Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters - Court Reporting, Legal Videos, and Videoconferencing

For everything you need to know on court reporting, legal video, and videoconferencing.

Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters Sponsors Nebraska Defense Counsel Association's Annual Meeting in Lincoln, Nebraska

On June 3, 2016, Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters was one of six Exhibitors at this year's Nebraska Defense Counsel Association's Annual Meeting in Lincoln, Nebraska.  As an exhibitor, Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters was able to show off its newest court reporting and litigation support technology, like trial presentation services and live video and text streaming.  With over ____ attorneys present, it was a great way to discuss the newest trends in court reporting and litigation support services.  Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters is proud to sponsor the Nebraska Defense Counsel Association and is already looking forward to next year’s Annual Meeting.

 

Nebraska Defense Counsel Annual Meeting

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Look to Thomas & Thomas for Realtime Text and Video Streaming

Look to Thomas & Thomas for Realtime Text and Video Streaming

Often times attorneys need to depose witnesses in various locations across the country.  Sometimes that can require additional attorneys and/or support staff members to have to travel to those various locations, which can cause the client to incur additional costs compared to a traditional, local deposition.  With the advent of realtime text and video streaming, attorneys and support staff individuals can now attend any deposition remotely.  By using various platforms, such as LiveDeposition, individuals are able to view the transcript in realtime, see and hear the deponent as he or she testifies, and communicate with their team via a private chat.  Realtime text and video streaming also gives clients the ability to attend depositions remotely in the event they want to watch the deposition, but are unwilling or unable to travel.  In addition to realtime text and video streaming, the basic function of realtime allows attorneys read the questions and answers as they happen, search the transcript for a specific word or phrase, and highlight important text for future reference.  

 

The above picture is a deposition Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters recently provided realtime text and video streaming for.  This stream was provided to various law firms, clients, and experts across the country.  As a result, numerous individuals did not have to travel to attend the deposition, reducing time, money, and effort spent by all parties.  Be sure to think of Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters the next time you need realtime text and video streaming.

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Best Court Reporting Gadget/Tool - Adobe Acrobat

Best Court Reporting Gadget/Tool - Adobe Acrobat

In honor of National Court Reporting & Captioning week, Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters is acknowledging one of its favorite court reporting gadgets/tools - Adobe Acrobat.  From converting emails to PDFs, to bate stamping documents, to editing forms and pages, Adobe Acrobat makes office life so much easier.  We use it for emails, transcripts, forms, exhibits, and trial presentation services on a daily basis.

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2015 National Court Reporting & Captioning Week kicks Off Feb. 15

2015 National Court Reporting & Captioning Week kicks Off Feb. 15

TheTakeNote campaign, launched by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), the country’s leading organization representing stenographic court reporters, broadcast and CART captioners, and legal videographers, will serve as a main theme during the 2015 National Court Reporting & Captioning Week, which will run Feb. 15-21. This year’s event marks the third year NCRA has sponsored the celebration designed to help increase the public’s awareness about the growing number of employment opportunities the profession offers.

 

NCRA’s Take Note campaign launched in September 2014 and is based on the findings of an industry-wide outlook report conducted by the independent research firm Ducker Worldwide. The study determined that over the next five years, some 5,500 jobs in the court reporting and captioning profession are expected to become available.

 

Court reporters, captioners, CART providers, and court reporting schools around the country will participate in the week-long event by hosting an array of activities such as visits to high schools to showcase the profession, open houses, Veterans History Project interviews, media outreach, and more.

 

NCRA has made a wide range of resources available to its members, court reporting schools, and others at both crTakeNote.com and NCRA.org. Resources include tips on presenting the benefits of the profession to potential new students, press release templates, social media-appropriate logos and banners, and ideas for hosting special activities. NCRA will also support an official legislative recognition of National Court Reporting & Captioning Week and rely on its social media outlets including Facebook, Twitter, and blogs to reach thousands of people throughout the week.

 

“National Court Reporting & Captioning Week is an opportunity for our profession to celebrate the valuable contribution this vocation provides to ensure vital records are captured and maintained,” said NCRA President Sarah Nageotte, RDR, CRR, CBC, an official court reporter from Jefferson, Ohio.

 

“The areas where we work are vast and range from serving as official court reporters to freelance reporters who work strictly taking depositions or recording the proceedings of a variety of meetings and such, while broadcast and CART captioners do wonderful work to help better the lives for millions of Americans who are deaf and hard of hearing by providing captioning in real time for live sporting and theater events, church services, movie houses, and many other venues.”

 

Nageotte will help kick off the week with a presentation to members of the Hawaii Court Reporters and Captioners Association during a luncheon being held Feb. 14 that will cover the findings of the industry outlook conducted by Ducker Worldwide. Nageotte will also discuss the TakeNote campaign and share tips on how best to highlight the professional outlook to high school students. Representatives from Hawaii’s statewide student news network will also be in attendance and will generate a news segment to share with middle and high schools.

 

“I’m very excited about this opportunity to help increase awareness about the court reporting and captioning profession and will ask everyone attending to commit to contacting at least one person within their network and educate them about the opportunities this career path offers,” said Nageotte. “In fact, I’m urging everyone in the court reporting and captioning profession to do the same throughout National Court Reporting & Captioning Week.”

 

For more information, visit NCRA.org. Career information about the court reporting profession—one of the leading career options that do not require a traditional four-year degree—can be found at crTakeNote.com.

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Court Reporting - "This Job Makes Six Figures, with No College Degree"

Court Reporting - "This Job Makes Six Figures, with No College Degree"

Excerpt:

 

"'There is going to be a demand, and a need, for at least 5,500 new positions over the next three to five coming years,' said Sarah Nageotte, president of the National Court Reporters Association. Fifteen percent of the industry is poised to retire. Nageotte said a lot of people are not even aware the career still exists. 

 

Court reporting not only exists, it's expanding.

 

Most new reporting jobs are outside the courtroom, doing depositions or closed captioning. There is a new federal initiative to provide captioning services to hearing-impaired students. The pay for those jobs can range from $35 an hour up into six figures. One current opening for a court reporter in San Francisco starts above $100,000, plus benefits."

 

Read Full Article »

 

Article by Jane Wells of CNBC

 

 

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Court Reporting Technology: From Cicero to the iPad (7 of 7)

Court Reporting Technology: From Cicero to the iPad (7 of 7)

Hyperlinked Exhibits

 

hyperlinked-exhibits

 

            Navigating between the transcript and corresponding exhibits can be a waste of time.  With hyperlinked exhibits, attorneys are able to go directly to the desired exhibit without the headache of locating it at the end of the transcript or in a separate volume all together.  In a hyperlinked transcript, if an exhibit is referred to (ex. "Exhibit 1"), every time that exhibit is referenced in the transcript, an attorney can click on the word ("Exhibit 1") and view that exhibit.  Not only does this additional function save time while reviewing a transcript, but it also provides the attorney with an easy and effective way of showing the transcript and exhibits at trial.  Hyperlinked services vary from court reporter to court reporter, so be sure to ask your court reporter or court reporting firm what options and outputs they have to offer.

 

Online Repositories, Invoicing, and Scheduling

           

 online-calendar

 

transcript-repository

 

            Today, just about everything is paperless and can be accessed online, so why aren't your court reporting services?  Well, they actually can be.  Things like online repositories and online calendaring allow attorneys and their support staffs to have complete control of their court reporting services with only the click of a mouse.  With online repositories, attorneys are notified via email when their transcripts or videotaped depositions are ready for viewing, giving them instant and remote access to these important case materials.  Online repositories also give other attorneys in your office or experts working on the case the ability to access case materials at any time.  Online calendaring provides attorneys and support staff with the opportunity to conveniently change deposition dates and times, increasing productivity and reducing wasted time.  Electronic invoicing decreases paper usage and eliminate misplaced invoices.  Some court reporters and court reporting firms provide online access to those invoices, a convenient resource when trying to determine expenses when settling a case.  Contact your court reporter or court reporting firm to find out how your law practice can go green and save time and money while doing it.

 

Conclusion

 

            A lot has changed since Marcus Tullius Tiro started taking dictations for Cicero in 63 B.C.  Court reporters now instantly stream the text of your deposition to attorneys or experts anywhere in the world.  They arrange for attorneys to depose witnesses and experts on the other side of the country.  Just as lawyers have taken advantage of technological advances, so has the court reporting profession.  The days of providing a plain, basic transcript are over.  Although there is no telling how technology will advance over the next 2,000 years, attorneys can rest assured that the court reporting profession will continue to be there assisting, innovating, and making your life easier long into the future.

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Court Reporting Technology: From Cicero to the iPad (6 of 7)

Court Reporting Technology: From Cicero to the iPad (6 of 7)

Electronic Transcripts

  

Have you ever asked your court reporter for an "E-Transcript," expecting an electronic version of the transcript, but were confused and frustrated when you received it and were unable to open it?  If so, then you are not alone. That is because an E-Transcript is just the newest (and very confusing) example of a genericized trademark.

 

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Just as Rollerblade, Xerox, and Kleenex became the genericized names for their industries, E-Transcripts have become the genericized name for electronic transcripts in the legal industry.  In the early 2000s, Thompson Reuters, the creators of WestLaw, LiveNote, and Case Notebook, created a proprietary software, Westlaw Case Notebook Portable E-Transcript or E-Transcript, that allowed attorneys to view and manage their transcripts on their computers.  It also allowed them to integrate their transcripts with other Thompson Reuters programs, such as Case Notebook.  

 

As you can infer, to view your E-Transcript, you need to download E-Transcript's free viewing software.  This is where the trouble begins.  Sometimes attorneys may not have access rights to install programs on their computers.  Sometimes they may not have internet access to download programs.  As a result, although it may be a fabulous tool, requesting an E-Transcript may not always be the best choice.

 

So what should you do if you do not want/need an E-Transcript?  Although it may depend on your court reporter, most court reporters should be able to provide you with a PDF version of your transcript that is word-searchable and not in an E-Transcript format.  They may also be able to provide you with a Microsoft Word version as well.

  

Benefits of PDF transcripts include:

  • Word-searchable
  • Hyper-linked indexes that take you directly to any word or exhibit
  • No downloads required
  • Works on almost any computer
  • Easily shared with other attorneys in your office and/or experts

 

Understanding what an E-Transcript is and when an attorney might require one will reduce confusion for all parties.  Often times a PDF version of the transcript will suffice or even work better than an E-Transcript.  When ordering your next transcript, discuss with your court reporter what electronic options they can provide.

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Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters Helps Videotape First Annual Veterans History Project

On November 7, 2014, John Thomas, CLVS, of Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters and Certified Legal Video, LLC partook in the first annual Veterans History Project at Des Moines Area Community College's ("DMACC") Newton Campus in Des Moines, Iowa.  He was one of 17 videographers and 16 court reporters who helped record the stories of 16 veterans, which will be archived at the Library of Congress, the Iowa Gold Star Museum, and in the DMACC Library collection.  Mr. Thomas had the great pleasure of recording the interview of veteran Wayne Shireman.  Mr. Shireman talked about his time in Korea and his life after serving his country.  Thanks to Mr. Thomas and the other individuals involved, we will forever know and remember the contributions these veterans made to the freedoms we enjoy today.

 

 

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Court Reporting Technology: From Cicero to the iPad (4 of 7)

Court Reporting Technology: From Cicero to the iPad (4 of 7)

Videotaped Depositions

 

Although videotaped depositions have been around for awhile, it is important to remember the tactical advantage they can provide an attorney in a case.   Advances in technology have only increased picture and sound quality, providing an even more powerful tool for trials and arbitrations.  Even the science shows videotaped depositions and other visual aids are more influential than just spoken words:

 

Video Camera

 

  • People forget about 2/3 of what they hear (The Wechsler Memory Scale - 1946).
  • "Trial attorneys unknowingly present arguments and issues that exceed jurors' capacity to understand . . . being confused or feeling intellectually inferior is psychologically uncomfortable, and jurors may respond with resentment and antagonism toward the presenting attorney."  Presenting information visually simplifies and reinforces your point (Enhancing Juror Comprehension and Memory Retention - 1989).
  • Those exposed to graphics are more persuaded to act than those who are not (The Persuasive Effect of Graphics in Computer-Mediated Communication - 1991).
  • Practicing attorneys and non-lawyers prefer to learn and communicate differently.  A majority of non-lawyers prefer visual communications.  A majority of attorneys prefer non-visual communications.  Thus, litigators should bridge the communication divide by using visual courtroom presentations (A2L's Communication Style Study - 2003).
  • Visual aids in courtroom presentations enhance juror attention and improve recall of key events (Visual Evidence - 2010).
  • An immersive use of graphics during courtroom presentations (as opposed to far and few between) yield the best result (Broda-Bahm Study - 2011).

 

Benefits of videotaped depositions include:

 

  • Expert Witnesses -  The cost of deposing an expert and then having that expert testify at trial can be cost prohibitive.  By videotaping your expert's deposition, you can simply play it back at trial for the jury and/or judge without incurring the cost of having the expert testify again.
  • Preservation - Witnesses are sometimes elderly, ill, or illusive, and may not be available for trial.  By videotaping their deposition, you ensure a visual representation of that witness's testimony for trial.
  • Visual Presentation -  Videotaping a witness's deposition also provides a visual representation of what the witness's demeanor and non-verbal cues were at a deposition.  When witnesses are aggressive or abrasive during a deposition, videotaping can get the witness to cooperate and answer your questions more freely.  If they do not, you are able to show that demeanor in court.
  • Day-In-The-Life Videos -  Visually capturing the physical nature of how your client was affected by the event in question can prove instrumental in obtaining a favorable verdict or settlement.  By laying out the background and facts, you are able to paint a picture in the light most favorable for your client.

 

Videotaped depositions provide an impactful and compelling story when presented at trial.  Not only do they keep the judge and jury focused on the case at hand, but they also increase the recall of the key events  that attorney wants them to remember.  Videotaped depositions also save attorneys and their clients money by not having to rehire an expert to come and testify at trial.

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Court Reporting Technology: From Cicero to the iPad (1 of 7)

Court Reporting Technology:  From Cicero to the iPad (1 of 7)

            The concept of court reporting is thousands of years old, and can be traced back to 63 B.C., when Marcus Tullius Tiro, a slave, was given the task of taking dictation for Cicero.  In an effort to keep up with Cicero, Marcus Tullius Tiro developed a system of symbols and abbreviations (i.e. shorthand).  He also omitted short or common words that he could add later by memory or context.  Over time, Marcus Tullius Tiro expanded his shorthand system to include over 4,000 signs, including the familiar ampersand ("&"), which is still widely used today.

 

In 1877, Miles Bartholomew invented the first successful shorthand writer, which consisted of ten keys that could be depressed, one at a time or in combination, to create a series of dots and dashes, much like Morse code.  In 1964, IBM and the court reporting industry partnered to developed the first computer aided transcription ("CAT") system.  This system produced electrical impulses at the stroke of each lever with an incremental magnetic tape to record and produce a digital recording simultaneously with the written notes on the standard paper tape.  Since then, the court reporting industry has seen additional changes, such as the introduction of realtime (1992) and paperless shorthand writers (2001).

 

Throughout the years, technology has revolutionized the way court reporters keep the official record.  Technology has also revolutionized the services court reporters provide to attorneys and judges.  From realtime to videoconferencing, court reporters can now offer a wide range of cutting-edge services that enhance the legal experience.  Below are several services that can save attorneys time, money, and effort, or even help them win their next big case.

 

Realtime

 

Untitled

 

            "Realtime" is the term for transcription by court reporters using real-time technologies to deliver text to a device (i.e. screen, laptop, iPad) within seconds of the words being spoken.  Think of realtime as closed captioning for attorneys.  At a deposition, realtime allows attorneys to view the deponent's responses in written words so that they can focus their time on pinpointing their questions, rather than trying to remember what the deponent said.  Realtime also allows attorneys to take notes directly in the text and highlight portions for future reference. 

 

            Benefits of realtime include:

  • Read, hear, and see questions and answers as they happen
  • Quickly create and modify annotations right on the transcript
  • Highlight important text for future reference
  • Scrolling text that you can start and stop at will for pinpoint questioning
  • Easily search the transcript for specific words or phrases

 

An additional benefit of realtime is the ability to stream the deposition testimony to another location.  Text streaming allows attorneys to monitor or participate in a “live” deposition using a computer or mobile device from a remote site.  Any attorney can participate in the deposition process no matter where he or she is physically located, again saving time, money, and energy.  In large cases, it may be difficult to  coordinate all of the participating attorneys’ schedules.  However, if the deposition is in realtime, attorneys can participate remotely, negating the need to coordinate travel schedules, as well as avoiding the costs and delays thereof. 

 

Having the ability to send a realtime feed of every word that is said at a deposition or trial is the ultimate tool.  However, it should be noted that not all court reporters can provide realtime.  Being able to provide realtime requires experience testing, and ultimately, a designation of Certified Realtime Reporter ("CRR").  Make sure to ask your court reporter or court reporting firm for a Certified Realtime Reporter when scheduling your realtime depositions.

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