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Court Watch: 6 Landmark Cases Decided by the Supreme Court Last Year

Court Watch: 6 Landmark Cases Decided by the Supreme Court Last Year on bossreporting.com

2018 was filled with drama in our nation’s capital, especially when it came to our nation’s highest court. Aside from political battles related to the last nominee; there were also many important rulings that affect everyday Americans. Boss Reporting has put together this review on some of the big cases and rulings of the Supreme Court in 2018.

1.  Controversial travel ban

One of the most controversial cases over the last few years relates to the travel ban pertaining to people coming into the U.S. from certain countries. Two previous travel bans were ruled unconstitutional in federal courts. “Travel Ban 3.0” was upheld, restricting travel from specified countries.

“Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said that Mr. Trump had ample statutory authority to make national security judgments in the realm of immigration,” according to the New York Times.

2.  Taxing online purchases

Up till now, consumers have not had to pay sales tax when buying products from retailers that have no physical stores. All that changed last year. The Supreme Court ruled that each state could collect sales tax online-only transactions. “In this decision, the Court overturned a rule that states could only tax online transactions from stores that had a brick and mortar presence in that state,” according to ABC News.

Now online-only retailers like Overstock.com or Wayfair.com can be taxed just like brick and mortar retailers. While this can bring more tax revenue to states, some fear it could lead to higher prices for online purchase.

3.  Cell phones and privacy

There has been a lot of controversy when it comes to privacy and what data government and law enforcement can legally collect. Law enforcement often seeks to get ahold of cell phone data when investigating a legal case. While this is often necessary, there has also been a lot of controversy pertaining to privacy, the Fourth Amendment, and when/how police can obtain cell phone data. The ruling, in this case, means police must obtain a warrant in order to access records from wireless companies.

“…The ruling means that the police have to show probable cause that cell phone data is important to an investigation before cell phone providers have to turn it over,” according to ABC News.

4.  Public sector union fees

Unions often require all public employees to pay union fees, even if they disagreed with the way the money was used. The case centered on whether this is a violation of the First Amendment Right to free speech. The Supreme Court decided that it was. The ruling also made it so that employees had to give public sector employees the choice to “opt-in” or not.

5.  Masterpiece Cakeshop

When a baker in Colorado refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, he was sued. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the baker in a 7-2 majority, based on comments made by a state civil rights commission that indicated hostility toward religion.

6.  Sports betting ban

Everyone knows betting on college and professional sports goes on. Unfortunately, it is illegal, thanks to the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which was passed in 1992. Last year, the Supreme Court decided the sports betting ban was unconstitutional. This particular case affected New Jersey but also expected to be applied in other states like Nevada.

“Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each state is free to act on its own,” said Judge Samuel Alito.

The Supreme Court decided many important cases last years, and no doubt, 2019 will bring even more rulings and controversy. It is always a good thing when American citizens stay informed about decisions that could affect them.

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

Criminal vs. Civil Court: Understanding the Difference

Criminal vs. Civil Court: Understanding the Difference on bossreporting.com

The U.S. justice system is made up of two different branches, each addressing different issues

If you’re seeking justice through the U.S. court system, knowing the differences between the two existing bodies of law is imperative to managing your expectations and predicting your success. The dual branches of the legal system each address their own classification of wrongdoing while determining appropriate punishment or compensation for various crimes. Understanding the nuances of both criminal and the civil court can give you a broader view of the court system and a better idea of how to approach legal retribution.

The judges of the criminal and the civil court have different powers, and the intent and outcome of each vary in scope:

  • Criminal law addresses behavior that is an offense against the public, such as theft, murder, assault, or illegal activity related to drugs or alcohol. Criminal judges can sentence a defendant to jail for breaking the law.
  • Civil law compensates victims for behavior that causes some form of injury to an individual or corporation, such as libel or slander, breach of contract, property damage, or negligence that results in injury or death. Civil court judges can order the guilty party to pay a fine or can make decisions about family or personal property.

The many differences between criminal and civil law include who brings charges or files suit, how cases are decided, what penalties may be imposed, what standards of proof suffice, and what legal protections may be available.

Making a criminal case

In criminal court, the federal or state government initiates the case against someone for committing a crime. Punishment generally ranges from paying a fine to imprisonment, and the case must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Constitutional rights protect defendants against unjust conduct from police or prosecutors, including unreasonable search and seizure, and the right to remain silent to prevent compelled self-incrimination. The state will also provide a public defender if the defendant is unable to afford an attorney. If you are the victim of a crime, you do not need a lawyer in criminal court; the state provides the prosecutor since they are filing charges.

Keeping it civil

In civil court, one person (or business) files a case against another individual to settle a dispute. The person who loses the case may be ordered to pay a fine or return property but will not go to jail.

To win a case, the plaintiff must prove their case according to a preponderance of evidence which is a lower standard for proof than required in criminal court cases. Defendants are also not entitled to the legal protections offered in criminal court, and each side must provide their own legal representation.

Civil courts handle cases about:

  • Property
  • Injury
  • Money, debts, or contracts
  • Housing, including eviction, foreclosure, or living conditions
  • Family, including divorce, custody, child support or guardianship

Occasionally, a crime can cross the line between public offense and private injury, resulting in both criminal and civil charges. For instance, O.J. Simpson, former football player, was accused of murdering his wife and her friend in a highly publicized criminal court case.

Although he was acquitted in the 1995 criminal case, two years later a civil suit found him liable for their wrongful deaths, and a judge ordered him to pay $25 million in punitive damages to the families of the Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Although there wasn’t enough evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal court, the preponderance of evidence was sufficient in civil court.

Understanding your legal rights and the two different facets of the United States’ court system is important when determining how to approach your journey to justice. If you’ve been the victim of criminal wrongdoing, a call to the police is the most vital step to getting started. If the civil court is the most appropriate venue for your grievances, you will need to seek out the help of a lawyer, or contact legal aid or a related non-profit to help you file a suit to attempt to recover your losses.

The Courtroom and Beyond

The Courtroom and Beyond on bossreporting.com

The many jobs of a court reporter

A court reporter takes part in the legal process by “recording” the words and actions that take place during trials, depositions, hearings, and other legal proceedings. The report, called a transcript, is then filed with the court and used as the official record. However, court reporters can also perform services outside of the legal profession. Here is an overview of the many jobs a court reporter is qualified to do from Boss.

Court reporters and the legal world

We’ll start with the most familiar job of a court reporter, which is within a legal setting. While much of a court reporter’s job takes place in a courtroom, their services can also be required in an attorney’s office or some other setting. They might be employed by the court, hired by the law firm or through an independent business-like Boss Court Reporting.

A court reporter’s duties may include:

  • Attending depositions, hearings, trials, mediations, arbitrations, and other legal proceedings where a written record is required.
  • Capture and record every word that is said using specialized equipment, computer programs, stenography machines, and video/audio recordings.
  • Identify speakers and report gestures and other non-verbal actions.
  • Ask speakers to repeat inaudible or unclear statements.
  • Read or playback portions of testimony when requested by the judge, an attorney or by a jury.
  • Review notes to look for inaccuracies or make corrections.
  • Provide copies of transcripts and recordings to all necessary parties, including the court, attorneys, and the parties involved in a case.

Other jobs performed by court reporters

Transcribing for other proceedings and events. A court reporter may also be hired to record a transcription of events outside of legal proceedings, including meetings, speeches, and conferences.

Broadcast captioning. It’s likely that you have seen closed captioning before. It’s a service that helps deaf or hearing-impaired people follow television programs, news broadcasts, and movies on TV. Spoken dialogue is written out and displayed on the bottom of the screen so they can read it. Court reporters are often employed for this service. They may transcribe the dialogue live during the event, or it may be added later during postproduction.

Communication access real-time translation (CART) providers. CART providers also aid deaf or hearing-impaired people, but their service is done in real-time and in a variety of settings, including meetings, doctors’ appointments, conferences, and other public forums. They are often used in classrooms to caption what a teacher says and provide an immediate transcript to students with hearing problems or who may be learning English. They can either work onsite during an event or listen remotely via a phone or internet connection.

The largest employers of court reporters are:

  • State government (excluding education and hospitals) – 34 percent
  • Business support services – 31 percent
  • Local government (excluding education and hospitals) – 26 percent
  • Self-employed workers – 7 percent

How court reporters work

A court reporter transcribes legal, broadcast, and public proceedings using a stenography machine. These machines look a bit like an old-fashioned typewriter, but they don’t have the same number of keys.

Instead, the machine creates words using key combinations so that the court reporter can keep up with the speaker. The stenography machine allows court reporters to work much faster than they ever could with a regular typewriter or computer. The symbols are then put into a specialized computer program, which translates them into complete, readable words and phrases.

Some court reporters today use a steno mask. They speak directly into a covered microphone, recording the dialogue as well as gestures and actions. This recording is then converted into a printed transcript using voice-recognition software. Digital recorders may also be used, creating an audio or video transcription rather than a written one. In some cases, a written transcription is made using the recorded audio or video footage.

Thinking about becoming a court reporter?

To become a court reporter requires, you must take specialized classes, either at a college or vocational school. Depending on the program, you may earn an associate’s degree or post-secondary certification.

Each state has different requirements to become a court reporter so do some research to find out the standards for your state. Some states require court reporters to have a professional license, which means passing a written exam. Beyond education and certification, there are some basic skills you should already possess if you are thinking about becoming a court reporter.

  • Listening skills. You need exceptional listening skills in order to record spoken words.
  • Writing skills. Court reporters are great writers. You also need to be an expert at grammar and have an extensive vocabulary.
  • Court reporters are required to sit for hours and listen to every word that is being said. This takes a tremendous amount of concentration.
  • Detail oriented. It is essential that court reporters transcribe everything correctly and accurately as a transcript serves as the official record of any legal or business proceedings. There is no room for mistakes.

A court reporter is an integral part of the legal industry as well as other industries. Boss Certified Realtime Reporting in Fort Lauderdale, FL has been providing nationwide court reporting services for trials, depositions, mediations, meetings and conferences since 1995. If you would like more information, call us at 954 467 6867 or complete our contact form to let us know how we can assist you.

Making a Case for Content Marketing

Making a Case for Content Marketing on bossreporting.com

Attract new clients and establish yourself as an expert with quality content creation

Everyone with even an iota of business experience has at least an inkling that the internet is a powerful tool for building a brand, advertising services, and attracting new clients. However, the world wide web is vast and can be more complicated from a business standpoint than it may appear to someone with casual social media and site surfing experience.

Developing an effective strategy for creating relevant content is essential to online success. Maximize your investment of time, money, and energy online by learning more about content marketing and how to put it to work for your law practice.

The evidence

Although attorneys were traditionally slow to adopt the idea of establishing an online presence, due to either a concern about the perceived informality of the medium or just a lack of understanding the relevance to their industry, the American Bar Association’s 2017 Legal Technology Survey shows that lawyers have adapted and evolved quickly to find their place on the internet. Law practices across the country are taking advantage of this valuable opportunity, with 71% of large law firms (100 to 500 or more attorneys) maintaining a blog.

Blogging is a popular tool for improving search engine optimization and positioning oneself as an expert in their field. A blog provides a platform for sharing useful information, developing a trustworthy and authoritative voice, and building a connection with a potential audience – all key facets to an effective marketing strategy.

The testimony

While content marketing is a type of advertising, it’s different from your typical sales approach. The goal of content marketing is to attract, engage, and convert readers into customers by developing a professional relationship they can appreciate, and it should be designed to add value and provide an incentive to your audience to read and share what you’ve posted.

You’re not selling your services to them outright, you’re delivering information that makes the audience realize that you’re a trusted source. People appreciate education over advertising. So, what are the steps to effective content creation?

  1. Identify your audience: Who is your target market? What are the needs of your clients? Develop a profile of the ideal client, including age, educational background, income bracket, and services needed and tailor content that would likely catch the interest of that invented persona.
  2. Understand their needs: What services would your typical client need? What kinds of questions would they be looking for answers to? Take some time to think of the questions you are frequently asked in consults, and of the advice you find yourself giving often. Make a list of a range of subjects related to your specific field.
  3. Develop your voice: What kind of image are you hoping to project? What tone best represents you? Even if you won’t be writing the content yourself, have an idea of how your online presence should sound. Formal, academic, relatable, wise, approachable, casual or some combination of the above?
  4. Make a list of topics: Keeping your intended audience, area of expertise, and range of subjects in mind, brainstorm about possible post topics. Don’t be conservative in your initial attempt, just write down everything that comes to mind because it may eventually spark another idea. Make this an ongoing effort – dedicate a notebook or Word document to listing potential subjects so that you can refer back to it and refine your thoughts.
  5. Create an editorial calendar: Once you’ve decided how often you plan on posting and what medium you’ll utilize to distribute your message (words, video, infographics, podcasts, or a combination of those on social media and/or your website), make a calendar of content topics. This is an important part of your posting strategy, as it will help keep you organized and motivated to continue. Use online analytics to determine which subject areas get the most traction via page views or social media interaction to help you further develop your future posting plans.

The verdict

Good content creation involves a lot of trial and error. Even the most well thought out online strategy may surprise you once you’re deep diving into the performance of each post. Have a plan, be prepared, and be willing to abandon ideas or adapt your approach based on results.

Above all else, remember your original intention: to help people. If you center your content around the idea of helping others, you’ll eventually develop an engaged and invested audience who will seek you out for additional counsel.

Looking for more legal industry and marketing tips? Check out the Boss Reporting Blog to better serve your business.

#MeToo Movement and The Legal Industry

#MeToo Movement and The Legal Industry on bossreporting.com

How law firms can combat sexual harassment and create a safer environment for everyone

The effects of the #MeToo movement are still being felt across the world. Once the hashtag popped up on Twitter after the Harvey Weinstein scandal, it quickly spread to every profession, including the legal industry. Law firms are not immune to the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace. For years, women kept silent, but now they are speaking out. While the issue is difficult, the #MeToo movement also represents a chance for law firms to create a safer environment for everyone.

Incidence of sexual harassment in law firms

A report by FTI Consulting and Mine the Gap looked at gender dynamics in the workplace. The study included over 4,000 professional women and 1,000 professional men from a wide range of industries, including the legal industry.

One part of the study focused on harassment of women in the legal industry and found that:

  • 27 percent of women said they had personally experienced or witnessed unwanted touching in the workplace in the last year. (25 percent of entry-level women; 33 percent of senior women.)
  • 36 percent of women in the legal industry said they had experienced sexual harassment in the last 5 years.
  • Only 50 percent of women in the legal industry reported the harassment.
  • The number one reason for not reporting harassment was fear that it would negatively impact their careers.

Best Practices for Law Firms

There is no question that the legal profession has a ways to go to lower the incidence of sexual harassment. Adopting or increasing the effectiveness of current anti-harassment policies will go a long way to creating a safer environment.

There should be four main areas of focus

1.   A clear, publicized anti-harassment policy.

If there is not one already in place, every law firm must have a written, publicized anti-harassment policy that should include:

  • A clear statement prohibiting harassment
  • A description of conduct that constitutes harassment
  • A complaint procedure with multiple options for reporting harassment
  • Mandatory reporting of harassment by firm personnel, including those who witness it
  • A person designated to receive complaints
  • A statement that all complaints will be investigated promptly
  • A non-retaliation statement
  • A statement that offenders will be subject to corrective action and discipline

The harassment policy should be distributed to all personnel, who must sign and acknowledge that they have read it.

2.  Investigating and responding to complaints.

Law firms must have a firm protocol in place regarding how complaints will be handled. “Once the firm has notice of a potential violation of its harassment policy, it must take prompt remedial action reasonably calculated to end any harassment,” according to Bench & Bar of Minnesota.

The protocol should include:

  • How investigations will be conducted
  • Who will conduct the investigation
  • What kind of training should the investigator have
  • When to use an outside investigator
  • What steps will be taken to protect the person making the complaint during the process
  • What actions should be taken to end any harassment

Once the protocols are in place, they should be followed to the letter, even if it might seem “easier” to handle the matter more informally. Keeping to the policy will help protect not only the person making the complaint but the law firm as well.

3.  Conduct anti-harassment training.

All personnel (including high-level partners) should have periodic training about the firm’s harassment policy. Attendance needs to be mandatory and documented. It may be necessary to have separate training for senior management and partners.

“One newer concept is ‘bystander training’: empowering co-workers and giving them tools to intervene when they witness harassing behavior…and workplace ‘civility training’…that focuses on promoting respect and civility in the workplace,” according to Bench & Bar of Minnesota.

4.  Have a “crisis” plan of action.

In this age of social media and viral videos, it is increasingly likely that sexual harassment claims within a law firm will go public. You need to work with in-house counsel and your PR firm to craft a crisis communication plan to control information and manage media attention or questions. You should also have a crisis team that can step in to investigate claims promptly, decide when it is appropriate to make a media statement, and craft the message.

The #MeToo Movement is not going away, and it will continue to affect every industry, including law firms and other legal professionals. Every law firm should have a clear policy and plan for dealing with harassment claims. These tips will help to create an atmosphere that makes the work environment safer for everyone.

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.

Client Acquisition: 5 Essential Aspects of Marketing Your Law Practice

Client Acquisition: 5 Essential Aspects of Marketing Your Law Practice on bossreporting.com

Learn the best practices for promoting your law firm

One of the most challenging parts of running a business is learning the nuances of marketing your services appropriately. After all, if you own law practice, most of your time, effort, and expertise is probably related to providing legal services, and while advertising your business is an important part of professional growth, it’s unlikely to be your entrepreneurial sweet spot.

Aside from that, both the audience and the mediums for advertising are constantly evolving so even if your advertising instincts are good, your current understanding of tech trends may be limited. However, a basic understanding of marketing can help you fine-tune your message and method in a way that can build your brand and attract new clients for years to come.

Promote your practice

One of the greatest challenges in marketing a law firm involves oversaturation. Not only is your potential audience inundated with advertising in every aspect of their lives, but there are also more attorneys than ever before. According to the American Bar Association, there are over 1.3 million attorneys in the United States as of 2018, with a 15 percent increase over the last decade. So, competition is fierce in every direction.

However, although there is an abundance of competing practices, there are also more methods to deliver your marketing message than ever before, and many take a relatively passive approach after the initial set-up.

Since most people do their research online these days, your greatest advertising ally is the internet. Working towards a greater understanding of best online marketing practices is one of the most valuable business decisions you can make.

Know your audience

The single most important aspect of developing an attorney marketing strategy is to identify your target audience. Understanding the income, employment, location, background, and needs of your potential clients makes it easier to create a message that will actually reach them.

Once you understand who you’re looking for, it’s easier to figure out where you may find them and what type of information is most likely to appeal to them in a way that inspires action, whether that’s calling you for a consultation or recommending you to a friend.

Optimize your website

Your website is the technological equivalent of a business card, and much more important. The online representation of your business should be functional, attractive, professional, and helpful. Furthermore, it should quickly and clearly convey your expertise and have a strong call to action.

It’s essential to hire professionals to develop your website – not just the technical aspects like domain mapping and navigation, but in the creation of web-optimized graphics and compelling copy that educates and informs potential clients.

Highlight your experience

A lot of online consumer research includes user reviews. People tend to trust their peers, so showcase the positive testimonials of past clients prominently on your website and in social media posts.

The primary purpose of a testimonial is to offer a clear understanding of what you do, and evidence that you’ve done it well.

Share your expertise

Thanks to the internet and a heightened awareness of marketing, consumers are savvier than ever, and skeptical when they sense a sales pitch. A better approach is to build your brand through content marketing, either through a series of blog posts or online videos.

Content marketing offers its audience helpful information, without an overt attempt to sell anything. Establish yourself as a trusted expert by and speak to what you know; it will be remembered and appreciated by those who need it. This approach is also helpful when it comes to Search Engine Optimization but don’t try to shoehorn keywords into each post, just let it happen naturally.

Study your metrics

Some marketing methods will work better than others, and evaluating what works is key to prioritizing the investment of your energy and effort. Whether it’s an understanding of Google Analytics for your website or blog, or the dashboards of various social media or marketing sites, develop a baseline familiarity with, and appreciation of, online metrics.

While it’s important to broadcast your message across multiple mediums to effectively target your audience, metrics will soon make it easy to determine where the return on your investment is highest.

Marketing your business is an important undertaking and not an easy one – even with the access and information afforded by the internet. Just like you most likely wouldn’t advise a marketing expert to represent themselves in court, they wouldn’t advise you to develop an advertising campaign without professional input and assistance. Learn enough about marketing to know what you need and how to determine effectiveness. Then find a professional to collaborate with, and get back to the business you do best with the confidence that new clients will be on their way as a result of your advertising efforts.

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.

Technology and the Law

Technology and the Law on bossreporting.com

6 technology trends for 2019 (and beyond)

The legal profession is steeped in tradition and precedence. However, even law firms must adapt to the times. Incorporating the latest technology in data storage, communications, marketing, artificial intelligence (AI), and cybersecurity are not only be more convenient but they are also essential in this competitive landscape.

Boss Reporting has put together this list of six tech trends to look for in the upcoming year

 1.  Mobile communications

No matter how you look at it, mobile marketing is the way of the future. More and more people rely on their mobile devices for everything, from emails and shopping to internet research and social media communications. In some cases, mobile use has surpassed that of computers. Mobile scheduling is one new service that any law firm or legal professional should consider. You can schedule court dates, inform clients about meetings, and schedule court reporting services easily and more efficiently.

2.  Online presence

Having a strong presence on social media is an absolute in this digital age. You should have accounts on Facebook and Twitter at the least. Another option is LinkedIn, which caters more to professionals.

Search engine optimization (SEO) on is also vital. Most people begin their search for an attorney online, so ensuring that your name pops up when someone searches for your areas of concentration can make the difference in landing new clients. Blogging is also still a good way to optimize search engine capability while establishing your expertise in a certain area. You can also use these venues to collect emails for digital newsletters and email campaigns.

3.  Video marketing

Sometimes images are more powerful than words. Sites like YouTube make it easy to upload and share videos on social media, your website, in blogs, and digital newsletters. A short, interesting video can give prospective clients a better feel for you and your firm. Videos are often easier to digest than long blocks of text, and people tend to remember them better. They are also shareable, meaning other people can post the video to their social media sites.

4.  Artificial intelligence (AI)

AI and machine learning is the next wave of technology, and it is an area that is becoming more important by the day. Law firms should be poised to take advantage of AI to streamline operations and make case preparation more efficient.

5.  Cloud technology

Cloud technology makes it possible to remotely store data and documents so everything can be accessible to those who need it. This type of technology has become more affordable so that large and small firms alike can use with it without needing a sophisticated infrastructure or expensive servers.

6.  Cybersecurity

Perhaps no area has undergone more scrutiny lately than cybersecurity. First, law firms must find better ways of protecting the sensitive and private information of clients.

A report by the American Bar Association exposed some troubling findings:

  • In 2016, three Chinese nationals were indicted for breaking into law firms as part of an insider-trading scheme.
  • In June 2017, a global cyber attack…hit a major global law firm, forcing the shutdown of its phone, email, and information systems.
  • Law firms have continued to expose W-2 tax forms in phishing attacks.
  • Laptops and smartphones have been lost or stolen.
  • Law firms have been victims of ransomware attacks.
  • 22% of respondents in the study reporters they had experienced a security breach.

“The ABA 2017 Legal Technology Survey Report…shows that many attorneys and law firms are employing some of the safeguards…It also shows, however, that many are not using security measures that are viewed as basic by security professionals.”

Law firms must invest in better security measures and devote time to educating employees on “best practices” when it comes to cyber attacks and malware, which often come through emails as links or attachments.

Understanding and utilizing the latest tools and technology is essential if law firms and other legal professions want to stay competitive, operate more efficiently and protect sensitive client data. Do your homework and determine how you can keep up with the times. Be sure to determine your best option when it comes to court reporting services.

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.

Top Law Firm Challenges and Legal Trends for 2019

Top Law Firm Challenges and Legal Trends for 2019 on bossreporting.com

As the new year begins, focus on these trends and challenges that are likely to remain hot topics throughout the year

With ever-changing technologies and regulations introduced each year, legal professionals face challenges related to client growth, flexibility, and building a successful online presence, among others.

As law firms gear up to face the new year, it’s a great time to reflect on where organizations can improve and focus time and money.

First, we’ll look at the top challenges that law firms need to address in the coming year, followed by expected trends in legal practice areas.

Work-life balance and flexibility

Work flexibility is one of the biggest trends today across all professions. Workers expect flexible hours, work-from-home arrangements, or open-concept office floor plans, as more millennials and Generation Z employees are comprising a larger portion of the workforce.

This can be a challenge for law firms, though these considerations have been making their way into the legal realm over the last few years. The Clio Legal Trends Report 2018 showed that 59 percent of law firm respondents think that establishing a successful work-life balance is important to achieve overall success. However, the same report showed that 77 percent of lawyers catch up on work outside of business hours, which can take its toll on families or personal lives.

Legal work often requires extra hours during more demanding cases. But law firms need to make work-life balance an even bigger priority in 2019, as young professionals continue to expect flexibility from their employers. Even if working overtime sometimes has to be a reality, there are other ways to give employees benefits, like work-from-home options or additional days off.

Online feedback and reputation

The multitude of easy lawyer-finder websites that exist today may start to overwhelm people who need legal help. Clients often want to talk to a real person, but they don’t quite know how to find the right representation with a quality experience.

Lawyers need to build up a positive online presence so that clients can find them and read reviews and success stories. The 2017 Legal Trends Report from Clio showed that the second most common way that clients find lawyers is by using a search engine. The first: getting referrals from friends and family.

So, to appeal to both of these client bases, attorneys should try to create an online presence that’s full of genuine testimonials that will make clients feel like they’re getting personal referrals.

This continues to be a challenge for attorneys. The 2018 Clio report mentioned above revealed that just 10 percent of legal professionals collect feedback using an online survey, and 37 percent don’t collect any kind of feedback. For those that do ask for comments, the most common type of feedback is more casual or in person.

Legal professionals would be wise in 2019 to focus on building an online reputation that will help them become searchable and ultimately get more business.

Family-focused policies

The American Bar Association (ABA) has said that an ongoing trend for law firms is focusing on creating family-friendly policies. These policies could include better time off arrangements, such as longer maternity leave, leave for adoptions, or leave to take care of sick family members.

Other considerations that new mothers would appreciate are amenities like a private room for rest or nursing or onsite childcare.

Diversity

In 2019, more law firms will likely hire diversity directors or committees, the ABA said. Law schools like Villanova and others have been implementing programs to draw in more minority students, and law firms should be focusing on similar programs.

Ray Berg, a managing partner for Osborne Clarke, told Lawyer Firm News that many benefits come from making diversity a priority. He said that legal professionals should “challenge stereotypes and break down preconceived notions of the sector to ensure everyone can thrive and reach their true potential.”

Those in charge should make sure that their policies are inclusive; for example, allowing employees to take time off for holidays other than the major U.S. federal holidays.

Trending practice areas

A big area that will likely see growth in 2019 is environmental law, also known as green law. As debates heat up about environmental issues like climate change, coal, and eco-friendly regulations, these attorneys will be in high demand.

When the economy becomes uncertain or reaches a recession, bankruptcy law and labor and employment law both amp up. Clients need help with asset management during these times, as well as lawsuits related to employment issues.

While we’re not in an economic recession, the stock market saw a big downturn in the fourth quarter of 2018. The Washington Post says that this change could make last year the worst seen in the last decade. As 2019 begins, this uncertainty could impact the aforementioned law areas, as both customers and businesses may need legal help to address financial issues.

Finally, data and cybersecurity law are going to be a big part of 2019 practices. Datapine recently released the top 10 analytics and business intelligence trends for the coming year, predicting a huge focus on data management and discovery. Electronic discovery practitioners in the legal realm are tasked with managing litigation related to this e-information and navigating data security regulations and best practices.

There’s no doubt that 2019 will see change, whether with the introduction of new tools or more demanding expectations from a growing young client base or employee pool. Prepare for what’s coming by addressing these challenges from the start.

At Boss Certified Realtime Reporting, we provide court reporting services for trials, mediations, dispositions, conferences, and more. We’re accurate, fast, and always in your corner. For more information contact us online or call us at 954-467-6867.

5 Basic Types of Civil Cases

5 Basic Types of Civil Cases on bossreporting.com

A civil case is a legal dispute between two or more parties. The process starts when someone files a lawsuit (plaintiff) against a single person or group of people (defendant). The purpose of a lawsuit is usually to win compensation for damages, injuries or money that is lost as the result of an action taken by the defendant. There are several types of civil cases so legal professionals should become familiar with all of them.

1.  Tort claims (injuries)

One of the most common types of civil cases involves tort or injury claims. Tort claims might be filed against a business or an individual and involves accusations of alleged negligence. In this case, the plaintiff asks for punitive damages to compensate for medical bills, lost time at work or money spent replacing damaged property.

There are three categories of tort claims:

  • Negligence – Unintentional injury or damage.
  • Intentional – A deliberate wrongdoing.
  • Strict liability – Based on a strict duty to ensure something is safe. It does not require negligence or intent.

Examples of tort claims:

  • Assault & battery
  • False imprisonment
  • Fraud
  • Emotional distress
  • Invasion of privacy
  • Car or bicycle accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Slip & fall
  • Defective product that causes an injury
  • Animal attacks (dog bites)

2.  Breach of contract claims

This type of civil claim involves a dispute over a contract. Contract disputes can involve multiple businesses or individuals. Any partnership or client relationship relies on a contract to ensure both parties do what has been promised. When one party breaks the agreement, for any reason, a lawsuit is often the result.

Types of contract disputes:

  • Disputes between a landlord and tenant
  • Disputes between a homeowner and building contractor for remodeling
  • Dispute over the sale of property
  • Defective product that has been sold
  • Non-delivery of paid purchases
  • Violation of the non-compete agreement
  • Violation of the business agreement

3.  Equitable claims

With equitable claims, the plaintiff asks the court to order a company or individual to refrain from doing something, which is known as an injunction. This type of case is not about a monetary reward for a past injury but is done to prevent a future harmful act.

Equitable claims might ask the court to:

  • Stop a developer from building a commercial plaza in a residential area
  • Have a party cease a certain activity
  • Transfer property to the rightful owner
  • Order a repair to property that is dangerous to visitors
  • Order a change of policy or to post warning signs

4.  Class action claims

Class action suits are similar to tort cases, except the “plaintiff” is actually a group or class of people. The “defendant” is often a corporation that is accused of negligence or intentional acts that caused many injuries.

Types of class action claims can include:

  • A company that exposes people to hazardous substances
  • Defective materials that caused multiple injuries, illness or death
  • Defective car parts that resulted in accidents
  • A company or entity that knowingly caused harm to a group of people
  • An individual or company that set out to defraud a group of people

5.  Complaints against the city

Often an individual or group of people will file a claim against the city of federal government. These cases usually involve some action that caused harm to citizens. It might also involve claims that someone’s civil rights have been violated.

Civil cases can be complicated legal proceedings. Any legal firm that provides private or commercial law services should be aware of the different types of civil cases that can arise.

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.

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Legal Professionals

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Legal Professionals on bossreporting.com

There’s no better time to improve than when you have a clean slate with a new year

A new year can bring hope and progress, no matter your career. After indulging throughout the holidays and gearing up to reset and return to work in January, it’s the perfect time to make resolutions and evaluate the previous year’s wins and losses.

As a lawyer or legal professional, there are certain mindsets to rethink or plans to reassess. And doing so at the beginning of the new year is a great way to hold yourself accountable and to have time to reflect.

These 5 resolution suggestions will help you get the ball rolling.

 1.  If you’re not happy, leave

At the end of the year, think about how happy you are with your current position. Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Am I being challenged every day?
  • Am I overworked?
  • Am I stressed because of work?
  • Do I receive adequate compensation for the hours I’m putting in?
  • Are there days when I dread getting out of bed and going into the office?

Sometimes, you’ll know right away that you’re not happy, but you have x, y, and z reasons for staying at a job you hate. “Just until I get a raise,” or “The insurance is really good.”

There are a million reasons not to take a risk that could improve your life. But the truth is, if you’re not happy at work, there’s a place out there that would make you happier. Whether it be pay, benefits, hours, or the people you work with, you could find something that meets every priority on your list.

Make the new year the time you’ll stop settling and get what you want from your career. Once you are job searching and interviewing, you may surprise yourself to see how easy it is to move on to something better.

2.  Expand your network

Whether you’re just starting out in your career or have been at it for a decade, it’s never a bad idea to seek guidance. A mentor could help you take a new perspective or prepare you for what’s ahead. On the other hand, mentoring someone new to the field could also teach you a lot about yourself, while you would also be helping someone in need of guidance.

In addition to engaging with mentorships, try to expand the network of legal professionals that you interact with and get advice from. Attend events or conferences in your area. There are plenty of development and networking events out there, so it’s easy to get involved.

Interacting with others who share your passion can invigorate your drive to help people. It can remind you why you do what you do.

3.  Improve your online presence

If you’ve been putting off revamping your website or updating your Twitter account, 2019 is the time to dive in. Being online and sending updates is important for legal professionals, as more of the population continues to utilize search engines and online reviews to find legal help.

While people may trust personal legal referrals over a Google search, that may soon change. In fact, BrightLocal’s 2018 Local Consumer Review Survey showed that 91 percent of people between 18 and 34 trust online reviews just as much as recommendations from people they know.

So, how you’re viewed online matters. And you won’t be able to have control over that reputation unless you’re actively putting out content and figuring out what potential clients want.

Start by looking at your website from an SEO perspective. You could even hire an SEO professional to ensure you’re implementing keywords and utilizing your content to your advantage.

Then, start engaging with people on social media, and ask former clients to leave you reviews or testimonials. Whatever area you need to focus on most, make building your online reputation a priority this year.

4.  Create a more detailed schedule

A big culprit of slow productivity is poor time management. As the new year approaches, write down how you normally spend your day. If you find you don’t have enough hours to get everything done, or you’re always stressed to meet a deadline, there’s bound to be something you can cut out or shorten to improve the flow of things.

It may help to create a priority list each day. What absolutely has to be done today, and what could be pushed to tomorrow? Plan out the week in advance, so you know what tasks need to be completed, when.

Once you have a better idea of your normal work schedule, you can start tweaking it to see what works best for your productivity and your sanity.

5.  Give back

In 2019, consider taking on more pro bono cases or volunteering more of your time. Even if you have to squeeze it in, it will be a rewarding way to help those who can’t afford expert legal services. The Legal Services Corporation found that in 2017, 86 percent of the civil legal issues that low-income Americans faced did not get adequate legal assistance.

Help address this need by putting these cases into your cycle. There’s clearly a need for more affordable legal services, so make this a priority for 2019. This is also a great way to expand your network even more and could lead to additional clients down the road.

Legal professionals have a million things to consider, like client satisfaction, work schedules, areas of expertise, and more. By setting yourself up for success at the beginning of the year with these resolutions, you can make 2019 your best year yet.

Boss Certified Realtime 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 Tips for Preparing for a Civil Court Case

5 Tips for Preparing for a Civil Court Case on

Preparation is key when it comes to any trial

If you are preparing for a civil case in court, there are things you should know to have a successful outcome. We’ve prepared this guide to help you navigate this important legal proceeding.

What is a civil case?

It might be useful to define what a civil court case is and what it involves. According to USCourts.gov, a civil case, “Involves a legal dispute between two or more parties. A civil action begins when a party to a dispute files a complaint.” The plaintiff (the person who brings the suit) can file for damages or money to compensate for harm caused by the defendant. The plaintiff may also ask for an injunction to keep the defendant from doing something.

There are four basic types of civil cases:

  • Tort claims – A wrongful act that results in an injury, property damage or damage to a person’s reputation
  • Breach of contract claims – One person fails to live up to the terms of a contract
  • Equitable claims – Asking the court to take some action or stop some action
  • Landlord/Tenant issues

On the other hand, a criminal case involves the breaking of a law. In this instance, the government prosecutes an individual for violating the law.

Here are 5 steps to prepare for a civil case

Step 1: Read the complaint

Whether or not you were the one who filed the suit, start preparing by reading the complaint. This is the document the judge will be reading. The purpose of this read-through is to determine how you will prove (if you are the plaintiff) or disprove (if you are the defendant) the allegations spelled out in the complaint.

You need to determine:

  • What evidence you will need to prove/disprove the statements
  • If anything relevant has happened since the original incident. For example, has a debt been paid, was there a mediation or have there been additional damages?
  • If any key elements are missing from the complaint

Step 2: Gather your evidence

Whether you filed the complaint or not, you will have to gather evidence to prove your case.

Evidence can include:

  • Copies of legal contracts
  • Documents
  • Written and/or digital communications (emails, texts etc.)
  • Witnesses
  • Receipts
  • Records of payments or evidence of non-payment
  • Pictures
  • Videos

According to PeoplesLaw.org, “If you have a contract, read it…The judge will expect both parties to be familiar with the contract. There are certain legal elements that must be proved if your goal is to enforce your contract. If you wish to show that the contract is not valid, you must explain why (disproving the same elements).”

Step 3: Analyze the case and decide what you need to prove/disprove

What you really want to do is analyze your strengths and weaknesses. Then determine how to play to your strengths or defend your weaknesses. Review the elements that must be proven and decide what evidence you can present that will prove/disprove those elements.

Step 4: Prepare documentation and your witnesses

This is actually a multi-step process:

  • Identify and prepare evidence and physical documentation you plan to present in court.
  • Make copies of everything for the opposing side and the judge.
  • Keep all of your documentation organized so you can find everything when you need it.
  • Highlight important points you plan to present to prove your case.
  • Identify and prepare your witnesses. Make sure witnesses can support your key points and that they have firsthand knowledge of the situation. Also, make sure any “experts” are truly qualified to give opinions or judgments in this matter.

Step 5: Practice your presentation…and then practice again

You will be much more relaxed – and much more likely to remember your key points – if you practice beforehand. Going before a judge and in front of witnesses can make anyone nervous, especially if you’ve never been involved in a court case before. It’s also okay to make notes with your key points. It doesn’t have to be a full script. You can use bullet points, the first few sentences, or anything that will jog your memory and ensure you don’t forget a point that is crucial to your case.

Preparing for a civil case takes time and effort. Follow these five steps to help you present the best case possible to help ensure the outcome you want.

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.

Case Closing on 2018

Case Closing on 2018 on bossreporting.com

Is there ever an end to learning when you’re a lawyer? No. It’s always an uphill trek through new laws and regulations, clients and cases, and business processes.

At BOSS Reporting, we seek to alleviate some of the learning tension with tips and tricks lawyers can use to stay ahead in their practice. We’re closing the case on our blog for 2018, but don’t worry, we will be back next year with more tips and tricks to help you better your career and your business!

A day at court

Competence & Confidence: Body Language and Other Tips for Professional Poise

Conquer Court Appearance Jitters: Tips and Tricks to Calm Down Quick

Trial and Error: Polish up Your Presentation

Three Ways to Hook and Capture Attention in Your Presentations

Ted Talk Tips to Help You Be a More Persuasive Public Speaker

Try Not to Put Them to Sleep

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

Business and office advice

Virtual Assistants and the Law

Post It: Build a Better Law Firm Blog

Crime Online: Cybersecurity Threats and Solutions for Your Law Firm

Power Up: Is Artificial Intelligence Part of Your Law Firm’s Future?

Partnering Up: The Pros and Cons of a Partnership for Your Law Practice

Law Practice Improvement: The Importance of Tracking KPIs

The Right Steps to an RFP Response: Increase Business with Improved Proposals

Scan, Store, and Save: The Advantages of a Paperless Law Practice

Pencil It In: Finding the Right Legal-Calendaring System for Your Firm

Technology, Security, and The Law: Protecting Your Clients and Their Financial Data

The Silver Lining: How Cloud Computing Can Increase Your Firm’s Productivity

Virtual Attorney’s Office: Take Your Law Practice Online

How Attorneys Can Use Social Media in Due Diligence

Best Jury in a Hurry: Tech to Help Improve the Jury Selection Process

How Law Firms Can Improve Online Marketing Efforts

Online Marketing Strategies for Small Law Firms

What Happens During a Deposition?

How Attorneys Can Find Balance Between Work and Life

The Difference Between Mediations vs. Arbitrations

Workplace Bullying, and How to Deal with It

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

Writing Wrongs: Tips for Effective Proofing

Sincerely, Yours: A look at Business Email Etiquette

The Ten Million Dollar Comma

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

Social Media and the Law: 6 Social Media Best Practices for Law Firms

How to Make the Most of Online Client Reviews

Miscellaneous

Legal Briefs: A Quick Tour of Tech News

Reporting for Duty: Skills Court Reporters Need to Know

Let’s Get Technical: The Best Tech to Improve Your Law Practice

Law and Order: The Evolution of Professional Etiquette

Why Law Firms Should Consider Text Messaging to Communicate

There are Many Types of Laughter, but What Causes Nervous Laughter?

What Court Reporters Want People to Know About Their Job

The Danger of Recording Privileged Conversations, and the Preferred Alternative

Cybercrime, Technology, and the Future Workforce of Law Firms

Are Ladies Changing the Legal Landscape?

Reporting for Duty

How to Survive Your First Year as a Lawyer

How to Become a Stenographer or Court Reporter

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

How to Make the Most of Online Client Reviews

How to Make the Most of Online Client Reviews on bossreporting.com

In our digital age, you’ll be reviewed online whether you want to be or not. As you are just one attorney in a large pool of options, make sure you’re engaging with comments and monitoring how they affect your overall online reputation.

When the internet didn’t yet exist, and people had to go by word of mouth, personal reviews mattered. Today in our digital culture, these reviews are still one of the most important driving factors for customer decision-making.

In fact, a BrightLocal survey showed that 85 percent of consumers trust online reviews just as much as they’d trust a friend’s recommendation.

Of course, this heavy weight given to online credibility can go both ways. Make the most of online client reviews with these tips and solutions.

Come to terms with reviews

You first need to understand that clients will review you, and people will read these reviews. There’s nothing you can do to stop this from happening. Know that not everyone will like everything about you and that sometimes conflict can arise, even if it wasn’t your fault or you did everything in your power to stop it.

Businesses of any kind no longer have much control over what people say about them online. What you can control is the level of service you offer and your commitment to being genuine. If you focus on being the best you can be, your online reviews will likely reflect that.

Google yourself

It’s a given that potential clients are going to Google you. And you won’t know what they find unless you regularly check how your search results are doing, and what shows up about you to customers right away. Are negative reviews the first thing on the results page?

You may need to implement better SEO practices to get the landing pages you want to appear first in the search results list. And, since there are so many attorneys and practices nationwide, try to work with an SEO expert to get to the top of the results page with keywords that potential clients may search for.

All the good reviews in the world won’t get you anywhere unless clients can find them.

If you have a lot of positive reviews, this can actually help your rank in search results. ReputationStacker says that four factors determine rank based on reviews:

  1. Quantity: the number of reviews
  2. Quality: whether the reviews are good or bad
  3. Authority: if your reviews are posted on legitimate sites
  4. Velocity: how quickly you get reviews

Google continues to dominate the search engine game, so the first step to ranking high is understanding how the algorithms work.

Address reviews head on

When you do receive a negative online review, don’t panic. While you should be concerned and try to figure out if what the client is saying is true, you can also take steps to show other potential clients that you care and are constantly improving.

Reply to these reviews directly and in a format that anyone can see. Express thoughtfulness and concern that someone had a bad experience. You can even ask them to elaborate on a point you don’t understand. Showing clients that you’re engaged online, even if someone didn’t like your services, can allow them to see how much you care about customer satisfaction.

Plus, being available online and showing clients that you understand how important that is in our current digital age can be a big plus for business. This is why you should also respond to positive reviews, even if just to say thank you.

Ask clients for reviews

Because positive reviews play a big role in your online reputation and your search engine ranking, getting reviews in the first place is extremely important. Start asking your clients to leave you reviews on Google or social media pages, where people tend to look for services and recommendations.

The same BrightLocal data showed that Facebook and Yelp were the top two places that consumers look for and read reviews, so engage with those platforms especially.

Give your online reputation the focus it deserves

Taking all the above steps will help contribute to a positive online presence, but it may not be enough. It may be a good idea to hire someone to manage all your online avenues to truly build a positive online authority.

Metrics from your website, social media pages, or newsletter can show you a lot about the way people interact with your message. And allowing clients to review you on outlets like Facebook or LinkedIn can prove to customers that you want them to know the truth about previous clients’ experiences.

For more tips about how to improve your online client relationships, visit the BOSS Reporting Blog or contact our experienced team today.

Social Media and The Law: 6 Social Media Best Practices for Law Firms

Social Media and The Law: 6 Social Media Best Practices for Law Firms on bossreporting.com

Take advantage of social media for your law firm

Social media is essential to every industry, including the legal profession. A smart, effective social media strategy can help you market your services and attract new business.

Here are 6 social media best practices for your law firm

1.  Determine your purpose for using social media.

An effective social media strategy hinges on determining what you want to accomplish. You might wish to sign new clients or establish your firm as an expert in a certain area, such as criminal defense, civil rights, intellectual property or corporate law. Once you’ve established a goal, you will be better equipped to come up with a plan to reach that goal.

2.  Choose the social media platforms you want to develop.

There are dozens of social media platforms out there. You need to decide which platforms you want to develop or grow. Facebook remains one of the most popular. You can have a page for your firm and also take advantage of Facebook’s paid advertising platform, which lets you target potential business based on geographic location, age, profession, gender, income, and a variety of hobbies and interests.

One platform you should definitely cultivate is LinkedIn, which is geared specifically toward working professionals. You can establish a company profile and also use the network to connect with groups and individuals in your areas of specialization. A good profile will include a complete list of your services, areas of expertise, and an easy way to contact you. Individual attorneys and other legal professionals in your firm can also have their own personal profiles, which increases the likelihood of others finding you.

Other popular social media platforms include Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and more.

3.  Be active on social media.

You can’t simply set up a Facebook page or LinkedIn account and then walk away. You must post on a regularly to help attract new followers and increase engagement. If someone visits your page and sees you haven’t posted anything for weeks, they will move on.

4.  Avoid being a salesman.

Social media is not about making a sale. The point is to be “social” and engage followers in meaningful ways. You can do that by becoming a trusted resource and authority in a particular specialty and by showing your human side.

Here are some suggestions of things you can post that won’t seem like a “sales call”:

Post original content

Post links to blogs (either your own or another trusted source)

Share content and articles from trusted resources such as news organizations, newspapers, trade magazines, and legal publications

  • Post industry news
  • Answer questions from followers
  • Highlight videos or news segments that are relevant to your firm or areas of specialty
  • Post updates on the latest happenings at your firm such as new hires, attorney profiles, and company events
  • Post pictures from community events in which you took part. (e.g. If your firm participated in a Breast Cancer Walk or a holiday toy drive, highlight that.)

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

5.  Blog regularly.

Blogging is an easy way to establish your firm as an expert. Blog posts should be relevant to your firm’s main areas of practice. If you aren’t going to have a dedicated person responsible for creating posts (or if you don’t want to outsource the task) it might be a good idea to have attorneys or other legal professionals take turns writing original posts. Blog posts can then be used as content on your social media channels. Followers can also share the posts on their social media channels, increasing your reach.

6.  Include a clear call-to-action everywhere.

Include contact tools on each page you manage, as well as your website and blog. Contact information should include your website, email, and phone number.

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

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

Virtual Assistants and the Law

Virtual Assistants and the Law on bossreporting.com

How a virtual assistant can benefit your law firm

Managing a busy law practice takes a lot of time and effort. From paperwork, filing and billing to office management, there are endless tasks that must get done. In a smaller firm, all of these tasks may fall to you or a single office manager. Although most law firms have in-house assistants, many are now employing virtual assistants to take on administrative and office management tasks.

What are the benefits of a legal virtual assistant and is using one the right choice for your firm?

What does a legal virtual assistant do?

Virtual assistants (VA) complete online tasks that can be done remotely from any computer. VA’s can perform many of tasks, from basic administrative work to more complex things, depending on the person’s experience and qualifications.

Basic VA tasks:

  • Invoicing
  • Bill Paying
  • Bank reconciliation
  • Tracking accounts receivables/payables

More complex VA tasks

Answering the phone. It is possible to outsource receptionist duties, using a service that screens incoming calls seamlessly. Clients need never know the person is not physically in your office.

Email management. The number of emails flooding into your inbox every day can become overwhelming. Simply reading through them and determining which emails are urgent is extremely time-consuming. A good VA can help manage your inbox, setting up folders for various categories, from bar-related emails and listservs to potential and current clients. A VA can help prioritize emails that need an answer right away. They can also set up appointments and answer basic questions.

Filing documents. Legal documents can be scanned and saved on a shared server by a VA so everyone can access the information. The assistant can go through each document to identify the client and type, and then complete the necessary indexing.

Manage your meeting schedule. A VA can set up meetings with clients and manage your calendar. A VA can also take care of reserving a meeting room and ordering food if needed.

Social media. Social media is becoming more important as law firms try to attract new business in a very competitive field. Posting on sites like Facebook and Twitter is time-consuming, and your efforts might be ineffective if you’re not a social media expert. A good VA with experience in social media can lift the burden and help ensure success.

Transcription. If you take notes by hand, a VA can type them up and then save the copy directly on your server.

Make travel plans. Searching for flights, booking a hotel room, and renting a car all take the time you probably don’t have. A good VA can make travel arrangements for you, based on your schedule and budget. A VA can also make restaurant reservations.

Is a VA right for your law firm?

To determine if a Virtual Assistant is right for you, it is essential to weigh the cost of such services. How many hours a week do you expect the VA to work? You can also calculate the benefit by estimating how much time you spend on administrative tasks. How many more hours do you have to work to make up for the lost time? What would be the cost if you paid yourself to do those tasks?

You must also ensure that you hire a VA you can trust. Trust is essential, especially when it comes to sensitive and private client information. Plus, even though a VA works remotely, you still need to manage him or her, so you get your money’s worth. This means you must determine which tasks need to be done and then ensure they are completed in a timely manner. You must also take the time to train the VA, so he or she does things the way you want them.

A legal VA can remove the burden of administrative tasks so you can concentrate on client needs. It is important to weigh your needs and determine if and how a VA can help your law firm.

Boss Certified Realtime 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!

Post It: Build a Better Law Firm Blog

Build a Better Law Firm Blog on bossreporting.com

Improve your online marketing efforts by building a better law blog for your practice’s website

Technology has revolutionized the way we communicate thoughts, ideas, facts, and our personal and professional images to the world. The internet provides a wealth of valuable opinions and information and a ready-made audience that would have taken years of marketing and expertise to develop in the past. Websites have become platforms in which you can position your practice as an expert in your professional field, and the addition of a blog can serve as a valuable resource to your clients and an effective marketing tool for your law firm.

A blog for your law practice can help strengthen your professional reputation and act as an ongoing opportunity to attract new business by establishing a voice and presence that will inform and appeal to potential clients.

Write with intent

The first step to any endeavor is to understand your intention, and developing a professional blog is no different. Understanding why you are blogging can help you narrow your focus and identify your audience. Here are some of the practical goals you may be aiming to achieve:

  • Attracting new clients: Improving upon your business is clearly the best return on the investment of the time, effort, and money involved with developing a new blog. Provide valuable information in a clear and consistent tone that appeals to a wide range of readers. Convey professionalism without weighing down the tone of your writing with a ton of legalese or complicated terms.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Creating compelling content with relevant keywords can help your website gain credibility with search engines. The purpose of your posts should be to provide factual information, and the inclusion of keywords should be organic – don’t shoehorn in a bunch of terms in the hopes of getting noticed by Google; algorithms are more sophisticated than you may realize.
  • Professional branding: Blogging is a great tool to share your expertise in a way that showcases your authority in your area of practice. Brainstorm areas of interest and topics that will appeal to your audience and create corresponding posts. Take care to develop a voice and personality that complements your practice.
  • Sharing business-related news: Announce business-related news and legal happenings on your professional blog to keep your clients informed and to share your successes with prospective customers.

Adding inspiration

Once you’ve established the “why” of your blog, it’s time to work on the “how” and the “what.” Get clear (and be realistic) on who will be the author of your blog. Ideally, this person will have the time, interest, and ability. If you don’t have an available staff member, look into hiring a blogger, copywriter, or agency to create your content.

You’ll also need to determine posting frequency, the ideal post length (500 to 1000 words is ideal), and then get to work developing an editorial calendar with content ideas.

Make a list of possible writing topics using the following inspiration:

  • Your area of practice: Writing about what you know is the very best way to create credibility and provide valuable content that will enrich the lives of readers. Think about the questions or situations your clients have most frequently and develop post ideas that address those issues.
  • Other professional resources: If you see a subject in an industry newsletter, magazine, or website that piques your interest, use it as inspiration to share your own thoughts on that topic. Once you adopt inspiration as a mindset, you’ll find it all around you.
  • Professional experience: Reference your own legal casework to show-off your expertise and professional successes. Demonstrate your abilities by sharing how you were able to secure satisfactory results for your previous clients and advice for readers in similar scenarios.
  • Current events and legal news: Keep an eye on industry news and viral events for content inspiration, and share your own professional opinions and reactions to relevant situations reflected in the world.

Blogging is an affordable and effective way to keep your website current, your content relevant, and your professional brand consistent and well-developed. Blogs have become an accepted source of information in the online media landscape, and an ideal platform to develop an authoritative voice that readers can grow to respect.

Boss Certified Realtime 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!

Competence & Confidence: Body Language and Other Tips for Professional Poise

Competence & Confidence: Body Language and Other Tips for Professional Poise on bossreporting.com

Make yourself a commanding presence in the courtroom by conveying confidence

Practicing law involves a lot of different elements and skill sets; a good attorney is inquisitive, assertive, and thorough; is a good orator, an effective researcher, and is skilled at adeptly maneuvering through various forms of dialog. However, conquering in the courtroom (and in life, actually) is often influenced by the ability to convey confidence.

Memorizing statutes and learning case law can be challenging, but doesn’t feel as personal as cultivating confidence. On the surface, it seems like confidence is something you either innately possess or that you acquire from years of experience and a series of personal successes. That’s not necessarily true, though. While those things are certainly helpful, a confident countenance is a skill like any other, and will soon become second nature if you invest time and effort into fully developing it.

Professional posturing

Body language and personal appearance often speak as much, or more, than words ever can. Even the smallest detail can skew a person’s perspective of who you are and how you carry yourself.

Clothes should always be clean and pressed, shoes un-scuffed and polished, nails and hair groomed – there’s no such thing as casual in the courtroom. Purchase one or two good suits, and a nice pair of shoes in both brown and black if money is tight as you first start off practicing law. Justify the cost of these essentials – and the dry-cleaning bills that come with wrinkle-free clothes – as the investment that they are.

Once you’re well dressed, it’s time to impress. Never underestimate the importance of good posture and outward composure. Studies show that 90 percent of human communication is nonverbal – these off-the-cuff judgments are part of our biological instinct of assessing potential allies and threats. Use that to your advantage when it comes to prospective clients, opposing counsel, the judge, and the jury.

Walk tall: Good posture has been pressed upon most of us from well-meaning mothers throughout our lifetimes, but it’s easy to let it slip. Draw your stomach in, your shoulders back, and lengthen your spine. It may not feel quite natural, but it gives off an air of strength and self-control.

Neutral expression: Although it feels like an odd thing to do, watch your neutral face in the mirror. Do you look calm? Pleasant? Practice smiling without smiling; just a slight lift of the corners of your mouth that will help you seem unstressed and not threatened or threatening.

Eye contact: Looking directly at people makes you seem honest and certain about what you’re saying. Make a point of making eye contact during introductions, take the time to make sure jurors feel seen instead of skimmed over – in fact, making people feel acknowledged goes a long way in earning their trust and affection. Approach people with an open, friendly demeanor, regardless of what role they play in the trial or how you feel about them personally.

Preparation is everything

Another important aspect of developing confidence happens through preparation. Competence begets confidence. When you truly know a subject, it’s easier to speak about it with assurance so pursue knowledge related to your area of practice with a passion at every opportunity, and prepare for every case as if your entire career depends on this one outcome.

Doing your due diligence is obviously important, but so is staying organized and knowing that you’re ready for anything.

Develop routines around how you prepare for trial, not just during the research portion but before the actual event. Review your material thoroughly, but then take some time to work out, go for a walk, or meditate to collect yourself. Practice calming breaths in the car or indulge in a stop at your favorite coffee shop before pulling into the courtroom. Give yourself a pep talk before pulling your shoulders back and striding into court like you already know the outcome.

Confidence isn’t as nebulous as it seems; certain characteristics or traits help paint the picture of personal strength and surety and anyone with the willingness or desire can practice until those tell-tale signs become part of their character. Also, as with many things in life, there’s some wisdom in the old adage, “fake it ’til you make it.” Act confident, mimic the behaviors of people you admire as such, and eventually your own confidence in your abilities will develop in an authentic way that others will emulate.

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!