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Collaboration in Your Law Firm: Why You Need a Plan

Collaboration in Your Law Firm: Why You Need a Plan on bossreporting.com

How strategy makes your practice even more successful

The world’s most successful companies not only understand the value of collaboration, they foster it through every aspect of their culture. From open workspaces to think tanks and more, nurturing the exchange of ideas and solutions is how many organizations manage their teams—and succeed. Law firms, comprised of young and seasoned attorneys as well as an array of legal professionals, can also benefit from the advantages of collaboration. But in order to really maximize the effort, a certain amount of planning is necessary:

Start by building a collaborative culture

If your firm operates in a business-as-usual environment, collaboration will take some effort. It’s not uncommon for attorneys to exist in survival mode, simply because the job itself requires you to consistently compete against an adversary. But when it comes to working together with your fellow attorneys, it’s necessary to let go of that competitive spirit and realize that you’re all on the same team. There are numerous ways to build a collaborative culture, including:

Create a team communication schedule

Implement a morning or afternoon huddle where everyone in the firm gets together to give a quick update on what they’re working on, if they need support on anything, and to give a shout out to anyone on the team that’s achieved something or provided support to their coworkers. Increasing communication among team members can help the entire staff feel more a part of a team, rather than an individual with their own goals.

Encourage peer-to-peer brainstorming

When more experienced lawyers can offer their expertise to new attorneys, these interactions help create a culture of teamwork and collaboration. Encourage all of your attorneys to seek guidance from each other, to brainstorm on complex cases, and to offer up solutions and new ways of handling particularly difficult litigation.

Establish firm goals

Establishing goals for the firm is much the same as determining how your lawyers are going to manage their caseloads, work together, and work with clients. When you create a set of goals, a mission statement, and core values that set your firm apart from others, you should also make sure that each and every member of your team buys into them and understands their role. By doing this, lawyers both new and experiences feel a sense of purpose in all that they do to help the firm achieve its aspirations.

Plan team building activities

Although it may seem hokey, team building activities can help build relationships among your attorneys and foster a collaborative environment. There are numerous ways to do this (and no, you don’t have to do the trust fall thing), but the key is that you get all of your team together to participate, including attorneys, legal secretaries, and administrative assistants.

Get social

All work and no play—you know the rest. And while lawyering is serious business, it’s important to encourage your firm’s employees to get to know each other and to build a certain sense of cohesiveness. Some firms create a committee or team that’s in charge of planning out special company lunches, happy hours, birthday celebrations, and the like. The important thing is not so much what you do, but that you get everyone together to relax, mingle and relate on a more personal (rather than business) level.

Although it is not a new concept, it seems the world’s most progressive companies are the ones with the highest level of collaboration going on. For many law firms, creating a culture that fosters this type of environment is challenging, especially since lawyers often focused on their own individual clients and cases. But collaboration is possible and can only serve to strengthen your firm..

For more valuable resources and information on improving your law practice, check our blog often.

If you need a real-time court reporter for your next deposition, trial, mediation or conference, get in touch with us today.

7 Tips for Court Reporters on Handling Stress

7 Tips for Court Reporters on Handling Stress on bossreporting.com

Read this before you lose your mind

Imagine being tasked with accurately recording every word spoken by every person for hours at a time. For court reporters, this is just another day in the office, so it’s no wonder that many of them experience high levels of stress. Add to that the fact that their job often requires them to sit for long periods without a break, and it’s easy to understand why court reporters can struggle with physical and mental exhaustion. It’s time we all learn to manage that pressure:

1. Cut yourself some slack

You’re anything but a slacker, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give yourself a break once in a while. Court reporters often bully themselves into believing they need to be perfect. But everyone makes a hiccup once in a while, and when this happens, it’s best to learn from it and move on.

2. Set yourself up for success

Make your work day smoother by prepping everything you need the night before—such as your clothes, lunch, and steno gear. Doing this eliminates rushing around and reduces the risk of forgetting anything.

It may even free up some of your morning time so you can enjoy a cup of coffee before heading out the door.

3. Create a what and when to-do list

Having hundreds of pages of depositions to transcribe can be absolutely overwhelming. Instead of letting all that you have to do weigh down on your mind, create a list that outlines what you’ll do and when. By mapping out a plan, you are freeing it from your mind—try it, it really does help!

4. Use breaks to move, stretch, and get out of your head

As a court reporter, your day will often include a lot of sitting and deep concentration. Even with a short break every few hours, it can be challenging to focus on something other than what’s in the next deposition, trail, or meeting. But if you can take a short walk, do a few stretches, or even head outside for some fresh air, you’ll find yourself better equipped to manage the rest of your day. Clearing your head, even if only for 15 minutes, can do wonders for your stress level.

5. Think about your progress not about what’s left

When there’s a monumental amount of work to be accomplished, it’s all too easy to stress about how everything is going to get finished. Instead, feel satisfaction by checking off tasks as you complete them and focusing on the progress you’ve made. Shifting your focus eliminates those feelings of self-doubt that you’ll get it all done.

6. Let it go

When your work day is done, leave it at work. Even on the days where you need to catch up after hours, letting it go after you finish (and not anticipating what you have to do tomorrow), allows you to de-stress, unwind, and enjoy some relaxation. Remember, the work will still be there tomorrow, so tomorrow is when you should focus on it.

7. Exercise, eat well, and get your ZZZ’s

Yes, it sounds trite, but living a healthy lifestyle is a key way to relieve stress. Because your career as a court reporter requires you to be sedentary, getting in exercise, eating lots of veggies and protein, and getting a good night’s sleep are crucial to staying physically and mentally fit. Also, don’t forget to drink your H2O!

Being a court reporter takes a keen eye for detail, a great deal of focus, and the gift of speed—it’s not for the weak! But if you follow these tips, you’ll find that your days will be less stressful.

For more helpful suggestions, check out our blog. And if you’re looking for a real-time court reporter, fill out our request form or give us a call at 954-467-6867.

Ergonomic Work Stations at Your Law Firm: Why They’re Needed

Ergonomic Work Stations at Your Law Firm: Why They’re Needed on bossreporting.com

What do companies like Google know that you don’t?

It’s no secret that lawyers often work long hours and experience elevated levels of stress and anxiety. And while there’s not a lot that can be done to alleviate the workload, there are ways to decrease stress and make the haul a bit easier to bear. Ergonomic workstations are becoming a popular asset for employees who want to get through their workday with less fatigue and discomfort. And those that do are also reaping extra benefits they didn’t expect.

Improved productivity

Ergonomic workstations help attorneys achieve better posture, less exertion, and easier movements, which in turn allows them to be more productive. It only makes sense that if they are more comfortable, team members will have extra energy and get more done with less effort.

A higher quality of work

Whether writing a brief, a motion, or preparing opening and closing arguments, attorneys need to be free from distraction. In fact, any task that your firm needs to accomplish requires thought, creativity, and focus. Ergonomic equipment ensures that employees are not only comfortable, but that they’re working in such a way that’s beneficial to their bodies. And people who are healthy and free of pain do better work—it’s that simple.

Higher level of engagement

When you provide your team with workstations designed to keep them more comfortable, you’re demonstrating how much you care about them. And employees who feel cared about are more engaged than those who don’t. Top companies all over the world have implemented ergonomics into their workplace for this very reason—and are reaping the benefits of highly motivated employees who look forward to coming into the office.

Decreased absenteeism and turnover

Attorneys that spend 16 hours at their desk each day and even more time running back and forth between court and the office are burning the candle at both ends. It’s not uncommon for lawyers to lose sleep over their responsibilities and, as a result, get sick more often than other professionals. And while you can’t make them eat right, exercise, and sleep more, you can ensure that they’re staying safe in the office. Ergonomics improve posture, reduce stress on the body, and help reduce brain drain—and thus can decrease sick days among your team.

Investing in ergonomic chairs, desks, lighting, and other equipment not only makes your law firm more comfortable and attractive, it provides numerous benefits to your team. If your attorneys are regularly needing massages or constantly cracking their necks, perhaps the time has come to make the switch. The added comfort is worth it!

For more valuable information that can help you improve your law firm, be sure to visit our blog often. And turn to us when you are in need of experienced real-time court reporters for your next trial, deposition, meeting or mediation. Our team leads the industry with highly qualified professionals. Give us a call at 954-467-6867 or fill out our quote request form.

5 Technological Innovations that Streamline Court Reporting

5 Technological Innovations that Streamline Court Reporting on bossreporting.com

Attorneys, case management teams, and judges never had it so good

It’s no secret that technology has dramatically changed the way we do everything. From how we communicate and listen to music, to how we get and share information, there’s little in life that has not been touched by the digital revolution. And although it’s a seemingly age-old art, court reporting is no exception. Through the years, court reporting has embraced new tools and adapted new innovations that offer a more streamlined, real-time experience to every type of client and situation:

Video conferencing

Unlike the old days when a court reporter would have to travel to record a deposition, today’s video conferencing technology enables us to do the job without going anywhere. Video conferencing means that lawyers can hold a meeting, mediation, or deposition in one location while witnesses, clients, and other attorneys participate from another location. And all of the proceedings can be recorded in real-time by a court reporter.

Live court transcript text and video

LiveNote Stream, a top industry solution, offers court reporters the ability to share the audio, video, and text of a deposition securely in real-time so that everyone on the litigation team can be a part of the proceedings. Using this technology, members of the team can also provide input on what’s happening as it’s happening—no waiting until after the trial’s over to address an issue or concern.

Daily and overnight transcripts

Utilizing today’s most advanced technological tools, court reporters can provide transcripts on the same day as the proceeding. They can also display transcripts to the attorney’s laptop or tablet during the trial, which means they can mark testimony and jot down important notes as needed instead of waiting until the proceedings have ended.

Electronic transcripts

Although paper transcripts have not entirely disappeared from the arena, electronic transcripts have become the norm. These condensed, digital records offer numerous benefits that allow attorneys, judges, and clerks to quickly scan the document for specific testimony or words.

Real-time reporting

Using real time reporting technology, today’s court reporters are able to record spoken words and instantly transcribe them into text that can be viewed on a computer screen. This creates a rough transcript that judges and attorneys can then go over, whether to verify testimony or check an answer to a question posed during trial. When using real time reporting, court reporters provide attorneys with the ability to scroll through earlier testimony quickly and easily, to access time stamps, and to mark specific testimony to revisit later.

Today, court reporters are able to deliver innovative solutions to their clients by harnessing the newest and most advanced technology. At Boss, we remain on the forefront of the industry by continually innovating and improving our services. As the leading partner to South Florida law firms for more than 20 years, we take great pride is offering our clients the most advanced court reporting services. Call us at 954-467-6867 to find out more or fill out our online form to request a quote.

The Difficult People: Who They Are & How to Keep Them from Ruining Your Law Firm

The Difficult People: Who They Are & How to Keep Them from Ruining Your Law Firm on bossreporting.com

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 Bellyacher

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.

The Baby

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.

How to Turn Your Clients into Fans Who Will Sing Your Praises (And Get You More Clients)

How to Turn Your Clients into Fans Who Will Sing Your Praises (And Get You More Clients) on bossreporting.com

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.

Be proactive

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.

The Golden Rule of Communication: Does It Apply to Your Law Firm?

The Golden Rule of Communication: Does It Apply to Your Law Firm? on bossreporting.com

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.

Managing the Millennial Lawyer: What Today’s Firm Leaders Need to Know

Managing the Millennial Lawyer: What Today’s Firm Leaders Need to Know on bossreporting.com

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.

Do Law Firms Need to Worry About Cyber Security?

Do Law Firms Need to Worry About Cyber Security? on bossreporting.com

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.

5 Things About Depositions That Court Reporters Want Attorneys to Know

5 Things About Depositions That Court Reporters Want Attorneys to Know on bossreporting.com

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.

Facebook Etiquette for Lawyers: How to Engage Online Without Damaging Your Reputation

Facebook Etiquette for Lawyers How to Engage Online Without Damaging Your Reputation

Tips on joining the conversation—carefully.

Everybody seems to use Facebook. Even those who hate to admit it still find themselves scrolling through the status updates, watching the cute dog videos, and catching up with long-lost friends. But as an attorney, it’s important to maintain a certain amount of professionalism, even on your personal social media pages—if not, there could be repercussions that affect your career and your firm. With that in mind, take a look at this guide to engaging on Facebook:

Keep your cool

Your job as an attorney often includes debate, so it’s probably difficult to keep your mouth shut when someone posts an opposing point of view on Facebook. But in order to maintain your good standing and protect your reputation, it’s best to refrain from venting your disagreement with others (even during this wacky election) or attacking them personally. Instead, use your skills to state your point of view diplomatically, or simply refrain from online debate.

Proof before you post

There’s no reason to misspell words or use improper grammar, especially if you’re a lawyer! Those who do look careless and you don’t want it to reflect on your professional skills. Always check over your posts before clicking that button. Facebook offers spellcheck, so be sure and use it.

Use your lawyering skills for good

Before posting your argument on anything, make sure it’s reasonable and to the point. Just like in the courtroom, constructing an argument logically that makes sense is key on social media. Using caps and tons of explanation points doesn’t usually win people over to your point of view, and on Facebook, it can just look like shouting, which is the last thing you want.

Stay away from posting case or client information

This one’s a no-brainer for anyone in the legal profession. Millions of people engage on Facebook every day and no matter how well you may think you’ve masked who your client is or any identifying information about the case, it’s likely someone, somewhere will recognize who or what you’re talking about. So even if you are dying to share something that you may think is interesting or relevant to others, resist the temptation to do it on Facebook. The consequences of someone figuring it out could be detrimental to your reputation.

Always verify before you post

There’s no doubt that there is a lot of information floating around that is outdated, erroneous, or just plain wrong. We’ve all seen those posts with crazy stats or news stories that turn out to be rumors or pranks. So it’s always a good idea to take the extra few minutes to make sure that the information you’re going to share is accurate. Remember that it’s your goal to be a trusted and reliable source, not the attorney who jumps to any conclusions.

Express your thoughts—thoughtfully

As an attorney with years of experience, it’s tempting to just spout off your thoughts regarding certain cases, crimes, or trending legal happenings. It’s perfectly fine for you to get involved and give your perspective—just make sure that you impart your wisdom in a professional way. Joining the conversation is a great way to show your expertise as long as you do it with the proper etiquette.

Social media is one of the most powerful ways to communicate today, but it can also be deadly to your reputation if you’re not careful. Remember to follow these rules, use common sense, and keep your online conversations professional.

Stay tuned for more useful ways to improve your law practice on our blog and remember, if you’re looking for real time reporting services, Boss leads the industry with a team of highly-skilled and experienced reporters. Fill out our online form to request a quote or give us a call at 954-467-6867 for more information.

Is Your Law Firm Tech-Friendly? And How Much Does It Matter?

Is Your Law Firm Tech-Friendly? And How Much Does It Matter? on bossreporting.com

 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.

Can Technology Make You a Better Lawyer?

Can Technology Make You a Better Lawyer

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:

Increased efficiency

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.

For more useful tips and industry information, check out our blog. And if you’re in need of a certified real-time court reporter, give us a call at 954-467-6867 or fill out our online quote request.

Developing a Deeper Client-Attorney Relationship: Why Quality Time Matters

Developing a Deeper Client-Attorney Relationship: Why Quality Time Matters

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.

Why Stenographic Court Reporting is Still (And Will Always Be) Superior to Digital Reporting

Why Stenographic Court Reporting is Still (And Will Always Be) Superior to Digital Reporting

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.

Solo Practitioners: Do You Need a Website and Social Media to Get Clients?

Solo Practitioners: Do You Need a Website and Social Media to Get Clients? on bossreporting.com

In a word: Yes.

Let’s face facts. In the old days when someone needed an attorney, they’d depend on personal references from friends and family or they’d turn to their grandparent’s lawyer, even if he was a hundred years old. But today, no matter who they are, your potential clients will usually turn to the web to search for representation.

While there are still folks out there who will ask for referrals from people they know and trust, the reality is that those shopping for an attorney will do it in much the same way they shop for everything else—online. Here’s a look at more reasons your solo practice needs a website and social media accounts to get clients:

Marketing your firm

Having an online presence increases the odds that those looking for someone with your expertise will find you. And when you think about the fact that most big firms have a website and are engaging online, having your own site ensures that you’ll be able to compete for attention when seeking new business. Remember, when someone is in need of an attorney with your unique skills, they will begin their search online and without a website, they won’t find you. And if you create your website well, and use the right keywords, you’ll rank higher on search results for your area of expertise.

Establish your reputation

People do their homework and when it comes to hiring an attorney, they want to know who you are, what your background is, how long you’ve been in practice, and where you earned your law degree, among other things. Your website can provide all this information as well as testimonials from satisfied clients and informative content that will establish your credibility as an expert. Having a blog on your site enhances your trustworthiness among visitors, especially when you feature articles that are not sales-orientated, rather about topics relating to your law specialty.

Give people a way to get in touch

Your website is like a 24 hour/7 day-a-week direct line to you. Clients and potential ones can use your site to get in touch with you via email. It also acts as an advertisement 365 days a year, and gives your target audience the ability to learn more about you in the way that is most comfortable for them.

Start a conversation

With your website and social media pages, you can not only post informative content, you can also connect with many people at one time. Making connections with other attorneys, court reporters, and other industry professionals, as well as those who may be on the lookout for a lawyer, can only benefit your practice. It puts you in front of the people, and if you post responsibly and professionally, potential clients will have an opportunity to learn what you’re all about.

As a solo practitioner, getting new clients is likely at the top of your list. Luckily, using the web for your marketing and advertising efforts is not only relatively inexpensive, it affords you the opportunity to generate awareness of your firm to a limitless amount of people through numerous channels. So even if you plan on investing in TV, display ads, or some other form of traditional advertising, be sure to get your website up and running and start establishing your firm online.

At Boss Reporting, we’re committed to helping you improve and grow your practice by providing practical information and industry updates. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our real-time reporting services.

4 Tips for Young Lawyers on Accepting the Right Offer

4 Tips for Young Lawyers on Accepting the Right Offer on bossreporting.com

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.