is the certification entity of the court reporting and captioning industry. The NCRA Convention is the largest annual gathering of court reporters, captioners, scopists, legal videographers, trial presenters, and other legal services professionals. ###

Pictured: Caroline Song Lloyd, Alex Borchert

CONTACT:
CAROLINE SONG LLOYD
(800) 970-4553
CAROLINE@EXPERTDEPOS.COM
HTTPS://WWW.EXPERTDEPOS.COM