These toxic individuals must be defused. Here’s how:
There are difficult people everywhere. You know – the ones who challenge your patience, insist on having things their way, and are constantly annoying, pushy, and controlling. In life, it’s nearly impossible to avoid encounters with folks who are tough to get along with. But when it comes to your law firm, you must be able to identify these individuals and keep them from wreaking havoc on your practice. Here’s a run-down of our favorite difficult people and how you can counteract them:
The Drama Queen
Despite the feminine connotation of the term, the drama queen can be male or female. This is the person who always has some emergency, major issue, or problem taking over their life (and it’s usually never their fault). They are always making mistakes and blaming others; always claiming to be the victim of someone else’s error; and blowing issues out of proportion. The drama queen often spends a lot of time rushing around in a panic, calling you, and badgering your inbox with an elaborate tale to weasel their way out of a missing deadline.
Handling the drama queen takes a lot of perseverance. You need to begin to hold this person accountable for his or her own mistakes. It may seem easier to beat around the bush, and it probably is, in the short term, but it’s crucial to stress the importance of personal responsibility. Implement a system of consequences when an error occurs or a deadline is missed. If necessary, keep a progress record and even consider putting them on probation if things don’t improve.
The Smarty Pants
Everyone has met a know-it-all and it’s not surprising that most law firms have at least one of these types amongst them. And although the smarty pants people are typically smart and usually well-equipped to excel at their jobs, their giant egos and seemingly superlative intelligence tend to get in the way quite often. Nobody really likes a know-it-all, and having an attorney in your midst who cuts others off when they’re trying to get a point across can be a total hazard. It’s time to take action.
Wrangle your smarty pants attorneys by giving them complex and difficult cases to work. Doing this will not only keep them occupied and engaged, it may also make them less inclined to impart unnecessary wisdom on the cases of others.
The “woe is me” person can really have a detrimental effect on your team. Identify this crybaby by their inclination to complain and find the negative in every situation. Although they’re mostly talk, it’s precisely this type of attitude that can bring the team down and cause morale to slump. While they usually don’t mean any harm, dealing with the bellyacher is crucial to ensuring that their mindset doesn’t impact your firm’s culture or productivity.
Helping your bellyacher understand that it’s important to have boundaries and to stick to facts could be a bit of a challenge. Take some time to explain that you are willing to listen, but they must respect the firm’s goal to remain a positive environment.
We’ve all had to deal with a co-worker who is self-centered, has temper tantrums, and refuses to see other’s points of view. This person is manipulative and does whatever it takes to get his or her way. The baby can cause major upset in your firm if not handled properly because they don’t often consider other’s feelings. Unfortunately, the baby is usually ok with stepping on toes, doing things behind people’s back, and solely having their own interests at heart.
Putting the baby in his or her place is essential to your firm’s survival. In fact, if you can’t get this person back down to earth, you may consider getting rid of them promptly. Having an egocentric employee on your team can compel quality attorneys to seek employment elsewhere – the last thing you need or want to happen.
Having difficult people in your firm can adversely affect your team, your level of productivity, and your success. Follow these tips on identifying and mitigating them, and if all else fails, take the appropriate action to protect your practice.
Check out our blog for more helpful ways to improve your law firm. Remember to turn to us when you need experienced, real-time court reporters. We lead the industry and have been the preferred partner of law firms throughout South Florida for more than two decades. Schedule your court reporter online or give us a call at 954-467-6867.
Follow these tips and get them cheering!
When was the last time you gave a rave review for a product or service? We’ve all had experiences that we can’t wait to share with others, sometimes because they were so positive and especially when it’s something that often doesn’t turn out so well (like actually having the cable guy show up and fix your cable).
As a lawyer, have you ever thought about how amazing it would be if your clients were going around town singing your praises? Referrals are still one of the most powerful ways to obtain new clients and truly, getting them doesn’t have to be difficult – that is, if you give your current clients a good reason to be happy.
Understanding your client’s priorities
All the experience and training in the world does nothing for you if you can’t treat your clients the way they want and need to be treated. And while every individual is different, getting to know each one, truly listening to their needs, and gaining an understanding of what they expect will go a long way toward turning them into fans.
Think about the client who expects constant communication or the one who prefers that you only update them once a week through email, for examples. Everyone’s experience and expectations dictate how they perceive your service, and giving it to them exactly as they wish (when possible) is not only satisfying, it’s rave-worthy.
Address issues head-on
Nobody’s perfect and you’re not always going to do everything right, right? But do you remember the last time you were miffed about an experience you had with a company and how they handled your complaint? If you’ve ever felt surprised and delighted by how your issue was addressed and corrected, then you already know how important it is to face problems head on.
When a client feels they’ve been mistreated or is upset because of how their case was being handled, it’s crucial to face it and fix it immediately – even if you were doing what you thought was right. Doing so shows your client how important they are to you and that you’re paying attention to their needs.
Sometimes trouble is brewing well before the storm hits. In the case of your law practice, you may have a client who is just stewing away, upset about a phone call they didn’t get fast enough. It often doesn’t matter why they’re upset or if their anger is warranted, it usually matters how you handle it. But what if you have no clue that he or she is feeling the way they are?
A good way to avoid these types of circumstances is to ask for feedback on a consistent basis. Whether you shoot your client an email after meeting with them to ask how they are feeling and if they have any questions or concerns, or you set up a call schedule to reach out to them throughout the case, being proactive can head off potential issues.
Fill them in
You’re the legal expert and that’s why your clients turn to you. But sharing some of your knowledge and expertise not only sheds light on what you’re doing, it also makes clients feel like trusted allies. And trusted allies soon become happy fans. Sharing tidbits of information when you can adds value to the service you’re providing and helps them understand why you’re taking the steps you are.
Harness their happiness
When you get positive feedback from a client, you feel great, right? Well, there’s nothing wrong with asking them to share their experience with others. Sometimes even the most delighted customers don’t think about posting a review or giving a shout out. So, next time you get a thank you note or a positive email, feel free to mention how important referrals are and how much you’d appreciate it if they would keep you in mind the next time someone they know needs legal assistance.
When you think about all the times you’ve raved to others about a positive experience, realize that turning your clients into fans is just that easy. Giving them the service they expect (and exceeding it whenever possible), showing them how important they are, and being responsive when problems do arise will get them singing your praises all over town.
For more helpful advice on how to improve or grow your practice, check our blog often. And remember, Boss Reporting is the leading real-time reporting agency in South Florida, offering services for trials, depositions, mediations, arbitrations, conferences, and meetings. Schedule your court reporter online or call 954-467-6867 to find out more about what we can do for you.
How well are you communicating?
As an attorney, you are constantly communicating. Whether it’s writing emails or briefs, in person, or on the phone, every interaction you have requires you to do it effectively. You need to engage with a variety of different audiences, including clients, witnesses, judges, attorneys, and juries, so having the skill to adapt and deliver your message correctly is key to your success. But while it may seem like a pretty straightforward thing, many attorneys aren’t masters at the art of communication. With that in mind, here are some tips on improving these skills:
Follow the golden rule
Remember when you were a kid and your mother told you to treat others as you would want to be treated? Well, the same goes for communication. How does it make you feel when someone interrupts you, talks over you, or appears as if they aren’t listening when you speak to them? Remember to allow others to finish speaking before you respond and to not raise your voice (unless you’re doing so for dramatic appeal during your opening or closing arguments). Although you may feel passionate about the case or the subject matter, it’s important to be mindful of how your communication is going to be perceived.
Consider your audience
Before you speak or write, think about who your audience is. For example, a brief intended for a judge should provide the right information to achieve the result you’re looking for. A motion to compel, for example, will likely include a lot more background and information than if you were shooting off an email to a client to update him or her on the case.
It’s not uncommon for attorneys to give too much or too little information, or be scattered in their communication rather than focusing on the most necessary points to accomplish, whatever the goal may be. A good practice is to ask yourself these questions: Who am I talking to? What do I want this person to do, say, think, or feel?
Give your ego a rest
It’s not always easy to let go of vanity or insecurities. But when you’re attempting to get a point across, no matter the audience, communication should be about them and what you hope to impart while interacting with them. Thoughtfulness (that golden rule again), creativity, and intelligence are always a good bet.
Keep it short and sweet
‘As short as possible, as long as necessary’ is a great rule to follow when you’re creating any sort of communication. Overwhelming your audience with too much information will just ensure that they stop listening or stop reading. If you want to grab someone’s attention and keep it, it’s best to make it as concise and to the point as possible. Some attorneys become verbose and their communication becomes ineffective.
Listen, listen, listen
One of the biggest complaints people have when dealing with doctors, lawyers, and other highly-skilled professionals is that these folks just don’t listen to them. It’s tempting to rush a client or a junior attorney out of your office when you have about a million other important things to take care of. But listening is a skill you need to master in order to communicate effectively. Lend an attentive ear to everyone you’re engaging with and you’ll find that you not only gain respect and attention back from them, but that every encounter you have will be more productive.
Being an effective communicator does not come naturally to everyone. But if you follow these tips and remember the golden rule, you’ll find you can improve your skills and make the most of every interaction.
If you’re looking for more ways to improve your practice, keep checking our blog. And if you need a real-time court reporter, get in touch with us today. We have the most experienced and highly skilled team in the industry. Fill out our online form to request a quote or give us a call at 954-467-6867.
Forget the stereotypes – these folks are poised to be the next generation of legal powerhouses
The millennial generation consists of 80 million people, and many of them are either getting ready to enter the workforce or have already done so. And before too long, they will make up the largest percentage of the today’s workers – which means all businesses, including law firms, need to have a handle on the younger generation. This includes recognizing who they are, what makes them tick, and how to manage their unique skills and capabilities. Here are some important considerations and tips on how to make the most of your relationship with millennials:
Accept that it may be temporary
Whether it’s because they are multipotentialites (professionals who pursue several career paths instead of just one) or they’re not too keen on the 30-year, stay-at-the-same-firm plan, millennials tend to be movers. Many of them are looking for experience and are willing to pay their dues to get it, but will likely move on to the next position that offers even greater exposure and opportunity when it comes their way.
Does this mean you shouldn’t hire a millennial? By all means, no. Remember, they will not only soon make up the bulk of qualified applicants in the job market but they also have a ton to offer – even if for just a brief year or two at your firm.
Tell them what you think
This generation is the first in history to be born into the Internet era, so it’s no great mystery why they expect to have information available at their fingertips at all times. They’ve never had to wait to find out their grades in school, to hear back from a professor, or to get any other information they need. It’s also important to note that many of these folks have been raised by parents who praised them often; and when it comes to the workplace, millennials have the same desires and expectations. To keep them motivated and engaged, it’s important to offer consistent feedback, regular performance reviews, and to ensure that they feel involved and appreciated.
Share your vision
One characteristic that most millennials share is the desire to live a life of purpose. For the young attorney, it’s important that you share your vision for the firm and define how their role helps you achieve it. Law firms that offer development, training and growth opportunities, or allow their new associates the opportunity to explore more than one practice group will experience a much higher level of engagement.
It may be hard for seasoned attorneys to wrap their heads around this concept, but for the millennials, it’s sometimes more about the “why” than about how much money they will be making. In fact, while pay is of course important, this generation tends to place a high value on working for a purpose.
Be open to a flexible schedule
All work and no play makes … well, you know the rest. And while their parents may have a different view, millennials desire and expect a career that will offer flexibility and a good life-work balance. They are willing to work hard, but they also want to have the ability to get in their exercise, see their friends, or spend time with their family.
One of the most significant ways to keep them happy is by providing them the opportunity to work from home (or just remotely via Wi-Fi) if they want to. With the ability to do anything via the Internet, there are fewer reasons not to provide this flexibility. And most folks in this generation will tell you that they are even more productive when they’re able to knock out a few hours of work at night from home.
Don’t forget about technology
There are numerous benefits to working with a group of tech-savvy millennials. Besides the fact that they know how to get hard-to-find information fast, they’re also up on all the latest and greatest apps that can make jobs easier and more efficient. If your law firm isn’t tech friendly, it’s a good idea to explore moving in that direction. This will not only ensure your millennials are satisfied, but also that they can communicate and work in the manner they’re most comfortable with.
They’ve been called lazy, entitled, and non-conformist, among other things. And whether or not those stereotypes are fair, the truth is, many millennials are different from preceding generations. But their unique qualities, skills, and personality characteristics can be of great value to any organization, as long as they’re managed appropriately. When it comes to your law firm, follow these tips to make the most of your relationship with this new generation of legal professionals.
For more useful tips on how to improve your law firm, check our blog often. At Boss Reporting, we’re not only your partner in the court room, we also strive to be a leading source of valuable industry information. Get in touch with us today to request a real time reporter from our highly-skilled team.
Don’t wait to get hacked to take the precautionary steps
Technology, like all innovation, is subject to those who will use it do unscrupulous things. So anyone doing business today, including attorneys, needs to be aware of the dangers of a cyber breach and related crimes. In fact, just a few short months ago, nearly 50 law firms found out the hard way just how important cyber security is when they became the victims of a group of Russian hackers. Although the targeted firms were ones that deal with the financial services and trading industry, the harsh reality of data theft is one that all lawyers need to be cognizant of and militant about. Here are some tips on how to handle cyber security:
1. Ditch the “Not Me” thinking
Everybody does it. But thinking that a cyber-crime won’t happen to you can be almost as dangerous as the crime itself. Every lawyer needs to be aware that the dangers apply to them and that information is not safe unless you take action to protect it. Although you may not consider your firm to be high tech, any files you have stored on your own servers or in the cloud are vulnerable.
2. Be vigilant about backing up
We all know the importance and value of backing up data. But if you get the least bit lax about it or you don’t have a system set up for regular back-ups, you could get into trouble. You never know when a breach will occur so it’s best to be prepared. If you use the cloud, make sure you’ve discussed your back-up options with your provider and that your data is replicated in different locations in the event that one of the servers is compromised.
3. Assess your system
If you have an IT department, it is a good idea to have your team do a thorough review of your computer system and network to determine risk potential. Hire a professional consultant if you don’t have your own IT team – it is just that important. Look at your encryption and who has access to what information in your firm. Remember that less is more; the fewer people who have access to confidential information, the lower the risk of an internal breach.
4. Consider two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication is becoming more and more popular as data breaches become more common. Although it’s an extra step, using this method to authenticate users can help immensely in preventing risk to your online accounts. You are likely familiar with this process (even though you may not realize it), if you have a debit card.
The way it works is that there are two factors required to sign into an account; in the case of your debit card, it’s the card itself and your pin number. In most cases, the two factors are something the user has and something only the user knows. This process makes it harder for hackers because they need more than just the password to get in.
5. Train everyone on how to spot phishing schemes and scams
Your entire team should be trained on cyber security and stay aware of what scams and phishing emails look like. It only takes one click from a well-meaning but unaware staff member to break a huge hole in your security. Go over the common tactics used in phishing attacks and remind everyone never to open an email they are unsure of or to click on a link that doesn’t look right. One half of all Internet users receive at least one phishing email per day and these types of attacks cost businesses around the world more than $4.5 billion per year. Some tips to avoid opening a malicious email:
- Never click on a link or attachments from an unknown source
- Banks, credit card companies, and other financial institutions won’t ask you for your account information via email
- Phishers often use the words “urgent” or “your account has been suspended”
- Major brands and corporations won’t have spelling and grammatical errors (phishing emails often do)
- The IRS and other government agencies will never email you and ask for information
- Never give any personal information online
Attorneys, just like other professionals, are not immune to cyber-crimes. So if you haven’t taken any steps to protecting your data and your network, follow these tips. Remember, data breaches can happen at any time and when they do, you could be held liable for the loss of confidential client information, not to mention endanger your practice.
For more tips on improving your practice, be sure to visit our blog often. At Boss Reporting, it’s our goal to be your partner for all your court reporting needs and to be a resource of valuable industry information. And if you need a real-time reporter, give us a call at 954-467-6867 or fill out our online quote request form today.
The straight up from a veteran court reporter
It’s not uncommon for attorneys and their clients to forget that a court reporter is present during a deposition—after all, they sit quietly, typing away without making a sound or reacting to the testimony being given. And while it may seem very simple and straightforward, the reality is, court reporters have a lot to say – and would offer up several important tips to attorneys, if given the opportunity.
In fact, knowing these things may serve to make depositions go more smoothly and create a more accurate transcript. Here’s your chance to get this information straight from a court veteran – check out these five things all court reporters want attorneys to know about depositions:
1. Mumbling is a no-no
Before beginning a deposition, be sure to remind your client that uh-huhs and um-hums are no-nos. Court reporters can’t really write those kinds of responses and if your witness uses these phrases, you risk getting a lot of [inaudible] comments and an inaccurate transcript. It’s a good idea to stress that court reporters record every word and sound you make during a deposition, so make sure to speak clearly and loud enough to be heard properly.
2. Hold your fire when marking exhibits
If you’re one of those attorneys that keeps firing away questions while your court reporter is marking exhibits, you’re making it impossible to record things accurately. Everyone’s in a hurry these days, but when you’re doing a deposition, you can’t afford to rush. So when you ask your court reporter to mark an exhibit, take a deep breath and allow a pause before you continue with your questioning.
3. Food for thought
Court reporters are highly-skilled professionals, but they cannot be expected to record a deposition while eating. So if your deposition is going to take several hours and you plan on bringing in food to work through lunch, remember to give your court reporter a break to grab a bite and get refreshed. It’s unfair to assume that they should go on working while everyone in the room is eating.
4. Slow down and don’t quote with punctuation
If you’re reading from a document that all parties all familiar with, remember that your court reporter is most likely not. So you should never speed read anything; in many cases, this will just slow down the whole procedure because you’ll be asked to repeat yourself. Also, remember not to state punctuation like commas or parenthesis out loud, otherwise these things will be spelled out in the transcript. If quotation marks are needed for exact quotes, your court reporter will fill them in after the deposition.
5. Take turns
Remember what your mother taught you when you were a kid? The same lesson holds true in your depositions. Not only is it good manners and proper etiquette to take turns while speaking, it’s necessary to get an accurate transcript—a court reporter can’t capture who said what if everyone is talking at the same time.
For your next deposition, be mindful of these important tips that can make the process run smoothly and with the highest degree of accuracy. And if you need a real-time reporter, give us a call at 954-467-6867 or fill out our online quote request form. Our team of reporters is dedicated to providing you with the highest quality transcripts and to fulfilling all of your reporting needs, whether it’s in the courtroom or during depositions, arbitrations, mediations, or conferences.
Before you jump on every technology bandwagon—read this.
There’s always so much buzz surrounding advances in technology—so much so that many businesses, law firms included, find themselves scrambling to get onboard, afraid they’ll be left behind if they don’t implement the latest apps. And while we all know how valuable many of these new tools can be, they can’t all be a necessity for everyone, can they? If you’re striving to be a tech-friendly firm, it’s important to take into consideration several factors.
Your area of expertise
A law firm that specializes in personal injury is going to have dramatically different needs than one that serves the real estate industry or corporate clients. Each of these types of practices will obtain clients uniquely, will have diverse advertising strategies, and communicate differently with their clients and prospects.
A personal injury firm, for example, isn’t looking for repeat business from the same customer, but will use various forms of media to communicate their services to the public. And while a corporate lawyer may have a big presence on social media for marketing, he or she may get most clients through referrals from CEOs. Websites are a necessity for every law firm as a source of information and references, but being active on social media is not as important for some practice areas.
Technology can increase efficiency—but it won’t necessarily make you more successful
There are many successful law firms out there that don’t use some of the newest technology. The cloud, for example (technology that allows you to store, share, and access files remotely and not on your firm’s physical server), is not being widely used by firms as of yet. And while there are attorneys who rely on the cloud to safely store sensitive information, this technology is still daunting to many.
The same goes for practice management software, Adobe Acrobat applications, OneNote, and other applications. Are the law firms who aren’t onboard with these tools losing business because of it? Maybe or maybe not. Because while many of these nifty platforms can help you complete tasks faster and with more efficiency, unless they affect the way you handle your cases and your clients, they’re not necessarily a game changer.
Tech-friendly isn’t just for the big dogs
If you’re a small firm or a solo attorney, you may be under the impression that unless you have an IT department or a big budget, you shouldn’t be messing with advanced tech-tools. But in reality, many of the top new apps and software are totally intuitive, very affordable, and can be managed by pretty much anyone with a computer, tablet or smartphone.
There’s always room for applications that can make your job easier and help you run things (even on the back-end) more effectively. From dictating tools that allow you to record your ideas or important facts on a case via your smartphone (while you’re on the go) to those that make it possible to video conference or create a paperless deposition, there is an array of highly-useful technology.
Trying to keep up with the technological revolution is not something all law firms aspire to and there’s no reason to rush into becoming a cutting-edge tech firm. The key is to consider who your clients are, how best to communicate with them, and how well your organization is running. If you find that you could make your job easier and your firm more productive, do your homework and find the tools that are most applicable to your specialty.
For more industry information and tips on improving your legal practice, be sure to check our blog. And if you’re in need of real-time court reporting, give us a call at 954-467-6867 or fill out a quote request form.
When you add in hard work and years of experience … maybe.
Think for a moment about how much technology has impacted industries and the professionals in them. From how doctors diagnose and treat illnesses to how musicians record and sell their music, the way people do business has been dramatically changed by the advent of cutting-edge technology. So as an attorney you may be thinking about the ways you could use tech to improve your practice and your skills. And while it cannot necessarily make you a better lawyer, there are numerous ways it can help. Take a look:
New technologies and advanced apps have taken the world by storm and the legal industry is no exception. If you haven’t already invested in or started using some of the most popular tools designed to make running your firm and serving your clients more efficient, it’s time you did. Some of the top apps and software solutions that successful lawyers are using include:
Adobe Acrobat Professional: This software solution replaces the manual method of Bates Labeling and redacting documents, making the whole process electronic, easier, and much faster.
Evernote Scannable: Point your smartphone at a doc, a receipt, or a whiteboard and this nifty app will capture the image and automatically rotate, crop and adjust it. Then, you’ll have a digital image that not only looks exactly like the original document, but is shareable and saved.
Chrome Remote Desktop: Need to retrieve a document while you’re meeting with a client? With Chrome Remote Desktop you can access it and share it from anywhere.
Dragon Dictate: How often do you think of the perfect closing argument while you’re driving home from the office or on your way to a meeting? With this app, you can dictate your idea before you forget it. It’s also handy for dictating notes for a case and anything else that you need to remember but can’t write down at that moment.
Any.do: Never miss a meeting or forget to file a motion with this sophisticated task management app. It even offers geolocation and other really cool features that allow you to create your own custom reminders in relation to where you are at the time (like reminding you to file a motion as you’re driving by the courthouse).
Paperless depo software: Replace the piles and piles of printed documents often involved in depositions with a paperless deposition solution. There are numerous products out there that are easy to use and offer an array of useful features beyond paperless capability, including giving you access to exhibits and depositions from anywhere at any time.
Video conferencing: Need to do a remote deposition? Or how about doing several in one day without the need to travel back and forth between clients? While some depositions require a one-on-one, many don’t and having the ability to do it via video conferencing can save time and money.
OneNote: While there will likely always be a place for yellow legal pads, this app makes it easier and more efficient to take, save, and organize notes. It’s got advanced capabilities that also enable you to record a video (like of a focus group) or to take notes and sync them with the video and any other notes you’ve compiled for a case. You may never have to scour through pages of hand-written pads again!
These tools are just a few of the many that are designed to make running your law practice easier and serving your clients more efficient. So while technology can’t improve your knowledge or skills as an attorney, it most certainly can help you improve the way you run your firm.
Nothing is more valuable than face-to-face time
The way we communicate and do business these days is immediate and efficient, no doubt. But sometimes, it’s our instantaneous methods of giving, getting, and sharing information that can cause us to lose sight of establishing deeper connections. And when it comes to your clients, building a rapport that fosters a sense of trust and openness is pivotal. It’s these deeper connections that can make winning cases much more likely. Let’s talk about why quality time matters:
Emails and texts don’t convey emotion
While we can all relate to the necessity and practicality of having the ability to communicate via text and email, the reality is, the extent to which emotion is expressed in these media is limited. Shooting off an email to fill in a client on upcoming meetings or a summary of what was discussed is perfectly acceptable, and common practice, but if you really want to get a client’s story, there’s no substitute for a face-to-face meeting.
Take it out of the office
Visiting a client on their home turf, whether in their place of business or their home, gives you an opportunity to see them on a whole different level. When meeting in an environment that they are comfortable in, clients often let their guard down and open up more. While your firm may have a state-of-the-art office space equipped with well-appointed conference rooms, spending time with your clients outside of this environment is a key way to get to know them on a personal level and develop a better understanding of who they are, what their motivations are, and what is truly at the root of the case.
Build a deeper connection
In addition to gaining your client’s trust and getting to know them better, spending quality time also gives them the opportunity to get to know you. This is an important aspect of building that deeper relationship because the more they feel they know you, the more open your clients will be with you.
Obviously, trust is an essential element to the client-attorney relationship and it goes both ways—because you not only want to know what your clients are all about, you want them to trust you enough to tell you as much as possible. The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to represent them.
Keep the balance
As any busy attorney will tell you, making room in your schedule to spend time with your clients outside of the office is not always an easy task. But if you’re looking to connect on a deeper level, it’s important to make it a priority. Of course, it depends on the needs and preferences of each client, as not all of them will want to meet with you outside of your firm. But those who do allow you this privilege, whether to have lunch or a coffee, will benefit even more greatly from your representation and in the end. And they are more likely to become long-term clients who trust you with all of their legal needs.
At Boss Certified Real Time Reporting, we strive to partner with you both in the court room and as a resource of useful industry information to help make your firm more productive and successful. Check out our blog for more tips and if you’re in need of a court reporter, fill out our online form to request a quote or to schedule a job.
The human factor wins out every time.
We’re living in a digital world, no doubt about it. And while every industry on the planet has experienced this change in one way or another, some benefit more than others when it comes to the use of certain technologies. In the case of court reporting versus digital recording, many industry professionals still opt for capturing the conversations, testimonies, and everything else that transpires during litigation or other legal processes with a stenographic court reporter rather than using a digital recording. The reality is that nothing can match the quality of stenographic reporting. Here’s why:
1. Whoops—didn’t mean to record THAT.
When it comes to recording events that occur during legal proceedings, digital devices are notorious for capturing conversations that were not intended to be captured. These types of accidental recordings can not only be costly mistakes; they can cost you your case. Accidents like this don’t happen when a court reporter is transcribing, because a professional only reports what he or she is instructed to.
2. He said what?
Digital recordings can be great and they can also be horrible. And when it comes to recording your next deposition or litigation proceedings, you can’t afford the latter. Unfortunately, no matter how high-tech the device is, it’s not uncommon for digital recordings to capture background noises or to provide an end product that is simply inaudible. And when these things happen, it’s almost always discovered after the proceedings have concluded, resulting in major issues, appeals, and other difficulties. On the flip side, live-in-person court reporters do not record background noises and they are trained to capture only words that are spoken and that are relevant to the proceedings.
3. Could you read that back?
When it comes to requests for a readback, which happens quite often during a court proceeding, there’s no comparison to the swiftness and accuracy that a court reporter can deliver. Because he or she is present, attentive, and on top of the testimony that’s being reported, relevant sections can be found within seconds. When using a digital recording device, however, searching through the audio to find the exact testimony requested can not only be time-consuming and arduous, in some cases, it’s just not possible.
4. One step forward—two steps back.
When it’s time for a transcript, digital recordings still have to be transcribed by a professional. So even if you were lucky enough to produce a quality recording of your proceedings, the audio file must be then given to a transcriptionist to produce the official copy. Today’s court reporters can provide a first draft of the proceedings immediately and, using real-time reporting, can show testimony within seconds of the words being spoken on computer screens right in the court room. Less steps, less time, and more cost effective.
5. Let’s review!
Reviewing a digital recording is a lengthy process that most judges and attorneys don’t have time for—if a review is needed, it entails having to listen to the entire recording. Real time court reporting gives judges and attorneys the ability to review and annotate testimony during the course of the proceedings, and court reporters can provide remarks on a computer screen or print a report onsite.
6. Where’s the research?
Using digital recording devices does not give lawyers and judges the ability to perform any research during proceedings. A court reporter, however, can not only call up depositions to compare during testimony, he or she can also access online research and communicate with expert witnesses who may be testifying remotely.
We all know that you get what you pay for, and when it comes to choosing between digital recordings or stenographic court reporting, this sentiment couldn’t be more accurate. Although some attorneys may think they’ll be saving money by using the less reliable method, the reality is, cutting corners only produces a lower quality, less accurate results. And in the case of your next case, that’s a chance you shouldn’t take.
For more useful industry information, visit our blog often and to find out why Boss Reporting is a leader in real-time court reporting services throughout South Florida. And the next time you need reporting services, give us a call at 954-467-6867 or request a free quote online.
Make a strategic choice that will support your career aspirations
If you’ve finished law school, completed a few internships, and passed the bar, congratulations! And while it may seem like all the hard stuff is behind you, now is when the real work begins. The first step for many young lawyers is deciphering which law firms would be a good fit and figuring out which offer you want to accept. It’s a really big decision and not one that you should make lightly. Here are some tips on how to choose:
1. Think of your preferred practice area
As a first-year associate, it may be hard to imagine yourself practicing the same kind of law for many years to come. And if you’re not sure which area you’ll be most passionate about, it’s important to try and choose a firm that will allow you to dabble in a variety of options. While many young lawyers have decided on their choice long before they graduate, most haven’t – and that’s ok. Selecting a firm that has several areas of practice may be the best way to go.
2. Evaluate reputation
When it comes to choosing the right firm, another critical thing to consider is its reputation. It goes without saying that you want to find one that is not only well-established, but also has earned good standing in the community. Selection based on prestige may seem superficial, but in reality, it goes a long way when you’re ready to move on because other firms look at your previous employment as a key factor. Choosing a firm that can open more doors for you is a great career strategy.
3. Geography is key
Nothing is forever, of course. But just like any career, you want to think ahead when accepting a position. Some cities are more conducive to certain types of law than others. For example, New York City is a key financial hub, so if your background is in accounting, finance, or other related law, you may want to focus on firms that can get you closer to living and working in NYC. On the other hand, if your goal is to one day own your own small firm or to practice corporate law, you’ll want to be on the lookout for similar firms that can pave the way for your aspirations in your desired location.
4. Calculate what will be a promising future
While it’s important to choose an area of law that you’re passionate about, it’s likely that you may not know exactly what you want to do so early in your career. If this is the case, you may want to take a look at the market itself and see what the demand is for different types of lawyers at the moment. Things can and do change year to year according to what’s happening in the economy, but it can be exciting to choose an area of practice that is particularly hot. If you’re getting an offer from a firm that does relatively-stable, tax-related law, for example, you may want to wait and see if you get any interest from a real estate or mergers and acquisitions firm.
Knowing which offer to accept may seem daunting, especially since your first experience as a young lawyer can have a big influence on your future. Take your time, consider all of these aspects, and don’t stress it too much. Remember that you’re just starting out and most attorneys make several moves throughout their careers.
At Boss Certified Realtime Reporting, we are interested in the professional development and aspirations of any and all members of the legal community. With more than a decade of experience and over 40 reporters on staff, we’re ready to meet your court reporting needs once you’ve found the right firm. Fill out our online form to request a quote or schedule a job today.
The kind of education you’ll never get in a classroom (online or otherwise).
After law school or paralegal and court reporting education, most legal professionals engage in on-going training programs. The legal field, like many industries, continuously evolves, and you need to keep up with complex developments to be successful. But while continuing education programs and seminars will keep you up-to-date, there’s a certain amount of informal training that should be taking place at all times to foster the skills and knowledge that no official course can deliver.
Trial and error
We’re all familiar with the adage that sometimes the best lessons are the ones we learn when we make mistakes. This applies to training legal professionals, but with actual cases on the line, it’s often better to teach these lessons from experience rather than let young professionals learn them the hard way. Consider the wisdom you can impart to junior attorneys by asking simple questions after a trial, deposition, conference call, or even a new client meeting.
“What are your observations?”
“Do you have any questions about the way this was handled?”
“What can we improve upon the next time?”
Asking them for feedback is a great way to spur conversations that lead to valuable learning experiences.
Remember when you learned to ride a bike? It’s highly unlikely that your parents drew you a picture or tried to explain how to pedal and steer without actually putting you on the seat. Learning by doing is one of the best methods for mastering anything, including practicing law. Despite the massive volume of material that you memorized in school, it’s likely that you don’t remember a lot of it. In contrast, most lawyers will tell you that they never forget their first case or what they learned during marathon workdays when they first started out.
As a young attorney, you may have had to submit your work to a more senior member of the firm to ensure that it was accurate and well written. And if you were given the chance to see the revisions, you learned how to improve your writing and what to do differently the next time. If you’re in a position to offer this kind of constructive criticism to junior attorneys or other legal staff, you’re actually offering them informal, practical training—the kind of education they won’t get in any other setting.
While continuing legal education is a requirement in most law firms and remains pivotal to developing a successful legal career, there’s no substitute to hands-on learning through trial and error and constructive feedback. Law firms that foster an environment of continuous growth will reap the rewards with personnel who are well equipped to handle the ever-changing legal arena.
At Boss Certified Realtime Reporting, we promote a culture of constructive feedback and ongoing professional development. With more than a decade of experience and over 40 reporters on staff, we’re ready to meet your court reporting needs. Fill out our online form to request a quote or schedule a job today.
Ensure the accuracy of your transcripts and the success of your case by hiring the right person.
Choosing a court reporter is a task that should not be taken lightly. As you know, a precise and accurate transcription can be the key to your case and without a highly-qualified reporter, you may not get what you need. Additionally, because you are often dealing with confidential or sensitive information, you want to make sure that a court reporter is reputable. And you want to choose a reporting firm that will become a trusted partner, supplying you with top notch personnel that meet all of your requirements. With that in mind, here are some important considerations and key questions to ask when you’re hiring a court reporter.
1. Is your reporter a member of the NCRA?
It’s a smart idea to enlist the services of a professional who is a member of the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). This internationally-recognized association is the premier educational and informational resource for its professional members and for the public. Court reporting agencies that belong to the NCRA are committed to adhering to the highest standards and ethical best practices in the industry.
2. Are they a full-service agency?
Whether you’re in need of a court reporter for a mediation, deposition, trial, conference, or arbitration, your goal should be to choose a firm that has full-service capabilities. The agency should have conference rooms, videoconferencing, interpreters, Wi-Fi, and various locations to serve you. Hiring a partner that offers all of these services (instead of having to hire multiple people to do each) makes scheduling and managing all of your needs easier and faster.
3. What kind of litigation support do they offer?
There’s no question about the importance of finding a court reporting firm that offers crucial litigation support, including: real-time reporting, the choice of rough disks and/or transcripts, overnight, daily and/or condensed transcripts, word indexing, and audio-transcription.
4. How much experience do they have?
It probably goes without saying that you want a firm that has a respected reputation in the industry and a long record of happy clients. Always ask for referrals from current or former clients and do your research online to learn more about potential hires.
5. How many court reporters are onboard?
While you may likely only need one court reporter at a time, it helps to choose an agency that has a team of experienced professionals to ensure that you can always get service when you need it.
6. Do they have insurance?
Hiring a court reporter who is not insured is a risk you don’t want to take. A top court reporting firm will have liability insurance—this shows that they take their commitment to accuracy and their reputation seriously.
7. How well-versed are they in the rules and regulations of the industry?
It’s important that the firm you choose has reporters who are not only experienced and qualified, but who are also well-versed in the field of litigation and court reporting procedures, and have knowledge of the complex legal, medical, and technical terms that are often used in proceedings.
When selecting a court reporting firm, it’s important to ask these questions. Check on each potential agency’s record, reputation, and range of services. Boss Reporting has more than a decade of experience and over 40 court reporters on staff. We use the latest technology for every job and provide full service to our clients—many of whom have been with us since we first opened our doors in 1995. Get in touch with today to find out how we can serve you.
10 rules of etiquette to make the most of a court reporter’s expertise.
If you’ve been an attorney for some time, you may be familiar with some of the unwritten rules of etiquette that govern working with court reporters. But for lawyers without a lot of experience, this guide outlines exactly what you need to know to get the most out of a deposition. Take a look:
1. Make sure your court reporter is close to the action.
It may seem obvious, but make sure that your witness is seated close to the court reporter. This will ensure that even the most soft-spoken witness is audible and the reporter doesn’t have to strain to capture every word accurately.
2. Is this on or off the record?
Always be clear as to whether you’re saying something that is on or off the record. The best way to make sure that your deposition goes perfectly is to clearly state out loud the nature of your speech.
3. No speeding!
When you’re speaking during a deposition, remember to maintain a moderate pace. If you go too fast, your court reporter can miss something, forcing her ask you to slow down or repeat a crucial point. Make sure that you speak at a speed that is comfortable for the reporter to easily record every word.
4. You have the right to remain silent!
If you’ve asked your court reporter to mark an exhibit during the deposition, remain silent and refrain from questioning until he has finished. If you don’t, the reporter will be unable record what you say because it’s not possible to do both things at the same time.
5. Voice your objections.
In the midst of a deposition, you or other attorneys may have several objections. And while it may seem natural to use hand motions or body language to communicate one objection after another, be sure to verbalize every single one. It’s all too easy for your court reporter to miss an objection if you’re using non-verbal cues.
6. Spell it out in plain English.
While your court reporter may be very experienced, it’s possible that some of the terms of your case will be unfamiliar to her, especially you’re using industry jargon. To ensure that she knows how to properly spell everything, you should provide a list of terms (and the spelling of the names of all the witnesses as well) beforehand.
7. Stick to the facts!
Never ask your court reporter for an opinion about your case. It’s unprofessional and it puts the reporter in an uncomfortable position. The court reporter is always considered a neutral party and he is only there to accurately and efficiently record the deposition.
8. Slow down!
Although court reporters can record hundreds of words per minute, most of us speak even faster than that. So if you’re reading documents out loud, be sure to read slower than you normally would to ensure nothing is missed.
9. Want wings on that transcript to make it fly?
Rush transcripts are not uncommon in the industry and your court reporter should be able to accommodate you, providing you let him know in advance. The earlier the better, of course. But at the very least, provide notification before the deposition begins.
10. Break it down.
Depositions can sometimes take several hours. In long cases, make sure that you and your court reporter take regular breaks. Even a small, ten-minute break will give both of you time to regroup and prevent exhaustion, which ultimately ensures that a deposition will be as accurate as possible.
Court reporters are professionals dedicated to providing the highest quality recordings to their clients. To make the most of their talents and expertise, be sure to follow these simple rules of etiquette while working with them on a deposition.
It’s an important decision that you’ll need to get right.
Undoubtedly, the cloud has revolutionized the way we store, share, and backup files. To many business owners, it presents benefits never before experienced and advanced technology that improves the way they run their companies and serve their customers. But while all of us realize how useful the cloud is, as a lawyer your business has a unique set of regulations and ethics and requires you to store a large amount of confidential information. Using the cloud means that your files will be living on a server in remote location and not within the walls of your business. So the question is, is it ethical for you to use the cloud?
In most cases, yes
While there is a lot of conversation about the cloud within the industry, using this type of computing is becoming more and more popular. The American Bar Association has researched the topic among the bar associations in the United States and many of them agree that when used with “reasonable care”, the cloud is ethical. Depending on which state you practice law in, the ABA suggests that before transitioning to the cloud for your firm, you consider several factors. Let’s take a look.
Choosing a vendor
As you can imagine, more and more cloud service providers are popping up everyday. And for anyone, lawyer or not, who isn’t familiar with the cloud, it may be daunting to choose a vendor. The decision is not to be taken lightly of course, so it’s best to do your homework and read any reviews of each provider. Ask for recommendations and go over the service agreement with a fine tooth comb. Some of the key considerations you’ll want to take into account are security and protection from loss or damage. Also you’ll want to choose a provider that specifies just where the files are stored, how often they are backed up, and that you explicitly own your data.
Following new industry standards
Although there is mixed opinion about cloud computing among different bar associations in the US, the Legal Cloud Computing Association has established standards and guidelines for lawyers to follow to ensure their ethical and legal obligations.
If you’re considering using the cloud for your practice, take some time to review their set of standards, it can only help you. Their published guide discusses the use of the cloud in depth and covers everything from the location and redundancy of data to authentication protocols, limitations of third-party access, ownership of data, the handling of data breaches, disaster recovery, and additional details needed to choose the right vendor and level of service.
Some state bar associations have said that it’s not necessary for an attorney to tell their clients that they are storing data in the cloud. This is something that, depending on your jurisdiction, is left up to your discretion. If you think about it, do businesses you use tell you where your data, whether it’s orders from Amazon or something else, are stored? For the most part, it’s recommended only when you feel it is necessary.
There’s no doubt as to the efficiency and benefits of the cloud, and as our world continues to evolve digitally, these and other technological advances will become more prevalent and available. As attorneys, the key thing to be cognizant of is safeguarding your client’s confidential files. Consider these tips before enlisting the services of a vendor.