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Author Archives: Christine Randall

It’s 2019 and this is what I know I know!

It's 2019 and this is what I know I know

It's 2019 and this is what I know I know

I know attorneys, paralegals, and their staff work long and hard on any given case.  An accurate and concise deposition transcript is critical to the furtherance of that case and the case’s ultimate resolution. After 37 years in this industry, this is what I know I know about working with your trusted reporting firm or reporter for the best record possible:

I know that being organized and sharing information with the court reporting firm ahead of any deposition can not only optimize the time spent at the deposition, but it can also help make a more accurate record.  For instance, at the time of booking, send the reporting firm the notice with the proof of service and let them know about any special requests, i.e., the need for an expedite, a realtime request, or even that the deposition could go into the evening.   

I know that reporters, although incredibly talented, can only report one voice at a time.  One of the easiest ways to produce a concise transcript is to avoid and/or try to control any overlap.  I know this is an admonition given at probably every deposition, but once the deposition starts moving along, it is important for everyone to continue to be mindful of this.  At the end of the day, the goal is to have clear questions and clear answers and not have a fragmented record. 

I know that having the reporter in the room with the witness is the best way to proceed.  In the perfect world, the attorneys, witness, and the reporter are all in the same room.  With the uptick of video and teleconferencing, however, the witness and attorneys may not be in the same room.  If it is at all possible, have the reporter in the same room with the witness.  This eliminates any concern regarding the administration of the oath.  Also, remember to plan ahead for exhibits so they are available to all attendees.                             

I also know that using the same reporting firm on a case makes everyone’s life easier.  The reporter(s) gain an understanding of the case, a rapport is built with all involved, orders can be standardized, and exhibit binders, either paper or electronic, can be more easily managed. 

Finally, what I know for sure is that we all appreciate consideration.  I read something funny a few months back on Facebook.  A friend, a fellow reporter, posted on a court reporting group’s page that he, the reporter, had walked into a deposition room on a patent infringement case and the attorney handed him a typewritten list of all the odd terms in the case and then proceeded to bring in lunch.  My friend told the attorney that he was going to post his good deeds on Facebook and that he thought the attorney would get 500 “likes” by the end of the day.  Well, by the end of the day, reporters from around the country were not only “liking” the post, they were passing the hat to send this attorney to the Bahamas.  At the end of the day, there were 748 “likes,” three marriage proposals, and that trip to the Bahamas.  I cannot guarantee you a trip to the Bahamas if you share a word list, but I can say you will have a great transcript and a big thumbs up or a “like” from your reporter.

Why Realtime Reporting? It’s not what you think.

Why Realtime Reporting?

Why Realtime Reporting?As a court reporter and reporting firm owner, I often discuss different technologies with our clients. And in our industry, the technology-based offerings are many.  Realtime, delivering a rough transcript instantaneously during the proceeding to attendees in the room and/or at another location, is obviously a popular subject.  There is no question that there are those attorneys who love it and rely on it for their notetaking and then there are those that use their trusted yellow legal pad and their keen notetaking ability.  I get it.  I do most things these days on my computer or iPad, but there are times when a paper copy or a good pad of paper is the best choice.  We recently had a few instances come up that reminded me that realtime is not just for notetaking.  It can solve other issues that may come up in a deposition.

One thing that we see often is the use of realtime for someone who is hard of hearing.  As a matter of fact, my first realtime job some years ago was for a client who was hard of hearing.  The client explained to me that with age he was losing his hearing.  Although he still functioned well, he hated to have to keep asking witnesses to repeat what they said or to continually ask me to read it back.  For him my realtime screen made doing his job easier and avoided perhaps misunderstanding something the witness said.

For depositions where interpreters are needed, realtime can help speed up the flow.  And if you are bound by the seven-hour rule, realtime may be something to consider. 

We had a case where all the parties and witnesses needed an interpreter.  It became apparent early on that this would be a slow process.  It wasn’t the interpreter’s fault but the complexity of the case together with objections and interruptions.  There was a lot of reading back or restating the question.  This can be dependent, I suppose, on how the interpreters work, either translating simultaneously or waiting for the end of the statement before they begin the translation.  In this case we added the realtime screen for the interpreter.  It instantly became easier for the interpreter to stay on track and for the depositions to move at a quicker pace.    

Realtime can also be helpful for those witnesses who might have a thick accent or even a speech impediment.  By putting the realtime screen in front of them, they can review what the reporter reported and correct the misunderstanding immediately.

The last thing I wanted to touch on was sending realtime to an attendee remotely.  You may have an expert or party that would like to attend a deposition but cannot.  It is as simple as having the reporter email a link so they can follow along and read the testimony.  Of course, with a camera added, they could also see the witness and follow along with the testimony.  If you would like to be able to chat or interact with that person, a non-discoverable chat function can be added as well.

So realtime at your next deposition for notetaking may not be what you need, but you may come upon a situation where it may be just what is needed.  And did I mention there is no longer a need for cords and tokens?  The reporter can bring out a sleek iPad or tablet and your “problems” may be solved.

To learn more about remote attendance and scheduling tips, check out our article on 5 Scheduling Tips for Videoconference Depositions.

Wood & Randall, a Court Reporting Firm, Celebrates 15 Years in Fresno, CA

Fresno CA court reporter location

Fresno CA court reporter location

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 25, 2018

Wood & Randall, a court reporting firm, celebrates doing business from their location in Fresno, CA, for fifteen years. Wood & Randall provides court reporters, legal video services, videoconferencing, conference rooms, and other court reporting services.

Wood & Randall was founded in Bakersfield, California, over thirty-six years ago in January 1982. The firm is currently the largest court reporting firm with an in-house legal video department based in the Central Valley of California.

Christine Randall, owner of Wood & Randall, stated, “We’re thrilled to be celebrating doing business in our Fresno location for fifteen years. It’s not always easy for a business to decide to open additional locations. However, after we had been serving our clients throughout the Central Valley in California from our Bakersfield location for over twenty years, we saw a need for us to open up a location in Fresno. At our business’ core is the philosophy of ‘Moving Forward with Technology and Excellence.’ Wood & Randall identifies the needs of our client and exceeds their expectations. This philosophy and practice of providing excellent service and state-of-the-art litigation support is behind everything we do. There was a need for our clients to have access to professional conference room space in Fresno. We decided to go for it.”

Christine continued, “After starting with one small conference room, we received confirmation that there was indeed a need for the space and expanded to two large conference rooms. Then, about three years ago we moved into a newly renovated space that we are in today. We hired one of the top local interior designers to create an environment with our 4 conference rooms that attorneys would feel great about bringing their clients to for depositions, arbitrations, mediations, and any other meeting they have.”

Positive reviews from Wood & Randall clients verify their high level of service.

Lisa U. stated, “Our clients travel to Fresno frequently and need a conference room, court reporter and videographer for their depositions. Wood & Randall's Fresno office is the perfect setting & their staff is outstanding in every way. They are my first call for the Central Valley and I would highly recommend them.”

Jan Schmitt stated, “Wood & Randall in Fresno have far exceeded my expectations. Their offices, staff and reporters are professional, friendly and offer the best in customer support. I highly recommend them!”

Steven Gibbs stated, “Great fast service, friendly reporters and convenience. Easy to work with for short and long jobs!”

Lisa Given stated, "Our law office has used Wood & Randall for many year. Their service is impeccable and staff is always responsive. They strive to meet our needs – even when that need seems impossible!"

Christine Randall concluded, “We’ve really enjoyed working with our clients from our Fresno location for fifteen years and look forward to many more!”

Wood & Randall has locations in Bakersfield, Fresno, Visalia, and Valencia, CA. Their court reporters and videographers are highly skilled and are experienced in covering all types of legal proceedings. They provide court reporters, videographers, and other court reporting services throughout the Central Valley and across the nation.

The Fresno office information is:

Wood & Randall
516 W Shaw Ave #200
Fresno, CA 93704
(559) 224-2223
http://www.bakersfieldcourtreporter.com/fresno.html

To schedule a deposition or find out more information about Wood & Randall, visit http://www.bakersfieldcourtreporter.com/ or call (800) 322-4595.

5 Tips for Booking a Court Reporter for Your Next Trial

5 Tips for Booking a Court Reporter for Your Next Trial

5 Tips for Booking a Court Reporter for Your Next TrialThere have been so many changes in recent years in the California civil courtrooms with the availability of a court reporter.  Although some of the courtrooms do provide court reporters for hearings of less than two hours, many require the attorneys to hire an outside court reporter for the longer hearings or for trial.  We find that most of our civil clients do want to have their trials reported, and this can sometimes be a challenge if they are not booked well in advance.  As background, many reporters will not work in court and many are not yet approved so there is a limited number of reporters available.  

Tip No. 1

Call early to book and provide the reporter/firm with the courtroom, judge’s name, and the names of all the attorneys involved. 

Once you have a date for your trial, call your trusted reporting firm or contact a reporter on the list of approved reporters.  Most counties do have a list on the Superior Court website, but they can be dated where some of the reporters listed are no longer in the area or no longer available for handling trials. 

We all know that most trials settle.  That being said, if it does not, you do not want to be scrambling at the last minute to find a reporter who can handle the case for, say, the next two weeks.  Most reporters are booked days or weeks ahead, and a last-minute call for a two-week trial may not be doable. 

Once you have booked the reporter, I suggest you provide the reporter/firm with the full case caption, the department and judge’s information, and a list of all the parties/attorneys involved.

For the reporter/firm to be prepared, some judges require realtime and others do not.  Most reporters/firms that work in those courtrooms on a regular basis know what the judge expects.  This information at the time of booking allows the firm to best match the reporter(s) to the trial.  

There are financial considerations, and knowing the parties and attorneys involved will help put things in place.  For instance, are the parties splitting the cost of the court reporter?  Most of the time when we ask this question, it has not yet been discussed.  This is something that is best decided before the beginning of trial so appropriate funds can be deposited with the court reporter.

Tip No. 2

Decide if you will need a realtime feed and/or roughs. And if so, who else on your team will need them as well?

Receiving a realtime feed from the reporter or getting emailed a rough at the end of the day can be a great tool in trial for litigators.  By booking your trial early, the reporter/firm can reach out in advance and determine the needs of not only your office but opposing counsel.  For instance, for realtime, some attorneys may prefer to use their own laptop while others would like the reporter to bring an iPad or laptop for them.  For roughs, some of the members of the litigation team may also need a copy of the rough that is being sent out at the end of the day.  Email addresses can be collected ahead of time. These things can be worked out well in advance so everyone is prepared.  I know as a reporter there is nothing worse than interrupting a busy litigator to ask these questions during trial.

Tip No. 3

Let the reporter/firm know if you anticipate needing dailies during trial.

If you think you may need dailies during a trial, letting your reporter/firm know ahead of time is a must.  We know this may change as the trial proceeds, but having a heads-up that it is a possibility can make a difference.  The reason being is that depending on the length of the trial, the subject matter, et cetera, having dailies ordered during trial may require a second reporter or additional scoping assistance for the assigned reporter.

Tip No. 4

Decide if it is necessary to have jury voir dire reported or not.  If so, would you need it with or without realtime?

Jury voir dire is one of the toughest assignments for a reporter and is rarely ordered in an appeal, but it can be very important to have it reported.  This is just another area where it is helpful for the reporter/firm to know before the day of trial.

 

Tip No. 5

Provide the reporter with some preparation material, such as witness and exhibit lists.

Reporters who report trials really appreciate the opportunity to review motions, case citations, word indexes, et cetera.  If you are using a trusted reporting firm and they have reported some of the depositions, those can also be easily shared as well with the reporter assigned to the trial.  If the reporter has this type of information, it is helpful in building the reporter’s job dictionary for the trial.  What that means for the judge and attorneys is that as the reporter sends a realtime feed, the transcript is cleaner and easier to read.  If the reporter is preparing dailies, this also allows the reporter to produce the final transcript in a more expeditious fashion.

In closing, so many times reporting firms are called the Friday before trial when it becomes apparent a case is not going to settle.  Although your trusted reporting firm, I assure you, will move heaven and earth to cover the trial, it would be less stressful for all concerned to have booked much earlier and to have provided all the information necessary.  And you would hate to not be able to find an available reporter or for that reporter to not be able to provide what you need during trial. If the case ends up settling the Friday before trial, so be it.  In the legal world, we are all very accustomed to the fluidity of our calendars. 

If you are heading to trial and need video clips, you may want to read Video Deposition Clips at Trial: California Code of Civil Procedure 2025.340(m) & 2025.620.

(I do want to thank and acknowledge Shelly Hunter of Hunter + Geist and Jim Connor of Connor Reporting who contributed on this subject during a presentation to a group of paralegals earlier this year.)

 

Let’s Exit Bitmoji and Talk Deposition & Trial Apps

Let’s Exit Bitmoji and Talk Deposition and Trial Apps

Let’s Exit Bitmoji and Talk Deposition and Trial Apps

Thinking back on my history with computers – yes, I started as a reporter long before we had PCs, laptops, or the ability to create a caricature of one’s self from a cell phone.  As a matter of fact, for the first year of my reporting career I dictated my notes for a typist.  Then came the large PC that stayed at the office.  In order to work on transcripts, we would need to be at the office or transport it back and forth from home and office.  I remember hauling my first personal PC in a baby stroller. 

I was thrilled when laptops became available and we could easily transport them between home and office.  And add now the lightweight and easy-to-use iPad or your tablet of choice, together with our smart phones, and we can work anywhere, at any time, with the right apps.   

I have written before about apps, but in this article I am focusing on Cloud Storage, Legal Research, and Deposition and Trial Apps.

Cloud Storage Apps

cloud storage

A very popular cloud storage option is Dropbox.  With Dropbox, a lawyer or legal assistant can carry an iPad or smart phone to court to read and notate client files rather than carrying the paper files. The bigger the file, the greater the benefit. You can even use the doc scanner to save and share work right from your phone. The beauty of Dropbox is that you can work with your team through shared files.  Android user?  That’s not a problem with Dropbox.  That’s available as well.

Sharefile

A similar app is Sharefile.  We have used Sharefile in our office for years for sharing large files with clients. The mobile app is used in conjunction and allows the user to access, share, edit, and store files 24/7 from a smartphone or tablet. ShareFile offers security in a customizable solution – in our case we have it branded as well – and it integrates with the tools you already use.  It is also available for Android devices. The good news is that if you need to share documents with a client, it will not matter what kind of device you’re using to send the file, and it will not matter what kind of device your client is using. The file will transfer cleanly and securely with ShareFile.

Legal Research Apps

Fastcase

Fastcase is a free legal research application.  It’s like having the American law library in the palm of your hand. This app for either an iOS or Android user contains cases and statutes from all 50 states and the federal government. Not only can you search by citation, but you can also search by statute collection or by a keyword search.

LexisAdvance Westlaw

LexisNexis and Westlaw are very popular, and depending on which service you use, these apps, Lexis Advance and Westlaw, can also be a great tool for legal research on the fly from your mobile device. You can set up alerts, access and share your research, and you can also view documents easily.

Rulebook

Rulebook has had a recent update with some good reviews.  It is available for both iOS and Android.  With this app you can have mobile access to state and federal court rules and other publications such as The Bluebook.  It’s easy to navigate through the different rule sets.  However, those do need to be purchased. Once you have downloaded the rules, they are stored locally on your mobile device for access offline.  You can also keep multiple rules and authorities open at once and toggle between them.

Deposition and Trial Apps

ICVNet

ICVNet, a free app, or CaseViewNet’s Browser Edition is the easiest way to receive a realtime feed from the court reporter.  This product is one of the most popular and user-friendly realtime applications available. The days of tokens and cords are over.  Thank goodness!  With the new browser-based edition, attorneys can not only view a witness’ testimony in the deposition room in realtime but anywhere there is an internet connection.

Do you need to sit in your office and work on another matter but would like to monitor what is happening in the conference room down the hall?  Will you be out of the state on vacation and would like to be a fly on the wall for a few hours during a critical witness’ testimony?  No problem. Just click on the password-protected secured link provided by the court reporter from any device and you can follow along.  With ICVNet and the CaseViewNet Browser Edition, attorneys and legal professionals can receive, view, mark, and search.  At the end of the deposition, you can email the transcript file to yourself or an associate as well.

iJuror

For those of you looking to put your Post-Its or yellow pad away during your next jury selection, you should check out iJuror for $14.99.  With iJuror you can add and organize juror information by seat. Simply tap the seats to add juror information, drag and drop to choose and dismiss jurors.  Attorneys can share the information with colleagues, and it’s configurable to seating up to 60.

juryinahurry

Jury in a Hurry was designed by a litigator.  It’s $49.99, but it gives you information about your jury pool at a quick glance. You simply enter the juror data that you have chosen from an easy-to-use dropdown menu.  At a glance at the image of the juror on the app you will be able to see sex, age, race, level of education, marital status, et cetera.  It’s also customizable with your own questions and own case types.

TrialPad

TrialPad is a very popular courtroom presentation tool.  It runs $129.99, but this app makes it easy to bring up documents, compare documents, highlight text and even edit and show video clips.  For $299.99, you can get the Ultimate Litigation Bundle that has TrialPad, TranscriptPad, and DocReviewPad. With TranscriptPad, you can store and annotate transcripts and even create reports.  There is also the ability to assign issue codes as well.  Best of all you can print and email summaries. With DocReviewPad, you can review, assign Bates numbers, generate reports and also create production sets.  As with TrialPad, DocReviewPad and TranscriptPad can be purchased separately.

Amazon

It’s time for me to end this blog and get back to something very pressing…..ordering a few things from Amazon.  Boy, is this handy for not only the office but anything else that can be purchased with a click.

As always, if you have a great app to share, please let me know at christine@woodrandall.com.

You can also check out "Apps for Busy Legal Professionals: Is There an App for That?"