Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters - Court Reporters, Remote Depositions, Trial Presentation Services

For everything you need to know on court reporters, remote depositions, and trial presentation services.

Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters Provides Trial Presentation Services at ITC

SERVICES:  Trial Presentation Services, Trial Technician, and PowerPoint Creation


CASE TYPE:  Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, Unfair Competition

COURT:  United States International Trade Commission, Washington, DC (ITC)

LOCATION:  Washington, DC

JUDGE:  Administrative Law Judge MaryJoan McNamara

LAW FIRMS:  Kramer Levin (Plaintiff) and Reed Smith (Defendant)

OVERVIEW:  Provided trial technician to display exhibits and PowerPoints at the trial.  Worked with expert witnesses and client to fine-tune PowerPoint slides.  Used OnCue to create callouts and highlights of exhibits for use in PowerPoint.

UNIQUE ASPECT OF TRIAL:  We were the first or second trial in the newly-renovated Courtroom A, which has been outfitted with over 20 monitors and a large projector screen.  Everything is updated and made for an enjoyable presentation.  We were also the first or second in-person trial post COVID.  As such, the parties and the ITC staff had to adjust to being back in the ITC.

ITC trials are timed.  Here, each side only had a couple of days to put on their entire case, which is very difficult for a complex patent case.  Furthermore, the time was also divided up between the ITC staff, which gets to put on evidence as well.  The combination of three parties made for a very busy trial. 

RESULT:  ITC proceedings are bench trials, and the Judge has not issued her findings yet.  This blog will be updated upon her findings being issued.

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Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters Provides Professional A/V and Videography Services for NDCA's Annual Meeting

Last month, Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters had the privilege of participating in the 2023 Nebraska Defense Counsel Association’s (“NDCA”) Annual Meeting and Seminar.  This year, it was held at the Farnam, 1299 Farnam Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68102.  In exchange for a sponsorship, Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters provided professional A/V and videography services, including a video recording, PowerPoint display, and live streaming.  The event consisted of seven presentations spanning the entire day.

The evening prior, Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters also attended the pre-event dinner at Dynamite Woodife Grill where we were able to socialize with current and past members of the NDCA.

Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters looks forward to our continued relationship with the NDCA and next year’s Annual Meeting.

Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters has led the way in court reporting and litigation support technology for over 40 years, and we welcome the opportunity to assist you with any need you may have.  If you would like to learn more about our professional A/V and videographer services, please do not hesitate to contact us.  We would love to show you the multitude of services we have to offer.  We look forward to making your life easier.








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Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters Provides Trial Services in Community Theater

Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters Provides Trial Services in Community Theater

SERVICES:  Trial Presentation Services, Trial Technician, A/V Equipment Rental, and PowerPoint Creation

CASE CAPTION:  Estate of Matthew P. Perkins, By and Through Its Administrator, David Perkins, and David  Perkins and Wilma A. Perkins, Individually vs. Sheryl R. Stalzer and Richard Stalzer; LACI10621

CASE TYPE:  Wrongful Death

COURT:  Iowa District Court for Marshall County

JUDGE:  Judge James C. Ellefson

LAW FIRMS:  Fredd J. Haas Law Offices, PC (Plaintiffs) and UNKNOWN (Defendants)

OVERVIEW:  Providing trial technician to display exhibits, PowerPoints, and video depositions at trial.  Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters was also responsible for the A/V equipment and ensuring all the A/V equipment was setup correctly.

UNIQUE ASPECT OF TRIAL:  The unique aspect of this trial was the fact that it was held at the community theaters (The Orpheum) instead of the courthouse, as the courthouse was partially destroyed after a tornado came through Marshalltown on July 19, 2018 and was not quite ready to hold trials at the time. 

Because the trial was not held in a traditional courtroom, additional A/V equipment was needed to ensure a clear and visible presentation was possible.  Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters utilized a 100” projector screen as the main display and then split the signal to the TV that was already in the space so that the room would have a secondary screen for alternate viewing.  A separate trial tech table was also utilized due to limited space and the room’s configuration. 

As with lots of spaces, line of sight was of particular concern here.  We had to place the projector screen off to the side, but at enough of an angle so that everyone could see it.  The secondar monitor was then positioned on the opposite side so that those closest to it didn’t have to look all the way across the room, if so desired.  Here, we were able to utilize the TV’s speakers for audio playback instead of the projector’s internal speakers or brining in a standalone speaker.                       

RESULT:  $6,000,000 settlement several hours after the jury left to deliberate.


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Future of Court Reporting Discussed at Town Hall Meeting

In September, the Omaha Bar Association hosted a town hall meeting with members of the local legal community to discus the futrue of court reporting in Nebraska.  As a part of that town hall meeting, Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters was asked to sit on the panel to provide insight into the matter.  Below are photos from the meeting, as well as an article by David Golbitz from The Daily Record about what transpired at the meeting.  Thank you to the OBA for including Thomas & Thomas in the town hall meeting.  We truly appreciate being a part of the discussion.






Future of Court Reporting in Nebraska Up in the Air

By David Golbitz

The Daily Record

The Omaha Bar Association hosted a town hall meeting with members of the local legal community to discuss the future of court reporting in Nebraska.

A contentious issue, the hour-and-a-half long meeting—moderated by Omaha attorney Stu Dornan — raised a number of questions but provided few answers.

At the heart of the discussion was the fact that Nebraska has a shortage of trained, qualified court reporters, leaving many courtrooms to rely on potentially inaccurate transcriptions made from digital recordings of the testimony.

“(Accurate records are) the lifeblood of what we do,” Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Funke said. “We can't have a justice system without the record. It's important for the litigants, important for the attorneys, important for the trial judge and it's extremely important for me in my job now as an appellate judge. All I do is read the record.”

Most of the lawyers and judges who spoke at the town hall agreed that having a court reporter in the courtroom is the absolute best way to ensure an accurate record.

“If I had my druthers, I would say every courtroom should have a stenographic court reporter,” Funke said. “Is that financially feasible? No. Is that feasible with the shortage that we’re experiencing? No. So what do we do?”

One of the reasons for the court reporter shortage is that Nebraska doesn’t offer a competitive salary. Some court reporters previously employed in Nebraska are leaving for higher wages — by one count, there are currently nine court reporters working in Iowa who used to work in Douglas County.

Funke said that a pay study is currently underway to determine how much Nebraska should be paying its court reporters, but the study won’t be ready until the end of the year.

More competitive pay doesn’t, on its own, mean that there will be enough qualified workers to serve as court reporters, though. Many employers are struggling to draw in the talent they need, and the shortage of court reporters is national — there just aren’t enough workers for all vacancies.

Douglas County Public Defender Tom Riley wants the state to do whatever it has to do to ensure every courtroom has a court reporter.

“Cheaper isn’t necessarily better in this context,” Riley said. “I can think of any number of instances where I’m so glad that there was a court reporter that was involved, a human being, a steno, that knows what they’re doing and can keep track of the record both with regard to the physical evidence and the testimony.”

Riley added: “As far as I’m concerned we should do everything we can to keep live steno court reporters in the courtroom as often as we can. And whatever changes we need to do, keep them here.”

The problem with not having a dedicated court reporter in the courtroom is that something might be missed by someone who is just listening to an audio recording.

“I think of all the sidebars we have where you might be talking over me, the court reporter will say, ‘one at a time’ or ‘slow down’ or ‘you’re too quiet,’” Chief Deputy Douglas County Attorney Brenda Beadle said.

Court reporters are able to actively listen to what’s being said.

“If there’s not a way to discern between what’s not important and what is actually important, that is a concern,” Interim Omaha City Attorney Matt Kuhse said.

The potential that a key part of testimony might be missed is significantly higher without a court reporter working in real time in the courtroom.

During her presentation, Sarpy County court reporter Stefanie Allison presented a transcript that had been made from a digital recording that had “261 untranslates, indecipherables, indiscernibles and unidentified speakers.”

“This is an appeal,” Allison said. “This is somebody’s life here, and this record is not accurate. You can’t make a ruling on this.”

Douglas County Court Judge Thomas K. Harmon said that he has had to change the way he presides over his courtroom when he doesn’t have a court reporter.

“One of the things that I try to do on the bench is to be very clear in the questions that I’m asking, hoping that I’ll have an audible record that will in fact, if an appeal comes about, that you do have those facts available and that there is a record made,” Harmon said. “I’m very anal about making sure everyone identifies themselves, making sure that the names are spelled correctly.”

Kuhse said that judges shouldn’t have to split their attention between listening to testimony in the moment and wondering whether the audio recording is going to be clear enough on a later review.

“I do not like recording systems in county court,” Kuhse said. “It places too much burden on the judges to have to get the exhibits, mark the exhibits, keep track of the exhibits, when their attention should be on the evidence and testimony.”

The town hall meeting ended without a clear idea of how to ensure an accurate record is kept for every case if there is not a court reporter in every courtroom.

Most attendees believe there will have to be some sort of hybrid system between having inperson stenographers and using digital recording technology, but no one knows what it will look like.

“Part of solving that problem is to incorporate digital recording into District Court and do it in a way that supports stenos,” District Court Judge Shelly Stratman said. “How is (digital) going to incorporate with our stenos? And how are we going to make sure that we have the software, the equipment, and everything we need to make sure that every attorney and every litigant is getting an accurate record?”

Until that hybrid system is figured out, there will still be only one surefire way to ensure that the court record is accurate.

“I will tell you right here and now the reality is that if you do not have a stenographer in that courtroom you cannot guarantee that that record is accurate,” Allison said. “You cannot. Period.”

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Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters Provides Trial Presentation Services for Unique Patent Trial

Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters Provides Trial Presentation Services for Unique Patent Trial

SERVICES:  Trial Presentation Services, Trial Technician, A/V Equipment Rental, and PowerPoint Creation

CASE CAPTION:  NexStep, Inc. v. Comcast Cable Communications, LLC; 1:19-CV-01031

CASE TYPE:  Patent Infringement

COURT:  United States District Court for the District of Delaware

JUDGE:  Judge Richard G. Andrews

LAW FIRMS:  Kramer Levin (NextStep) and WilmerHale (Comcast)

OVERVIEW:  Providing trial technician to display exhibits, PowerPoints, and video depositions at trial.  Thomas & Thomas was also responsible for some of the A/V equipment and ensuring all the A/V equipment was setup correctly.

UNIQUE ASPECT OF TRIAL:  There were two unique aspects to this trial.  The first was that the Judge did not allow our team to put on a damages case.  Thus, our entire presentation was devoted to infringement and validity.  The other unique aspect of the trial was the courtroom was not completely wired like federal courtrooms normally are.  Here, we had to bring in a projector and connect it in such a way that both sides could black out the signal when displaying evidence that had not been admitted.  This is especially important in patent litigation, as there are voluminous amounts of exhibits and using physical copies to admit evidence would be burdensome and time consuming.  Normally, the courtroom is wired in a way that the Court controls what is shown to the jury and is not a responsibility of the parties.          

RESULT:  Infringement.  The jury issued a verdict finding Comcast’s Xfinity brand app indirectly infringed NexStep’s patent for a way of turning a remote control into a customer service “concierge device,” but cleared Comcast of claims of infringing a related patent.

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Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters Provides Transcription Services for 2021 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder Meeting

On May 1st, 2021, Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters and our team of amazing writers were fortunate enough to again provided court reporting and realtime services for Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger at the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder Meeting.  This was the 11th consecutive year that Thomas & Thomas has been asked to report for this annual Omaha and world event. 

This year, however, with the COVID-19 pandemic still looming, the meeting was moved from Omaha to Los Angeles, which made for a fun and memorable experience that included travel and a new venue.  For over 4 ½ hours, Mr. Buffett, Mr. Munger and others answered questions on everything from the future of Berkshire Hathaway, to bitcoin, to SPACs. 

In addition to providing the official record of the 2021 meeting, this was the 3rd year that Thomas & Thomas was asked to provide Mr. Buffett and Mr. Munger personally with a direct realtime feed of the questions as they were being asked to better assist them in their ability to respond.  And respond the did!  They were amazing and never missed a beat; and, as you might expect, a pleasure to work for.

Congratulations to our tremendously talented court reporters (Brie, Mary Lou and Cheryl) and the entire Birkshire Hathaway team for a job well done.  We look forward to seeing you again next year.


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2021 Berkshire 1

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Court Reporting, Legal Videography, and Trial Presentation Services Tips, Tricks, and Tidbits from Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters: Focus Groups


Welcome to court reporting, legal videography, and trial presentation services tips, tricks and tidbits from Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters.  Each month, we will be providing some insight or thought on a particular litigation support service.  Hopefully, you find these posts and videos informative and come back each month for additional content!


This week we will be discussing focus groups.  Below are several tips, tricks, and tidbits we have learned over the years by conducting our own focus groups.  In the event you have questions or want to learn more, please reach out to our office.  We would be happy to talk with you. 


Focus groups can be conducted in many different ways.  From deciding whether a case is worth taking, all the way to a mock trial, focus groups can be beneficial to your case regardless of where you are at in it.  Below are just a few examples of why you might want to conduct a focus group:


  • Case development:
    • Know whether a case is worth taking
    • Develop facts
    • Determine which expert you are going to need to hire
    • Prepare information for a deposition or mediation
  • Mock trial
    • Prospective jury’s perception of your client or witness
    • Practice voir dire, openings and closings
    • Gain insight into the deliberation process


In my experience, though, you should try and stay away from using focus groups to determine a dollar amount for your case. 


One of the most important things to remember when conducting a focus group is to remain neutral, both in presentation and in setup.  Here at Thomas & Thomas, we offer a neutral, third-party location so the participants do not know who is conducting the focus group.  If you conduct it at law firm, they may come into the focus group with a preconceived notion of who you are and what you are trying to accomplish.  We also issue the checks to the participants so that everything comes from our office and not a law firm.  If our clients desire, we will also present the facts of your case.  This ensures that your biasness does not interject itself into the presentation of the materials. 


Other important things to consider are making sure you have a true representation of your eventual jury and having the participants signs confidentiality agreements.  You will want to provide snacks and/or meals to the participant to ensure they stay happy and engaged.  Regular breaks also help keep them focused.  We like to provide forms and notepads that you can collect at the end of the focus group, as each participant may respond differently to the setting.  These options allow you to capture the thoughts of a quite participant that you may not hear from much when conducting the focus group.  Being able to record the session for future playback is immensely important.  Often times people tell me that they learn something new each time they rewatch the video.  You may also want to consider streaming the session to another room so non-participating individuals can observe the session without affecting it.  Streaming is also a great way to allow the participants to “deliberate” during a mock trial and still be able to observe their thoughts and feelings in real time.  


Focus groups can be wildly entertaining and informative if presented in the right manner, and we hope you are now better positioned to do just that. 

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Trial Presentation Services in LeMars, Iowa Leads to Defense Verdict

Trial Presentation Services in LeMars, Iowa Leads to Defense Verdict

Last month, Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters were asked to provide trial presentation services for two-week trial at the Plymouth County Courthouse in LeMars, Iowa.  Specifically, defense counsel needed assistance working with MRI images and a radiologist to counter plaintiff’s contention of what the images showed.  For those who have worked with medical imaging software, you know this process can be difficult and unpredictable.  That is where Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters came in.  We worked with the doctor to select the best images and how we might present them in the best way.  Ultimately, we decided between a joint effort of trial technician, doctor, and ELMO document camera operated by the attorney.  With all of the A/V equipment being run through our trial technician, switching between sources was seamless and the elicited testimony proved dispositive in the jury returning a defense verdict. 

Whether it is court reporting, videotaped depositions, or trial presentation services, consider using Thomas & Thomas Court Reporters the next time you need litigation support services.  With over 40 years of experience, we know how to get the job done right. 

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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 and 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 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

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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"



"'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




            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






            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.




            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.




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" 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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