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How to Become a Stenographer or Court Reporter

How to Become a Stenographer or Court Reporter on

Your route to becoming a key player in the world of law

For a short form of writing, stenography has a long and interesting history. Few roles can boast a professional legacy of 5,000 years! From Ancient Rome to America’s early history, the art of recording events in a fast and accurate style has drawn the support of Queens and Congress.

The role of the stenographer/court reporter (SCR) is not only a rewarding career but one which plays a vital role at the highest levels of our society. There are a few other names the profession may operate under, but the level of responsibility is always high. The rewards can be, too.

What’s more, now may be the best time to consider this job because the country is in dire need of these skills. Demand is high due to factors such as significant retirement of these professionals and a growing number of situations requiring transcription talent.

Here is a more in-depth look at the duties involved and if it is the right path for you.

The responsibilities of stenographers and court reporters

Stenographers and court reporters are responsible for keeping a written record of events during legal proceedings such as trials, pretrial hearings, depositions (the act of giving sworn evidence), mediations and more. It is essential that words and physical gestures be recorded precisely.

This provides a record of events that can be referred to reliably at a later date by judges, attorneys, jury members, the press or the public. The speed and precision of the job is aided by the stenotype machine. Despite having fewer keys than a standard keyboard (22 compared to 101-104), stenotypes are specialized tools which allow a great level of recorded accuracy.

Words, numbers, phrases and even sounds are coded in shorthand for full transcription later. Increasingly, modern stenographers and court reporters are leaving behind the paper records created by stenotypes in favor of computer-aided records. The benefit here is that digital transcripts are immediately generated from the shorthand.

Stenography also helps people in need as an invaluable aid to those who are deaf or hard of hearing. In any event, where information is being provided via the spoken word, the stenographer’s quick transcription skills allow everyone to keep up with events.

Is being a stenographers or court reporter the right path for me?

Here in Florida, we are in the U.S top five for stenographer and court reporter employment. Many enjoy this occupation, so it could very well work for you.

There are several core personality skills needed to be successful in this field. A person must be an excellent listener and able to focus their attention to a superior degree. Outstanding ability in this field is not only a core requirement for every document produced; the outcome of an entire case may rely on accurate transcription.

The ability to retain a cool head under pressure is a benefit anywhere in life; especially when court reporting. Emotions can run high in court, but the stenographer or court reporter must always be able to remain calm and transcribe events as they happen.

In the end, when tempers have cooled and court is adjourned, it is the transcript that will endure as a vital, impartial record. Integrity and discretion are also bedrock character traits. Stenographers and court reporters can be privy to very private and sensitive information and must be relied upon to maintain the confidentiality inherent in their work.

Qualifications and pay rate

A keen interest in reading and writing are a great advantage. Having a high school diploma with experience in business or typing can be good preparation; stenographers can reach typing speeds up to 225 words per minute and even 300.

Don’t let this figure discourage you. It’s a gradual improvement to get there and is achievable when professionals develop their manual skills and stay clear and focused on their environment.

From there it is important to develop talent in shorthand along with familiarity and affinity with stenotype devices and technology. Stenographers and court reporters must have a solid grasp of legal terminology as well as that of other fields, such as business and healthcare, as their work may require.

An Associate or Legal Transcriptionist Degree can be achieved as education progresses. The NVRA (National Verbatim Reporters Association) offers six certificates of merit to help stenographers and court reporters gain respected credentials. The USCRA (United States Court Reporters Association) also offers qualifications.

Pursuing the career in Florida

If you live in Florida and are interested in pursuing a career in stenography, then you can refer to this page. The NCRA acknowledges the commitment of these institutions toward excellence in real-time reporting education.

If you’re wondering how much the role pays, recent figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics placed the median salary at over $50k per year. Interestingly, the Bureau predicts particular job growth in helping deaf or hard of hearing people through real-time captioning and CART (Communications Access Realtime Translation) leading up to 2026.

The future of court reporting

There’s no doubt that computer-aided transcription can be made this job even swifter. In some circles, there are concerns that autonomous digital stenographers may replace humans in this role. They cost less to employ and are every bit as quick.

There are two principal concerns that seem certain to secure a lasting place for human stenographers and court reporters. Judges and attorneys alike are aware of the technological risks of digital transcription, namely that files may be prone to corruption, alteration or deletion. The loss of testimony or other vital evidence could spell disaster for a case.

We must also consider the human ability to ask for clarity in the event of an unclear word or phrase. A computerized version lacks that ability and may simply approximate or omit the sound in question. A human providing a written record alongside the digital options is the surest way to guarantee integrity and security.

There has never been a better time for interested individuals to enter this field. Stenographers and court reporters have an opportunity to contribute to the integrity of the nation’s legal system while also being a bridge for people with disabilities. America is waking up to how important stenographers and court reporters are, and prospective applicants can be sure they are entering a sector where they will be valued.

At Boss Certified Realtime Reporting, we’ve been providing nationwide court reporting services for trials, depositions, mediations and more since 1995. If you’d like help or more information, you can call us at 954 467 6867 or complete our contact form to let us know how we can assist you.

The Difference Between Mediations vs. Arbitrations

The Difference Between Mediations vs. Arbitrations on

How arbitration and mediation are used to solve legal disputes

Mediation and arbitration are both processes designed to resolve a dispute between two parties. They have both emerged as alternatives to the expensive, lengthy, and uncertain litigation process (a trial). In many cases, they are used to try and negotiate a settlement before moving to litigation or in the place of a trial. This reduces the time, effort, and expense for everyone involved.

“Both arbitration and mediation employ a neutral third party to oversee the process, and they both can be binding. However, it is common to employ mediation as a non-binding process and arbitration as a binding process. In simpler terms, binding arbitration replaces the trial process,” according to

Arbitration explained

Arbitration uses a disinterested third party to evaluate the merits of a dispute and achieve a resolution.

Arbitration can involve only one “arbitrator,” but often there is a panel of arbitrators who, in a sense, become the judge. This panel has the authority to make decisions about the evidence and prepare written opinions, which may or may not be binding. “The most common procedure is for each side to select an arbitrator. Then, those two arbitrators select a third arbitrator, at which point the dispute is presented to the three chosen arbitrators. Decisions are made by majority vote,” according to FindLaw.

Steps involved in arbitration:

  1. The case starts when one party submits a Demand for Arbitration. The respondent is notified and the deadline set to receive a response.
  2. A preliminary hearing is held by the arbitrator(s) to discuss the case and procedures that will be used for witnesses, depositions, and how information and evidence are shared between the parties.
  3. The hearing commences, with the parties giving testimony and presenting evidence to the arbitrator(s). After the hearing is over, the two sides might still present more documentation to prove their case.
  4. The arbitrator(s) then close the case and give a decision, which might include a reward, depending on the type of case involved.

Mediation explained

Mediation is generally the less formal process of the two. There is usually one mediator, rather than a panel. It can be voluntary, but in some states (Florida for example), the parties must go through mediation before the case can be brought to trial.

According to The Balance, “During the mediation, each side presents its view of the issue, and the mediator will work with each side in a caucus to attempt to work out a settlement. At the end of the process, the mediator can present findings and present a potential solution to the issue.”

Steps involved in mediation:

  1. Mediation begins by having the mediator introduce both parties, explain his or her role, and the rules of the process.
  2. Next, the mediator gathers statements from the parties, often asking questions in order to come to a more complete understanding. The parties don’t usually direct questions at each other.
  3. After the statements have been made, the mediator might ask more questions.
  4. The parties might then go to caucus, a process where they get together to discuss the issues and try to come to a decision. During this time, the mediator tries to propose solutions and settle the matter between the parties.

“The mediator works to find points of agreement between the parties, in an effort to reach an agreement. At some point, the mediator may pose a final agreement for the parties and urge them to accept,” according to The Balance.

Both mediation and arbitration can resolve disputes, though mediation is non-binding, and either process is often preferable to the expense, time, and public exposure of a court case.

Boss Certified Real-Time Reporting provides court reporting services for everything from trials and mediations, to dispositions and conferences. We’re accurate, fast, and in your corner!  For more information call us at 954-467-6867, or connect with us online today!

Workplace Bullying, and How to Deal With It

Workplace Bullying, and How to Deal With It on

Document, report, and confront – or leave

Workplace harassment and bullying became one of the hot-button issues of 2017, and this year will no doubt bring even more attention to the subject. From verbal abuse to sabotage and even sexual harassment, it’s important to know how to deal with it.

The facts and prevalence of workplace bullying and harassment

According to US News and World Report, “Office bullying is defined as “repeated, health-harming mistreatment” that involves verbal abuse, work sabotage and/or humiliation and intimidation, according to the Workplace Bullying Institute, a research, and advocacy organization.”

Other statistics according to the same study:

  • 4 million Americans are affected by workplace bullying
  • 19% of Americans are bullied, another 19% witness it
  • 61% of Americans are aware of abusive conduct in the workplace
  • 70% of perpetrators are men; 60% of targets are women
  • 40% of bullies are bosses
  • 40% of bullied targets are believed to suffer adverse health effects
  • 29% of targets remain silent about their experience

Signs of workplace bullying

Aggressive, abusive and bullying behavior is more serious and enduring than the mere incivility of an occasional rude remark from a co-worker. Types of bullying include:

  • Verbal abuse
  • Sexual harassment
  • Threats
  • Humiliation
  • Gaslighting
  • Ostracism or isolation
  • Withholding resources or information
  • Intimidation
  • Sabotage
  • Reputation damage due to rumors
  • Unfairly negative evaluation of work

How to handle workplace bullying

Confront the person directly

Start by telling the person exactly that you view their behavior as bullying. Be specific and try not to use phrases like “you’re mean” or “you don’t respect me.” Instead, say, “You disparage my ideas in front of everyone.” Or “You’re in my personal space trying to read personal correspondence.”

Tell the person point blank why the behavior is upsetting to you and that you expect it to stop. It might be frightening to confront the bully, but many times this can cause the person to back down.

Document the bully’s action.

“Anytime you are feeling bullied or experiencing bullying behavior, document the date, time and details of the incident. Note if another employee witnessed the incident. If you eventually seek help from Human Resources, documentation, especially documentation of the bully’s impact on your business results and success, gives HR information to work with on your behalf,” according to The Balance.

Note: If the bullying occurs in emails, make sure to keep hard copies of each correspondence.

Find out if other co-workers are being treated the same way.

Bullies often have more than one victim, so chances are you are not the only person being targeted in the office. Notice if incidents also happen to other co-workers. If others have experienced the same behavior, it will give you a stronger case when you talk to the HR department or manager.

Go to HR or management.

If you’ve tried telling the bully to stop with no change, it might be time to report his or her behavior to Human Resources or a manager.

“Go to HR or your manager with your evidence, especially the evidence that demonstrates the impact of the bully on the business, and files a formal complaint. Most employee handbooks describe the HR investigation process that your complaint sets in motion,” according to The Balance.

One note of caution before choosing the HR department to lodge your harassment complaint…

According to US News and World Report, “Human resources departments are first and foremost loyal to the employer, so they may not be the best place to take workplace bullying grievances, especially if the bully has a lot of power within the organization or performs at a high level. The department may chalk bullying up to ‘personality differences’ rather than ‘an abuse of power.’”

You might be better off going to a senior manager or director. When you do speak to a manager, couch the comments in terms of how it is affecting the workplace environment and productivity, which could end up costing the company money. If the bullying continues unchecked, it could lead to high employee turnover, reduced productivity, lost revenue, absenteeism, and even legal fees if someone decides to sue.

Find another job.

While the subject of workplace bullying and harassment is getting much-needed attention, many firms are slow to direct changes that make reporting such incidents easier. In many cases, making a claim does little to alleviate the problem, especially if the bully is your boss or another senior manager with a lot of authority and influence.

If you’ve reported the conduct and nothing happens, it might be time to look elsewhere for a job. Though our sense of justice says it’s wrong that you have to suffer because of a workplace bully, your mental and physical health is more important than your principles. “If it’s reached the point where your self-confidence is being shattered, that’s not a healthy place to be. Sometimes it’s easier to cut your losses and find a better work situation. The exit strategy is sometimes the one that’s the smartest,” according to US News and World Report.

Workplace harassment is a new “old” subject and one many of us have dealt with before. These tips may help you resolve the issue so the workplace is a safer, healthier environment for you.

Boss Certified Real-Time Reporting provides court reporting services for everything from trials and mediations, to dispositions and conferences. We’re accurate, fast, and in your corner!  For more information call us at 954-467-6867, or connect with us online today!

5 Ways Criticize Others at Work Without Making Them Feel Bad About It

5 Ways Criticize Others at Work Without Making Them Feel Bad About It on

Focus your observations and attention on the problem, rather than the person.

It is better to give than to receive. Unless it’s criticism. Then it’s pretty much a losing proposition on both sides of the coin. Most people will admit that being on the receiving end of even constructive criticism stings. What about giving it? Is there a way to go about it that helps the recipient feel okay?

There’s one thing totally outside your control. Choose whatever words you like, but you still will not have total control over how someone will interpret them. You mean well, but they don’t have to take it that way. Here are 5 ways you can offer constructive feedback to coworkers without making them feel bad about it.

1.  Nothing personal

How can someone not take constructive criticism personally? Nobody said deciding to offer criticism of any kind would be easy. It’ll be taken personally because it is aimed at someone specifically.

Trying to deliver your criticism in a way that won’t be taken personally may not be possible. You can, however, separate someone’s work behavior from their personal behavior. Focus on highly-specific actions so that the person receiving the feedback doesn’t convert it into a general observation.

“You’ll have less trouble with the accounting department if you respond to their expense report questions as soon as you get them,” is specific. “You’re slow to get back on some things” leaves plenty of room for interpretation.

2.  Keep it inspirational

Criticism is useless unless its objective is to seek mutual improvement. Do you really want to help this coworker improve? Make sure your intent is communicated. It’s the reason why they call it “constructive” criticism.

The objective is to volunteer positive feedback—as well as suggestions—that identify a problem. Focus on the problem and not the person. The more targeted and specific you can be, the less the recipient of the criticism will feel as if they are being personally singled out and made to feel bad.

Motivational experts often call this the “sandwich approach.” Your likely-to-be-construed-as-negative criticism is positioned between two positive observations:

Compliment | Criticize | Compliment

The delivery may help to soften what might feel like personal attack. It also can help with retaining their attention. Many people tend to tune out when they start hearing things they don’t like. The most important thing to remember about the sandwich approach is that you must be sincere with your positive observations. Otherwise, your sandwich is more like throwing gasoline on a fire.

3.  Skip the instruction

Don’t tell me what to do. We hated it as a kid, and we develop no love or tolerance for it as adults. We especially don’t appreciate being instructed by coworkers.

Stick with observations. Be specific about how your coworker’s actions impact you. Here’s the big, important thing: Don’t offer advice on how the recipient should fix the problem. Observe. Simply identify the issue.

Then, volunteer to help your coworker fix the problem. Skip the instruction. Offer only support. It’s already bad enough that you’ve brought something negative to their attention. Now you’re going to offer them advice on how to fix it, too?

4.  Phrases to avoid

There are certain approaches to constructive criticism that just set you up for a fall. As you formulate your observation, steer clear of these phrases:

  • You should…
  • I wish…
  • You never… or you always…
  • I can’t believe…
  • How can you not see…

5.  Steering clear of judgmental language

Keeping it about the situation and not the person means navigating past any type of accusatory language and moving toward neutral statements that communicate nothing but an observation. Try approaches starting with:

  • I’m curious about understanding…
  • I’m feeling disappointed because what’s important to me is…
  • I notice that…
  • Can you help me understand…
  • What happened?

Offering constructive criticism means you will be dealing with ego. Emotion takes over and it’s difficult to continue at a logical level. Even so, you’ll find offering constructive criticism works better when you remember to keep it as a conversation. The person to whom you’re giving the criticism should be doing as much talking as you.

Boss Certified Real-Time Reporting provides court reporting services for everything from trials and mediations, to dispositions and conferences. We’re accurate, fast, and in your corner. For more information call us at 954-467-6867, or connect with us online today!

Writing Wrongs: Tips for Effective Proofing

Writing Wrongs: Tips for Effective Proofing on

Legal writing remains one of the places where excellent grammar is required, and good proofing skills are a necessity

The comma police are giving up the battle. Grammar gaffes in workplace communication have reached epidemic proportions. Who is to blame? Is it the 140-character world of Twitter, or maybe 18.7 billion text messages sent daily? IDK. Blame it on the Millennials. JK. Really, JK!

Most industries will tell you they take their guidance from the consumer. It’s important for them to communicate in ways that will be understood. It’s a valid thought process, but it might not hold up in court. Legal writing remains one of the places where excellent grammar is required, and good proofing skills are a necessity. Here’s why, along with some proofing tips:

The confusion of a comma

A misplaced or missing comma has been instrumental in deciding many court decisions throughout history. One of the most notable and recent involved Maine truck drivers and overtime pay. The irony was that no one argued about whether the overtime pay should be paid. Instead, the case hinged on a missing comma that made it unclear whether a state law covered paying the drivers for distribution or excluded it.

The case made it all the way up to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which found in favor of the truck drivers. It was the court’s opinion that the absence of the comma created enough uncertainty to rule in favor of the drivers.

Poor writing does more than reflect negatively on legal professionals. It weakens cases and it wastes the time of everyone connected to the court systems. Writing for clarity isn’t difficult. Use these tips to catch your wrong writing.

  • Pause and refresh. Set what you’ve written aside for a few hours. Proofreading at a later time helps you read what you actually wrote, rather than remember what you intended to write.
  • Read it backward. Huh? See the tip above. We often miss errors because the writing is still fresh in our mind and we’re remembering what we thought we wrote rather than seeing what we actually wrote. By working your way through what you’ve written in reverse order, you require your brain to see what’s really there instead of what you meant to write.
  • Look for one type of problem at a time. It might take more time, but you’ll end up catching more errors. Start with spelling, and then move on to punctuation. Consider your sentence structures next, followed by word choice.
  • Proof a hard copy. But the trees! Not to worry, paper is recyclable. Printing out what you’ve written—especially in a different font—can help you catch errors that are hiding in plain sight on your screen.
  • Turn on the spellchecker when you’re writing. This software has become far more sophisticated. It’ll catch, for instance, reversed letters and repeated words. They’re not spelled incorrectly, but they are used inappropriately.
  • Don’t take the spellchecker’s word for it. This software tells you if a word is spelled correctly, but not necessarily whether it’s the correct word. Again, the software is getting pretty good at looking at word usage in context. It’s not wise to rely solely on your spellcheck software, though.
  • Read it aloud. We speak to be understood, and most of us do a good job of it. Strive to write how you speak, and you will be better understood. Read your text aloud. It may be easier to hear word usage errors than see them.

Take the time to be assured that what you’ve written is clear and concise. You can only do this by proofreading it. Or, by letting someone else do that for you.

Writing riddled with citation errors, bad grammar, and confusing typos can and will get thrown out of court when a judge decides that causes confusion or uncertainty. The purpose of this writing, after all, is to help everyone agree on something, and in some cases, beyond a reasonable doubt.

Boss Certified Real-Time Reporting provides court reporting services for everything from trials and mediations, to dispositions and conferences. We’re accurate, fast, and in your corner. For more information call us at 954-467-6867, or connect with us online today!

Sincerely, yours: A look at Business Email Etiquette

Sincerely, yours: A look at Business Email Etiquette on

12 ways to avoid committing an email faux pas

Email has become an essential and efficient means of communications in the modern business world. You click reply, dash off a message, and hit “send.” Fast and easy, right? Actually, it’s not always so easy. Emails can actually get you into a lot of trouble if you’re not careful. “Experts agree that your e-mail behavior has the potential to sabotage your reputation both personally and professionally,” according to an Inc. article.

Email’s immediacy and ease, coupled with a lack of face-to-face interaction, can lead to problems and misunderstandings. So, how can you ensure that your emails remain professional and free of these professional landmines?

We’ve put together 12 tips for good email business etiquette:

  1. Remember, emails are never truly private.

How many times have you come across a story about an employee who wrote an inappropriate email and sent it to a colleague or company-wide? Not only can emails be shared internally, they also have a tendency to spread across the Internet like wildfire, very often taking the person’s career up in smoke. It’s important to decide if the topic you’re writing about should be handled behind closed doors. According to Inc., “Ask yourself if the topic being discussed is something you’d write on company letterhead or post on a bulletin board for all to see before clicking send.”

  1. Be professional from the first “Hello”

Avoid using informal or colloquial expressions as your email opener. Words and phrases like “hey” or “hi folks” should not be used in a professional setting. Also, don’t shorten or abbreviate a person’s name (e.g. Mike in place of Michael) unless you are certain he or she prefers that nickname.

  1. Remind the person who you are.

Most of us get hundreds of work emails a day. You can’t assume that the person who receives your message will automatically remember you. Perhaps you only met once several months ago. The recipient may even know several people with the same name. If you are writing to someone you don’t know well, include a brief introduction stating how you met or explaining your connection. This is the best way to avoid confusion.

  1. If you’re angry, think before you hit send.

You know that old adage about counting to ten before you open your mouth? This precaution goes double for emails. We’ve all been there before. Someone sets us off, and we want to blast him or her in an angry email. It’s so tempting, but RESIST! Yes, we put that in all caps. Because you are not face-to-face, it is easy to say something you wouldn’t dare in person. You will end up getting yourself into trouble.

It’s not just angry rants that should be kept out of emails. “E-mailing with bad news, firing a client or employee, reprimanding someone, disparaging other people (particularly if you’re saying something less than kind about your boss) are all major no-no’s,” according to Inc.

  1. Be careful about hitting “Reply All”.

Refrain from sending a group message if the subject does not pertain to every person in the email. “No one wants to read emails from 20 people that have nothing to do with them. Ignoring the emails can be difficult, with many people getting notifications of new messages on their smartphones or distracting pop-up messages on their computer screens,” according to Business Insider.

  1. Use clear and concise subject lines. 

As we mentioned above, people can get hundreds of emails a day. Wading through them takes time and the task become even more difficult when they need a decoder ring to figure out what you want. Make things easier for the recipient by being upfront and clear from the first line. According to Business Insider, “People often decide whether to open an email based on the subject line … Choose one that lets readers know you are addressing their concerns or business issues.”

  1. Make sure the subject line matches the message.

It might seem convenient to open an old email, hit “Reply,” and then send a new message. However, this can create confusion for the recipient if the subject is something other than the subject line implies. If the content in the email relates to a different subject, then start a new email chain. 

  1. Never share confidential information.

No matter what profession you are in, it is vital that confidential information stay that way. Never share sensitive information about a client, co-worker or case. This is even more important if you are working in the legal field in any capacity. In many cases, you could even face serious legal consequences for leaking private or confidential information.

  1. Use appropriate words and spellings.

Emails can become pretty informal. If you’re talking to a friend, you might abbreviate, use slang or an emoticon. Don’t do this in a business email. “Words from grown, business people using shortcuts such as “4 u” (instead of “for you”), “Gr8” (for great) in a business-related e-mail is not acceptable,” according to Inc.

  1. Be careful when sending emails with large attachments.

Emails with large files or attachments can clog the recipient’s email box, preventing them from receiving others. Some email servers also have size limits so your message will not go through. If you need to send a large file, call the person first. You might have to find an alternate way to send or use a file sharing service like DropBox or Google Docs.

  1. When in doubt, go old school and pick up the phone.

There are times when a matter becomes too complicated to handle via email. That’s when it’s time to pick up the phone. “When a topic has lots of parameters that need to be explained or negotiated and will generate too many questions and confusion, don’t handle it via e-mail,” according to Inc.

It is fine to send an email later, detailing what you discussed, especially if you want documented proof or digital consent, but sometimes old-fashioned phone calls really are better.

  1. Include an email signature at the end of every email.

Make it simple for the recipient to get in touch with you. Every email should end with your contact information, including your full name (in case the recipient doesn’t know you well), title, and phone number. Most email systems will allow you to set up an auto signature that will appear at the end of each message, without you physically having to type it in each time.

Email is an essential business tool for everyone, but it also has the potential to get you in trouble. Make sure you follow these tips to ensure you remain professional at all times.

Boss Certified Real-Time Reporting provides court reporting services for everything from trials and mediations, to dispositions and conferences. We’re accurate, fast, and in your corner.  For more information call us at 954-467-6867, or connect with us online today!

Without Saying a Word: How to use Your Body Language to Project Confidence

Without Saying a Word: How to use Your Body Language to Project Confidence on

Much of communication is nonverbal. That means you’re doing much of your talking without saying a word.

Of course, you don’t realize it. You’re focused on what you’re saying—the words that are coming out of your mouth. What you don’t know is that your body is saying something else. And that something else doesn’t jive with what you’re saying.

We often are unaware of our body language and this is especially true when we’re under stress. There are times when it’s crucial for us to project confidence. The last thing we want is to send the wrong message. Fortunately, it’s easy to be aware of your body language once you start paying attention to it. Here’s how to keep things under control.

Without saying a word

Your body language is a crucial part of how and what you are silently communicating. The actual words we use are what others will focus on. Problems arise, however, when the nonverbal messages we put out are inconsistent with what we say. It doesn’t matter how precisely we speak, as those words will take on a different meaning.

This is important to remember, especially if your objective is to come across as confident while you’re speaking. Keep these 4 nonverbal areas in mind:

  1. Maintain eye contact. Your inability to look someone in the eye as you speak to them can communicate that you are not sincere. Or worse, the person you’re talking to may decide that you are telling a lie.
  2. Use open gestures. It’s not necessary to gesticulate wildly, but do make sure that you use your hands and arms to underscore what you’re saying. These movements help people to see that you are confident in what you’re telling them. Nod your head in when they’re talking to you. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re agreeing with them, but it does acknowledge that you’re listening.
  3. Pace yourself appropriately. Much can be read from the tone, inflection, and pace of your speaking voice. Obviously, it depends on the subject matter—but some topics need a more subdued and measured style to indicate the importance of what’s being said. A drastic rise in your inflection may give off the impression that you are either upset or the topic has an emotional impact on you.
  4. An upright posture. This is easier to accomplish if you’re standing, of course, but confident people sit and stand upright. They may bend their head toward the person they’re speaking to, but otherwise, remember what your mother told you about sitting up straight in your chair. Folding your arms may communicate that you are uncomfortable or that you dislike the person you’re talking to. Professionals often cross their legs in conversations, but get that fidgety foot under control if you have a tendency to shake it.

Practice makes perfect

Try this exercise to practice your confident posture. Start by sitting in a chair with both feet flat on the floor. To make sure you have upright posture, imagine there’s a thread attached to the top of your head. It’s gently pulling you upwards. The more it pulls, the more you feel yourself become taller as your spine straightens. Your chin is parallel to the floor.

Now it’s time to turn your attention to your arms. Make sure they’re open—because you’ll need them to gesture. It means they’re not going to be crossed or placed across your body in any way. Rest your hands gently in your lap.

Imagine that a mirror image of yourself is sitting directly in front of you. Look the image directly in the eyes and smile. It’s a smile of assurance, ease, and warmth. It’s confident.

It might help to try a breathing exercise while you’re at it. Breathe in through your nose to the count of 3, and then out to the count of 5. A steady pace of breathing will stimulate your physical relaxation response. It’ll help to reduce any stress you’re feeling.

Take this exercise to the next level if you do any public speaking. Stand up, with your feet spread slightly so that you have an even distribution of your weight. Move your hands as you speak, making sure that you show your palms to your mirror image as you gesture. Feel free to take a few steps as you speak, but don’t take your attention away from your mirror image.

You might be thinking that this exercise would be much easier if you actually did it in front of a mirror. Congratulations! Now you’re getting into the confidence mode. The more you practice, the less stress you’ll feel about what your body language. It’ll be on the same page with you.

Boss Certified Real-Time Reporting provides court reporting services for everything from trials and mediations, to dispositions and conferences. We’re accurate, fast, and in your corner.  For more information call us at 954-467-6867, or connect with us online today!

The Top 7 Reasons Why Litigators and Judges Prefer Human Reporters to Recording Devices

The Top 7 Reasons Why Litigators and Judges Prefer Human Reporters to Recording Devices on

When it comes to this important job, people are still better than machines

If you spend any amount of time on the Internet, there’s a topic that’s as prevalent as anything else: rapidly-shifting technology. Nowadays, everything is getting “smarter”: our cars, our homes, and certainly our devices. And of course, you can’t talk about tech without mentioning robots, which seem to be threatening jobs on a daily basis.

But for the time being, we humans still play an important role in many professions. Take customer service, for example. You would think that with chatbots and the like, this is an industry ripe for robotic takeover. But a recent survey revealed that most people still want to talk to an actual person when contacting a business.

Court reporting is another job that seems like it could be done with recording equipment instead of a stenographer. In fact, this is already happening in some courtrooms. However, most people involved in any sort of legal matter – including lawyers and judges – still prefer human court reporters. Here’s why:


Whether a trial, deposition, or any other legal proceeding, accurate reporting is critical. And sure, a digital recorder can get every cough or chair squeak, but will it get all of the important stuff? A court reporter only records what is said. And because of their training and fast fingers, you are pretty much guaranteed that they will get every last syllable.

Mechanical error

No matter how high-tech a product is, there is always the chance of some kind of malfunction. Even if a digital recorder is working as it should, if it’s not in the right location or the volume levels are not set properly, this can cause problems. The worst part is that when a technical issue is discovered, it’s almost always after the proceedings are over.


Lots of things are said during a legal procedure, not all of which is intended for everyone to hear. You can’t tell that to a digital recorder; that device may catch everything. But stenographers will only record relevant testimony and will ignore exchanges between lawyers and their clients.

Read back

When an attorney or judge asks for something to be read back, a court reporter can quickly and easily find it. After all, the stenographer documented it, so he or she knows just where it is. It’s much more difficult with a digital recorder. Sure, it may have been captured, but it will probably take a while to locate.


Digital recordings may seem convenient, but in the long run, they’re really not. All legal proceedings require a transcript, so that recording then has to be sent to a professional to be transcribed. This just adds more time and trouble. A court reporter can produce a transcript right away.


Trials don’t happen in a vacuum. In many cases, previous hearings or depositions need to be looked at so testimony can be compared. A stenographer can get access to the necessary documents immediately.


Once a proceeding is finished, lawyers or the judge may have to review it. With a digital recording, this is an extremely time-consuming process. With a court reporter, however, reviews can be made during the procedure. In addition, a report can be printed right away for those who need it.

In the future, almost certainly some jobs will be performed by machines exclusively. However, for now, many still require a human touch. To ensure your hearings, trials, and depositions are recorded as they should, contact Boss Reporting. We will provide you with a trained and experienced court reporter. Schedule your job here.

The Ten Million Dollar Comma

The Ten Million Dollar Comma on

Here’s why you can’t put a price on quality legal writing

If the legal sphere hinges on anything, it’s the letter of the law. The highest standards of writing are a benefit in any field, but law and legislation rely on it above all other things. Whether working in a litigation or non-litigation position, a legal writer will carry the responsibility of not only helping to represent and communicate with clients, but also the integrity of their firm. Simply put, a legal writer must have precision and clarity in their work.

How precision writing can be priceless

In 1872, a rogue comma cost the American taxpayers over $2 million; more than $38 million today. Only this year, an ongoing UK legal suit was settled which saw an entire company closed down after a single mistyped letter “s”. Consider the Tokyo share trader’s numerical error which led to a blunder of 67.78 trillion yen (over $487 billion).

Precision is essential. And legal writing requires a balancing act between legal accuracy and client accessibility.

The many skills of a qualified legal writer 

The bedrock of writing is solid spelling, syntax, and grammatical structure; doubly so in the case of legal writing. Judges in particular have no patience for poor legal writing (as this archive attests).

Harvard Law School neatly summarizes the numerous tasks legal writers may execute in carrying out their duties. At the job’s core are analytical and logical strengths built upon an exceptional grasp of grammar, detail, and citation. At any given time, a legal writer may be called upon to draft a memo or brief or to foresee potential arguments from their firm’s legal opposition.

Depending on the style of writing that’s required, legal writers may also have to display rhetorical and persuasive skills. These skills flow from more than legal savvy; if a writer has to attempt to persuade a party on behalf of a client, then they must possess the ability to appreciate that other party’s situation. Likewise, in communicating with their own clients, everything should be crystal clear.

There’s no cut and paste proposal or response when it comes to legal writing. Every draft has to be tailored perfectly to its recipient.

An example of legal knowledge and client awareness

The art of addressing law in writing lies in conveying the proper legal gravity, yet not over-simplifying or allowing ambiguity. Let’s suppose that a client or another party is receiving a letter from a firm. Many recipients will have little to no awareness of legal terminology. In those instances, they’ll be hoping that everything they read will be understood, rather than muddy or confuse what may already be a distressing situation. It’s up to the writer to ensure they do.

All legal writers must be able to follow the standards for citing authority in their jurisdiction (such as this example for Florida). The contents of the highlighted source will be a matter of everyday practice for some, and indecipherable “legalese” for anybody else.

Modern media allows for the publication of citation updates to occur instantaneously, rather than printed versions being released months or years apart. As a result, it’s more important than ever for a writer to stay informed on proper citations.

Legal writing and the first impression

The power to engage as well as educate is another key aspect of legal writing. Legislative research, references, and awareness of the audience allow a writer to connect with a reader, be they a member of the same firm, a client, or a judge. A specific tone can make a good first impression and/or foster or detract from relationships.

This tone must be, first and foremost, professional. Whether conveying good news, bad news, or ongoing developments, a legal writer must choose words with care. Information and compassion are what any client would wish for from a legal firm. A legal writer can provide both.

At Boss Certified Realtime Reporting, we’ve been providing nationwide court reporting services for trials, depositions, mediations, and more since 1995. If you’d like help or more information, you can call us at 954.467.6867 or complete our contact form to let us know how we can assist.

Click Here to Like this Litigation: Social Media for Law Firms

Click Here to Like this Litigation: Social Media for Law Firms on

7 tips for creating a more effective social media strategy

Nearly every profession has adopted social media as a way to brand companies, attract clients, and generate more income. The legal field is adapting to and using these platforms, though at times it is a struggle to pair the deeply conservative nature of law firms with the very open (sometimes too open) nature of the social media universe.

Done correctly, however, social media can become an effective marketing tool for law firms and other legal services.

We’ve put together these 7 tips to adopting or improving your firm’s social media strategy:

1. Determine your purpose for using social media.

You won’t be able to adopt an effective strategy – or improve what you’ve already started – unless you know what you want to accomplish with social media. Are you looking to attract more clients? Perhaps you want to establish your firm as an authority in a certain area of law, such as real estate, intellectual property, civil rights, workers compensation, or corporate law? Once you have established goals, you will be better able to come up with a plan to meet them.

2. Decide which social media channels you want to develop or grow.

There are many different platforms available today so you will need to decide which channels you want to use. Facebook is still a top choice. With 2.07 billion users (as of the third quarter of 2017), it provides an almost unlimited pool of potential clients. Along with a page for your firm, you can also take advantage of paid advertising through boosted posts and targeted ads. Choose to target by areas of specialty, geographic region, profession, business owners and top executives, gender, income, marital status, and a wide variety of hobbies and interests.

Another channel you should cultivate is LinkedIn. It is the world’s largest social media network for working professionals, with 467 million users. It has individual and company profiles as well as Groups formed around many different interests. Create a firm profile and use it to connect with others in your field as well as businesses in your area. Your profile should have complete descriptions of services, areas of expertise, and a method of contact. You can also list individual attorneys within the firm and include personal profiles for them. With a premium LinkedIn account, you will have the ability to contact other users directly.

Other social media channels to consider include Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr, as well as other mediums. Pick a few channels and develop them well, rather than try to incorporate all of them.

3. Always stay active and engaged.

The first word in social media is “social.” Once you have established accounts, you must keep up with them with regular updates and posts. A page that looks active will help attract new followers and keep them engaged. On Twitter, make good use of hashtags, which are basically search terms that other users type in when they want to view tweets about a particular subject. For example, you might use the hashtags #insolvency, #CorporateLaw, or #LegalNews.

You will also need to monitor your social media pages to ensure that other users don’t post anything inappropriate, controversial, or illegal.

4. Be a trusted resource, not a sales center.

The purpose of social media is not to “sell” something, at least not all the time. If the majority of your posts do nothing but try to market legal services, you will turn people off. Your posts should establish your firm as an authority and resource where people can go to find answers to their legal questions. You want to engage with followers by posting original, relevant content. You can also share content from trusted sources such as news organizations, newspapers, trade magazines, and legal publications which will be of interest to your target market. For example, if your firm specializes in real estate law, you’ll want to post content about the state of the real estate market, both nationally and in your local community. Another good idea is to post questions that encourage followers to answer and engage with you. If a follower posts a question or makes a comment, always answer, if possible. If the matter needs to be handled more discreetly, find a way to contact that person privately.

If you want a good idea of how to balance “selling” versus “engaging, follow the 80/20 rule. According to WiseStamp, “80% of the content that you share should be about your customers; answering their questions, retweeting links and sharing articles that they will find valuable. The remaining 20% can be sales oriented shares.”

5. Have a clear call to action on all your pages.

It’s all well and good to post and share great content, but remember your purpose of using social media is ultimately to attract clients. Make sure that you have clear “contact” tools on each page or ad that you have, including a website, email and phone number. Facebook pages have “contact” buttons which can be formatted to take a user directly to a website, landing page or email. Always include a direct link to your website in every post that you make or share as well.

6. Blog regularly.

Blogging is an inexpensive, easy way to speak to potential clients and establish your firm as an expert. Like Tip #3, you will need to ensure that the blog is maintained on a regular basis. You should post at least once a week. They should be educational and engaging, but never “salesy”. If you aren’t going to have a dedicated person responsible for creating posts (or if you don’t want to outsource the task) it might be a good idea to have attorneys or other legal professionals take turns writing original posts. Each person could have a designated day so the burden doesn’t always fall on one individual. Blog posts can then be used as content on all your social media channels. Followers can also share the posts on their channels.

7. Incorporate pictures and video.

We’ve all seen pictures or videos that have gone viral. Visual content tends to create higher engagement, as images are often faster and easier to absorb than written words. Channels like Facebook also tend to give more weight to visual content, meaning it is more likely to show up in people’s news feeds. You also create opportunities for your content to be shared by your followers. Video content can include interviews with attorneys, staff introductions, weekly Q&A’s, stories about the firm, community events and more. Consider starting a YouTube channel to create and collect a video library.

Social media is one of the best ways to attract and engage potential clients. Develop your policy to ensure you aren’t missing out on this important marketing tool.

At Boss Certified Realtime Reporting, we’ve been providing nationwide court reporting services for trials, depositions, mediations and more since 1995. If you’d like help or more information, you can call us at 954 467 6867 or complete our contact form to let us know how we can assist you.

Dress to Impress: What You Should Wear to a Legal Proceeding

Dress to Impress: What You Should Wear to a Legal Proceeding on

Don’t let your clothes speak louder than you

There are certain professions that are synonymous with clothing. When you think about police, you probably imagine men (and women) in blue. Doctors are usually associated with white coats. But what about lawyers?

Though they don’t have uniforms per se, lawyers do have an unwritten dress code they should adhere to. And while they can wear what they like in their own offices, it’s important that they peruse their closets carefully before attending any legal proceeding and keep these five tips in mind:

Fit is important

You definitely don’t want to wear clothing that is too loose or too tight. If you will be presenting in front of a judge or jury, you’ll want to make sure you’ll be able to move around easily. If you typically buy clothes off the rack, you should think about having them tailored to fit you better.

Don’t get too comfortable

We live in an increasingly casual world. Once upon a time people would dress up before taking a flight, and now sweats and yoga pants are the norm. But anything involving the law is still extremely conservative. There’s no such thing as casual Fridays in a courtroom, so business attire should be worn at all times.

Cut out the distractions

A little bit of color can be good, but too much could just be a big distraction. The same is true for expensive accessories like purses and watches. Noise also plays a role in court, so it’s a good idea to avoid shoes with loud clacking heals or bracelets that jangle.

Keep your wardrobe updated

If you’re still wearing the same clothes you wore a decade or two ago, it is probably time to go shopping. First of all, styles change, so it’s possible you’re looking out-dated. Plus, unless you are a fitness hound, you’ve probably put on a few pounds over the years, which means those clothes aren’t fitting as well as they once did.

Be careful with how much you show

While all of the above tips apply for any lawyer, this one is mostly for the ladies. Unfortunately, because women have a tougher time establishing themselves in various fields – law included – they generally have to be more cognizant of the things they do than their male counterparts. And when in court, this means avoiding cleavage or anything that could reveal underclothing.

If you have any doubt about what to wear, there’s a simple exercise you can do: Think about how your clients would want you to dress. Or, even better, as Gary J. Ross explains, it’s always important to dress like a lawyer because you never know when you may get a client.

At Boss Reporting, we always aim to give lawyers tidbits like these to help them in their careers. This is why we have been providing court reporting services for over 20 years. To let us know what we can do for you, give us a call at 954-467-6867 or send us an email at

There’s a Legal App for That

There’s a Legal App for That on

A look at trial presentation technology and software

Although the legal profession is steeped in tradition and precedence, the law has made plenty of room for modern advancement. Today’s attorneys have many tech tools to help prepare for trials, including software and apps that can do everything from organize a presentation to help in jury selection.

Today, we’re looking at some of the most popular tools that have made trial prep easier.

The tablet revolution

Actually, before we touch on specific software, we have to mention the one tool that has transformed trial presentations…the iPad. Tablets are now used to create dynamic, streamlined presentations that mean doing away with bringing large folders, files and boxes of evidence into the courtroom. Everything can be stored on an iPad for easy access during the trial.

Trial software

As for software, new programs have challenged the dominance of PowerPoint as a presentation tool. Apple’s Keynote and Prezi are two of the most popular ones. These programs can be created on a laptop and then transferred to an iPad or other tablet device if needed.

Apps for trial preparation

The two most popular trial apps are TrialPad  and TrialDirector. Both help organize, manage, search, annotate and store everything needed for your trial, including files, documents, photographs and videos. The programs make it easy to find and select any file, allowing you to skip back and forth in your presentation seamlessly.

TrialPad and TrialDirector capabilities include*:

  • Easy document storage, navigation, and management
  • Callout, laser, highlighting, and redacting tools
  • Display a section of a transcript for emphasis
  • Overlay exhibits for easy comparison (such as comparing handwriting samples)
  • Show split screen for side-by-side comparisons
  • Bookmark exhibits for quicker access
  • A variety of shapes, lines, and drawing tools
  • Freeform drawing on a virtual whiteboard

Allows you to import photographs and videos, as well as different types of files, including: JPG, GIF, PNG, TIF, multi-page TIF and TXT, DOCX, XLS, PPT, Keynote, Pages & Numbers

*Note: Not all features are available with both apps

Timeline 3D – Lets you create a list of chronological events, add media and then turn it into a visual timeline for a jury. It can be exported to PowerPoint or Keynote and displayed in full screen and 3D perspectives.

TranscriptPad – A full-featured app that allows you to store, organize, review and annotate transcripts. Search across an entire case or a single witness or deposition.

iJuror – This app lets you record information about potential jurors, assign scores, color codes, demographics of the jury, and even configure a seating chart.

Bloomberg Law – A free app (for subscribers) that is a great tool for legal research. Sign up to receive alerts for legal news, access articles, track dockets, opinions or bills.

Fed Courts – This app has full text of federal and local rules of procedure for every court in the country.

Picture It Settled – If you are trying to reach a settlement before embarking on a trial, this app can help analyze the positions of the litigants and develop a negotiation strategy.

TrialWorks App – A companion to the TrialWorks case management software, which provides on-the-go access to documents, notes, dates, and contacts.

See even more trial-related apps at BullsEye Legal News.

Technology has taken trial preparation into a new century. These examples are just some of the tools, which can help you prepare for trial and ensure your presentation do its job of winning the case.

At Boss Certified Realtime Reporting, we’ve been providing nationwide court reporting services for trials, depositions, mediations and more since 1995. If you’d like help or more information, you can call us at 954 467 6867 or complete our contact form to let us know how we can assist you.

Interpreter or Translator: There’s a Difference! Here’s What You Need to Know

Interpreter or Translator: There’s a Difference! Here’s What You Need to Know on

Both involve translation, but one focuses only on written communication.

Come on, it’s the same thing. That’s what most people think when they’re asked to explain the difference between an interpreter and a translator. Actually—and especially in legal proceedings—they’re two different things.

Here’s your takeaway if you haven’t got time to read all of this. A translator works with written communication. An Interpreter works with spoken communication. This difference can be important for billing purposes.

Say it, or write it

Here’s a theoretical situation. You’re representing an English-speaking client who is being sued by a Chinese-speaking client. The judgement is in your favor, so you request that the plaintiff pay the fee for translating documents pertinent to the case from Chinese into English, under Title 28 U.S. Code § 1920 – Taxation of costs.

The court will not find in your favor. Taxation of costs here refers specifically to interpretation services, where a professional is retained to translate spoken communication.

Know which one you need

In the case of depositions, an interpreter is the obvious and appropriate choice. They’re going to provide you real-time translation services of the spoken communication happening the deposition. This is still a skill requiring a professional. Google hasn’t quite managed it yet.

Tips on working with interpreters

Consider this a 3-step process: Before, during, and after.


  • Build rapport. There probably won’t be much time, but you must use it to your advantage. Find out the interpreter’s background so you have perspective. Reciprocate with information about yourself. This helps to establish a positive partnership.
  • Establish the purpose. Make sure the interpreter knows what you want to get from the interview.
  • Prepare for jargon. There may be slang or technical words that don’t translate well out of perspective. Make sure the interpreter is aware of this.
  • It should be understood, but don’t be afraid to request a direct translation, free of any paraphrasing.
  • Prepare the interpreter ahead of time if you intend to ask sensitive questions.


  • Don’t forget your manners. Introduce everyone to the interpreter and explain their role. Make sure everyone understands the process.
  • Avoid assumptions. Someone may speak a bit of English. In this case, make it clear that the interpreter is there only to facilitate the conversation.
  • The interpreter may be the person speaking the language you understand, but maintain eye contact with the person you’re interviewing. They will convey facial gestures and body language.
  • Take a Hemingway-esque approach to your interview. Long and complicated sentences may leave important things lost in translation. Short and simple sentences and questions are the best approach—especially when they’re free of slang and jargon. Neither the person you’re interviewing nor the interpreter may be familiar with this.
  • The interpreter has to translate both sides of the conversation, so give them polite pause, and don’t speak at the same time anyone else does.
  • Interpretation is a skill, not an exact science. If you believe the interpreter is summarizing or making a mistake with the translation, simply rephrase the question or approach it from a different angle.


  • Ask to review the interview immediately after it concludes, while it’s still fresh in everyone’s minds. Were there any parts of the deposition that confused you or caused concern? See if the interpreter has any concerns. It may be necessary for some follow-ups to gain clarification.
  • Finding a good interpreter is like gaining a good friend or ally. Give them feedback and express your gratitude if you’d like to work with them again. Set the state for a partnership.

Not sharing a common language is stressful. There are nuances and slang that simply defy word-for-word translation. The optimal way to overcome this challenge is by working with an interpreter. They may be doing the translating, but it’s still up to you to watch for emotion and body language.

At Boss Certified Realtime Reporting, we’ve been providing nationwide court reporting services for trials, depositions, mediations and more since 1995. If you’d like help or more information, you can call us at 954 467 6867 or complete our contact form to let us know how we can assist you.

What is Stenography?

What is Stenography? on

Everything you ever wanted to know about stenography

Stenography is an important, but often overlooked, part of our legal system. Little is known about it, beyond noticing someone in the courtroom who is typing away on a little machine. We thought it might be helpful to explain about the history of the practice and the role played by stenographers today.

What is stenography?

Stenography is the act of recording spoken words through shorthand using a stenotype machine. A number of different shorthand systems have been used over the last couple centuries.

How does shorthand work?

According to, “Depending on the language, a shorthand system may rely on symbols, which represent specific sounds, concepts, or letters, or it may rely on letters that have specific meanings. Some shorthand systems are even specially coded for a specific organization or company, thereby keeping sensitive information safe from outsiders.”

What role does the stenographer play in a trial or hearing?

The job of a stenographer is to attend trials, hearings, depositions or any legal proceeding relating to a case, and record (or transcribe) everything that happens to create a public record. That record is vital in order to protect both the court and the litigants. Stenographers are appointed “officers of the court” and not under the control of either attorney.

“The notes must comply with provisions requiring the stenographer to prepare and sign a certificate stating that the proceedings, evidence, and charges levied against the defendant were fully and accurately taken at the trial and that the transcript represents an accurate translation of the notes.”

When was the stenography machine invented?

Miles Bartholomew invented the first shorthand machine in 1877. He is considered the “Father of the Stenograph.” Bartholomew’s machine was still being used in courtrooms up until 1937. A later model called “The Secretarial Model shorthand machine” was the first to trademark the name Stenograph. In the 1960s, stenographs were first connected to computers, which began the era of “real-time” court reporting.

Why does the machine look that way?

If you’ve ever looked closely at a stenography machine, you’ve probably noticed that it looks a little strange. It’s smaller than a typewriter and seems to be missing some keys.

A standard stenotype machine has only 22 keys that are used to create coded numbers, phrases, words, and sounds. There are universal symbols/codes used, but some stenographers also develop their own “language” of coded letter combinations.

How fast can a stenographer type?

If you thought the lack of keys might slow a person down, think again. Experienced stenographers can “type” up to 300 words per minute. “Because the stenotype machine has just 22 keys, the stenographer often hits multiple keys at once. This process, which is called chording, may appear to be downright jumbled to an ordinary observer, but to the stenographer it makes perfect sense.”

How are the court reports generated?

Traditionally, reports have been printed out directly from the stenography machine and then transcribed later. However, modern machines often use internal memory storage like a flash drive. The report is then downloaded onto a computer and special programs generate a readable transcript. The machine might also be connected directly to a laptop to create a real-time transcript.

Do stenographers ever work outside of a courtroom?

Yes, they can. Stenographers often work for private businesses, recording important meetings or events where a public record is needed. Closed captioning services for the hearing impaired is another area where stenography skills are increasingly being used. The service might be done for both live and recorded TV shows or events.

At Boss Certified Realtime Reporting, we’ve been providing nationwide court reporting services for trials, depositions, mediations and more since 1995. If you’d like help or more information, you can call us at 954 467 6867 or complete our contact form to let us know how we can assist you.

Paralegals: What are They?

Paralegals: What are They? on

Explaining what paralegals do and why they are so important

Paralegals are an essential part of the legal process. Law firms of all sizes employ paralegals, however most people outside the legal profession don’t know what the important function paralegals serve.

So, what exactly is a paralegal?

According to the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), “Paralegals are qualified by education, training or work experience…to perform specifically delegated substantive legal work for which a lawyer is responsible.”

Paralegals can work for law firms, corporations, governmental agencies, or other entities; however, they cannot give legal advice to a client. They cannot accept a case or represent anyone. Only an attorney can do that. Their time for substantive legal work (not clerical or administrative) is billed hourly, similar to an attorney, though at a lower rate.

What does a paralegal do?

Paralegals perform many essential tasks. According to NALA, “Working under the supervision of an attorney, the paralegal’s work product is merged with and becomes part of the attorney work product for a client.”

Paralegals perform many essential duties, including:

  • Conduct client interviews and maintain general contact with the client
  • Locate and interview witnesses
  • Conduct investigations and statistical and documentary research
  • Conduct legal research
  • Draft legal documents, correspondence, and pleadings
  • Summarize depositions, interrogatories, and testimony
  • Attend executions of wills, real estate closings, depositions, court or administrative hearings, and trials with the attorney
  • Author and sign correspondence provided the paralegal status is clearly indicated and the correspondence does not contain independent legal opinions or legal advice.

One of the most important tasks of a paralegal is assisting attorneys in the preparation of a trial. According to, “A large part of this consists of conducting legal research and gathering relevant information to the case. This includes researching the facts of the case as well as identifying the appropriate laws, judicial decisions, and legal articles relevant to the case. The paralegal gathers and analyzes information, then prepares a written report that the attorney uses to determine how the case should be handled.”

Much of a paralegal’s day is spent drafting legal documents, including correspondence and pleadings, such as complaints, subpoenas, interrogatories, deposition notices, pretrial orders, and legal briefs with various parties.

Paralegals must often take on administrative tasks as well, either for the firm as a whole or a specific attorney. They might maintain the attorney’s calendar, organize files, and make phone calls to clients, attorneys, experts, or court personnel to schedule interviews or hearings.

What type of education is required for a paralegal?

There are actually a few different types of education programs to become a paralegal, although most have at least a 2-year Associate Degree.

Associate Degree – A 2-year Degree offered at community colleges, universities, and some business schools. It requires 60-70 semester units, with half devoted to paralegal-related course work and the other half including general education.

Bachelor’s Degree – This is a 4-year program, with paralegal as the declared major. It requires 120-130 semester units, with 30-60 units devoted to paralegal-related course work.

Certificate Programs – Various schools and institutions offer certificate programs. They are generally designed for people who already have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. It requires 18-60 semester units.

Master’s Degree – A few select colleges and universities now offer advanced degrees in paralegal studies.

How is a paralegal different from a legal assistant?

You may have heard the terms “paralegal” and “legal assistant”, but is there a difference? In some cases, the terms might be used interchangeably, with both performing similar duties. The main difference is that paralegals have passed the NALA certification exam, while legal assistants have not.

Now that you know more about paralegals, it should give you a greater appreciation for the role they fill in our legal process.

Boss Certified Real-Time Reporting provides court reporting services for everything from trials and mediations, to dispositions and conferences. We’re accurate, fast, and in your corner! For more information call us at 954-467-6867, or connect with us online today!

So Long, Partner: 5 Tips for Dealing with the Departure of a Member of Your Legal Team

So Long, Partner: 5 Tips for Dealing with the Departure of a Member of Your Legal Team on

5 Tips that revolve around 2 words: Roles and Responsibilities.

In a perfect world, you get plenty of advanced notice. Hand-offs are planned. Caseloads are balanced. A partner’s departure from your legal team is unfortunate, but it doesn’t create chaos.

We don’t live in a perfect world. Often, there’s little notice. Opportunities come quickly, and people have to act fast. Or, it’s an unplanned, abrupt termination. In either case, your best bet is proactive planning so you can compensate for these sudden absences. Follow these 5 tips.

1. Keep a company voicemail login information sheet

The confidential nature of client information means that much of it may be exchanged using the phone. You’ll want to make sure you have access to a departing partner’s voicemail to access the messages and their chronology.

2. Have your IT department clone their email

Back to that perfect world scenario. Malice and professionalism are mutually exclusive in the legal field—so it’s unlikely that it’s much of a concern. It’s more likely that a departing colleague accidentally deletes important email content with the intent of getting rid of clutter.

It’s in your firm’s best interests to decide which email messages are important and necessary, as you’ll be taking over for the person who’s moving on.

3. Ask them to list usernames and passwords for any external sites where case and workload information is stored

Your firm may already have policies in place that determine the allowable places where partners can keep digital storage. It also means your IT department should be able to access these files if necessary. Make sure, however, that your departing colleague shares any and all sources where they may have stored client- or case-related information.

This includes popular commercial sites, such as Dropbox. Don’t forget to ask them if they’ve stored any voice memos or notes on their mobile devices.

4. Ask them to or have your IT department delegate control of their docket calendar

There are discovery deadlines, depositions, closings, and all kinds of client meetings—and many have been on the schedule for months. They can’t be missed, so you’ll need to make sure they’re assigned to other partners.

5. Make delegated roles and responsibilities clear to those who assume them

Partners are busy, and assuming the caseload of a departing colleague only adds more tasks. It’s wise not to assume that someone should know the peripherals of what’s landing on their plate—especially if your firm decides to reassign responsibilities instead of entire cases.

You’ll also want to clarify what’s allowable or permissible with ongoing communications after this partner has left the firm. Most firms opt to continue those communications only if it’s vital, and they use the ex-partner’s personal contact information. Otherwise, there can be a conflict of interest if the new firm practices similar law.

Consider giving this responsibility to a senior office administrator, or to one of the firm’s partners. It’s something that should be handled firmly and with authority.

Someone leaving your firm shouldn’t be the cause of confusion and lost revenue. If your firm doesn’t experience a regular turnover of partners, you may not have a comprehensive procedure in place. When the time comes, it ends up being hit-and-miss, rather than a comfortable rollover.

Boss Certified Real-Time Reporting provides court reporting services for everything from trials and mediations, to dispositions and conferences. We’re accurate, fast, and in your corner! For more information call us at 954-467-6867, or connect with us online today!

2018’s Hottest Legal Jobs

2018’s Hottest Legal Jobs on

The best legal career opportunities for 2018

The past 5-10 years have been a bit of rollercoaster for those seeking work in the field of law. Fortunately, the legal industry is vast, with a wide assortment of roles for those with and without extensive legal educations. The trick is being flexible and knowing where to look.

Top 5 job prospects in the field of law

While many who pursuit a career in law have specific areas they want to be involved with, those willing to adapt to the job market have some exciting options. Here are five blooming legal careers – some require a JD, others don’t.

1. Court reporter. With less and less people entering this profession, a shortage is driving up demand for court reporters, and salaries right along with it. Court reporters use stenographic equipment to transcribe court testimony, speeches, and other legal proceedings at a blazing 200+ words per minute! An associate’s degree, or postsecondary certificate in court reporting and stenography is required.

2. Intellectual property lawyer. Intellectual property (IP) law is one of the most in-demand fields of law today. This is largely due to the fact that IP – a creative invention, design, work of art, etc. – drives our current economy. IP attorneys deal with trademark, patent, and copyright law, which apply to just about every industry open for business in 2018.

3. Legal secretary. As the call for legal services continues to grow, so does the need for administrative assistants, also known as “legal secretaries.” Legal secretaries have taken advantage of advancements in law office technology to enlist in greater and greater responsibilities within law firms, and the position usually only requires an associate’s degree or legal secretary certificate.

4. Compliance specialist. Remember the Enron scandal of 2001? To prevent anything like it from happening again, in 2002, Congress enacted the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). Among the results were a litany of new regulations and one of the most in demand job markets in the legal profession today. Compliance specialists assist corporations and consulting firms in ensuring their affairs stay nice and legal. Typically a bachelors in finance, business, or another related field is required.

5. Healthcare attorneys. The Affordable Care Act has created an in-demand niche for lawyers. Debates on the new law, embryonic stem cells, end-of-life care, and what’s considered legal medicine are fueling an exciting and ever-expanding call for medically-related legal counsel.

The value of versatility

As the legal market diversifies, so are must those working in the legal profession – professional success can be had by adapting to the changing environment.

Boss Certified Real-Time Reporting provides court reporting services for everything from trials and mediations, to dispositions and conferences. We’re accurate, fast, and in your corner! For more information call us at 954-467-6867, or connect with us online today!