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Four Critical Components in Scheduling International Deposition Locations

Four Critical Components in Scheduling International Deposition Locations

One of the hurdles to tackle when planning for international depositions is the search for the right location. For someone scheduling their first deposition in Tampere, for example, this can be a bit like chasing a shadow in a fog. Here are four points to consider when looking for a deposition location in an area unfamiliar to you.

  1. Proximity to the legal team’s hotel – if possible, book a conference room in the hotel where the attorneys are staying. This saves on transportation costs, as well as time! It’s a huge bonus if the hotel has an adequate business center to help with last-minute print jobs, though the court reporting agency can help you find nearby printers, and shredders as well, if needed.
  2. Technical capabilities – will videoconferencing (mobile or traditional) be needed? If so, don’t forget to conduct a test call prior to the deposition date, to verify the connection strength and stability.
  3. Comfort – this includes any catering considerations. If food and beverage will be requested, confirm any dietary restrictions can be accommodated. In cases of multiple days of depositions, the comfort factor is of the utmost importance both to the attorneys and witnesses.
  4. Expense (of course) – certain cities are notoriously expensive. Hot spots like Paris and Hong Kong can require some creativity to save costs for your client (for example, deposing a witness in a hotel room, rather than reserving a separate conference room). Don’t forget to check cancellation policies and fees as well. Check with the court reporting agency to see if a corporate discount is available if they book the conference room on your behalf.

The location for a deposition abroad should so completely meet all your needs it’s like taking the deposition in your own conference room at your office. This is entirely possible with proper planning and preparation.

The Planet Depos International Team works with local court reporters around the world and has been scheduling international depositions for over a decade. For assistance scheduling international depositions, contact Planet Depos International Scheduling at 888.433.3767 or international@planetdepos.com.

Top 5 iPad Apps for the Legal Professional

Top 5 iPad Apps for the Legal Professional

By Mary Lide

Your iPad can be used for much more than FaceTime and Netflix.

Planet Depos has put together a list of the top five iPad apps for the legal professional. These apps will help make your life easier, and make your iPad as versatile and useful as any laptop.

DocketLaw

DocketLaw

PacerMonitor

PacerMonitor

Lexis Advance

Lexis Advance

WestLaw

WestLaw

Rulebook

Rulebook

Adobe Reader

Adobe Reader

     

 

 

 

1. DocketLaw

This free app is handy for figuring out dates and deadlines based on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  When you enter the date of a triggering event (like a trial date), the app will calculate events based on which jurisdiction you’re in. For an additional fee, you can subscribe to specific, rules-based calendars for state and federal courts.

2. PacerMonitor

This is a great app for staying on top of Federal Court case dockets and filings. A companion to PacerMonitor.com, this app makes it easy to view, download, and email case filings. You can even save the cases that you’re tracking so that they are easy to access.

3. Depending on which service you use, we’ve split #3 up into a two-fer:

a. Lexis Advance | b. Westlaw

These apps are companions to the best legal research services. You can set up alerts, access and share your research, and view documents easily. They’re great for staying organized across devices, from your laptop to your tablet and back again.

4. Rulebook

This app is good for staying up-to-date on federal and state court rules. It’s easy to navigate through the different rule sets, which do need to be purchased—and it’s great for accessing the Bluebook. It also has a handy multi-task function for going back and forth between authorities.

5. Adobe Acrobat Reader

With all of the documents you need to read daily, a good PDF app is essential. Adobe does it best—you can easily open any PDF, search, zoom, annotate, sign, share, and save documents. We especially recommend it for reading your Planet Depos transcripts, which are always provided in full and condensed PDFs!

In this digital world we live in, it’s important to be able to rely on our devices to help us out. These apps are must-haves for any 21st-century legal professional—the tools you need are right at your fingertips!

Why I Became A Court Reporter

Why I Became A Court Reporter

This week marks NCRA’s National Court Reporting & Captioning Week, and on the 12th of February the Association inquired of its membership, “Why I Became a Court Reporter/Captioner.” Planet Depos followed suit and asked a few court reporters why they chose this career path.

Lisa W., North Carolina Reporter

I had never heard of court reporting and, while trying to figure out what I wanted to do when I grew up, was flipping through a college brochure in the guidance counselor’s office. I knew it would be business something or other because Calculus and Trig and all of those other crazy courses were not for me. I ran across a two-page spread on court reporting and thought, hmmm, I might like that. My guidance counselor said, “Oh, you don’t want to do that, the attrition rate is really high.” Not being one to back down from something tough, I said, challenge accepted. The rest is history. Can’t imagine what I’d do if I wasn’t a court reporter.

MaryJo L., Maryland Reporter

I was just starting my senior year in high school and had no idea what I wanted to do. I was good in Gregg shorthand and typing – though nowhere near as good as Kathy DiLorenzo. I was taking all the office courses in school, but I knew I didn’t want to be a secretary. I saw a commercial on TV for ICM School of Business in Pittsburgh advertising for court reporting students. I called them up, visited them the following week, and they were getting ready to offer what they called Saturday Special classes to introduce people to the machine. Interestingly, I remember them trying to talk me out of it, until I took a typing test, and then they were happy to sign me up.

Mayleen A., Washington State Reporter

My aunt was a court reporter. I was studying psychology in upstate NY after high school. However, in those days, I thought my aunt’s life was so luxurious compared to what I saw growing up. She would go to the Bahamas. I never saw anyone going on vacation. She always had money, it seemed. She always seemed to be home and not working. And she — God bless her — encouraged me to come to NY and attend court reporting school. I drove down eight hours from upstate NY and attended an interview at Long Island Business Institute in Commack, NY. Long story short, I went back upstate, gathered my belongings, and moved in with my grandmother and my aunt while I studied court reporting. My aunt is currently a court reporter in Tampa, Florida!

Kathy DiLorenzo, Director of Court Reporting

I don’t necessarily know why. Heck, sometimes I still wonder why. Though I do know “how” I became a court reporter. When I was in high school, I was a super-speedy typist. By the time I graduated high school, I was typing 105 words per minute. That was quite fast back in 1979. (What’s interesting is that years later, my daughter would graduate elementary school at 111 wpm.)  I competed in contests in the tri-state area — and won! So, it was my instructors who encouraged me to apply for a scholarship program offered at a local business school in Pittsburgh. I applied in the secretarial category, assuming that was the direction I was destined to go. When I spoke with the admins at the school, they asked if I might be interested in a career in court reporting, given my fast typing skills. I remember asking, “What’s that?”  Nonchalantly, I agreed, and at the same time filled out an application for the full scholarship offered in court reporting. After an aptitude test and interview, I was awarded a full scholarship for court reporting…and the rest is history.

If you or someone you know wants to join the Planet Depos court reporting team, click here.

Spotlight: Jean Hammond, Proofreader

Spotlight: Jean Hammond, Proofreader

In keeping with the celebration of NCRA’s Court Reporting & Captioning Week, it seemed only fitting that we shine a light on an integral behind-the-scenes component of transcript preparation — proofreading. Jean Hammond is a proofreader living in Groveland, FL, with 20 years in the legal community as a legal secretary/assistant.

Jean, please introduce yourself to our readers and tell us a little about your background.

Hi, my name’s Jean Hammond. I’m a proofreader of transcripts for court reporters, and I live in Central Florida. My very first job out of high school turned into a 20-year run as a legal admin and assistant. After some wonderful stay-at-home-mom years and then a while as a Pilates instructor and personal assistant, I worked at my church for ten years in the Local Outreach ministry organizing and managing a food pantry, home repair and renovation teams, care packages to U.S. troops overseas and a myriad of other efforts and events all involving multiple moving parts, hundreds of volunteers, details, schedules, precision and personalities. In all of the experiences of my work and life I’ve tried to live by the motto that Excellence is in the details.

Can you please tell us what sparked your interest in becoming a proofreader? How long have you been proofreading for court reporters?

Well, I’ve always been a bit – can I say “anal”? – about words. I love good grammar and proper speech. I think word origins and idioms are interesting. Errors pop off the page at me. I’m the go-to person that people have proof their books and school papers and create their fliers and publicity materials. For several years I helped a friend edit and publish her first several books.

Life had been getting exponentially more stressful with my fulfilling (though increasingly demanding and not especially lucrative) full-time job and trying to stay on top of my family and home and not run out of hours for the “me” time I needed since I’d become a single mom. Until I stumbled across an article online about the niche field of proofreading for court reporters, I’d never imagined there was a way for me to combine my legal experience and years summarizing and proofreading depositions, my random other work experiences and my error-spotting superpower and do it all as my own boss, in my own business, from the comfort of my own home! So after a lot of researching, I found the only structured transcript proofreading training program online (Transcript Proofreading: Theory and Practice™) and learned how to be the best possible proofreader for court reporters. Eventually I left that full-time job and have recently celebrated my one-year anniversary of working solely for myself, from home, proofreading and enjoying my life in a way that I hadn’t in years.

What qualities should a reporter look for in a proofreader, and what advice do you have for reporters looking to use a proofreader for the first time?

I believe a proofreader’s job is to help a reporter look their best. We are the final eyes, the detail watchers, the difference between a “good” and “great” transcript, so the three main qualities that a (very) good proofreader needs to have boil down to:

  • Knowledge. A proofreader needs to know their stuff (meaning the official punctuation rules, spelling, formatting, a great grasp of language, familiarity with idioms, adages, legalese, etc.) and have an extreme attention to detail. I was trained and rely on Morson’s English Guide for Court Reporters and the Gregg Reference Manual with Margie Wakeman-Wells’ Court Reporting: Bad Grammar/Good Punctuation thrown in the mix for good measure. I’m happy to cite rules, suggest punctuation options, explain word choices or write in punctuation or spelling reminders on transcripts or in e-mails with my reporters.
  • Flexibility. Since the spoken word brings proofreading to a whole new level and since reporters and agencies can vary in what they want in their transcript, it can’t always or only be about rules. A good proofer is flexible and can allow for and find a balance that meets somewhere between rules and readability, preferences and consistency. Along with the rules, I proofread for clarity, correctness and consistency within each reporter’s preferences. I’m okay with a reporter who is a comma minimalist, uses or doesn’t use quotation marks, or any other style or preference. I just ensure: (a) it’s consistent throughout the transcript, (b) it allows for the easiest reading within those guidelines, and (c) it changes nothing in the meaning of the testimony.
  • Communication. A reporter should look for a proofer with great communication and is realistic and dependable in their turnaround. There’s probably nothing worse than getting the “Yeah, sorry; I didn’t get to it” message at the eleventh hour! We’ve all heard the horror stories. But a proofreader worth anything will want to protect their reporter’s work-product and stress level and will send a quick “I received your job. You’ll get it back by _____!” or “I just received your job. Unfortunately, I’m swamped/sick/moving/having fun in Vegas right now. Can I help you find a backup?”

Of course, there’s no way for a reporter to know if a proofreader has these qualities until it’s tested, so I would encourage reporters to audition proofers until they find one (and a backup!) who meets their needs. Sending a 25-page transcript with a selection of common errors will cost as little as $7-$10 but will show a proofer’s knowledge, communication, turnaround and dependability. Do yourself a favor and do it well before you actually have a job to be proofed (and don’t let on that it’s a test)! Is she reading for content or just skimming through the words? How’s her legalese? Did she catch the missing “an” or the wrong-tense ending in the sentence? The missing end-quotes, or inconsistent commas? How’s her hyphen-no hyphen and semi-colon knowledge? Did she note that the Appearances page doesn’t include the speaker on page 12? Did she see that the attorney’s name was spelled differently on the last page? Did she send it back on time (or even just a bit before)?

Also, reporters should keep in mind that a proofreader is not a scopist. While some (like me) ensure that business and other proper names, medicines and technical/industry-specific words and terms are accurate, proofers are the final eyes that double check the transcript before it’s complete and shouldn’t be relied on to make edits to a transcript.

What are the three most commonly misspelled words you see in transcripts?

For the most part, my reporters (and their scopists) do a really good job of weeding out the errors that a simple spell-check may reveal, but I do find the usual homonym and homophone troublemakers like effect/affect, on to/onto, insure/ensure, perspective/prospective.

By far, though, the most errors I see are errors of wrong tense or wrong-ending — dropping an “s” when it should read plural, “ed” instead of “ing,” “simply” instead of “simple”. This is the very reason proofreaders are needed, and as my friend the writer tells me, “That’s job security, baby!”

What are the three most common punctuation errors you find when proofreading?

This one’s easy:

(1) the comma splice that misuses a comma in joining two independent clauses (It was a dark and stormy night, the roads were wet and slippery. Nope.);

(2) NOT using a comma to join independent clauses with a coordinating conjunction (It was a dark and stormy night, and the roads were wet and slippery. Yes!); and

(3) NOT punctuating noncoordinating conjunction independent clauses correctly with a semi-colon (It was a dark and stormy night; the roads were wet and slippery. Yes!)

Can you explain the difference between using dashes and ellipses?  Perhaps provide an example of when each one would be correctly used.

Oh, good question!

Okay, the double-hyphen “em dash” (as opposed to the shorter “en dash,” which is a whole ‘nother story) creates a strong break in a sentence. It can be used – and always in pairs – like parentheses or alone to show that a speaker’s thought or sentence was broken or interrupted.  (I visualize it as an “aggressive” punctuation option; it forces its way in!) The witness who can’t complete a thought gets an em dash (So the first time – I first knew that the car was gone when I – when my wife told me.) Speakers who interrupt or talk over each other get an em dash:

Q. I’d ask that you let me finish my ques- —

A. Uh-huh. Sure.

Q.– -tion before you start your answer, Mr. Smith, and I’ll —

A. Sure.

Q. afford you the same courtesy.

Ellipses are used to denote missing words, but in a different way. Words or phrases omitted from quoted text (Sir, do you see where Paragraph B states, “The parties . . . will hold each other harmless”?), or at the end of a line when a speaker either just trails off or somehow has no more words to finish his sentence (It was so long ago that I don’t . . .).

The difference is really in the speaker’s intonation or the other speaker’s actions, and it’s almost impossible for a proofreader to know whether the speaker just trailed off or the other speaker actually “stepped on his line” (to use an old acting idiom). Generally, the amount of time between speaker 1 and speaker 2 is the deciding factor, and that’s up to the reporter to record. To make things even harder, some people have a habit of using a hard, throw-away “so” to end their sentences (I don’t know how fast I was going, so.), while other people may use it in a more questioning or drawn out/trailing away way (I don’t know how fast I was going, so . . .) and it really is left to the reporter to either differentiate or choose one and be consistent. (Have I said before that a reporter’s job is crazy hard?)

Where do you stand on quotation marks/not quotation marks?

I stand wherever my reporter stands, but I’ll be honest. As a reader, text is just harder without quotation marks. I often have to reread or at the very least slow down and revise on-the-fly my understanding of an awkward sentence when quotation marks aren’t there to give me cues. It’s taken some getting used to, but even the more recent adaption of comma-capping quotations is an easier read and, to me, allows for more clarity although it, too, has its issues. For example, She came over and said, Are you hurt? is quite understandable, but She came over and said, Are you hurt? I just wanted to hit her . . . not so much now, right? (See what I did with the ellipses? Casual, non-legal writing lets me use it as a pause for effect.)

What software do you use to proofread, and what should a reporter expect to receive when you have completed proofreading?

I proofread documents in PDF format using iAnnotate software on an iPad.  iAnnotate allows me to make annotations exactly where they’re needed, directly onto the PDF pages, mostly using a yellow highlighter and with corrections, additions and questions typed in red, like this:

 

Proofing via PDF is so much quicker than an errata sheet! And it ensures my eyes never leave the transcript page. When I’m done, iAnnotate allows me the option of e-mailing back only the annotated pages, saving the reporter from going page-by-page to search for (and potentially miss) my corrections. Comparison and corrections can be made, literally, in minutes.

How many pages do you typically read in a day/week?

My total monthly pages now average at just over 5,100, so that means about 1,175 pages per week. That seems like a lot, but I can read 100 pages of pretty “clean” (not excessively needing corrections) and standard transcripts in about an hour and 75-85 pages per hour for the tougher, not-very-clean (i.e., not ready to be proofread) jobs, or expert or technical transcripts that require me to start and stop a lot, or for word-dense narratives or hearings.

What are your other interests when you’re not reading transcripts?

When I’m not reading transcripts, I enjoy spreading my creative wings and planning parties, fundraisers and other events for friends and acquaintances. I’m also on the board of directors of Unforsaken Ministries, a local nonprofit that provides support to single moms and widows in my area and which fully funds a school of about 100 students in Morriseau, Haiti. In addition to that, I’m the mom of two busy teenagers, and I enjoy meeting friends for coffee dates or lunch and shopping. With my ability to literally proofread anywhere, I’m looking forward this year to a return to a log cabin in Gatlinburg and a visit in the fall with my best friend in Upstate New York.

Are you taking on any new clients at this time? What is the best way for reporters to contact you?

Yes, I am. I look forward to connecting with reporters who need a (or need a new) proofreader. You can check out my website at jeanhammondproofreading.com for more information about my rates and services, as well as a few testimonials of some current reporters. I am also happy to be contacted directly by e-mail at jhammondproofreading@gmail.com.

Court Reporter Mentoring – Back to the Future

Court Reporter Mentoring – Back to the Future

In February of 2016, in conjunction with NCRA’s Court Reporting & Captioning Week, Planet Depos announced the launch of Planet Institute, a program developed to bridge the gap between student and career.

Some of our “senior” generation of reporters may remember the training they received in court reporting school, but no doubt each of us can remember well the single person who trained and mentored us, who influenced us to be the reporter we are today. In most cases, it was a firm owner who took us under their wing, allowed us to shadow, read through every transcript we produced for upwards of a year’s time, and who instilled in us a commitment to excellence in our profession. What encompassed that “commitment to excellence”?

  • Continuous speed development
  • Insatiable passion for learning
  • Thorough research
  • Proper formatting, punctuation, and legal procedures
  • Dependability
  • Flexibility
  • Can-do attitude
  • Certification
  • Continuing Education
  • Professionalism
  • Adherence to our Code of Ethics
  • Giving back

Just after the launch of Planet Institute, I was interviewed by Ari Kaplan on his program called “Reinventing Professional Services.” About Planet Institute, he asked, “Why?”

There are three particular movements that we have witnessed over the years that have dramatically changed the way students are educated and enter the workforce.

  1. The vast majority of students are learning court reporting online.
  2. Court reporters who would have served as mentors in the past are now working from their home office and, as such, opportunities for mentoring, coaching and professional guidance are often nonexistent.
  3. Unlike years gone by, new graduates are not working for a single local firm which impacts the agency’s desire to commit to onboarding fledgling reporters.

With these three factors in play, who is it then who takes on the nurturing and leadership role in laying a solid foundation to a successful career in court reporting? While there are individual court reporters and firm owners who understand the value of paying it forward and mentoring new reporters, there are simply not enough options for the next generation to be intensely and appropriately trained and mentored. Planet Institute is Planet Depos’ contribution to this effort.

As an international court reporting firm, Planet Depos is uniquely positioned to assess the broad spectrum of talent that exists within our profession, particularly within the profession’s newest entrants, as well as the general weaknesses related to writing skills, general knowledge, ethical considerations and overall professionalism. To that end, we created the position of Professional Development Specialist – a full-time employee dedicated to providing one-on-one professional development for new reporters.

Although there is no cost to enroll in Planet Institute, we realized at the outset that there needed to be minimum requirements to enter the program. Anything less would render the program meaningless and provide little incentive for students to “make it” into the program. In order to apply, the student must:

  • Be in final speeds or have graduated within the past six months
  • Complete an online application
  • Provide a letter of reference from an instructor or working reporter
  • Be proficient with CAT system
  • Pass a 30-minute writing evaluation*
  • Pass entrance exams (spelling, vocabulary, error-spotting)
  • Undergo a personal interview

* Candidate is given five hours to write and produce a transcript of a 30-minute videotaped deposition, with full use of audio/video.

Once a student is accepted into the program, they are assigned shadowing opportunities with seasoned reporters in their area. Each of these reporters has an established professional relationship with Planet Depos and can be relied upon to provide guidance in all aspects of reporting. In working with several experienced reporters, the student is exposed to the various styles of interacting with clients, how the everyday is handled in terms of readback, exhibit handling, interruptions, as well as a peek at what their future might hold if they embrace realtime technology and enhanced skill development.

For each shadowing assignment, the student prepares no fewer than 50 pages for in-depth review, a verbatim evaluation comparing the transcript against the audio. This review will reveal weaknesses, if any, in the following areas:

  • Word knowledge
  • Research skills
  • Punctuation
  • Transcript formatting

The ultimate goal with each student is to get them to “fly solo.” Do they understand the importance of their role? Do they understand their ethical obligations? Do they understand that if something doesn’t sound right, it probably isn’t right? Do they question words, phrases, terminology that they aren’t absolutely certain they know the meaning of? Are they their toughest critic? Do they ask questions? Do they improve with each transcript?

If we can answer “yes” to each of these questions, the student has then completed the program. At this point we provide advice on how and where to market their services. Several of the Planet Institute graduates are now working as independent contractors for various firms. Some have since passed their CSR, while others are still working toward that goal. Two of the Planet Institute graduates waiting to pass the CSR chose to relocate to begin their career until they were successful in passing the exam. It’s all about students taking advantage of the opportunities whenever and wherever they are.

Planet Depos is proud to announce at the end of one year that all students who were accepted into the program have either completed and are working court reporters or are still enrolled in the program awaiting state certification. Upon successful completion of the program, the student is awarded their first year of professional dues to NCRA, compliments of Planet Depos. Meet three successful graduates of Planet Institute.

Planet Depos acknowledges that we could not offer this program without the support of dedicated court reporters who have so willingly agreed to allow these students to sit in, observe and learn from their years of experience. We extend our sincere appreciation to the following mentors:

Wendy Andino, CSR, RMR
Maria Beesley, CSR
Judy Bellinger, CSR, RPR, CRR
Kathy Ferguson, CSR
Carrie Hewerdine, CSR, RDR
Theresa Hollister
Kari Hruneni
Cynthia Jyu, CSR
Michelle Knowles, CSR, RPR, CRR
Danielle Krautkramer
Carol Lowe
Alda Mandell, RPR, CRR
Katherine Stride, CSR, RPR
Ashley Soevyn, CSR
Anne Torreano, CSR, RPR
Ashala Tylor, CSR, RPR, CRR
Kim Whitmire, CSR
Cindy Whyte

 

Read related press release here.

What Makes a Deposition Suite Awesome for You? Part 3: Washington, DC

What Makes a Deposition Suite Awesome for You? Part 3: Washington, DC

By Suzanne Quinson and Julia Alicandri

In our previous blog posts, we discussed the amenities you, our clients, most enjoyed at our Greenbelt, MD office and our Rockville, MD office. Last, but certainly not least, is our Washington, DC office! So, what were the top responses? No surprises here:

  1. The host/hostess
  2. The snacks
  3. Professional and courteous service

Your host

Similar to the previous responses, we are proud to say that the PD host/hostess is a top choice as to why you enjoyed your experience. Your host is happy to assist you with technological troubleshooting, restaurant recommendations, and any copying or faxing needs.

The snacks

Delicious snacks are always available in the kitchenette area of the office. This includes: coffee, tea, water, soda, chips, cookies (freshly baked on site!), and candy throughout the office. We also keep low-calorie snack options like pretzels and sugar free breakfast bars. Bonus: always check the freezer for ice cream!

Professional and courteous service

The professional and courteous service stems from the PD motto of ‘making it happen’ throughout the entire process. From your first interaction with the scheduling department, to the professional court reporter assigned to your deposition, to your account executive checking in for a follow-up, we  always go above and beyond!

Take a virtual tour of our Washington, DC office below!

For more information, or to schedule with Planet Depos, call 888.433.3767 or email us at scheduling@planetdepos.com.

What Makes a Deposition Suite Awesome for You? Part 2: Rockville, MD

What Makes a Deposition Suite Awesome for You? Part 2: Rockville, MD

By Suzanne Quinson and Julia Alicandri

At Planet Depos, our employees constantly strive to improve themselves and our company. To better the PD experience, we recently left tablets throughout our offices to get quick and reliable feedback directly from you, our clients. In a previous blog, we analyzed the amenities that clients enjoyed in our Greenbelt, Maryland office.

This post will look at the Rockville, Maryland suite! The most popular responses were:

  1. Professional and courteous service
  2. The host/hostess
  3. The free conference room

Professional and Courteous Service

Though something that should be expected from any business vendor, it is becoming a rarity everywhere you go.  We have all dealt with a surly individual who seemed more interested in their fingernails, phone, or anything but being helpful and friendly!  Top-tier customer service makes tasks like scheduling depositions simple and quick, communicating your needs a painless process, and ensures delivery of the final transcript and media files promptly.  Equally important, superior service makes the whole process not just manageable, but enjoyable!

Your Host

Your host will always be the consummate professional. With a smiling face and helpful attitude, they’ll get things going on the right foot at the moment you arrive. The host can assist with technical troubleshooting – whether you’re having an issue with your mobile videoconference or you need a phone charger. They also make sure that snacks are replenished regularly – very important to keep moods genial and energy up!

Modern Conference Rooms

Again, the complimentary conference room is definitely a plus. The free conference room is often atop the list of amenities you find makes an awesome deposition suite as it’s a great way to save the client an additional expense. The capabilities, such as videoconferencing and a modern, comfortable feel, should help to further enhance the value.

That’s a snapshot of what makes an awesome deposition suite for you in our Rockville, MD office. In the next part of this series, we’ll be looking at the responses from our Washington, DC office. And check out a virtual tour of our Rockville office below!

For more information, or to schedule with Planet Depos, call 888.433.3767 or email us at scheduling@planetdepos.com.

Six Tips to Save You Money on Court Reporting Services

Six Tips to Save You Money on Court Reporting Services

By Suzanne Quinson

Litigation is expensive, and few clients are of the “money is no object” mentality, so finding ways to save them money is imperative.  Below are suggestions for reducing court reporting costs.

  1. Go paperless! Hardbound transcripts incur additional expenses. Go green and save your client’s green with electronic delivery.
  2. Need to schedule international depositions? Discounted pricing may be available when you book multiple days of depositions.
  3. Another possibility to reduce costs for international depositions: schedule with an agency that has reporters and videographers on the ground in multiple continents, reducing or even eliminating travel fees.
  4. Consider a videoconference, or even a mobile videoconference! If you don’t need to attend in person, this can be an enormous money-saver, so give it some thought.
  5. Confidential subject material? Designate confidential portions at the deposition to receive both full and redacted files at no additional cost!
  6. Need a conference room? It’s possible the agency will have a complimentary conference room you can use for the deposition, so don’t forget to ask!

Contact your court reporting agency for more money- and time-saving tips. They can appreciate the value of time and money to you and your clients and can provide more information on cost-effective solutions.

For more information, or to schedule with Planet Depos, call 888.433.3767 or email us at scheduling@planetdepos.com.

What Makes a Deposition Suite Awesome for You? Part 1: Greenbelt, MD

By Suzanne Quinson and Julia Alicandri

At Planet Depos, our employees constantly strive to improve themselves and our company. To better the PD experience for our clients, we recently inserted tablets throughout our offices to get quick and reliable feedback directly from clients. The requested feedback includes topics such as the professionalism and friendliness of our employees, the ease of use of videoconferencing, the comfort of our modern conference rooms and, of course, the never-ending supply of snacks!

So, what did our clients list as the most important amenities to making an awesome deposition suite? In our Greenbelt, Maryland office, the most popular responses were:

  1. The free conference room
  2. Professional and courteous service
  3. The snacks

Modern Conference Rooms

A complimentary conference room is already a plus, as it saves the client an additional expense. The capabilities and amenities of the conference room should further elevate its value. Videoconferencing capabilities, for example, are an asset, as remote parties can attend the deposition without incurring any additional travel expenses. It is possible the reporter can stream realtime to remote parties, as well. Check with your agency’s scheduling department about this option. Another option, which is a bit lighter on the budget, is the use of mobile videoconferencing, and the videographer can double as a technician to monitor the connection.

Professional and Courteous Service

A professional and courteous host (and/or videographer) is an essential advantage during your depositions. He or she should be available to help with any troubleshooting, copy or printing needs, and even ordering lunch for your group. Your host should ensure that everything is handled quickly and conveniently for you, so all you need to focus on is your case.

The Snacks

What is a deposition without snacks? With depositions potentially consuming a significant portion of your day, it is important to know that you and your clients won’t go hungry. Your agency should ensure that a sufficient a supply of snacks is available.

There you have it, the top three most important items that make our Greenbelt, Maryland office awesome, according to you, our clients. And be on the lookout for additional parts of this series where we examine the most important amenities at our other locations!

For more information, or to schedule with Planet Depos, call 888.433.3767 or email us at scheduling@planetdepos.com.

Deposition Horrors!

Halloween is fast approaching, meaning zany costumes, yummy treats, Linus awaiting the Great Pumpkin, and horror stories! All attorneys, paralegals, and court reporters have a few of these. Read on for some humorous horror stories from the deposition room!

In the not-too-distant past, Planet Depos’  reporter and videographer from Japan arrived at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, ready to cover the deposition. The attorneys had hired their own Mandarin interpreter from Taiwan. As he wasn’t a resident of Japan, he needed a deposition visa; he didn’t have one, and was denied entry to the Embassy, leaving them without an interpreter. Fortunately, the story doesn’t end here and turns out not to be so terrifying after all. The reporter and videographer managed to locate a Mandarin interpreter who was a Japanese resident (no deposition visa needed!) and arrived to cover the deposition, though the proceedings were delayed by a few hours.

The same reporter who was at the Embassy for the interpreter debacle related above encountered a different kind of horror at a hearing involving an economist. This Ph.D. witness repeatedly used the term “heteroscedasticity,”  a circumstance in which the variability of a variable is unequal across the range of values of a second variable that predicts it — for any of you who might not know this off the top of your head. The reporter actually broke her poker face, to the amusement of the attorneys present, whom she could hear giggling at her confused expression.

Lastly, we have a cautionary tale courtesy of an attorney friend of mine down in Louisville, KY. Her office received both an electronic and hard copy of a transcript from a small local court reporting agency. The transcript was produced with incorrect line numbers… in the hard copy only. This is spooky enough, but it gets worse. The law firm didn’t catch the discrepancy and cited in their motion the electronic copy which had the correct line numbers. Opposing Counsel filed a motion pointing out the citations made no sense, which was true, based on the hard copy. Needless to say, the judge was exasperated by the whole ordeal and, unfortunately, my friend’s firm lost the motion. The moral to the story here is to schedule coverage with a best-in-class court reporting agency and avoid these kinds of bizarre mishaps.

The best-in-class reporting agency makes the scheduling process a snap, ensures that a professional, prompt reporter and qualified videographer cover your proceedings and deliver an accurate transcript and high-definition video on time. They can reserve the location on your behalf, take the hassle out of confidential portions, assist with exhibits, international travel requirements, and more. This is the agency that goes the extra mile to eliminate scary surprises!

For more information or to schedule with Planet Depos, call 888.433.3767 or email scheduling@planetdepos.com or international@planetdepos.com to reserve coverage.

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