COURT REPORTERS BLAZE NEW TRAIL USING JUST-RELEASED CLOUD TECHNOLOGY
Over a two-week period last month, Doris O. Wong Associates, Inc., a court reporting firm in Boston since 1967, provided its clients with almost 3,000 pages of daily copy transcripts for an arbitration. But what made this assignment extraordinary is that it showcased the value of interactive realtime (IR) over the internet to a degree not seen before.
Beyond text streaming, Cloud allowed the 40 attorneys in the room, the three arbitrators, and dozens of people offsite and around the country to receive a continuous realtime feed of the live testimony using CVNet Cloud, a product that was just released by Stenograph. While reading the testimony, counsel and support staff were able to search, mark, annotate, copy and paste, and print desired testimony. Using the live IR testimony and the thousands of documents on- and off-site, counsel and support staff were able to immediately react and respond to developments as they happened.
Anyone with a laptop or iPad could participate. They just needed to download the free CaseViewNet software or iCVNet APP, and they were ready to go. The court reporter used her laptop to serve as the hub. Testimony was encrypted and sent securely over the Internet which transmitted the live feed onsite and remotely over the Cloud. Wong’s clients were able to log onto the session with a simple Product Key and password provided by the court reporter. Anyone logging in late would have the benefit of the full testimony along with the edited corrections thanks to the Instant Refresh feature.
Distance and travel time are no longer considerations when attendance at a meeting is a must. Thanks to talented court reporters using the latest state-of-the-art technology, attorneys can conduct their business, serve their clients, and make the most efficient use of their valuable time without being physically present in the deposition or hearing room.
Three court reporters covered this assignment: Carol Kusinitz, RPR; Jane Williamson, RMR, CRR; and Anne Bohan, RDR, CRR. Together they have over 100 years of collective experience with Doris O. Wong Associates, Inc.
As I was sitting in my office, I heard our scheduler, Donna Kerble, take a phone call for an evening deposition and video conference here in Boston on Wednesday night. Please note that President Obama is giving a speech at Faneuil Hall Marketplace at 4:00 pm and then Game 6 of the World Series will be played at Fenway Park. Game time 8:07 pm. Talk about a logistical nightmare trying to navigate through the streets of Boston on this eventful night.
The client decides coming to Boston would be difficult for his clients, so he requests we move off-site to Framingham. He still needs video conferencing and a reporter. He is going to book a room at a hotel.
Donna, knowing that “booking a room” might not be enough, took the initiative and made quite a few phone calls on behalf of our client. Did the hotel have Internet and/or video conferencing? Would counsel agree to a Cameo hookup? Were there other facilities in the Framingham area that could host a video conference for counsel on-site? Donna gave counsel many options to choose from. He was so thankful for Donna’s effort in helping him set up this important deposition.
Thanks, Donna, for always giving 110%. Your “Can Do” attitude is simply contagious!
Download the free APP and register your device using your Apple ID in the Cloud. It will locate your iPad/iPhone. From there, you can “Play Sound” to alert someone that the iPad is there, put it in “Lost Mode” which locks and tracks the iPad and lets you put in contact info if found, or “Erase iPad.” The only bad thing about erasing an iPad is that it cannot be located or tracked but at least your personal information is deleted.
5) I know I said “four easy steps” but I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you how to back up your information NOW.
Go to Settings, iCloud, Storage & Backup
Turn iCloud Backup ON
Your device will automatically backup your pictures, accounts, documents and settings when the iPhone is connected to WiFi, is plugged in and the screen is locked. You can also force your device to “Back Up Now.” I highly recommend you force the “Back Up Now” when you first get your phone to save all of your contact information. Back to menu
Your clients deserve “Impeccable” service
Words like “quality,” “superior” and “excellence” are adjectives commonly used to describe one’s business.
I recently attended a STAR convention in Washington, DC, where I had an opportunity to listen to Steve Dorfman’s seminar on giving your client an “Impeccable Client Experience.” Why impeccability?
When a client hires you, they expect:
Accuracy of the transcript
Availability to be at their deposition/hearing whenever or wherever you’re needed
A partnership where you recommend services that they may need to make their job easier, and
Advice/learning opportunities regarding products and services they may need above and beyond the “traditional” services provided by your profession.
So how do you become “impeccable”? Get deliberate about engineering a remarkable experience. Build trust with your “can do” attitude. Follow through by being a master of your craft. That means sitting for new court reporter certifications, write realtime, and embrace new technology like iCVNet Cloud and remote video conference services. Be consistent, credible, and aware of the situation at hand. Be a good listener. Give your client unprecedented service that goes beyond the written page.
Doris O. Wong Associates, Inc., is dedicated to giving our clients “impeccable” service.
There is much ongoing discussion in our office about audio sync, its benefits and disadvantages. For the experienced reporter, having the audio backup is a valuable tool. There is always at least one instance in a deposition where you want to hear a word or phrase again. But that’s where it ends.
The majority of the reporters in this office were trained before audio sync came about, and we believe we are the better for it. We practiced, passed our certification exams, and went to work. This is before computer-aided transcription. We had only our steno machines in those days; no laptop. If we didn’t get the testimony, we had to interrupt or it would be lost forever. That made us better writers! It put the pressure on us to get it right the first time and to stretch and push to get every word. There was no backup. We were it.
Now with audio sync, we find that many young reporters are lackadaisical when on the job, and we find that worrisome. The temptation to just sit back and rely on audio sync is very real. Why sweat it out when you can listen to the backup later? Why interrupt when the audio will catch it? Why pay attention when you can listen to it later?
Trust me when I tell you that the day will come when you will lose your audio file. It happens to everyone at least once and often without notice. And it won’t fail on the easy job but on the impossibly hard one. What will you do then? This is why building your speed, relying on your own skills, and being in control on a job is the best way to avoid disaster.
The audio sync, used wisely, can be a great tool. It is not meant to be a crutch. It should be used only as a verification tool in spot instances and should not be relied on to produce a transcript from scratch. Busy reporters do not have the time to listen to every word from start to finish. Good reporters have the confidence to know that when they leave a deposition or hearing their skills have their back.
August 2013 NO RECORD BROKEN IN THE GUINNESS WORLD RECORD COMPETITION
The six participants who competed in the Guinness World Record Challenge at the National Court Reporters Convention held last week in Nashville failed to break the existing record of 360 words per minute set by Mark Kislingbury in 2004; however, their “failure” did not diminish the high esteem in which they are regarded by their fellow court reporters. Mark Kislingbury had the best paper. He transcribed the 370-words-per-minute take and had 22 errors. He needed no more than 20 errors to break his own 2004 record.
The entrants deserve special recognition, as their attempt at the world record would not even be contemplated by the vast majority of their peers. The participants were: Deanna Boenau, Kathy A. Cortopassi, Diane K. Kraynak, Stanley H. Sakai, Kathryn A. Thomas, and Mark Kislingbury.
Eight one-minute takes of Q & A material up to 400 words per minute were given. For some perspective, NCRA’s entry level certification exam, the Registered Professional Reporter, requires reporters to pass a top speed of 225 words per minute of Q & A material with 95 percent accuracy.
In other news, Dana Hayden of Arkansas won the 2013 Speed Contest, and Jo Ann Bryce of Florida won the 2013 Realtime Contest.
Congratulations to all who challenged themselves to achieve new heights!<
National Court Reporters Association Convention, August 8-11, 2013
Court reporters from around the country will gather in Nashville, Tennessee, for their annual conference to network, talk about issues affecting our profession, and learn about the latest technology and products. Sure to be a hot topic this year will be the increasing use of iPads by attorneys to receive realtime feeds and the push by our national association to Take Realtime Awareness and Innovation Nationwide, or TRAIN.
Our most talented writers will also compete to become this year’s National Speed Champion. To qualify, contestants must write, with at least 95 percent accuracy to qualify, a Q&A leg at 280 wpm, a legal opinion leg at 230 wpm, and a literary leg at 220 wpm. Another coveted distinction up for grabs is the Realtime trophy where contestants try to write as perfectly as possible straight matter at 220 wpm and two-voice dictation at 225 wpm without the benefit of editing. Tensions are high as one-tenth of a percentage point can separate the winner from the runner up!
But excitement this year is ratcheted up a notch because six of our profession’s most elite writers will participate in the Guinness World Record Challenge as they try to break the current speed record of 360 words per minute! There will be eight one-minute Q&A takes of up to 400 words per minute. WOW!
Aside from the installation of our new officers and board members, another highlight of the convention will be the announcement of NCRA’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, which is presented to an individual who has worked tirelessly for the benefit of the reporting profession. Doris Wong, NCRA’s president in 1980, was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award in 1987.
This year’s convention is particularly noteworthy because Nancy Varallo of The Varallo Group in Worcester, and reporter extraordinaire in her own right, will be sworn in as our president. Nancy will be the fifth president from Massachusetts. We are very proud of Nancy and know that she will serve our profession with honor and distinction. Congratulations, Nancy!
Shortage of Court Reporters – Interested parties please apply
There is a nationwide shortage of court reporters. The shortage can be blamed on many factors.
Two local schools that have produced graduates most recently – Massachusetts Bay Community College and Springfield Technical College – have discontinued their programs. As of this time there are no accredited schools in New England teaching court and conference reporting!
Part of the reason for the closure of the Massachusetts schools was the low graduation rate, approximately ten percent. Training is very intense and the attrition rate is very high. Of those students who did graduate, most completed the two-year program in three or more years. When the programs were not graduating reporters in sufficient numbers in a timely manner, the programs were dropped from the curriculum.
The threat of replacing court reporters with tape recorders may have dissuaded prospective students from entering the field as well. It didn’t seem prudent to invest in a career that may not be around for the long term. Despite the fact that court reporters who write on computerized machines are the superior method of producing verbatim transcripts, our profession still suffers from the misconception that tape recorders are adequate replacements.
Retirement will also thin the ranks of those in the profession, adding to the existing shortage.
The shortage of court reporters has been felt not only in the freelance and official (courtroom) arenas but mostly in the broadcast captioning and Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) areas. Broadcast captioning has applications in television, conferences, and places of worship, to name a few. CART allows for deaf or hearing-impaired students to have access to lectures in a classroom setting through a reporter who is assigned to a particular student.
It is now a priority of the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) to encourage more young people to get into this profession to ensure that there is an adequate supply of talent to take us into the future. The judicial system and by extension the general public relies on the valuable services provided by court reporters whose numbers have shrunk to approximately 20,000 nationwide.
According to the Bureau of Labor, the job outlook states:
“Employment of court reporters is expected to grow by 14 percent from 2010 to 2020, as fast as the average for all occupations. Those with experience and training in techniques for helping deaf and hard-of-hearing people, such as real-time captioning and Communication Access Real-Time Translation (CART), will have the best job prospects.” http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/court-reporters.htm
If you’re looking for an exciting career in the legal field, become a professional court reporter. You will be charged with taking down verbatim testimony and producing a certified record of the proceedings. Technological developments allow court reporters to provide computer-aided transcription, interactive realtime, and litigation support products in various formats. Your unique skill will earn you the respect of the legal community, and you will be making a valuable contribution to the justice system.
Court reporting is an exciting profession. No day is the same. The cast of characters constantly changes. You can travel the world covering different assignments. One day you can be reporting a messy divorce; the next you could be reporting the James “Whitey” Bulger case.
Call us if you’d like more information about court reporting. Even better, if you are a certified court reporter and would like to join our busy office, we have an opening for you.
Our reporters hone their reporting skills on a daily basis to meet any challenge. No other method of capturing the spoken word has proven superior to the live reporter. We can proudly say that ALL of our reporters are certified by our state and/or national organizations.
Our reporters take part in continuing education programs to keep abreast of the latest trends in our profession and the newest technologies for your benefit and convenience; and they continually strive, through rigorous testing, to earn our profession’s most coveted credentials.
Our reporters have a combined total of over 300 years’ experience in reporting all types of proceedings in numerous settings. We have had the privilege of reporting the testimony of thousands of witnesses, and we take great pride in playing a vital role in the judicial process.
Call Doris O. Wong Associates, Inc., when expertise, education, and experience matter.
Members of the Massachusetts Court Reporters Association met in Worcester on April 6, 2013, for their spring seminar. The highlight of the conference was learning about TRAIN, our National Court Reporters Association’s initiative to Take Realtime Awareness and Innovation Nationwide.
Many reporters write realtime for themselves, but the push is on for them to transition to providing realtime for attorneys at every deposition or hearing. This involves writing with a minimum of 97% accuracy, having software and hardware that allows you to send files serially or wirelessly, and for greater success in promoting realtime, purchasing iPads or netbooks for counsel. Stenocast (serial wireless) and CVNet with a Linksys router, MiFi or Connectify are the preferred wireless routers used by court reporters. Stenocast allows you to send wirelessly to many different interactive realtime products such as CaseViewNet, LiveNote, Summation and Visionary. CVNet can be sent to CaseViewNet only but has Instant Refresh. As the reporter edits the transcript during the day, counsel sees the benefit of those corrections. Reporters also have a serial connection option, if needed.
Only professional court reporters can provide instantaneous realtime to counsel. Reporters who provide this service, along with accompanying rough drafts at the end of the day, are the best this profession has to offer. Since this is a premium service, reporters who deliver this service have the potential to increase their income above the usual transcript sales.
Massachusetts is currently at the forefront in moving this effort forward. There are TRAIN groups in Boston, the North Shore, and in the western part of the state. A new group will be starting up soon on the South Shore. This seminar gave those in attendance a taste of what joining a TRAIN group would be like through a rotation of four mini-sessions covering different but related topics.
Members owe a debt of gratitude to Jill Shepherd, Jodi Ohnemus, Sue Garvin, Kathy Silva, and NCRA Speed Champion Ed Varallo for their time and effort, advice and encouragement during the TRAIN seminar. They gave brief tutorials on what equipment to buy, how to set up, how to provide the cleanest roughs possible, and how write “short” for better translation rates and less wear and tear on the hands.
The Society for the Technological Advancement of Reporting (STAR) is another wonderful resource for those reporters who want to move forward and invest in their career. Their emphasis is always on the latest technology and is suitable for reporters at all levels.
Doris O. Wong Associates, Inc., is celebrating its 46th anniversary!!!
Doris O. Wong Associates, Inc., is celebrating its 46th anniversary this month! Listed below are some of the major Supreme Court decisions of 1967, the year we first opened our doors:
Whitus v. Georgia, 385 US 545 (1967)
Held that Georgia’s jury selection process employed unconstitutional racial discrimination tactics.
In Re Gault, 387 US 1 (1967)
Held that juveniles accused of crimes in delinquency proceedings were entitled to the same Fourteenth Amendment Due Process protection as adults.
Afroyim v. Rusk, 387 US 253 (1967)
Held that the federal government cannot strip a person of his or her citizenship.
Loving v Virginia, 388 US 1 (1967)
Landmark civil rights case that declared Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which prohibited interracial marriage, unconstitutional. This overturned the 1883 Supreme Court case Pace v Alabama, (1883) and invalidated all race-related legal restrictions on marriage.
Katz v. United States, 389 US 347 (1967)
Extended Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure to include warrantless wire-tapping.
All of us at Doris O. Wong Associates, Inc., extend our sincere thanks for your loyal patronage and look forward to being of continued service in the years to come.
NCRA TechCon Convention to be held in Scottsdale, Arizona
From April 19th through the 21st, the National Court Reporters Association will be holding its third annual TechCon conference at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton-Paradise Valley in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The emphasis of the TechCon conference is technology as it relates to the legal services industry, specifically professionals in deposition and courtroom settings. It will focus on the lastest advancements and applications. Registrants from around the country will include court reporters, Certified Legal Video Specialists, trial presentation professionals, lawyers, and legal technology professionals. All will share information and network in these three days of concurrent seminars and workshops.
Technology is constantly evolving, and it is imperative for legal professionals to stay abreast of the latest improvements so they can become more efficient, more effective, and better serve their clients. Court reporters in particular need to continue to sharpen their skills and use the most up-to-date technology to provide the highest quality transcripts, often in realtime. Hard copy transcripts are increasingly being replaced with digital and electronic files, and counsel are now using iPads and tablets to manage their cases. So much has changed in recent years. Rest assured this will continue to be the case in the years ahead.
Take advantage of these workshops and seminars that focus on the technology available today, how the legal and court reporting professions are evolving, and what we can do now to prepare ourselves for the future. Registration is now open!
The Society for the Technological Advancement of Reporting (STAR) will be having their mid-year conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Linda Fifield, Vice-President, will be attending in her capacity as a STAR board member and member of the Liaison/Technology Committee.
STAR is an organization comprised of court reporters and key vendors, such as Stenograph, who share the common goal of developing and implementing the latest technology to advance the field of court reporting. In addition to Case CATalsyt training, the conference presents a unique opportunity for working reporters and firm owners to meet with the actual developers of the software they use to produce their transcripts and ancillary litigation support products. This exchange of information and ideas is directly responsible for the progress reporters have made to date and is critical if the profession is to continue to grow and evolve.
Realtime is always promoted at every court reporting convention, local and national, but providing realtime really takes center stage at STAR conventions. STAR’s president, Rosalie Kramm, is making realtime the focus of her term. To be able to provide this service, a reporter not only must possess the talent that comes with practice and experience but needs to know how to connect, serially or wirelessly, with the various devices attorneys bring with them, such as laptops, iPads, or tablets. Reporters who have earned the coveted CRR, Certified Realtime Reporter, designation are this profession’s elite. To be able to provide almost error-free, instantaneous voice-to-text translation is our profession’s gold standard. The National Court Reporters Association and STAR are doing all they can to help more reporters become certified as realtime writers.
This meeting will offer business owners sessions, realtime sessions, Case CATalyst training sessions, networking opportunities, and access to many vendors in the exhibition hall. If you wish to attend this convention, go to www.staronline.org and register.
Stenograph LLC’s channel on YouTube has a new video available called “Using iCVNet.” This short video will show you how to securely receive an instant feed wirelessly from the reporter directly to your iPad using Stenograph’s free iCVNet iPad app. In an easy-to-follow demonstration, the video will teach you how to:
Connect to a reporter’s WiFi router
Choose a reporter’s network
Connect to the realtime server
View the realtime transcript with Rapid Refresh updates
Annotate, navigate and save the transcript
Mark and unmark testimony
Search for words, phrases and marked lines
Email the transcript (if you permit) for use with the full CaseViewNet application for saving in a variety of file formats for use with it and other applications.
When you need a realtime reporter who can provide this service, call Doris O. Wong Associates, Inc. Our seasoned professionals will provide you with the cleanest realtime feeds possible and make your experience a positive one.
The National Court Reporters Association has announced that National Court Reporting and Captioning Week will be celebrated February 17 through 23, 2013. Its purpose will be to recognize the efforts and contributions of its 19,000 members who provide vital services as court reporters, captioners, and CART providers. Court reporters work hard every day in various settings all across the country. They provide lawyers with transcripts and the deaf and hard of hearing with access to education and TV broadcasts. They undergo rigorous training, participate in continuing education conferences, and invest in the latest technology to provide their constituents with the products and services they need.
All of us at Doris O. Wong Associates, Inc., are proud to play such an important role in the judicial process. We are mindful of the great responsibility placed in our hands every day, and we renew our pledge this week to promote our profession in the most positive manner by providing timely transcripts of the highest quality.
Gone are the days when all a court reporter needed to take to an assignment was a steno machine and a pad of paper. Today if you see a reporter en route to an assignment, you will see the reporter with a large case on wheels along with other ancillary luggage, briefcases and/or back packs. Technology has its advantages, but it also has increased the load reporters must carry to be able to supply attorneys with the most accurate transcripts possible, sometimes on an instantaneous basis. Demand for faster delivery has grown, especially on high profile and time-sensitive cases, and so it is the reporter’s job to not only keep his/her skills in top form but also to keep abreast of the latest innovations in this progressive profession.
Computers entered the picture in the early 1980s, and it changed the court reporting field forever. The technology keeps evolving, and the learning curve continues to climb. The mantra heard in all other industries rings true with reporters as well: Embrace technology or be left behind.
Reporters who provide realtime services to attorneys are at the top of their game, and they have the credentials and experience to prove it. They have an impressive ability to write long hours almost error-free on a wide variety of topics while under incredible pressure. As if that weren’t enough, they must be knowledgeable about their software and versed in counsel’s equipment so that successful realtime connections can be made. Attorneys have different types of devices – laptops, iPads, and tablets -- and there are different ways to provide connections: serially, USB, or wirelessly. In this digital age, the amount of information reporters need to absorb is enormous and constantly evolving, so much so that the National Association of Court Reporters has developed a program called TechCon to specifically connect reporters and other professionals in the legal field to discuss current technologies and evaluate growing trends in the marketplace.
The next time you need a certified court reporter, call us! Our reporters continue to invest in their skills, education, and equipment to provide the verbatim transcripts you rely on to try your case, and staying abreast of the latest technology is their priority. Our reporters attend national and regional conferences to keep up with all the latest advancements. The Society for the Technological Advancement of Reporting, or STAR, on which Linda Fifield from this office is a board member, liaisons with software developers who are directly responsible for the programs court reporters use nationwide to edit and produce their transcripts.
Time and time again research has shown that a certified court reporter bests all other methods of capturing the spoken word. We are so proud to be a part of this elite group that plays such a vital role in deposition and courtroom settings.
HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM DORIS O. WONG ASSOCIATES, INC.
All of us at Doris O. Wong Associates, Inc., would like to extend our very best wishes to all for 2013! 2012 was a notable year for us, as we marked our 45th anniversary. This gave us a chance to reflect on all that has changed in the court reporting field and how much our clients have contributed to our success. For almost a half a century we have made it our mission to provide the very best in court reporting services, and we appreciate the trust you continually place in us to deliver the transcripts and products you need when you need them.
As we enter 2013, we look forward to the inevitable changes in technology that will affect our industry. As always, we will continue to keep abreast of the latest products and inform you of their benefits to you in your practice. And we will also continue to educate ourselves and sharpen our skills so we will be prepared for whatever challenging testimony will come our way.
We are pleased to be working with you, our valued clients, and we look forward to partnering with you again not only in 2013 but for many years to come.