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Cybercrime, Technology, and the Future Workforce of Law Firms

Cybercrime, Technology, and the Future Workforce of Law Firms on

7 challenges facing the legal profession today … and tomorrow

As with every industry, the legal profession has seen many changes in the last few years. The law is steeped in tradition and precedence, but evolution is inevitable.

Technology has brought convenience, but it comes with unique challenges. There are also issues relating to increased competition, finding and keeping talent, and the succession plan of law firms, both large and small.

Let’s look at 7 of the biggest challenges facing the legal profession today.

Challenge #1: Cybercrime and Internet security

We’ve all seen news reports of hacks and data breaches from major companies, and the legal profession is not immune to this type of digital crime. Law firms store an incredible amount of sensitive data, documents, and private information. It is essential that firms adopt best practices to ensure that information is as safe as possible.

This includes taking steps to secure all communication tools, including desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. Firms can also incorporate 2-factor authentication, use mobile apps and vendors with the highest level of security, and set policies regarding how and where sensitive data is stored.

Challenge #2: Adoption of new technology and software

There is so much technology out there. Every day brings a new app, new software or new program. Attempting to implement everything – or conducting long-winded training sessions for programs that seem to hold little value for attorneys – is the quickest avenue toward frustration. Especially when many of the so-called “solutions” create more problems than they claim to solve.

Firms should ensure that any new technology is as user-friendly as possible, and keep training sessions to a minimum.

The software also poses a problem when it quickly becomes obsolete. The need for constant updates means a firm’s IT department has to devote critical time just to manage updates. One solution may be switching to a cloud-based IT service provider. Cloud-based technology makes it easy for people to access information from anywhere. The service provider also often takes on the responsibility of performing maintenance, updates, and support, allowing a firm’s IT department to devote its time elsewhere.

Challenge #3: Lagging behind in adoption of technology

While it’s not advisable to adopt every type of new technology, failing to recognize and incorporate vital tools in time could also jeopardize a firm’s future success. Firms that fail to “get on board” may lose ground to competitors, alternate providers or in-house departments that understand how to use such technology.

Challenge #4: Understanding online marketing and social media

Social media has changed the way we all communicate. It provides a new avenue to attract clients and retain current ones. It is essential that firms understand how to harness this powerful resource.

However, it’s also important to know the best places to devote marketing dollars and which avenues will generate the most return on investment. Doing “everything” might cast a wide net, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you will catch the right type of fish.

Challenge #5: Slow growth of the legal services market

A report from Citi Private Bank’s Law Firm Group states that legal services should expect only single-digit growth in revenue and profits per equity partner in 2018. Even firms that sustained growth in 2017 are not guaranteed the same success this year.

To combat this slowdown, many firms are consolidating and merging. While this might be the answer for some firms, the tactic is not without challenges. The restricted growth means even more competition to attract and retain clients.

Challenge #6: Increased competition for talent

A Green Target Report on the Legal Industry Outlook states that “The talent pool for traditional firms also continues to shrink, as competition increases from in-house legal departments and alternative service providers.”

The days of young lawyers starting and ending their careers at the same firm are becoming rare. Attracting and keeping talent is increasingly difficult.

“To ensure that high achievers stay put, firms need to redouble efforts to prepare a younger generation of lawyers for success. Key areas include business development training and protecting work/life balance, similar to the opportunities and benefits available in non-traditional legal roles,” according to the same report.

Challenge #7: A lack of succession planning within law firms

A large number of senior attorneys and equity partners are preparing to retire in the coming years, and many industry experts believe that firms are not equipped to handle the loss. The main reason is a lack of qualified, young talent who stand ready to take the place of departing attorneys. There is also the issue of chronically under-performing lawyers and a growing overcapacity at firms.

The legal field faces many challenges in the coming years. The firms that come up with innovative solutions for solving these problems will achieve success.

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

How Law Firms Can Improve Online Marketing Efforts

How Law Firms Can Improve Online Marketing Efforts on

7 online marketing statistics law firms need to know

The legal profession has become very competitive. Attracting and keeping clients is as much a part of the job as depositions, trials, and brokering settlements, and online marketing has become an essential component.

Law firms, big and small, must have a marketing plan in place in order to reach clients. So, what can law firms do to create or improve their online marketing efforts?

Here are 7 important marketing statistics that can help guide and influence your strategy:

1.  Attorney searches often start online

Yes, referrals are still one of the most important ways to generate business, but today, over one-third of potential clients start by searching for an attorney online. Having a strong presence via a website, social media, and on search engines is a key to success in this increasingly digital world.

2.  Websites are still the main source of new clients

The focus of marketing efforts may have shifted toward social media, but law firms still generate most new business through their website. Make sure your site is search engine optimized (SEO) with keywords and content that pertain to your firm. The content needs to be relevant to your area of practice and serve as a strong lead generator. It is also absolutely essential that you make it easy for potential clients to contact you. That means including a strong call to action and displaying contact numbers or emails in a prominent place on each page.

3.  31% of people conduct attorney searches via mobile devices

About one-third of all law-related website traffic now comes via mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. It’s important to ensure that websites are optimized for viewing on mobile devices so that it’s easy to scroll and read all the text on a smaller screen. In many cases, search engines like Google will actually suppress websites that are not optimized for mobile.

4.  The video is becoming more essential to marketing efforts.

A 2017 Cisco Report stated that videos will make up 82% of consumer traffic by the year 2020. The trend has much to do with the increased use of mobile devices. Videos are a quick and efficient way to get your message across. They tend to carry more weight in Facebook’s algorithms, meaning they generate more organic views than text alone.

Videos also increase traffic on search engines like Google by 41%. Law firms must be able to incorporate this medium in order to reach a target audience that is increasingly on the go and has little time to invest in reading lengthy text.

5.  Social media is a powerful tool for increasing awareness and attracting new clients

A couple of statistics: Potential clients spent an average of 16 minutes per hour on social media platforms. A 2017 study of law firms revealed that more than half grew their client base thanks to social media engagement. 45% of traffic to law firm websites comes via LinkedIn.

However, when planning your marketing strategy, it’s important not to forget the “social” aspect of social media. Engagement on any platform hinges on generating conversations, becoming a trusted resource, and providing answers people (potential clients) need. Above all, use social media as a vehicle to drive traffic to your website – where clients can read relevant info and contact you.

6.  Nearly half of law firms attract new clients through lead generation.

An American Bar Association survey indicates that 49% of law firms say their best-performing advertising medium is lead generation services, including pay per lead and online directory services. Lead generation is the process of identifying and cultivating potential customers (clients) by offering something of value that entices them to take an action (e.g., enter an email, make contact, or make a purchase).

The value can take the form of free downloads or exclusive online content. Law firms need to have a strong system for generating leads, whether these efforts are done in-house or through an outside service. Again, an effective website needs to be the hub through which leads are driven, from interest to contact.

7.  Content still rules in online marketing.

Content is still the main source of online traffic and lead generation. However, with so much content, it’s important that you offer something unique that has real value to potential clients. Along with blogs, content can include infographics, white papers, eBooks, podcasts, videos, and webinars.

Online marketing is essential in order for law firms to attract and keep clients in this digital age. Remember these 7 statistics when developing your marketing strategy so that you can make connections that will increase business.

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

Online Marketing Strategies for Small Law Firms

Online Marketing Strategies for Small Law Firms on

Change the playing field and make size and specialty your advantages

What do you do when your small firm doesn’t have the resources to compete against the giants? Change the playing field and make size an advantage. It could be that you’re looking at your perceived weaknesses from their point of view. What if, instead, you looked at your advantages?

Client acquisition through inbound marketing is a narrow targeting process for your small firm, whereas it’s a widely-cast net for large firms. For you, it’s quality. For them, it’s based more on quantity.

Think like Google

The search engine giant knows that we’re really not that interested in nonspecialized businesses. We’re looking for experts who can help us solve specific problems. What’s more, before we’re even interested in hearing about how a business can help us, we want to be sure they understand our problem in the first place, and we want to know why.

For this reason, Google lets businesses help searchers know what, specifically, a business does, so we can match it up with our nongeneralized needs. In the world of attorneys, nobody wants to hire one who claims to be an expert at everything. It often means they’re an expert at nothing.

Google will reward your website with higher placement when you take a highly narrow focus with your content. You’ve already got limited resources, so creating specific content relevant only to your specialty is the optimal way to put those resources to use.

Determine your strength. Pick your playing field. Focus all your effort on content only about your value proposition. You’ll establish yourself as an online authority in this specific practice area, and you’ll see your client acquisition efforts pay off.

A few words about the content that will help with this inbound marketing strategy.

  • Create general awareness content that helps people gain a deeper understanding of the problem. Show that you are an expert in this area by offering insight.
  • Create more content that offers solutions in the specific practice area. It’s crucial that this content offers objective advice on finding the best attorney to help with this legal challenge. This content is not self-promotion.
  • Create content with the understanding that it is not intended to sell your firm’s services. It’s either offering insight into the problem, or it’s offering perspective about the solution. In both respects, it’s positioning you as a subject matter expert.

Don’t skimp on your website

Unless it’s word-of-mouth recommendations, your lead acquisition is going to come from your online efforts. Social media posts, online display ads, YouTube videos – whatever marketing strategy you decide to use – will all point to your website.

So, does it have to stand up in comparison to the largest law firm’s web presence in your area? Stop comparing yourself to them and start looking at it from the perspective of your prospects. They’re interested in knowing only a few things:

  1. Do you understand my problem?
  2. Can you help me find a solution?
  3. Why are you the best source of information about my problem and the solution?
  4. How do I engage with you to find out if you can help me?

When used for lead-generation, your website should be set up to help prospects go through this process of discovery. Everything else – all those other website sections that larger firms may feature – could be a distraction.

Market with prospects in mind, not your competitors

Make your website all about your prospect. Yes, you’ll include information about your area of practice, as well as testimonials and other material that underscore your positioning as an authority and expert. But remember that prospects aren’t coming to learn about how you do it, they want to know why – and they want help with how to put your small firm into their worldview.

They go to a giant firm’s website and they’re greeted with what? Mostly, it’s intimidation. Marble pillars. Gavels. The scale of justice. Okay, it’s all beautifully done – but it can be highly impersonal. A marble pillar and the scale of justice are not going to represent you in the courtroom. A human lawyer is.

Make your website about the people in your firm. Show those people in action. That doesn’t mean you need a professional photographer snagging dramatic images of them cross-examining a witness. Again, put yourself in your prospects’ shoes. They want to see images of reassurance and problem-solving.

Pay particular attention to your “About Us” page. It’s often one of the most visited pages on your website. Take a look at our own “About Us” page for an example. It’s all about people.

Are Ladies Changing the Legal Landscape?

Are Ladies Changing the Legal Landscape? on

The state of women in the legal profession

As of 2016, for the first time in history, women accounted for the majority of law students in the U.S. According to The New York Times, the female-to-male ratio had been equal for many years.

More women law students means more women attorneys, of course, but does that mean the legal profession is better for females now than it has been in the past? Are there more opportunities for women in leadership positions? Do women still face the same pressure to meet work and family demands?

Here is a look at some of the issues facing women in the legal profession:

Issue #1: Lack of leadership representation

Although discrimination may not be like it used to be, women in the legal profession still face certain obstacles, notably a lack of representation in leadership positions in firms, corporations, and law schools.

Here are some statistics according to a 2015 Washington Post article:

  • Women constitute more than a third of the profession, but only about a fifth of law partners, general counsels of Fortune 500 corporations, and law school deans.
  • Women account for only 17 percent of equity partners.
  • Only 7 of the nation’s 100 largest firms have a woman as chairman or managing partner.
  • Women are less likely to make partner even controlling for other factors, including law school grades and time spent out of the workforce or on part-time schedules.
  • Studies find that men are two to five times more likely to make partner than women.

There is also a possible double standard when it comes to behavior, personality, and aggressiveness on the job. According to The Washington Post, “…Research suggests that what is assertive in a man seems abrasive in a woman, and female leaders risk seeming too feminine or not feminine enough. They may appear too soft or too strident – either unable to make tough decisions or too pushy and arrogant to command respect.”

Issue #2: Balancing work and family demands

Many women struggle to find a balance between responsibilities at work and with family. The legal profession can be extremely demanding, especially for newer associates who must prove their worth, and that means long hours. Working mothers face an even tougher situation as there is a constant pull to meet obligations at work, while also being there for their children.

Many law firms have policies in place for part-time schedules, however, only about 6% of lawyers take advantage of them. “Many women believe, with good reason, that any reduction in hours or availability will jeopardize their careers. Those who take reduced schedules often find that their hours creep up, the quality of their assignments goes down, and they are stigmatized as slackers,” according to the Washington Post.

Issue #3: Harassment in the workplace

Women facing harassment in the workplace has been a hot topic for some time now, with dramatic headlines splashed all over newspapers and the social media-driven #MeToo movement. Some of these issues affect women in the legal profession as well, from derogatory comments about their appearance and dismissal of their abilities to inappropriate advances from colleagues and others. “More than one-in-three women in the legal industry still experience this sexual harassment,” according to

Issue #4: Gender-wage gap

Female attorneys continue to lag behind male counterparts when it comes to pay. Some findings by 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest the gender-wage gap was as high as 40%, with women earning 60 cents for every dollar earned by a man. “Women at top positions are also subject to gender-based pay inequality just like associates, non-equity partners, and trainees. According to the latest survey, female equity partners’ total compensation lagged almost $95,000 behind male equity partners in 2015. The pay gap has, in fact, increased by $5,000 in last five years,” according to

Women in the legal profession do face still face many challenges, however the opportunities can only grow as more women graduate from law school and enter the field.

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

Reporting for Duty

Reporting for Duty on

Learn about the many duties of a court reporter

When most people imagine any sort of court case, they probably think about the different people involved: the lawyers talking about evidence or examining witnesses, the black-robed judge glaring down from the bench, perhaps even the jury eagerly listening to everything. But the person who often gets overlooked is the court reporter.

Though they rarely get a lot of attention, court reporters play vital roles during trials and other legal proceedings. But what do they do exactly? Here are their main tasks and why they are so important:

Ensuring testimony is accurate

The main duty of a court reporter is to get a precise recording of the proceeding. They need to make sure every word is heard accurately and taken down. This is why actual people are almost always preferred in this capacity; technology has come a long way, but humans are still better.

Keeping things moving

Court reporters may just be thought of as silent members of a courtroom typing away, but they often play an active part in a trial or hearing. Frequently, they have to ask speakers to talk louder or more clearly. They need to remind people to respond verbally instead of using gestures. And when the judge wants something to be read back, they have to be able to find it quickly.

Doing the necessary research

A court reporter has to be prepared. Depending upon the circumstances, testimony from a previous case may need to be obtained, and it is the court reporter’s job to locate these documents in a timely manner.

Preparing the transcript

Perhaps the most critical element of a legal procedure is the transcript. During a trial or deposition, a court reporter uses a special machine to take down everything. But unlike a computer or typewriter, it uses shorthand. When the proceedings are finished, the court reporter then has to translate it into language anyone can understand. But that is just the first step; there is also:

  • Editing – Even after a transcript is translated, it often has to be edited to ensure that everything is accurate and makes sense.
  • Filling in the blanks – This could include researching names to confirm they are spelled correctly or clarifying any references that may be ambiguous.
  • Proofreading – Once a transcript is complete, it will be printed. But the process isn’t over yet; it will then be looked at thoroughly to see if there are any errors.
  • Corrections – If something does need to be fixed, it will get taken care of and then the finalized transcripts will be printed again.
  • Assembly – The court reporter will have to make the necessary number of copies and then collate and bind the transcript.
  • Certification – Most jurisdictions require that every transcript gets certified to guarantee that it is true and accurate.
  • Delivery – While a court reporter probably won’t be the one delivering the transcript, they do have to ensure it gets to the right people, and usually time is of the essence.

Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of what a court reporter does and why they are valuable members of the legal profession. If you need to hire an experienced reporter for a trial, hearing, meeting, arbitration, or anything else, you can count on Boss Reporting. We employ dozens of Certified Realtime Reporters who have years of training and regularly expand their knowledge and skills through continuous education.

You can learn more about us here, and quickly and easily schedule a job through our online form.

How to Survive Your First Year as a Lawyer

How to Survive Your First Year as a Lawyer on

There’s a lot of pressure to say yes to everything, but burn-out is not what anybody wants for you

Ever notice that the most prestigious professions seem to start out with a bang? The bang being in the form of an infamous time period where it’s all about showing you’ve got the right stuff. Lawyers certainly go through something like this.

The first year is supposedly what’s going to make or break you. It’s all about doing the right things and being in the right places with the right people. Every successful lawyer has his or her own collection of “first-year” stories. Distill them down and they provide common tips on how to land on your feet and get a great review when you hit your anniversary mark.

Learn to be okay with not feeling secure

You graduated. Then you passed the bar exam. But, guess what? All you’ve got at this starting-out point is a lot of knowledge. You haven’t applied it much. The application comes with time and experience. In the meantime, you will be far more respected for understanding what you don’t know and asking for guidance than proceeding and possibly jeopardizing a case – which will jeopardize your burgeoning career.

Pursue substance

Briefs have formats. It’s crucial that these formats are followed. After all, you’re presenting information that has to be consumed, referenced, and compared. Don’t follow your own layout or design preferences with written documents. Does the punctuation go inside or outside of the quotation mark? Now you’re moving past form, and it might be time to stop and think about what’s important. Pay attention to the substance of your communication. Let your word processing software keep track of the format.

Pay attention to the timing cycle of your mentors

The right mentors can make all the difference during your first year as a lawyer. And while it might feel as if a mentor with decades of experience can offer you the best advice, you may discover that a mentor who is just a step or two ahead of you can be a better choice. What you’re going through is still fresh in their mind.

Make paralegals and legal assistants your new best friends

Let’s be honest. Who really does the grunt work? Who really knows the inner workings and the politics of the firm? Who often doesn’t even have to pause and think about it in order to advise you on who to talk to when you need something for a case? These employees are often overworked and underappreciated, and often they have some of the highest seniority in the office. Approach your relationships with these support professionals with care. They have it in their power to help you succeed.

Don’t expect anyone to set your boundaries

This is the year you prove yourself, right? You unfurl your sails and take on as much as you can to show the decision-makers you’ve got the bandwidth. There’s a lot of pressure to say yes to everything. Keep in mind that the people you’re trying to impress are also watching and gauging your ability to say no. Burn-out is not what anybody wants for you.

Take advantage of life hacks

If you want to be judged well at the end of your first year, you’ve got to optimize your output by minimizing the amount of work you put into everything else. You’re probably dealing with the reality of paying off student loans, but don’t discount the return on investment in using a professional laundry service or having a house cleaner. This money spent outsourcing activities that detract from a focus on your job is money well invested—even if it’s just to help you get a few extra hours of downtime.

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

What Happens During a Deposition?

What Happens During a Deposition? on

The purpose and process of a deposition

A deposition is part of the legal process of discovery. It involves the sharing of information, evidence, and testimony between both parties involved in a case before a trial begins. The sharing can take place in the form of documents, interrogatories (written statements), and depositions. According to the American Bar Association, “A deposition is an out-of-court statement given under oath by any person involved in the case. It is to be used at trial or in preparation for trial. It may be in the form of a written transcript, a videotape, or both.”

A deposition is the only form of discovery that involves a witness answering questions directly, rather than submitting documents or taking written statements.

There are two main purposes for a deposition:

  • Find out what a witness knows about the case
  • Preserve the witness’ testimony for trial

“The intent is to allow the parties to learn all of the facts before the trial so that no one is surprised once that witness is on the stand. Contrary to what countless movies and TV shows would have you believe, springing a surprise witness at the eleventh hour of a trial is regarded as unfair. By the time a trial begins, the parties should know who all of the witnesses will be and what they’ll say during testimony,” according to

It’s essential that both sides of the case are aware of what a witness knows or plans to say. For example, defendants have a right to know what will be said against them in court, so their attorney can prepare an adequate defense or rebuttal.

“Often a witness’s deposition will be taken by the opposing side and used to discredit the witness’s testimony at trial if the trial testimony varies from the testimony taken during the deposition,” according to The American Bar Association.

The process of taking a deposition

During a deposition, the witness will give sworn statements based on questions from attorneys. The answers are recorded by a court reporter and put into a transcript, which will form the basis of evidence and examination (and cross-examination) of the witness during the trial.

Unlike a trial, depositions don’t take place in a courtroom. They are generally conducted in an attorney’s office. According to, “The attorneys will ask the witness, or deponent, a series of questions about facts and events related to the lawsuit with the entire deposition recorded word-for-word by a court reporter. The reporter is present throughout the session and will produce a transcript at a later time.”

Although the witness and attorneys are generally present in the same room, a deposition can be videotaped due to the illness of the witness or if he or she will not be available during the trial.

Attorneys for both sides are present during a deposition. For instance, in the case of a criminal trial, the prosecutor and defendant’s attorney would both be in the room. Following the oral examination, a cross-examination might take place by the opposing attorney. Even though attorneys may ask whatever questions necessary to get the answers they need, their role is reduced somewhat in a disposition.

“Attorneys for the deponent or parties to the lawsuit may make objections to some inquiries, but the deponent is usually obligated to answer all proper questions despite objections, which will get ruled on later since judges are not present at depositions,” according to

The deposition process can take anywhere from a couple of hours to weeks, depending on the complexity of the case.

Depositions are an important part of the legal process. A trained court reporter is necessary in order for witness testimony to be transcribed and usable for trial. If you need a court reporter for an upcoming deposition, contact Boss Reporting today.

How Attorneys Can Find Balance Between Work and Life

How Attorneys Can Find Balance Between Work and Life on

Your perspective changes when you focus on managing your activities, rather than attempting to manage time.

It’s a myth. If you’re an attorney, there’s no such thing as work-life balance. That’s how it might seem from the inside—especially if you’re just starting out practicing law.

Is it really even possible to have a successful career as a lawyer while also enjoying a satisfying personal life? It is. And while it might be easier to attain if you’re further along in your career than when you’re just getting started, there are simple and attainable things you can do to find that balance.


It’s likely we don’t think work-life balance is possible because we don’t quite understand the concept, to begin with. Simply put, it’s a synergy between your career and the other commitments you make in your life. These would include your family and friends, as well as your health and fitness and your social activities.

When we think of balance, we may envision equal parts. That 50/50 partition is something to shoot for, but you might find you’re just as happy with a 60/40 split, too. This is especially true for lawyers, who do spend more time on the job than those in other careers.

This balance makes the assumption that you have enough time in your day to accomplish your work-related tasks, and then participate in the activities representing your other commitments. When this doesn’t happen, we often chide ourselves. We’re not able to manage our time, we say.

It’s impossible to manage time. We all have all the time there is. More cannot be made. Truly, the only thing you can control in this regard is what you do with your time. Your perspective changes when you focus on managing your activities, rather than attempting to manage time.

Cleaning out the closet

Here’s an analogy if you need it. Think of time as something tangible. It’s a container, and the laws of physics dictate that only a certain number of items can fit into a container.

It’s like saying you are going to manage your closet. We know what we mean is that we are going to manage what is in the closet. If we want more clothes or shoes to fit, we’re going to have to get rid of some of the stuff already in there.

If you want to bring more balance to commitments other than your job, you’ll need to make room in that closet by getting rid of a few things.

More billable hours

It’s estimated that a full-time attorney typically billed 1,300 hours early in the 1960s. Large practices today have pushed this up to 2,000 hours or more—which translates to 60-hour workweeks. This is an even higher priority for associates, who want to show they’ve got what it takes to be a partner.

There goes the whole make-room-in-the-closet analogy; might as well just light a match and throw it in.  But try this before you start a bonfire:

Balancing checks

How do you know if you’re moving toward managing your activities instead of your time? You need a few balancing checks—or stop points where you can assess and re-plot your course if you find you’re not moving toward a work-life balance. Use these activities to create balancing checks.

  • Define your priorities and values. Many things you do on a daily basis as a lawyer contribute little toward what you care about. But you don’t realize this because you probably haven’t defined what matters to you. Clarify them. They determine what becomes a priority.
  • Identify and isolate your distractions. The biggest obstacle to work-life balance is not the lack of time. It’s the abundance of distractions. The majority of these distractions are expectations you place on yourself to please others at work and at home. Your job as an attorney is to advocate for others. You won’t find balance in your life unless you advocate for yourself, too.
  • Create weekly time blocks of personal time. You’re already used to slicing up billable hours into 15-minute increments. Book a few of these—no less than 30 minutes each—as non-reschedulable appointments. Do anything you like with the time, as long as it’s not work-related. Maybe it’s actually sorting through the clothes in your closet.
  • Create boundaries around your personal commitments. If you are good at your job, there will always be more work to do. You will discover this earns you additional respect, rather than disappointment. And, for good reason. You’re displaying an important leadership quality. You can only offer stability from a firm foundation.

These balancing checks give you an opportunity to assess the direction in which you’re traveling. Work-life balance for attorneys is not a myth. It won’t be a reality, either, unless you renegotiate your relationship with time—which will reset your approach to how much of it is appropriate to give to your job vs. the rest of the commitments in your life.

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

How to Become a Stenographer or Court Reporter

How to Become a Stenographer or Court Reporter on

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

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

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

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

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

The responsibilities of stenographers and court reporters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Qualifications and pay rate

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

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

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

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

Pursuing the career in Florida

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

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

The future of court reporting

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

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

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

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

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

The Difference Between Mediations vs. Arbitrations

The Difference Between Mediations vs. Arbitrations on

How arbitration and mediation are used to solve legal disputes

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

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

Arbitration explained

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

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

Steps involved in arbitration:

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

Mediation explained

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

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

Steps involved in mediation:

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

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

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

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

Workplace Bullying, and How to Deal With It

Workplace Bullying, and How to Deal With It on

Document, report, and confront – or leave

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

The facts and prevalence of workplace bullying and harassment

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

Other statistics according to the same study:

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

Signs of workplace bullying

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

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

How to handle workplace bullying

Confront the person directly

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

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

Document the bully’s action.

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

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

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

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

Go to HR or management.

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

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

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

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

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

Find another job.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1.  Nothing personal

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

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

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

2.  Keep it inspirational

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

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

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

Compliment | Criticize | Compliment

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

3.  Skip the instruction

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

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

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

4.  Phrases to avoid

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

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

5.  Steering clear of judgmental language

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

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

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

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

Writing Wrongs: Tips for Effective Proofing

Writing Wrongs: Tips for Effective Proofing on

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

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

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

The confusion of a comma

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely, yours: A look at Business Email Etiquette

Sincerely, yours: A look at Business Email Etiquette on

12 ways to avoid committing an email faux pas

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

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

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

  1. Remember, emails are never truly private.

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

  1. Be professional from the first “Hello”

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

  1. Remind the person who you are.

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

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

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

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

  1. Be careful about hitting “Reply All”.

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

  1. Use clear and concise subject lines. 

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

  1. Make sure the subject line matches the message.

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

  1. Never share confidential information.

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

  1. Use appropriate words and spellings.

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

  1. Be careful when sending emails with large attachments.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Without saying a word

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

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

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

Practice makes perfect

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Mechanical error

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


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

Read back

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


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


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


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

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

The Ten Million Dollar Comma

The Ten Million Dollar Comma on

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

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

How precision writing can be priceless

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

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

The many skills of a qualified legal writer 

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

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

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

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

An example of legal knowledge and client awareness

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

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

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

Legal writing and the first impression

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

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

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