Getting the Best from Realtime Court Reporters

Court reporters providing realtime translation at depositions or in court are highly trained professionals, but even highly trained professionals perform better when they are prepared for the task at hand and have the help of those around them.

In order to help the realtime court reporter prepare for your assignment, and in return provide you with the most readable translations possible, prior to the deposition or trial you should supply the realtime court reporter with the following:

1. Style/caption of the case

2. Names and contact information of all counsel involved

3. List of proper names and any case-specific terminology

While at the deposition or trial:

4. Speak clearly.

5. Don’t speak when someone else is speaking; admonish the witness to do the same.

6. Don’t speak too fast; if you do, you may notice the translation lagging behind. Slow down.

7. When possible, use the same real-time court reporter/firm throughout discovery and/or trial; translation rates improve as court reporters become familiar with the case and its terminology.

And remember:

8. Know what realtime software the court reporter will be providing and become familiar with its end-user capabilities so as to maximize your efficiency.

For realtime depositions in Kentucky, think Taylor Realtime Court Reporters.Kentucky Realtime Court Reporters Deposition iPads

Taylor Realtime Court Reporters iPad

Court Reporter Louisville & Lexington KY use Skype for Depositions

Skype for Your Remote Depositions

Attorneys looking for ways to reduce the cost of taking or attending remote depositions are turning to Skype and learning the strengths of this long-established video chat application.

What is Skype?

Blue and white Skype logo Skype is a free downloadable software application that enables users to make voice calls, video chat and share documents in a multiuser environment, making remote depositions suddenly become an affordable alternative to video conference and telephone conference depositions.

Taylor Court Reporting Kentucky, with court reporting offices in Louisville, Kentucky and Lexington, Kentucky has seen an increase in the number of requests for Skype depositions.  Our experience with Skype over the past few years leads us to believe that since Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype in 2011, attorneys are increasingly embracing Skype as a cost-effective way to take and attend remote depositions, thereby avoiding the high cost of travel and negating the need for video conferencing which can run into hundreds of dollars an hour.

A brief history of Skype

Skype was first released in August of 2003.  eBay acquired Skype from its developers in September 2005.  In 2009 eBay subsequently sold 65% of Skype to American private equity firm, Silver Lake and its partners.  Finally in May of 2011 industry-leading software giant Microsoft, who remains its current owner, bought Skype for $8.5 billion.

Why attorneys turn to Skype for remote depositions

1.  Price – Skype beats its competition hands down.  Skype-to-Skype video calls are free, while Skype-to-mobile and Skype-to-landline pay-as-you-go rates start at just a penny a minute.

2.  Travel costs – avoid the high cost of airline tickets, hotel, meals, and cab fares.

3.  Eliminates downtime – Deposition prep time is key to getting the most out of any deposition.  With Skype you can prepare for your deposition in the comfort of your own office right up to the very last minute.

4.  Interaction – With the ability to not only hear, but also see the witness, attorneys can gauge reaction and demeanor while questioning the witness.

5.  Document exchange – With the click of your mouse, you can securely exchange and share documents and photos.

6.  Security – All Skype-to-Skype voice, video, file transfers and instant messages are encrypted. This protects you from potential eavesdropping by malicious users.

Want to get started? 

If you think Skype may be right for your next remote deposition, here’s what you’ll need:

1.  Go to Skype.com and download the latest version for your device.

2.   Internet connection – broadband is best.

3.  Computer or mobile phone with built-in speaker and microphone (external headset with microphone will also work).

4.  A webcam or computer-enabled or device-enabled camera to make video calls

5.  Check System Requirements for Skype to make certain your system or device is compatible.

6.  Everyone on group video calls will need Skype 5.0 for Windows or Mac, or higher, plus    webcams.

7.   For best quality Skype recommends you use a high-speed broadband connection of 4Mbps down/512kbps up and a computer with a Core 2 Duo 1.8 GHz processor. As a minimum you’ll need   a high-speed broad connection of 512kbps down /128kbps up and a computer with a 1 GHz processor.

Here’s how to make a group video call (Skype for modern Windows)

From Skype.com:

With Skype you can enjoy group video calls with up to 10 people (including yourself), anywhere in the world.

Although mobile device users cannot initiate a group video call, they can join it.

To set up a group:

  1. Start Skype.

2.  Tap or click the Group icon at the top-left of the screen.

 Blue and white Skype icons

3.  Select the contacts you want to have in your group instant message.

4.  As you add contacts to the group chat, they’ll appear at the bottom of the screen. When you’ve added everyone you want, click add.

    Blue and white Skype navigation bar

5.  Click the video call button.  Blue and white Skype video camera icon

Having problems with the video on your group call? Your camera might not be working properly with Skype, but don’t worry; this guide can help you sort it out.

If your camera is working properly, check this guide to make sure your camera, microphone, and speakers are properly set up.

 

 

Court Reporter Louisville KY & Lexington KY Battery Blob

Don’t Throw Away that Battery Tester Just Yet!

As a court reporter and deposition videographer, I watched this YouTube video sent to me today by email and thought, wow, that’s great, no more tossing half-used batteries!  So, after turning the office upside-down trying to find a few dead batteries to test, and giving it that old court reporter try, it just goes to show, you can’t believe everything you read or see on the Internet. 

Don’t believe me? Try this for yourself, just don’t try it on the job!  #soconvincing

court reporter Louisville KY courthouse

Are Jefferson County’s Deposition Transcripts a Public Record?

With the days to comment on the Proposed Changes to Jefferson County’s Local Practice Rules quickly coming to a close, I wanted to go back and revisit the proposals and think them through again. I’d already emailed Eric Darnell, Circuit Court Administrator, with my thoughts, but while rereading the Proposed Changes I came away with a question that I think needs to be answered:

Are Jefferson County’s deposition transcripts a public record?

Please consider the following Proposed Changes to Jefferson County’s Local Practice Rules, and particularly what I’ve highlighted:

“CR 30.06 notwithstanding, only the cd/DVD/disc/videotape of a deposition shall be filed with the Clerk. The original hardcopy of the deposition shall be maintained by the party noticing the deposition and shall be made available to any party for inspection and/or copying. Excerpts of relevant portions of any deposition may be offered in support of and attached to any pleading with the Court.”

If you’ve ever looked at the online case docket sheet, you know that you cannot determine whose deposition has been noticed or taken. You cannot determine if a deposition has taken place or been transcribed. You cannot determine who the noticing attorney is, and you cannot determine before whom the deposition was taken (court reporter). Therefore, you cannot easily access what I thought was a public record, the original transcript of a deposition. 

The proposed rules state “The original hard copy of the deposition shall be maintained by the party noticing the deposition.” What if a deposition was taken and not transcribed? There is no way to tell if there is a transcript and if there is no transcript, it would be terribly difficult to determine who the court reporter was so you could call and ask, “Hey, was this deposition transcribed?” What if the transcript is lost or misplaced while being copied or reviewed by the parties? Does that mean there was nothing transcribed?

Are Jefferson County’s deposition transcripts a public record?

In addition to the proposals being problematic for the public, I question the practicality of the wording “shall be made available to any party for inspection and/or copying.”

What is the Court’s definition of “party”?

Is the original transcript a public record? If so, by this language, is the noticing attorney obligated to give or sell the public copies of the original transcript and/or monitor their review of the original transcript and exhibits? If the noticing attorney is obligated to do the above, what is a reasonable charge for preparing an exact copy of the original transcript, and/or what is a reasonable charge for monitoring the handling and review of the original transcript, and what is a reasonable time to produce the original transcript for review and/or copying?

What procedures are required to be followed to protect the integrity of the original transcript and exhibits?

As a court reporter for many years in Jefferson County, KY, I suggest the Court maintain the status quo until all issues concerning the proposed changes are resolved, that is, the noticing attorney maintaining the sealed original transcript until such time as the court deems it necessary to be opened, thereby maintaining its integrity and reducing the chance of mishap.

court reporter Louisville KY & Lexington KY visit courtroom

Court Proposes Changes to Local Rules

I recently received an email “Message from Chief Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Audra J. Eckerle – In lieu of weekly e-brief.”  The email states, “THIS MESSAGE IS BEING SENT ON BEHALF OF CHIEF JEFFERSON CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE AUDRA J. ECKERLE:”

The message begins “The Jefferson Rules of Practice (known informally as the “Local Rules”) have not been amended since 2006.”  The message goes on to say, “Pursuant to SCR 1.040(3)(a), we tender to you now the proposed amendments that the Circuit Court Term has voted to approve.”  See the Proposed Changes

As a member of the Kentucky Court Reporters Association, as well as the Louisville Bar Association, I have some concerns with the proposed changes to Jefferson County’s Local Practice Rules, in particular the section underlined below: 

1202 Filing Depositions with the Court

“CR 30.06 notwithstanding, only the cd/DVD/disc/videotape of the deposition shall be filed with the Clerk. The original hard copy of the deposition shall be maintained by the party noticing the deposition and shall be made available to any party for inspection and/or copying. Excerpts of relevant portions of any deposition may be offered in support of and attached to any pleading with the Court.”

I believe this proposed change places the burden on the taking attorney to maintain, safeguard, and reproduce court records.  For example, the taking attorney may have the responsibility of providing a time and place for any and all parties to handle and inspect the original transcript, quite possibly providing someone to supervise the original’s handling, such as was the case when the court clerks kept watch over those viewing files as they sat in a designated area observable to the clerks.   Some attorneys may not have the copy power to reproduce large-volume transcripts, audio or video recordings, or color copies, adding further complication to reproducing the original.

In addition, I believe opposing counsel will increasingly expect the taking attorney to produce the original for inspection and/or copying at no charge, creating a decrease in revenue to the taxpaying court reporter caused by the loss of a transcript copy sale, which the court reporter created originally.  If court reporters lose that transcript copy sale, our businesses would suffer a significant financial loss.  It would be difficult to continue to pay office rent and expenses, salaries, insurance, and taxes without adding a steep increase to the cost of the original transcript, further burdening the taking attorney with this additional charge.

As I see it, under the proposed change as stated in CR 30.06, a huge and unfair burden would be placed on the taking attorney, that being: 

  1. The increased cost of an original transcript charged by the court reporter to recoup the cost of the lost copy sales. 
  2. Having to furnish a supervised place and time for parties to view the original transcript and exhibits.
  3. Not all attorneys have the setup to allow all parties to come in and view DVDs.

I believe the cost of an attorney-copied original transcript would be more costly than if copied and sold by the court reporter that originally created it because of comment 1 above. The proposed change does not address what a fair charge is for such copy work done by the taking attorney.  Court Reporter’s rates are limited to what the market will bear. 

I propose that the Court continue to allow court reporters to seal the original transcripts until such time as they are deemed necessarily opened by the Court.  If opposing counsel would like a copy of the transcript, I hope we can maintain the status quo, whereby the court reporter is called and asked by counsel to produce a copy for them at a set rate.   By providing a sealed original to the taking attorney, it protects the integrity of the original transcript and exhibits, while not taking up space at the courthouse.

Lastly, I see a conflict in the language between 1201, Section 4 and 1202 as to who maintains the original video.  I propose the video be maintained by the taking attorney, as is the current practice, and filed with the Court as the Court deems necessary.

We at Taylor Court Reporting Kentucky encourage all Kentucky court reporters, Louisville court reporters, Kentucky legal videographersLouisville legal videographers, and attorneys to review the proposed changes and express opinions with Eric Darnell, Circuit Court Administrator, at ericdarnell@kycourts.net or 595-4588 by August 30, 2013.

Linda L. Taylor
Certified Court Reporter – KY

Court Reporting – The Joy is in the Journey

As a court reporter and deposition videographer with Taylor Court Reporting Kentucky, our clientele is diverse.  I often find myself on the road, traveling more miles than I care to think of. I don’t mind too much though, I really enjoy the freedom that comes with being a working freelance court reporter or deposition videographer. I just pack up my car with my machines, soft drinks, snacks, and if need be, lunch. I have my radio, CDs and GPS to keep me company

I live and work in Kentucky. As a matter of fact, our office covers all of Kentucky so, as I said, I’m on the road for miles and miles at a time. I’ve got a Toyota Camry Hybrid and that does help the cost of filling up my gas tank, but the road is always before me, I’m either coming or I’m either going.

Kentucky is a beautiful state, the Bluegrass State they call it, and it’s no wonder, when the tall grass of horse country blows in the cool breezes of spring and summer in waving fields of blue and green.  Kentucky is a diverse state, big ciities, small towns and miles and miles of state roads surrounded by woodland and farmlands. Deer Crossing and Falling Rock signs abound, so you have to keep an eye out.  But that’s not what this court reporter and deposition videographer keeps an eye out for. This Kentucky court reporter keeps an eye out for barns, quilted barns, to be exact.

If you don’t know, or have never seen one, a quilted barn is not a fabric barn, or even a barn covered by fabric, it’s a barn, typically an older or historic barn with a square-shaped sign that’s been painted in the pattern of a quilt block, and made for display on the side of a barn.  They’re typically colorful, geometric, and eye candy to anyone driving on a country road.

“There, there’s one,” I’ll say to my videographer or court reporter companion as we drive along the winding back roads of Kentucky on our way to take a deposition, hearing, or arbitration.  We make a mental note of where we spotted the quilt barn and hope there’s still enough daylight left as we leave the deposition to stop, get out, and take a picture of our hidden treasure, or treasures, if we’re lucky enough to spot a few that day.  Yes, I’ve gotten out in the rain, pulled up in a stranger’s drive, to get the picture of my artwork on a barn.

My court reporting firm, Taylor Court Reporting Kentucky, covers the entire state, and most drives are good, but some are better than others.  There’s nothing like seeing one, two, three, or a whole trail of quilted barns to bring a smile to my face and make the ride an adventure.

If you’d like to learn more about my travels and Kentucky quitled barns I see, please watch these youtube videos to see some of what I’ve been lucky enough to see as I travel the back roads as a Kentucky Court Reporter.

     Barn Quilts Dot the Bluegrass

    Kentucky Barn Quilts