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Blog Category: Court Reporting

8 Tips to Save Time & Money on Depositions (Updated)

8 Tips to Save Time & Money on Depositions (Updated)

Who isn’t trying to be more economical these days? It’s 2020, and you have to tighten your belt with everything going on. Law firms are no different, trying to cut costs for frugal clients looking for any expenses they can cut. Large cases are necessarily more expensive, and their court reporting budgets are not small – realtime, rough drafts, streaming and video alone tally up big invoices. To help save time and money on your depositions, keep these 8 points in mind.

Build a Relationship

This is true in so many arenas. If you take your car to the same shop every time, you see the difference in treatment, the willingness to give you a slightly better discount, etc. Establishing a relationship with one court reporting agency has the same benefits. You are seen as a valued client, which comes in handy when you need a court reporter at the last minute, or need an invoice reduced or even waived altogether. The firm may even be willing to offer you complimentary use of their conference rooms in situations where a reporter isn’t needed.

Have a Secure Repository

You should be able to access all of your transcripts 24/7. A secure repository provides this benefit, so you can log in and download a transcript, exhibit, invoice, etc. This can save time when preparing for a case and finding yourself in need of a certain file – it is accessible to you in the time it takes you to log in and download. And again, it’s 2020, and everything is virtual!

Consider a Videoconference

This is a no-brainer for cost-savings. Eliminating expensive travel arrangements, and the time spent traveling, videoconferencing is an excellent option for a one-day deposition of a witness residing far away, even overseas. Remote depositions through videoconference also make a great option when in-person depositions just aren’t an option. Videoconferencing not only saves on cost, but can keep litigation moving forward when in-person proceedings can’t move forward.

Obtain Court Reporting Agency Emergency Contact Information

Be sure to get a phone number and email address for emergencies. This is invaluable if you need to reach someone after hours to inform of a last-minute change, or schedule, or handle some other urgent matter. Last-minute changes are part of the discovery process, and it is imperative to have a means of communicating them to your agency. The relationship mentioned in point 1 guarantees an immediate, helpful response to those emergency communications.

Encourage Opposing Counsel to Use Your Court Reporting Agency

When all parties use the same court reporting agency, cost savings are passed to everyone involved. Additionally, the case calendar, transcripts, exhibits, errata sheets and invoices are all housed in that same repository with 24/7 access. This also ensures consistency and continuity of reporters, transcripts and invoices, for both taking and defending attorneys.

Compare Rates Between Court Reporting Agencies

Obtain quotes from other court reporting agencies in the area to confirm the rates you are being quoted are competitive. Ask if the agency can cover in other states, or internationally, and verify those prices are competitive as well.

Get Quality Transcripts and Videos

Working with a reputable court reporting agency ensures there are no nasty surprises at trial. No need to worry about reading a transcript for the jury and stumbling over spelling and grammatical errors, or worse. No need to worry that your video clip has poor audio. Develop a relationship with the reporter who really wowed you, the videographer who demonstrated superior technology savvy, and request to work with them on all your depositions whenever possible. You cannot overstate the value of experienced, professional court reporters and videographers.

Utilize Electronic Delivery

Receiving final transcripts in electronic format only saves money, trees, storage costs and space (don’t forget the secure repository with round-the-clock access!). Ask about a Standing Order Form as well, to ensure the firm has your email distribution list for rough drafts and final transcripts, as well as your preferred file types.

Bonus: Ask About Free Conference Rooms

Finding an affordable and convenient location to take a deposition, whether locally or around the world, can be a challenge.  It takes time and valuable resources for the litigation team to locate an appropriate conference room. Your court reporting agency should have the ability to provide you with a location at no charge.

This can save you and your clients thousands of dollars every year. Whether you need a large conference room for a deposition in your hometown or a conference room for your deposition anywhere on the planet, your court reporting agency should be able to accommodate your request.

Planet Depos has been covering depositions all over the world for over a decade.  For more information, cost-savers, or to schedule, contact Planet Depos at 888.433.3767 or schedule your deposition online.

The Realtime Feed and the Remote Deposition

The Realtime Feed and the Remote Deposition

Realtime court reporting has been around for a while, and any attorney who has received a realtime feed knows its value already. If you have not yet requested realtime for your deposition, these remote days are an excellent time to experience it for yourself. A very beneficial tool for attorneys, realtime allows counsel to view the proceedings in real time. Realtime is the instant conversion of the reporter’s stenotype (shorthand) into plain English. As quickly as the reporter can enter stenotype strokes, the jargon is translated to English and transmitted to counsel (and their litigation teams, if requested). The parties receiving realtime need not even be present!

Sound amazing? Of course it does, because it is amazing. But there’s more to this crazy cool feature. Not only can you view the proceeding in real time, you can flag testimony or a line of questioning for follow-up, highlight any inconsistencies, all without interrupting the proceeding. No need to have the reporter read back the record when you have the record available on your screen (realtime can be streamed to any mobile device, as well). This is particularly attractive during a remote deposition with parties in time zones hours apart, when you don’t want to prolong the deposition with readbacks and the like.

Quality realtime is a tremendous skill requiring diligent practice by the court reporter. Not all reporters provide realtime, so if your proceeding will require realtime it is imperative that you specify this to the reporting agency in advance. Realtime reporters have not only honed their ability to speedily process information, but they have mastered the technology involved as well. A key tool for high-quality English translation is the court reporter’s personal “dictionary,” built over the course of their career. This is a steno-matching system composed of common words, names, and subject matter terminology. The more material contained in their dictionary, the better the realtime translation.

Attorneys can and are encouraged to send relevant case materials to assist the reporter in building the dictionary in advance of the proceeding to provide the highest quality realtime output of the testimony. Notices, patents, correspondence and spellings of technical terms and names specific to the case are immensely helpful to the conscientious realtime court reporter.

Ensure a Great Remote Deposition

With any remote deposition, participants should take measures to guarantee the best audio possible. For quality realtime in your remote proceeding, those steps become even more crucial. While we have already posted lots of information on the steps to ensure a smooth remote proceeding, now is an ideal opportunity to recap, so let’s dive in!

Ensure all parties can connect. Make sure all parties have access to reliable, high-speed internet. Each connecting party should be on a VPN to keep the proceeding secure. Verify your court reporting agency has space available should one party need to utilize a conference room with the required internet capabilities.

Test the connection! Each party should conduct a test call prior to the remote proceeding. This is the time to confirm connectivity and speed, as well as iron out any issues. Test your microphone and webcam for superior audio and video quality. This is also the prime time to ask the technician any questions to ensure you have the optimal setup for the actual proceeding.

Check out that setup. You want to be in a quiet, well-lit space. Make sure there is no backlight, which can blur your features. Dress in somber, darker colors to eliminate distraction. Plan to speak a bit slower and to enunciate carefully. These little details count.

Double check email addresses for all participants and get them to the technician so everyone can connect promptly with their secure link. While you’re double-checking things, double check time zones for each participant to guarantee everyone is connecting at the same time.

Remote depositions should run as smoothly as in-person depositions when properly planned. Realtime makes a remote deposition that much more efficient, so take the extra time to get the most out of this powerful benefit. Keep in mind, realtime reporters are always in high demand, so communicate early with your reporting agency about your realtime needs, and you’ll be all set to be wowed.

Planet Depos has been providing outstanding realtime reporting services for over a decade, as well as remote coverage for depositions, all over the world. For more information on realtime, remote depositions, or anything related, contact Planet Depos at 888.433.3767. You can even schedule online.

How To Prepare For A Remote Deposition

How To Prepare For A Remote Deposition

So, you’re going remote with your depositions, and you want to make sure they are the next best thing to in-person? With proper preparation, there’s no reason to worry that your remote deposition will be any less effective than the typical deposition with everyone in the same room. Here are some tips to set you up for remote deposition success.

Know the notary rules! Remote depositions are a common occurrence in these days when technology reigns king. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many States updated notary rules and handbooks to match a more technology forward economy. States such as Virginia for example, allow e-notaries to administer oaths virtually, no matter the location of the witness. Other States such as Texas and Florida have approved emergency orders that allow for the remote administration of oaths.

To ensure a smooth deposition and make sure that the oath’s validity is not objected to later, it would behoove you to understand oath requirements on a state-by-state basis. Additionally, for States that do not allow the remote administration of oaths, we have seen attorneys make stipulations that protect the integrity of the oath that ensures everyone is on the same page.

Get techy! Now is the time to unleash the mind-boggling powers of technology. High-quality videoconference is non-negotiable, and it is readily available nowadays. Your court reporting agency can answer all your questions about the technology involved and set you up for a smooth connection to your witness, court reporter and opposing counsel.

Remote deposition software provides a unified and secure virtual conferencing service — replacing the need for multiple platforms for voice, chat, and video. Your agency’s technician will run a test prior to the deposition, with each connecting party, to confirm compatibility between each party’s equipment (laptop, iPad, etc.) and the videoconference software. That same expert technician can monitor the connection throughout the proceeding to ensure everyone attending the virtual deposition does so without interruption.

Know the available extras. Know which ones you want. Do you want realtime streaming? This can be of immense benefit in any deposition, but especially a virtual deposition! Are you interested in electronic exhibits? You will be able to pull up exhibits on your connecting device to share with all parties. Don’t underestimate the capabilities of a remote deposition! Check with the reporting agency to make sure you get the most from your online deposition.

Planet Depos has been connecting attorneys to remote depositions for over a decade, and all over the world.  To get more information on remote depos, or to schedule with the experts, contact scheduling@planetdepos.com or schedule online.

How Court Reporters and Their Teams Can Work Better Together

How Court Reporters and Their Teams Can Work Better Together

Teamwork makes the dream work

Are you feeling like there are not enough hours in the day to get transcript pages produced?  Is your inbox full of requests to move this transcript ahead of that one because someone just realized they have a hearing coming up?  Are you simply fatigued from being overworked because there’s more work than reporters?  Here are some thoughts on a strategy you may wish to consider to lessen the stress and keep your clients happy and impressed that you can always come through for them.

Stenograph and Advantage Software both offer a solution that is revolutionizing how busy reporters keep pace with the demands of transcript production.  For Stenograph the product is called RealTeam; for Advantange Software the product is called ConnectionMagic.   Both vendors have created a product that allows your scopist and/or proofreader immediate access to your live file, including your audio backup.  Have you considered how your transcripts could look, whether or not providing realtime, if your scopist is editing as you are writing a job?  Not only are you looking like a fabulously organized and professional reporter, but your transcripts are produced much more timely and efficiently.  Additionally, your scopist has the ability to ask you a question on the spot about a spelling or a technical term which, in turn, you may clarify with the witness or counsel at the next break.

Let’s go one step further:  What if your proofreader could be proofreading the same job right behind your scopist?  Can you even conceive of this possibility?  Well, it’s reality!

How might your life change if at the end of each day your job was already scoped and proofed and ready for you to finalize and turn in?  Suddenly, that backlog that has weighed so heavily on your mind for months is a thing of the past.  Now you are free to write every day knowing that your support folks are working in the shadows, and at the end of the day when the client asks how soon the transcript can be delivered, you’ll proudly say, “I can deliver it in a few hours.”   Not only have you made a client very happy, but you now can charge expedited rates.  A win for everyone!

If you would like to learn more about these products, please visit this link for information about RealTeam and this link for ConnectionMagic.  And watch your e-mail for an upcoming Planet Depos webinar showcasing realtime reporting teams who have mastered simultaneous transcript production.

The Importance of the Court Reporter’s Neutrality

The Importance of the Court Reporter’s Neutrality

Court reporters are the undisputed “keepers of the record.” Their impartiality is one of the three legs upon which the American justice system stands. Knowing what to do and when to do it in order to maintain that stature is critical to the stability of the legal system.

We compiled a few of the more common scenarios that our court reporters face in their everyday work. The actions they take either ensure or jeopardize their neutrality and integrity in conformance with NCRA’s Code of Professional Ethics (COPE).

Scenario 1: Non-Verbal Witness Responses

Often court reporters will come up against this one. Witnesses, while usually directed by their attorney otherwise, like to respond with head nods, gesturing, or other non-verbal responses.

It is not the court reporter’s role to serve as an interpreter as to the witness’s intended response.  Likewise, it is not their role to prompt the witness to give a verbal response.   In fact, it is the role of the lawyer(s) to prompt a verbal response from the witness.  If the lawyer does not prompt the witness, the reporter is obligated to indicate in the record “No verbal response.”

COPE Advisory Opinion 31 supports this behavior, indicating “When a reporter is intentionally placed in the position of being a factual witness at the direction of counsel for one party, that reporter may be viewed as an advocate for one party over the others. The reporter thus loses the impartiality mandated by Provision No. 1, creates a conflict of interest (Provision No. 2), and generates the appearance of impropriety (Provision No. 3).

Scenario 2: Going Off the Record

One party will often request that the court reporter go off the record, but the other party or parties do not agree.

As the keeper of the record and officer of the court, court reporters are not to go off the record until all parties agree. It is the job of the lawyers to come to an agreement, and you must keep the record open until that occurs.

This is supported by COPE Advisory Opinion 6, which states that a reporter must be “fair and impartial toward each participant in all aspects of reported proceedings and maintain the integrity of the reporting profession.

Scenario 3: When To Provide Deliverables

One side may reach out to the reporter to provide them with a copy of the transcript, exhibits, or audio for review prior to it being available to all.

In order to maintain impartiality, reporters must never provide any type of deliverable to one party or to a third party for review prior to making it available to all the parties.

Providing them to one party first would be in violation of COPE Provisions 1, 2, 3, 4, and 9, which speak to the importance of neutrality, to the security and confidentiality of all the materials in their possession, as well as to the fact that one must be vigilant and guard against “not only the fact, but the appearance of impropriety.”

Scenario 4: Giving Opinions on a Case

At the conclusion of the deposition, an attorney may ask the court reporter for his or her opinion of the witness.

Once again, to the point of neutrality, a court reporter must never offer personal opinions about any aspect of a case.

Providing a party with a personal opinion would be in violation of COPE Provisions 1, 2, 3, and 9, which speak to the importance of impartiality and integrity of the profession.

Court reporters not only preserve the integrity of the profession, they ensure that every litigant receives “Equal Justice Under Law.”

Divorce and Depositions: What You Need To Know

Divorce and Depositions: What You Need To Know

Guest Post by Russell Knight, Esq – Attorney with The Law Office of Russell D. Knight

The legal process of divorce is extremely formal.  The process is formal because a divorce is the unwinding of two lives once intimately involved and now actively opposed to each other (at worst) and mutually apathetic (at best).  Getting to the truth of the matter in a divorce, therefore, requires many tools amongst which depositions are key.

When a divorce is initiated, a petition for dissolution of marriage is filed and a series of purposely vague allegations are made, e.g., “the parties accumulated various marital assets throughout the course of their marriage.”  A counter-petition is usually filed by the other side with similarly loose terminology.  Initial documents are vague because facts are undetermined and/or neither side wants to commit to a set of facts before discovery has started.

Discovery and Divorces

Discovery is the process by which each party exchanges documents to determine what the facts are in the case.  Accurately identifying the facts in a case is necessary to adequately negotiate and prepare final divorce documents or to prepare evidence to present in a possible trial.

Most discovery is done via a notice to produce. A notice to produce is a laundry list of items that the other party may have in their possession and should share with the requesting party.  These are usually taxes, paystubs, bank statements, and other documents.

Beyond a notice to produce, a party is allowed to issue interrogatories.  Interrogatories are a series of written questions that must be answered.  Typically, interrogatories are limited to a set number of questions.

But what happens if one party to a divorce needs information and the other party is being evasive or dishonest?  You do not have to wait for a trial to question that party on the stand -you can request a deposition in advance. A deposition is a formal meeting between the parties and their attorneys with a court reporter present.  A party to the divorce case or a third party may be the subject of the deposition.

The Role of Depositions in Divorce

The attorney requesting the deposition will formally introduce him or herself for the record as a court reporter is writing everything down that’s said. The deposing attorney will then proceed to question the witness as to whatever subject matters need to be investigated.  In a divorce case, these questions will often involve tracing money that is no longer available, determining what expenses were reasonable, and getting to the bottom of textured parenting issues.

The adverse party’s attorney will be present at the deposition and will have the power to object to questions during the deposition.  There is no judge at the deposition to rule on the objections so these are merely put on the record.  Those objections can come into play should one of the lawyers try to submit the court reporter’s transcript into evidence at trial.  During the deposition, the objections merely keep the deposition focused along appropriate lines.

In a divorce deposition, one of the most important objections is “harassment.”  A deposition is a tool for uncovering undocumented information, not an opportunity for a party to aggravate their spouse one last time.  Either party may say something like, “let the record reflect that counsel is raising his voice” should things get heated.

The transcript of the deposition will then be available for both parties to use at trial.  Typically, the lawyers will ask the same questions to the deposed party at trial that were asked at the deposition.  If the party provides a different answer at trial than they did at the deposition, the attorney may then introduce the transcript to the court in order to impeach that party and, hopefully, extract the question they were looking for.

Depositions are inherently confrontational and are therefore typically a tool of last resort in a divorce.  To avoid a deposition, provide full disclosure during discovery and act in good faith to all requests for information.  If the opposing party cannot cooperate completely with discovery or when providing discovery omits or confuses matters, you will have no choice but to depose that person for the sake of obtaining essential information for negotiations or trial.

Russell Knight, Naples Divorce Attorney

About the Author: Russell D. Knight

Russell Knight is a Naples Florida Divorce Attorney who has been practicing family law for over 13 years in Naples, Florida and Chicago, Illinois. His office specializes in family law, divorce, child support, and child custody cases.

Preparing For That First Court Reporting Assignment

Preparing For That First Court Reporting Assignment

Planet Depos wishes to share with court reporting interns the following tips to help them transition from their student role to the official reporter on any assignment:

  • As you begin your internship, prepare to upgrade from your student version of software to a professional version (Case CATalyst, Eclipse/Advantage, ProCAT, StenoCAT, DigitalCAT).
  • Learn how to run the Audio Synch feature of your software. Create a practice assignment and listen back to the Audio Synch to ensure that it is running and that the volume and quality are satisfactory.  If the quality is not sufficient, consider adding an external omnidirectional microphone to your equipment and use it on every assignment.
  • After your assignment, practice reading back as though you were the official reporter.
  • While interning, edit every assignment you take to hone your editing and proofreading skills.
  • Learn the benefits of creating and using auto-include files and how to create templates for title pages, appearance pages, certificate pages, etc., and perfect those during this internship opportunity.
  • Check your state’s notary public rules and get your notary certification and seal in preparation for becoming the official reporter, if your state requires these.
  • Memorize witness oaths/affirmations as you will need to administer one or the other before each witness. Here is an example of a combined oath/affirmation that you may wish to adopt:
    • “Do you solemnly swear or affirm, under the penalties of perjury, that the testimony you are about to give, shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”
  • Seek advice from your mentor on the job about marking exhibits so that you will be familiar with how the process should be handled when you are the official reporter.
  • Learn when to interrupt and know that even veteran reporters find they may have to interrupt from time to time.
  • Always dress the part of the professional that you are.
  • Continue to practice every day and remember to practice before each and every job – even when you become the official reporter.
  • Feel free to ask your mentor questions. If you are in need of a mentor, please consider Planet Institute and simply fill out an application.

These tips are intended only as a brief guide for students entering the court reporting profession.  The National Court Reporters Association and state reporting associations can provide more extensive guidance in these areas.

Court Reporting: An Under-Marketed Profession (Updated)

Court Reporting: An Under-Marketed Profession (Updated)

Some unsung professions simply don’t get the spotlight they deserve. It’s obvious that we need talented doctors, dentists, and teachers. But there are other indispensable professionals who have amazing mental processing skills in essential positions. A court reporting career showcases those stars. Planet Depos offers an incredible path in court reporting.

Along with lawyers and paralegals, court reporters are the lifeblood of the legal discovery and depositions business. It is a role that is essential to the legal process, and it is catastrophic that it isn’t marketed enough to young adults choosing their career path. We aim to shed a light on the basics of court reporting and the court reporter career outlook. We hope to inspire and locate the talent to pursue this career, or encourage another excellent fit.

Court Reporting Career - Planet Depos

What is a court reporter?

A court reporter, sometimes known as a stenographer or shorthand reporter, transcribes the spoken word/testimony at court hearings, depositions, trials, arbitrations, or any official proceeding. While there are several types of tools and technology used to make the record, the primary method today is a steno machine, a word processor with a modified 22-button keyboard, upon which words are “written” phonetically.

A certified court reporter must be able to write at, minimally, a 95% accuracy rate at 225 words per minute, though higher level certifications require rates of up to 260 words per minute. Elite court reporters can offer a service known as realtime, where their record is streamed as it is created to laptops and tablets in the room.

Often court reporters will take work outside the courtroom, providing captioning services at events, for broadcast TV, or even radio broadcasts for the hearing-impaired. Court reporters working in closed captioning often provide realtime captioning for corporate events, live concerts, sporting events, and conventions.

Why are court reporters so important?

Think of court reporting and its impact on society. At Disney’s EPCOT, there is a ride called Spaceship Earth, which takes riders through the history of civilization. One of the very first things seen is an ancient Phoenician recording history in shorthand. From early civilization to now, recording history has been essential to building society.

Court reporters are an integral part of the legal process. They are responsible for recording and preparing verbatim transcripts of proceedings to be used by attorneys, judges, and litigants. Court reporters also serve the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities by providing realtime captions for live television programs, as well as one-on-one personalized services in educational and public environments.

How long is a court reporting program?

Typically, court reporting schools are 2- or 3-year programs, but it can take up to 3 to 5 years to complete the court reporter training coursework. It is highly dependent on the amount of effort put into developing the skill set to become a reporter.

Check out the list of certified schools and programs on file with the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) to find the right fit for you!

A court reporter at work at a steno machine

A court reporter at work

Is certification required for a court reporting career?

In some states, certification is required; in others, not. The most recognized certifications are those offered through the NCRA. The entry-level Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) requires passing a skills test with 95% accuracy at 225 words per minute. There is also the advanced Registered Merit Reporter (RMR) certification, which requires 95% accuracy at 260 words per minute. According to the NCRA, the highest level of certification available is the Registered Diplomate Reporter (RDR). The Diplomate Reporter differentiates the advanced, veteran reporters as the elite in the profession.

What personality traits and/or interests do court reporters typically possess?

  • The court reporter’s primary responsibility is to record the spoken word as quickly and as accurately as possible, so it’s important to have a passion for words and strong language skills.
  • Discipline, a strong work ethic, and a quest for knowledge are three key traits among successful court reporters.
  • Court reporting requires a high level of technical performance, so an interest in cutting edge technology is a plus.
  • If you’re a procrastinator, then court reporting is probably not the direction for you. Great court reporters thrive under time and deadline pressures.
  • Reporters must be exceptional listeners and can concentrate for long periods of time. Accuracy and attention to detail may impact a case and, ultimately, a life.
  • History has shown that playing a musical instrument, particularly the piano, is another commonality in successful court reporters.

How much does a court reporter make?

Just as anything else in life, what you get out of something is the product of the effort you put into it! Court reporting is no different, and salaries can range depending on your situation. Many reporters work as independent contractors at their own pace, taking jobs to match their lifestyle. Other reporters work in fulltime positions within the court system.

As of April 2019, the average annual salary for a court reporter was $56,865, with an average range of $41,029 – $74,428. Reporters who have invested in continuing education, advanced certification, and cutting-edge technology typically earn $100,000+.

What types of court reporters are there?

Again, it is important to remember that there are different types of jobs for those who master the skills required to become a court reporter. A freelance court reporter is an independent contractor, or one who works for one or more court reporting agencies. Their work primarily consists of recording testimony taken in the discovery phase of a case (depositions), as well as meetings, arbitrations, and hearings.

An official court reporter is typically hired by a court system and works inside the courtroom. These reporters are generally fulltime employees of the court and work regular hours. Have you ever watched Parks & Recreation? Ethel Beavers is an official court reporter who utilizes a steno machine in her job.

Interested in politics? Have you ever noticed the person recording the proceedings of Congress, or reporting the State of the Union address by the President of the United States on television? These are yet other opportunities for those who have the brains and stamina to make it through court reporting school and to take their career to the greatest heights!

And speaking of television, do you know how closed captions are generated for live programs such as the news? The captions for all live programming are generated by the amazing talents of a court reporter.

What is the court reporting career outlook?

In a word: Strong. There is a critical shortage of stenographic reporters across the nation. In 2013, the NCRA commissioned a report on the impact of the shortage to the profession and to the industry. The Court Reporting Industry Outlook Report, published by Ducker Worldwide, concluded that the demand for court reporters would exceed the supply within five years (2018); that nationwide, an additional 5,500 stenographic reporters would be needed to fill the void. The profession fell woefully short on meeting the demand and many stenographic schools closed, resulting in fewer enrollees, and fewer professionals entering the field. These numbers also do not consider the number that have and will continue to retire.

Due to the necessity of court reporters in legal proceedings, it’s a profession that is at its prime to enter. Large metropolitan areas are in desperate need for new professionals, and agencies will often move you to locations with more jobs than you could ever hope to cover. The areas that are seeing the greatest demand for new reporters are California, Texas, Illinois, New York, and Washington, D.C.

There has long been speculation that technology will take over the court reporter’s job. Many courts and court reporting agencies are implementing new technology, such as digital reporters, to fill the deficit of stenographic reporters. These new technologies are unable to provide many elite services that experienced stenographic reporters deliver, such as realtime. Stenographic reporters are, and will be, an essential piece in the legal landscape. The profession is here to stay and joining now can provide you with a fascinating career for the rest of your life.

Join Our Team

If you are a court reporting student and thinking of joining our team, check out Planet Institute, our court reporting mentoring program. We will match you with an experienced court reporter for you to shadow.

Are you an experienced reporter looking for your next adventure? We’re hiring court reporters around the world. Fill out our reporter profile.

Hire a Court Reporter

For more information on scheduling a court reporter, contact Planet Depos at 888.433.3767 or scheduling@planetdepos.com. If you are ready to schedule, we have easy online portals for domestic scheduling and international scheduling.

Original Post By Brittany Davies & Updated by Julia Alicandri

An Interview with Kaylee Lachmann, RPR

An Interview with Kaylee Lachmann, RPR

A Planet Depos interview with brand-new court reporter, Kaylee Lachmann, RPR.

Kaylee, can you tell us about your journey through court reporting school?

After I graduated from college with a foreign language degree and realized it wasn’t doing much for me, I started working as a legal assistant. I was considering going to law school, but I wasn’t totally sure I wanted to be an attorney, so I started researching other careers in the legal field, and that’s when I stumbled upon court reporting. I was living in Oregon at the time, and there were no court reporting schools in my area, so I opted for the entirely online program through Clark State Community College. Going to school online was tough because I didn’t have a lot of other classmates to commiserate with, but in retrospect I think it really helped keep me focused. I wasn’t comparing my progress to anyone else, and I just kept my head down and worked as hard as I could. It took me a year and a half to get through school, and that was largely due to the fact that my then-boyfriend (now husband) helped support me, and I was able to quit my job about halfway through court reporting school so I could focus on gaining speed. We pinched pennies there for a while, but it was worth it! Court reporting school was by far the hardest thing I have ever done, and it is my proudest accomplishment.

What were your job options or considerations once you completed the program?

After I started court reporting school, we ended up moving to San Diego – which I was free to do, thanks to the online program. As I neared the end of court reporting school in the summer of 2018, I wanted to try my hand at the California CSR, but I was ineligible since I did not attend a California-approved court reporting school. They require students who did not attend California-approved schools to either be RPR-certified or have a year of experience as a working reporter – both of which I didn’t have. I scrambled to obtain the RPR in time for the November 2018 CSR, and I received it in October. However, it takes 4-6 weeks for the RPR certification to be officially processed, so I was still ineligible to take the November CSR exam. After working so hard to get through court reporting school as fast as possible, I was discouraged and felt bogged down by bureaucracy. I just wanted to start working already, so I started looking into other options, such as transcription and relocating to work out of state. That’s when I stumbled upon a great offer from Planet Depos to bring me out to Washington, D.C. to start working. Moving across the country was a big undertaking, but it has been a great first step for me. I am still planning to go back to California for the next CSR exam, and I have plans to eventually move back. It’s crazy to think that the first CSR exam I am eligible to take will take place about a year and half after I reached 200wpm in school!

You passed your RPR before you began working!  Very few reporters do.  What do you feel was the secret to your success?

I took each leg of the RPR a few times. When I took the first few, I would be sitting there, thinking that it sounded slow compared to my practice dictation, but my fingers would just freeze, I would stop breathing, and I would get dizzy. What helped me the most was getting into the habit of purposely breathing slowly and deeply when I was practicing and just focusing on the words flowing into my ears and out through my fingers. I also prepared for each test by getting used to dictation at way higher, insane-sounding speeds and just trying to get a stroke for every word. I am also a musician, and I have played piano and other instruments since I was very young, so that definitely helped me through my court reporting school and certification process. I already knew what it meant to spend hours upon hours in the practice room honing a skill, and I think that is probably the number one skill you need to build speed!

You’ve had just a few weeks’ experience as a brand-new court reporter.  Any surprises?

Not really, but I have really been enjoying the variety of subject matter that I’ve had to cover so far. The variety was one of the things that drew me to court reporting, though, so it’s not too much of a surprise!

Any advice for students nearing graduation?

Court reporting school was tough and required maintaining a very high level of motivation every single day. What helped me was finding a practice routine and sticking to it no matter what, but taking breaks is also so important. I find that the quality of my practice sessions goes down if I don’t take breaks, so it’s better to just take a break in the first place and make the most of the time I do put in.

Probably not fair, but where do you see yourself in five years?

Hopefully still freelancing, and maybe even traveling for a few international depos!

About Kaylee Lachmann

After completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Oregon, Kaylee Lachmann decided to attend court reporting school online through Clark State Community College in Ohio. Kaylee recently obtained her RPR certification and launched her court reporting career in Washington, D.C., where she lives with her husband, Kyle, and cat, Phoebe.

7 Questions You Need to Ask Your Transcription Vendor

7 Questions You Need to Ask Your Transcription Vendor

It seems inevitable that attorneys, doctors, corporations, and even government entities will need audio or video files transcribed into text. These files can range from court hearings and trials, voicemails, examinations, meetings (board, annual, financial, town hall, etc.), to interviews, investigations, and even podcasts or webinars.

It is important to select a quality transcription company to avoid disappointment in the end product. But how do you ensure you’re selecting the best transcription company for the task? Here are 7 questions you should ask before you make your final transcription vendor selection.

Who is doing the transcription?

If you search for transcription jobs, you may notice there are thousands available with very little in the way of experience required. Some companies will require their transcribers go through a vetting process, but many others will hire anyone just to keep up with the demand. When you’re relying on the accuracy of the transcription, you need to make sure they’re only hiring the best. Find out if your firm is using court reporters and other experienced transcribers; it may save you in the end.

Where is the transcription being done?

The economy is global, for better or worse. While many projects are great to outsource, your transcription may not be one of them. You may save a few dollars if you use an overseas transcriber, but the results may not be what you expect, or what you need.

How are the files being transmitted?

While this may not seem as important, since practically everyone uses email these days, you may want to find out exactly how you’ll submit and receive the files. Can your provider send via encrypted email, or a secure portal or form? With the constant fear of hacking and unsecured communication, this may need to be higher on your list than you thought.

What types of files can the transcriber handle?

Qualified transcribers should be able to handle practically any format, and they should have the resources available to convert and enhance the files if necessary. Make sure your transcription company can handle more than just MP3 and MPEG files. They should, at a minimum, be able to handle those, plus CourtSmart (used in most courtrooms), FTR Gold, AAC, MP4, and many others.

How much will the transcription cost?

This can depend on several variables, including the length of the recording and the clarity, as well as how quickly you need the turnaround. A good rule-of-thumb for quality transcription companies is a standard 10-day turnaround, with quicker turnarounds at an extra fee. Once your transcriber receives the files, they should be able to provide you with an accurate estimate.

In what format will you need the final transcript?

Final transcripts should be deliverable in a wide variety of formats, not just a Word doc or PDF. Check with your transcriber to ensure they can deliver in the format you need. Popular formats include PTX, PDF, ASCII, Word, LiveNote (LEF), TextMap (XMEF), Case Notebook (PTZ), Summation (SBF), and trial software such as Sanction (MDB) and Trial Director (CMS).

Will the transcript and audio/video be searchable or synched?

A searchable deliverable can make finding the information you need quick and easy, especially for lengthy transcriptions. It’s not going to help you to receive 100+ pages with no way to search through them easily. Similarly, if you’re planning to play the audio or show the video with the transcript, you will want to receive a transcript that is synched to the original file.

With these seven considerations, you should be in a much better position when searching for your transcription vendor. Any high-quality provider will be able to answer these questions confidently, and you can feel secure knowing your transcription is being handled by a qualified vendor.

As a leading provider of transcription services, Planet Depos and our team of transcription project managers, transcribers, court reporters, and back-office technologists can support projects of all sizes. We’re well versed in handling file conversion, enhancement, and providing deliverables in many different formats. For further information, assistance, or a quote, just fill out our easy and secure online transcription request, or call 888.433.3767.

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