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Deconstructing the Billable Hour: Are You Tracking the Right Costs?

Deconstructing the Billable Hour: Are You Tracking the Right Costs? on bossreporting.com

Hourly billing may not be your favorite task as a lawyer, but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare either

The billable hour; depending upon who you ask, it might be one of the worst (or best) parts of working as an attorney. Despite an increasing amount of people calling for a change in attorney billing practices, and a shift toward flat-fee legal rates, the billable hour is here to stay— at least for now. And, since the billable hour isn’t going anywhere, you might as well make it work for you. A big part of that is knowing how to track the right costs.

In-person client meetings, preliminary case, issue, or contract research

Much of the legal work lawyers do today doesn’t involve getting up in front of a judge or jury– instead, it involves several hours of meticulous legal research. Since many areas of the law are so complex, many legal cases may need a team of lawyers researching for multiple weeks– or even months, depending on the size and scope of the case and the various issues at hand. In addition to taking up the time of attorneys and other staff, research can be expensive in its own right. In fact, many firms may have to make hundreds or even thousands of dollars of purchases to effectively research a case. These might include:

  • Specialized research software or legal software
  • Special or additional subscriptions to legal or academic search engines
  • Paid access to scholarly articles, scientific studies, or research papers
  • Physical books or paperwork purchased for research purposes

Consultation with outside counsel, subject-matter experts or potential expert witnesses

While any one lawyer may be a bona-fide subject matter expert in two or three areas, many complex legal projects can involve a variety of legal and non-legal subject areas, which can often overwhelm attorneys if they’re not prepared. In some situations, a firm may need to contract with another lawyer outside their firm with more expertise in a specific legal area. These attorneys, acting as ‘outside counsel’ to the original firm, are usually hired to provide lawyers and their clients clarification or legal advice on the specific details of a complex contract or case.

While hiring outside counsel can be extremely beneficial in certain cases, the costs can easily add up– especially if a lawyer from a different firm is called for the entire duration of the original firm’s work. While an hour or two consultation with another firm’s lawyer may not cost much, an outside lawyer providing additional counsel throughout the entire duration of a lengthy trial could easily add up to tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. Getting bills from two lawyers can often anger and confuse clients who don’t understand what’s going on, so you need to be clear– and careful, about how and when you use (and bill for) outside counsel.

In other cases, lawyers and their clients need a subject matter expert to provide guidance on a non-legal matter that affects the case at hand— such as a private criminologist examining a crime scene involved in a legal dispute, a doctor conducting genetic testing, or a computer forensics expert looking at a hard drive.

Travel and transportation costs can add up, especially in certain kinds of cases

If a legal matter has you or members of your firm traveling to meet a distant client on-site, or you’re involved in a lengthy in-court legal dispute, certain kinds of legal work (and certain clients) may have you traveling significantly. This can greatly add to your costs, since travel eats up otherwise productive time (even if you do get some work done). To a lesser extent, the actual costs of travel themselves can also add up, especially if a lot of driving or flying is involved. Therefore, it’s essential to incorporate these costs in your billable hours.

Many lawyers, for example, bill at half their hourly rate for travel, in addition to charging the customer any tolls, parking fees, and a certain amount of money per mile driven. Others charge their full billable hour rate, while others charge a flat fee, or even nothing at all. Whatever you charge clients for in terms of travel, it’s essential to let them know up front. Otherwise they could be footing a huge expense that they never even knew they had– something that many clients would consider unfair.

Make sure your clients understand what, why, how, when, and how much you’re billing them always

If you’re a lawyer, accurately tracking the right costs is essential, but making sure your client pays (and pays on time) is equally as important. In addition, you want your client to be satisfied with (or at least accepting of) your fee, otherwise, they’ll be less likely to return in the future and less apt to recommend your firm to others. To accomplish this, you’ll want to make sure that any bills you send your client are clear, sufficiently detailed, and relatively easy for a layman to understand.

Many business owners, executives, and other clients are extremely busy– and it’s not their responsibility to understand the law or how you used it to help them. It’s your responsibility to succinctly explain it to them, both during the time you’ve spend with them, and on the invoice you send. In most cases, the more a client understands about how and why you’ve billed them (provided you’re being honest) the more likely they are to be satisfied with the amount.

When billing, avoid multi-hour blocks and clear up confusion before clients owe you big

In addition to explaining the general what, how, why, when and how much you’re billing, experts also suggest that attorneys avoid automatically billing their hours in multi-hour blocks. Instead, it may be better to bill for each individual activity, whether it takes 25 minutes, or three hours. In addition to keeping language simple, this single-activity billing method can go a long way towards clearing up any confusion on the part of your clients about how all those billable hours were spent.

Finally, it’s important to remind attorneys that it’s considerably easier to resolve any problems with clients early in the billing process, rather than later. If you think a client may be confused, won’t want to pay, or may not understand how much and why you’re billing them, it’s much better to clear things up before they owe you a significant amount of money.

To learn more about how to make billable hours (or other fee schemes) work for you and your law firm, contact Boss Reporting today for a free consultation.

6 Tips to Conquer your Fear of Public Speaking

6 Tips to Conquer your Fear of Public Speaking on bossreporting.com

Implementing smart strategies can reduce presentation anxiety and significantly improve performance

Public speaking is by far the number one fear in America, far more common that the fear of death, snakes, heights, planes, insects, and spiders. For those who like speaking, it’s hard to imagine that to some, public speaking is scarier than a giant cockroach– but for those who hate it, almost anything is preferable to a few minutes in the spotlight.

While some find it frightening, public speaking doesn’t have to cause serious anxiety– if you know how to do it right. To give a great speech without fear, you’ll need serious preparation, smart visual aids, and focused body language to engage, entertain, and inspire your audience.

1. Practice, practice, practice

Researchers say that up to 75% of public speaking performance anxiety can be prevented with sufficient preparation. How much is sufficient? A lot more than you might think; research indicates that to ensure a proper delivery, individuals should read their entire speech aloud at least 40 times. Ideally, the last 10-20 times should be mostly or completely “off-book,” meaning that much or all of the speech has already been memorized.

That means for a short, 10-minute speech, at least six hours and forty minutes (not including breaks) of preparation time will be required. In reality, a speaker will need a decent number of breaks, as well as extra time to re-work parts of the presentation that are not working. In practice, a 10-minute speech would likely need about 10 hours of preparation to give the speaker the best shot at a well-delivered presentation.

2. Practice in front of real people

While practice is one of the most essential ways to reduce public speaking anxiety, the best forms of practice mimic the real-life conditions of a speech. Unless you get unlucky, you won’t be presenting to an empty room, so you shouldn’t practice in an empty room either. If possible, get one or more friends or family members to watch a few of your last practice sessions.

Even if they only watch you practice a speech 2-3 times, having friends or loved ones watch your speech can be an excellent way for you to practice making eye contact and emotionally engaging with your audience. In addition, friends and family members can provide potentially valuable feedback about your speech and help suggest ways to improve it. If you realize that simply having family in the room makes you nervous and messes up your speech, that simply means that you’ll have to practice it with others in the room until you perfect your mistakes.

3. Look at one person in the audience at a time

Many individuals who fear public speaking say they feel as if the entire crowd is judging them at once– and for people who suffer from presentation anxiety, this feeling can seriously impact their ability to succeed in public speaking. One great way to reduce anxiety– and improve your body language, is to make direct eye contact with one person in the audience at a time. As you give the speech, you can slowly switch between multiple individuals in the audience. This can make it feel like you’re simply talking to one person at a time– instead of tens, hundreds, or thousands.

4. If possible, use engaging visual aids to support your argument

When giving a speech or presentation, you’ll want to use every tool available to make it shine– and that often means finding or creating a visual accompaniment. This can be an object, such as evidence, a chart or map, or even a video or a slideshow shown via projector. While it may not be possible to use visual aids in some legal settings, when it is, it can make a serious difference. The old saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words,’ is certainly true when it comes to public speaking, especially when engaging in courtroom or settlement negotiations.

When deciding which visual aids to use, it’s important to make sure that they work with you, not against you. Don’t bring anything to a presentation or speech unless it’s relevant to your argument or ideas– and most importantly, avoid anything that will detract or distract from your core legal argument.

5. If speaking in an unfamiliar place, visit it or look it up first

The closer you can simulate the conditions of a speech, the easier it is to practice for. So, if you know where you’re going to give a speech or presentation, check it out in person, and practice there if possible. If the place you’re going is currently inaccessible, such as a locked courtroom or an office in a different state, attempt to look up the location online first. This can help you more accurately visualize giving a successful speech, as well as increase the chance that you aren’t thrown off by any last-minute surprises.

6. Have your body language work with you, not against you

Many experts believe that your body language during a speech may be far more important than what you actually say, especially when you’re trying to persuade others with your presentation. Strong, confident body language will reinforce your speech, while sloppy, unfocused body movements will detract from it. When giving a speech, make sure you never turn away from the audience. In addition, while it may be a good idea to move around for certain parts of your speech, you’ll likely want to stay grounded and directly face the audience when introducing yourself and hitting upon important parts of your presentation. While it’s important to gesture during your speech, you don’t want to overdo it. Subtle, engaging gestures can enhance your speech, but waving your hands and over-gesturing will look unprofessional and could distract your audience.

Research, practice, and prepare to reduce public speaking-related anxiety

When it comes to public speaking, preparation is key. It’s always better to over-prepare than to under-prepare. In addition, remember to speak slowly, loudly and to pronounce every syllable crisply and cleanly. Most people tend to rush and slur their words when nervous, so you’ll want to take extra care to speak slowly and carefully, especially if you get particularly anxious when presenting in front of others. While public speaking can be tough for first-timers, giving a speech doesn’t have to be painful; and preparation can make all the difference.

To learn more about our law firm management tips and our advice for lawyers of all ages, contact Boss Reporting today for a free consultation.

Thinking of Switching Your Practice Area? Here’s What You Need to Know

Thinking of Switching Your Practice Area? Here’s What You Need to Know on bossreporting.com

Transitioning to a different practice area can be difficult, so it’s important to be prepared.

While some lawyers are happy with their jobs, unfortunately, many are not. Research shows that 23% of lawyers experience chronic stress– a concerning number, by any measure. While much of that stress might be chalked up to long work hours and the intensity of the legal profession itself, it may also partly be caused by the fact that attorneys might not be practicing the right kind of law for their skills and interests.

Different types of law require the use of vastly different skills. For example, corporate lawyers may need to be excellent at drawing up contracts and arranging boardroom deals behind closed doors, while patent lawyers may need to have a great understanding of science and technology to understand, interpret, and argue the reasoning behind awarding patents to new technologies and radical inventions.

Unfortunately, many attorneys don’t choose their practice area for the right reasons. Compared to most other professions, the legal field is incredibly competitive, so many attorneys choose their practice area based on convenience or necessity instead of actual desires, skill, and interests. Different people are naturally suited to different kinds of legal practices, and attorneys who choose a practice they aren’t well-suited for are shortchanging themselves, both personally and professionally.

Research and networking are essential steps to take before making a big change.

While making a change in practice area can be an appropriate choice, it’s often a serious challenge. That means that before making this big change, it’s important to research, prepare, and weigh your options. Changing practice areas can be especially challenging for older lawyers, those who lack prestigious academic credentials, and those trying to break into highly competitive legal fields, such as trial law. A lawyer’s ability to switch practice areas is also influenced by the underlying economic conditions in the industry, which collectively determine the demand, and therefore, the amount of available law positions in a certain practice area.

The law school internship process often leads to attorneys choosing their practice area without significant consideration.

In most careers, individuals usually specifically determine the exact field in which they want to work, and then directly apply to jobs or internships within that field. In the highly competitive legal profession, however, things often work much differently. All but the top students usually engage in a protracted search for jobs and internships during and directly after law school, often accepting the best job they can find during that time.

As young attorneys gain more experience in their specific practice area, others in the industry often begin to categorize them and build expectations of them as either litigation, corporate, or patent attorneys. Unfortunately, this ‘typecasting’ can make it more difficult for an attorney to switch practice areas after more than a few years in one type of practice.

Academic credentials, professional connections, and industry demand all contribute to a successful practice area change.

Most law firms in the country still heavily judge potential employees based on the merit of their academic credentials. Having prestigious academic credentials can make it much easier for lawyers to change practice areas. Having great credentials can also help older lawyers who wish to change practice areas after already being well-established in one area of the law. Having a strong professional network is also extremely important if you want to switch practice areas. Friends and associates can help you get interviews, may be able recommend you to potential hiring managers, and can provide specific advice about how to apply or interview at certain firms.

What difference does practice area make?

While every law firm is different, and no lawyer’s individual workload is exactly alike, here are a few generalizations about the skill set and demands of some of the most common practice areas in the legal profession:

  • Corporate: somewhat unpredictable workflow, may be good for those who like numbers, may fit individuals who are somewhat, but not overly extroverted
  • Litigation: more predictable workflow, may attract more charismatic and/or outgoing individuals
  • M&A: may also be more suited towards individuals who are extroverted, outgoing, confident, and assertive
  • Tax: lots of paperwork and financial calculations; may be better for introverts and number oriented types
  • IP: may also be good for introverts, requires considerable paperwork, so may be better for those who enjoy reading

Before attempting to switch practice areas by joining another firm, determine whether you can move horizontally within your firm first.

Considering the difficulty, time, and expense that it can take to switch jobs in the legal field, it may make sense for you to see whether it’s possible to move laterally in your firm before searching for an entirely new position. This may be an especially smart choice if you like your firm but want a change in the kind of work you are doing. Before asking for an internal transfer, you’ll want to make sure you already have a reputation as an effective attorney within the firm. If you can’t do your current work well, senior attorneys may not want to see you attempt to take on a new challenge at the firm’s expense.

While an internal transfer can lead to increased career satisfaction for some lawyers, some attorneys who think they want to change their practice area actually want to change firms. This may or may not involve switching practice areas. However, working with new people in a new environment (while keeping their practice area the same) may be enough to satisfy many people. Therefore, before making any big choices, it’s a good idea to consult with other friends or associates in the legal industry and do considerable research (and a little bit of soul searching), so you don’t make any choices you’ll regret later.

To learn more about our career advice for attorneys of all ages, as well as our state-of-the-art law practice management strategies, contact Boss Reporting today for a free consultation.

How to Design Your Office to Maximize Productivity

How to Design Your Office to Maximize Productivity on bossreporting.com

Studies show that workplace design has a huge impact on worker productivity, but many workers aren’t pleased with their workspaces

More evidence is beginning to show that the way a workspace is designed has a huge influence on a workforce’s ability to concentrate, collaborate, and perform– especially under high stress conditions. In fact, many studies indicate that the number one factor that determines how employees will perform is their physical environment. Despite the importance of workspaces, many employees aren’t too pleased with the offices in which they currently work.

Concerns like lack of worker privacy, lack of natural lighting, aging carpets and other factors are making it more difficult for workers to concentrate and feel comfortable. So, if you want to maximize your law firm’s bottom line, you may want to consider re-designing your firm’s office to better suit your workforce.

Current office spaces leave much to be desired, say many employees

Surveys show that 90% of workers are less than satisfied with their work environment, primarily because of a lack of privacy. Seventy percent of offices have an open layout, and this could be one of the biggest roadblocks to increased productivity among a company’s workers. Open-office plans may be great for inspiring collaboration, but they may not be the best for many employees. Even the most extroverted employees want a place they can go to concentrate quietly and have a private conversation if necessary. In addition, being exposed 24/7 may increase long term employee stress, especially in a high-pressure, high-stakes field like law, which often demands long hours and other challenging working conditions.

Decoration (or lack thereof), natural lighting, and temperature can have a significant impact on worker productivity

When designing or redesigning a law office, you should aim to create a positive and well decorated environment that inspires calm for employees and clients alike. For example, framed prints or canvases with tasteful inspirational quotes can be a pleasant decoration in many offices. In addition, if you’re choosing or renovating an office, it’s essential to keep in mind that natural light is essential for maximum productivity and health. There are many studies that show workers who experience a lack of sunshine, and therefore a lack of vitamin D, have disturbed circadian rhythms, and disturbed sleep patterns, which can often lead to drowsiness and chronic fatigue.

While tasteful decorations and adequate sunlight are important, they aren’t the only factors that can impact employee happiness and productivity. Studies show having a pleasing view is correlated with a 16% increase in work productivity and performance– so if you’re choosing between layouts or properties, you may want to go for the one with the better views. Seemingly little aspects like office temperature are and noise are also important in ensuring a comfortable work environment. Researchers say that the ideal office is temperature is around 69-71 degrees Fahrenheit, with colder temperatures increasing worker distraction and discomfort and warmer temperatures associated with sluggishness and sleepiness in many workers. In terms of noise, too much may also damage workplace productivity.

Removing environmental pollutants and investing in ergonomic technology can also serious impact employee performance

While it might not be the most obvious barrier to worker productivity, it’s extremely important to make sure that your office isn’t filled with environmental pollutants. The benefits to workers are obvious; for example, one study showed that when 20-year-old carpet was replaced with new carpet in an office, worker productivity went up 4%. in another office, a replacement of the office’s air filtration system resulted in a 10% decrease in the time it took to service calls. Other seemingly minor changes, like updating outdated technology, have also been correlated with a spike in worker productivity; one study discovered that offices using old CRT monitors had a 16% decrease in typing accuracy in comparison to individuals using new monitors.

Making sure your legal workspace is appealing for employees, managers, and clients isn’t complex, and most elements of a positive and uplifting workspace are obvious. Elements like natural light, cleanliness, modern technology, good views, and a decent amount of privacy aren’t new; but in the rush to cut costs and increase the bottom line, many firms attempt to cut office expenses first, and this could have serious effects on their workers’ productivity. To make sure your employees’ performance is helped, not hindered, by their environment, listen to your employees, take notes, and do research to make sure that you’re not making mistakes when it comes to developing an ergonomic, inspiring, and profitable law office.

To learn more about how to maximize your law firm’s work environment for success, contact Boss Reporting today for a free consultation.

Boss Reporting Sponsors FCRA Information Exchange

Boss Reporting Sponsors FCRA Information Exchange 2

Boss Reporting Proudly Sponsors the Florida Court Reporters Association Information Exchange.

Boss Reporting is honored to have sponsored the FCRA (Florida Court Reporters Association) Membership Information Exchange at the Tropical Acres Restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale on April 30, 2014. The Information Exchange is an event for attendees to network and hear about issues affecting the court reporting profession today such as e-filing of transcripts and possible certification of reporters.

The Florida Court Reporters Association is a non-profit corporation which aims at advancing and perfecting the science of shorthand verbatim reporting in all its facets, phases, and aspects. They hope to foster and maintain the honor and integrity of the court reporting profession, while actively serving the public and judicial system of the State of Florida.

Check out photos from the FCRA Membership Information Exchange below

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South Broward Bar Association’s 2014 Installation Dinner

South Broward Bar Association's 2014 Installation Dinner Boss Reporting 1

Boss Reporting Proudly Sponsors the SBBA 2014 Installation Dinner

Boss Reporting was a proud sponsor of the South Broward Bar Association’s 2014 Installation Dinner on March 14, 2014, an amazing event with Justice R. Fred Lewis as the keynote speaker. Congratulations to our friend Ken Hassett on all your hard work making the SBBA as successful as it is!

Check out all the photos from the South Broward Bar Association’s 2014 Installation Dinner

South Broward Bar Association's 2014 Installation Dinner Boss Reporting 2 South Broward Bar Association's 2014 Installation Dinner Boss Reporting South Broward Bar Association's 2014 Installation Dinner Boss Reporting 1 South Broward Bar Association's 2014 Installation Dinner Boss Reporting 3

About South Broward Bar Association:

The South Broward Bar Association (SBBA) is a voluntary bar association revived in January 2008, after a thirteen year hiatus, by Kenneth P. Hassett (Past-President, 2008-2010). They welcome attorneys, judges, paralegals, law students, and businesses affiliated with the legal profession to join their organization, and they have had numerous county, circuit, and appellate judges, along with several prominent members from the local legal community, as their monthly guest speakers. The SBBA’s mission is to further the common business interests of members by promoting interest in the practice of law within the state of Florida, seeking improvement to the administration of legal justice in Broward County, Florida, and providing a forum for members to discuss, review, and analyze legal trends, decisions, rulings, and other issues affecting the legal industry.

 

 

Boss Certified Realtime Reporting attended the 2011 Annual Meeting and Installation Dinner for Broward County Bar Association

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Boss Certified Realtime Reporting attended the Annual Gala on June 5th for the Broward County Hispanic Bar Association

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Boss Certified Realtime Reporting Founder Honored by Hispanic Unity of Florida

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At the 2011 Inaugural Entrepreneur Summit, held in Weston, Florida on Tuesday, May 10, 2011, Donna Kadosh was recognized and awarded for her entrepreneurial drive and contributions to the community through job creation.

Donna Kadosh and Jason Brian, both winners of the Entrepreneur Success Award, gather for photos before the awards presentation.

BOSS HOSTS OPEN HOUSE FOR BROWARD COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION MEMBERS

BOSS NOMINATED FOR SMALL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR

Boss Reporters Provide A Better Record

Boss Reporters Provide A Better Record

December 15, 2010

Donna also is concerned about a growing trend of law firms – many unknowingly — hiring individuals that call themselves court reporters yet are not trained as stenographic court reporters. Several court reporting agencies send in people to digitally record the proceedings. Those recordings are then sent to another group of people — often overseas — to transcribe the proceedings.

The Fort Myers online newspaper, Examiner.com, recently ran a piece about the changing face of court reporting. “A written record of an event lends itself well to later study, more so than audio or video,” states the article. “Then there is the fact that technology does go wrong sometimes.

A secret hearing related to the Oklahoma City bombing was recorded using audio, with no court reporter present. It was later found that the equipment was either not switched on properly or had malfunctioned, and the tape was blank. These kinds of incidents cannot be allowed to happen in a court. “

“All professional stenographic reporters require a stenographic machine, as that’s the backup,” explained Donna, who believes complaints are mounting in her industry. “Clients must start asking these critical questions: How are your reporters trained? Who handles the transcripts? What is the accuracy?”

“We are proud of the integrity of our organization and are determined to maintain our high-level of ethics,” she added.

The Boss Position on Ethics in Court Reporting

The Boss Position on Ethics in Court Reporting

December 15, 2010

There’s a trend in the court reporting industry that is causing increasing concern at Boss Certified Realtime Reporting. As the industry becomes more competitive, some firms are opting for attractive “incentive” packages and client rewards in exchange for business. Legal administrators are being wooed by tempting gifts, ranging from I-Pads to gift cards, even cash to charities. One has to wonder how these “incentives” are being accounted for under the highly regulated Sweepstakes Laws monitored by the FTC.

According to Donna Kadosh, founder of Boss Court Reporting, despite the attractiveness of these incentives to some legal administrators, her agency is being firm regarding its long-standing policy against such practices. They instead choose to adhere to the Florida Stenographic Court Reporters Rules of Ethics. “We know, based on our 15 years of experience, that our clients choose us based on the professionalism, reliability and value pricing of our services,” she said. “Plus most of our clients follow the Association of Legal Administrators Code of Professional Responsibility, which strictly prohibits accepting gifts that may sway a decision about a particular vendor.”

The ALA Code encourages its members, in its section, “Responsibilities to those Outside the Legal Organization” to “Refrain from soliciting or accepting any fee, commission, gift, gratuity, discount or loan on behalf of oneself, family or friends, that may influence business decisions.”

Stenography vs. Digital Recording: Do You Know the Risks?

Stenography vs. Digital Recording: Do You Know the Risks?

December 15, 2010

Law firms, city officials, companies, even private citizens who hire court reporters to record proceedings should be aware of the risks of hiring digital reporters versus trained stenographers. Many people – most often unknowingly – hire individuals who are not trained or experienced in the field of stenography.

So called “digital reporters” seem to represent a growing trend that is causing grave concern in the field of professional court reporting. They appear for meetings, hearings, trials and depositions armed with only a laptop to digitally record important proceedings. Much like a tape recorder, the digital reporter simply hits “record” on the laptop and can only hope the equipment is working properly. The digital file is then sent to a second party – often as far away as the Philippines – to transcribe.

In addition to taking business and jobs from the community, the practice of digital recording has numerous risks. For example, a properly trained stenographic reporter who hears a statement that is unclear will request both clarification of the statement as well as the speaker‘s identity. Someone who is simply operating a recording device is not trained to handle such situations and may not take the time to ask for statements to be repeated.

A stenographic court reporter also makes a hard copy record of the proceedings in addition to making a digital recording. The proceedings are simultaneously saved on internal memory and an external format. A professional court reporter also prints the proceedings out in stenographic format. This results in the proceedings being captured with three back-up methods.

Most importantly, “read backs” of requested portions of the record are available from paper or the realtime screen or digitally, providing a measure of safety found only with a realtime stenographically trained court reporter. With digital recordings, such read backs are dependent on the functionality of the audio recorder, as no stenographic notes are available as a reference.

Plus, when a third party transcriber is involved, especially one from a foreign country where English may not be the primary language, the risk of mistakes is higher. In these situations, any portion of the digital file that is not clear simply will be referred to as “inaudible” and/or omitted from the record. Substantial amounts of the record could be virtually eliminated from a single transcript.

Before hiring a court reporter, remember the importance of multiple and reliable backups, keeping jobs at home in the US and properly protecting important legal matters and proceedings.

RECORDING EXHIBITS: WHOSE JOB IS IT?

RECORDING EXHIBITS: WHOSE JOB IS IT?

March 8, 2011

Did you know that it is the court reporter’s responsibility to mark all exhibits, maintain custody and control of all exhibits and annex them to all deposition transcripts, as stated in Rule 1.310(f) of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure?

Attorneys have an obligation to make sure the reporter receives copies. Court Reporters have been trained not to leave a deposition without said exhibits, as they MUST be attached to all transcripts.

If you have any questions about this or any other procedure that you would like clarified, email us.
Chances are if you have a question, others might also.

THE DOWNFALL OF DIGITAL REPORTING

THE DOWNFALL OF DIGITAL REPORTING

March 8, 2011

Imagine this scenario. A reporter enters the room with slick digital equipment and flips a switch. You begin questioning opposing counsel’s client, but that attorney doesn’t like your question. Suddenly, a seemingly innocent cough makes the answer fuzzy on the recording.

Unfortunately, the digital reporter in the room doesn’t have the training and/or experience to ask for the answer to be repeated or to capture the words through stenography. The result is a useless record of critical interrogatories.

Simple coughs, the shuffling of papers or other distractions are just a few of the techniques being used to render modern recording equipment virtually useless. Tricks are even being used with video equipment and lighting to make the person look guilty or ill prepared.

Considering these and other similar situations before hiring court reporters may make the difference between receiving valuable records and experiencing extreme frustration. At Boss Certified Realtime Reporting, all of the court reporters are certified stenographers, either Florida Professional Reporters or Realtime Professional Reporters, who are skilled at making sure each word of an important proceeding is captured.

By stenographically recording the proceedings, Boss reporters produce an accurate record because they are experienced and trained to stop and ask for clarifications where needed. In addition, this process allows for accurate read backs of any portion of the proceeding at any time.