Comments & Support Board

Here are comments and support from lawyers and court reporters in 2015 and plans for 2016, and I would like to take this opportunity to share what our reporters do to help make a prosperous and successful on-site job go well for 2017.

Be Early

COMMENTS FROM A LAW OFFICE: “First and foremost, this is a chance to see how this Court Reporting Firm handles our depos for us. I wanted to point out an area of concern (due to a past experience with the court reporting service we had used on the last case) — please impress upon your staff that the court reporter MUST show up at least 30 minutes before the deposition. It is so daunting to have the parties and the deponent wait for the reporter. What if the reporter does not show up? What then?  — so embarrassing!  It does not make me or the court reporting service look good at all!

FROM A REPORTER:  "I leave a half hour, at least, earlier than I used to in order to compensate for the inevitable traffic jams that we all face. My drive then is much less stressful and less pressured, avoiding extra stress by being late. Get there early, set up, have a cup of coffee and relax. By being late there winds up being so much more to deal with than there has to be. The jobs can be stressful enough. Why add to it!! The whole day starts out on a better foot. I have time for a little breakfast, I don't have to rush getting dressed, and I don't resent the attorneys anymore, who are notoriously late. If they want to feel the stress, let them at it. It's amazing how it sets the tone for the day and somehow makes everything easier. And the people in our office certainly have much better things to do than to track us down, which I am sure tests their patience also. Hope everyone tries this and sees what a difference it makes on so many levels." From a Reporter: "Early is on time, on time is late, late is unacceptable."

Dress Professionally

COMMENTS FROM A REPORTER:  “I can't stress the importance of dressing professionally. Out here in Vegas, I went to a reporter meeting for another agency and the reporters were complaining of having to dress up in a suit. They said it was too hot to wear a suit in the summer months. I have heard California attorneys doing a depo out in Vegas complain that they prefer to have California reporters simply because they are more professional, in dress and mannerism. Just because it may be the accepted practice of the area for reporters to dress business casual, does not mean it is acceptable. The attorneys may not say it verbally, but how you dress has a big impact on the professional impression you project. I am pregnant and I bought maternity suits so that I could still be professional while on the job.

COMMENTS FROM A REPORTER:  “I always wear a suit, no matter what. I took a depo at a prestigious law firm last year. I arrived, sat down and waited for my client to arrive. She came in, and right behind her walked in another reporter for a different depo. That reporter was wearing a crocheted black open weave sweater, short skirt, fishnet stockings and stiletto heels. My client and I gave each other sidelong glances, she leaned over to me and said, ‘I'm glad you're my court reporter’.”

COMMENTS FROM A REPORTER:  “We will not be taken seriously if we do not dress seriously. Work, suits and professional attire, all the way. I take my job very seriously, and I want others to as well. I don't think it is possible to be considered serious about our job if we dress inappropriately.

COMMENTS FROM A REPORTER:  “I’m a bit concerned about attire that is being worn by some reporters, both officials and depo reporters. For instance, I’m at a large, conservative law firm in Oakland, CA reporting a deposition. Two other cases are going on with deposition reporters. Across the hall from me is a reporter who is wearing a tight sweater, low-cut jeans and a tattoo on her mid-back/hip area, which you can see every time she bends over to gather her equipment out of her case and even while she stands up, until she pulls her sweater down. This reflects on our profession as a whole.

COMMENTS FROM A REPORTER:  “Some reporters want to know why they are treated like secretaries and not professionals. This is it, if you don’t dress professionally, you won’t be treated like a professional. You are treated the way you appear.

COMMENTS FROM A REPORTER:  “Jeans are never okay for a reporter to wear to a depo, unless specifically instructed by the client because of the job location (ship, barn, cornfield, etc.)

COMMENTS FROM A REPORTER:  “We hear the cry, ‘Why is it that we are not respected by the attorneys when we are providing such a valuable service?’ Could this be one of the major reasons? I am quite sure of it. It is easy to look at how the lawyers dress. Dress similarly. You cannot go wrong. Maybe it needs to be taught in the schools.

Suggestions

To Make Yourself Stand out as a “Professional Reporter.”  Read below from my dear old friend. Excellent input from the best.

Do not expect a job to end at 5:00 so you can pick up your child. Everybody understands situations do arise where there is an emergency and such, but if you take a job, do not expect the attorneys to conform to your schedule. Ending at 5:00 is unreasonable. If you know ahead of time, take yourself off calendar.


Another situation, if you do not have the skills to troubleshoot LiveNote then either get the skills, fix your equipment, or don't offer it. Just bringing your extra laptop is not the answer. It's a great backup plan. However, the attorney loses all his functionality of LiveNote when he has to use the software you are skilled at hooking up to. This is a service they are paying for, so provide it properly.

Take the time to clean up your rough ASCII's. Again, take pride in your work! I am always thankful when I follow a reporter who has provided excellent service and that the service didn't end when she left the job. I was assigned to a job and the night before when I pulled up the job information, I noticed it was an ongoing case. So I e-mailed the previous reporter for a caption, appearance page, word list, and any stipulation that was entered into.

In one particular case, the prior reporter got back to me with that information along with an ASCII, so I was able to enter the words into my dictionary (it was LiveNote)and not take up extra time with spellings she had already gotten. AND when the attorneys forgot what they had previous stipulated to, I was armed with that information. Now that is good service. The other reporter took the time to provide me with this information so, in turn, I was able to be fully prepared. That was excellent teamwork, and the attorneys noticed and were VERY impressed."

Input from one of our best Las Vegas reporters

By the way, with this economy, you can pick up a professional looking suit for practically nothing. And one of our staff was wearing a fabulous suit, and she said she got it at Target!

I can't stress the importance of dressing professionally.  Out here in Vegas, I went to a reporter meeting for another agency and the reporters were complaining of having to dress up in a suit.  They said it was too hot to wear a suit in the summer months.  I have heard California attorneys doing a depo out in Vegas complain that they prefer to have California reporters simply because they are more professional, in dress and mannerism. Just because it may be the accepted practice of the area for reporters to dress business casual, does not mean it is acceptable.  The attorneys may not say it verbally, but how you dress has a big impact on the professional impression you project.  I am pregnant and I bought maternity suits so that I could still be professional while on the job.

Another thing I like to do for our clients is if there are multiple volumes, I make copies of any exhibits and bring them with me each day so that I have them handy should they need to reference them.  I've had that happen where the attorney will say, "Oh, that was attached to yesterday's depo.  You wouldn't happen to have them with you still, would you?" And they are happy when I say that I made copies just in case they needed them for reference.  A very small thing, but it does go a long way.

Laptop and a suit... two vital requirements for a professional reporter. Read on.

I actually found this bit of advice shocking.  It's more disturbing than helpful.  Is there a reporter that works that doesn't automatically bring a laptop with them to every job, especially being assigned to a two-day job!  How are they going to provide a rough if they don't edit as the day progresses?  How are they going to hook up Livenote, if requested?

I was at a job a few months ago which ended early, but a second depo was going to pick up for the opposing counsel in the afternoon.  I offered to stay if he needed a court reporter.  He said in a nasty way that he had his OWN court reporter.  But we realized that she was running LATE, so I stayed just in case.  In walked the late reporter, NOT dressed in a suit, with a tiny little suitcase.  She thanked me for waiting.  I asked her how she managed to fit all of her equipment in that small little bag.  She said that she doesn't bring a laptop, it's too much to carry, and it's just too much trouble. The attorney that hired her looked as horrified as I did.  This reporter was not a professional reporter that day; I hope this is not the type of reporter that will ever be representing us!

Bring your laptop on every job.  I was on a 2-day job a couple of weeks ago and the second day the attorney asked if his client could read an excerpt from the prior day's deposition. After I found the testimony he was looking for, the attorney was so grateful, he must have thanked me three times.  It also sets the tone for the day when you strike up a conversation with the attorneys, even if it's small talk."

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