It’s Not What You Said, It’s What They Remember

It’s Not What You Said, It’s What They Remember

Video is one way to reach jurors using new media.

At trial, the key oftentimes is getting complex issues that the parties have lived with for years to be comprehensible and memorable for juries whose understanding of the issues start from scratch and may only last for a couple of weeks.

The use of demonstrative evidence has progressed from a simple poster board drawing to animation showing accident scene recreations, all with an eye to making an impression on the collective jury’s mind of what each advocate wants the jury to remember most.   An homage, perhaps, to the saying that “A picture is worth a thousand words.

That may be fine when the point to emphasize can be reduced to one or a series of images, but it becomes more challenging when the point can only come across from oral testimony.   Studies have shown that the brain dedicates approximately five times more space to remembering sound (echoic memory) than it does to what you see (iconic memory).   The key word here is “remembering.” The image can make complex concepts concrete and easier to understand, but the spoken word actually has a better chance of being remembered.

The good news is that there’s a readily available technology that not only can combine the aural and visual, but complements it with reading comprehension. When video and synchronized text is combined in the form of closed captions, you get as close to the perfect world in information retention as possible in a trial setting (if you could have the witnesses sing their testimony to the tune of “Mairzy Doats” it would be even better).

If you’re interested in learning more, contact your local NNRC Trial Presentation Expert and they’ll be happy to give you a demonstration on how you can make sure that the jury not only hears what you said, but remembers it.

National Network of Reporting Companies (NNRC) announces Partnership with inData Corporation

NNRC members will offer state-of-the-art litigation and trial consulting services through a strategic partnership and alliance with inData Corporation.

National Network of Reporting Companies (NNRC) announces Partnership with inData CorporationFolsom, CA– {November 20, 2014} – The National Network of Reporting Companies, founded in 1983, and now the largest and oldest network of independently owned national court reporting firms serving as the global source for court reporting, legal video and video conferencing services, today announced a new partnership agreement with inData Corporation based in Gilbert, Arizona, to provide litigation and trial consulting services.

As a result of this partnership, NNRC members will expand their services by utilizing inData’s trial services division to provide experienced trial consulting and related litigation services, explained Chuck Cady, president of NNRC.

“This strategic alliance with inData will enable our independent members to enhance their services by offering full-service litigation support from discovery through trial to litigators nationwide,” said Cady. “This partnership will enable NNRC member firms to establish litigation support divisions that will help time-strapped trial teams expertly produce demonstrative graphics, prepare trial presentations, and choreograph courtroom and war room set-up or simply run presentations during trial.”

The NNRC boasts a network of independent court reporting partners with more than 55 of the most customer-oriented, technologically advanced court reporting firms in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Its members must be recommended and go through an in-depth vetting process before becoming a part of this prestigious network, strategically located in the United States and around the world.

Following inData Corporation’s release of its market-leading trial presentation software, TrialDirector®, the company established a professional services team that has worked side-by-side with litigators in hundreds of trials across the globe and developed a recognized expertise in the legal community for consulting in trials in a variety of industries according to Jordan Ray, inData Vice-President and Trial Services Division Director. “We are delighted to announce this highly-anticipated partnership with the NNRC,” said Ray. “The independent NNRC members provide state-of-the-art technology in court reporting with an unparalleled reputation for ethical and responsive customer service. This alliance provides the industry with seasoned professionals who will seamlessly provide a one-stop shop in all aspects of litigation for litigators seeking the most experienced, technologically advanced litigation services to expedite and win more cases for their clients.”

Further information, please contact Debbe Dreher, executive director of NNRC, at 916-932.2202

About the NNRC

NNRC is the most prestigious and largest litigation support network, handling more than 10 million depositions since 1983. Through personal recommendations, NNRC partners have been assessed as the most technologically advanced and dependable court reporting companies in the USA and worldwide. These independent court reporting firms offer global video depositions, conferencing services, as well as litigation support services. Learn more at NNRC.com.

About inData Corporation

Founded in 1984, inData is a technology company specializing in the management and presentation of information. It is a privately held company, headquartered in Gilbert, Arizona. inData develops innovative software and uses seasoned trial experts to provide software training, trial consulting and graphic services to legal professionals dealing with the challenges of litigation. Software products include the best-selling trial presentation software, TrialDirector®, in addition to TimelineXpress®, TimeCoder™ Pro, DepoView®, DepoView® DVD, and TDNotebook®.

.For further information, visit the inData website: http://www.indatacorp.com or contact Judy Miller, inData National Account Executive and NNRC Liaison

No Court Reporter? Really?

No Court Reporter Really

NNRC can provide reporting support when your legal work takes you anywhere.

by Tom Richardson, President, Stewart Richardson Deposition Services

Litigation is time consuming, complicated, and filled with deadlines. The last thing you need to worry about when taking a deposition is the court reporter. You’ve prepped for your deposition, kissed your spouse goodbye, and jumped on a plane to another city. You’ve arrived at the deposition location, pulled everything you need out of your briefcase, grabbed your fourth cup of coffee, and are ready to engage.

You look around the room and start to wonder, “Where’s the reporter? Did my staff forget to schedule someone to cover the job? The expert witness is charging me by the hour, and my client isn’t going to be happy about paying them to sit there idly.” Probably never happened to you, but it does happen. That’s why the National Network of Reporting Companies (NNRC ) is so valuable.

One short call to your local NNRC member firm, and the wheels begin to turn. Need a location? No problem.   What about a hotel recommendation? Done. Restaurant choices? Here’s the list. But most importantly, the NNRC delivers. Every time.

NNRC members are reliable and exceptionally capable. Unique circumstances are our specialty. Count on us to come through when you need us most. We won’t leave you stranded. Call 866-337-6672 for more information. Or visit nnrc.com to discover the difference NNRC members provide.

With over three decades of experience, Tom Richardson is noted as Indiana’s leading expert in court reporting innovation, service and technology. Under his leadership, Stewart Richardson has grown to be Indiana’s premier deposition firm, with a corporate commitment to integrity and exceeding client needs. Contact Indianapolis court reporters at Stewart Richardson for more information about how they can enhance your legal work

 

Your Facebook Password or Your Job?

Your Facebook Password or Your Job

Should your Facebook and other social media platforms be made accessible to employers?

By Eric Matusewitch, PHR, CAAP

Imagine you’re interviewing for a paralegal position. Your resume is polished. Your answers are crisp. The questioner seems impressed. Before the meeting is over, though, you’re asked to hand over your Face book username and password.

Sounds implausible, but it could happen. Recent reports of employers requesting that applicants turn over their social media passwords have grabbed headlines in Forbes, Fox News, CNN, and on many other media outlets and blogs. While this relatively new practice may aid employers in screening job applicants, it may also lead to legal challenges under various federal and state statutes.

No Law Prevents Asking for Passwords

No federal law prevents an employer from asking for an employee’s password to his or her social media websites. Legislation, though, has been introduced in Congress to address the issue. In March 2012, the House of Representatives rejected an amendment to the Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2012 (H.R. 3309) that would permit the Federal Communications Commission to enact rules prohibiting telecommuting companies from requiring job seekers to disclose passwords for social networking sites. One month later, the House also rejected an amendment to the Cyber Intelligence Sharing Protection Act (H.R. 2353), which similarly bars employers from demanding Face book and other social media passwords from applicants and employees.

Most recently, in February 2013, Representative Elliot Engel (D-NY) reintroduced stand-alone legislation – the Social Networking Online Protection Act (SNOPA, H.R. 537). SNOPA would make it unlawful for employers and institutions of higher education to require or request user names, passwords, or any other means for accessing private email accounts or personal accounts on any social networking website. The bill, which would subject employers to a civil penalty of not more than $10,000, was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Privacy of FB Posts

Employers who request applicants’ and employees’ login information may be in violation of the Stored Communication Act (SCA) or the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). The SCA prohibits intentional access to electronic information without authorization or intentionally exceeding authorization to access electronic information, and CFAA prohibits intentional access to a computer without authorization to obtain information.

In 2013, a New Jersey federal district court held that an employee’s face book wall posts were protected by the SCA. An important factor in the court’s ruling was the fact that the employee had configured her privacy settings to restrict her posts to her Facebook “friends.”

In this case, a paramedic working for a hospital made an alleged inappropriate post on her password protected Facebook account. The post was forwarded by the paramedic’s Facebook friends to management who disciplined the paramedic because of the post. Subsequently, the employee filed a lawsuit claiming the management violated the SCA and the common law invasion of privacy tort.

While the court granted summary judgment in favor of hospital management because management had not solicited the post, it found that “when users make their Facebook wall posts are ‘configured to be private’ for purposes of the SCA. The Court notes that when it comes to privacy protection, the critical inquiry is whether Facebook users took steps to limit access to the information on the Facebook walls.” The decision has been hailed as a huge victory for privacy because it recognizes that employers may not require employers to turn over their digital user names, passwords or password protected digital content.

Furthermore, on March 26, 2012, Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) sent letters to the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission calling on those agencies to investigate whether the practice of asking for Face book passwords during job interviews violates the SCA or the CFAA. In a press statement to accompany the release of those letters, Schumer said: “Employers have no right to ask job applicants for their house keys or to read their diaries – why should they be able to ask them for their Facebook passwords and gain unwarranted access to a trove of private information about what we like, what messages we send to people, or who we are friends with?” (The DOJ had not issued an opinion as of February 2014.)

In addition, requiring the disclosure of social media passwords of job applicants and employees opens the door to potential discrimination charges under federal and state civil rights laws. Job bias statutes such as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibit an employer from making employment decisions based on factors like age, race, sex and physical condition—all things which, most likely would be readily revealed by even a quick perusal of a potential employee’s Facebook page. So, for example, if an employer used Facebook to discover that an applicant is being treated for cancer and rejects the job seeker for that reason, the employer would be susceptible to a discrimination claim under the ADA and parallel state and local statutes.

State legislatures have also jumped into this fray. In April 2012, Maryland became the first state to enact legislation prohibiting employers from asking prospective and current employees for access to password-protected material on their personal social media accounts. Since then 12 other states (Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Vermont and Washington) have passed similar statutes. These laws generally prohibit employers from requesting or requiring job applicants or employees to:

  • Share their social media account names and passwords with the employers;
  • Log into their social media account(s) in the employer’s presence so that the employer can view the account (“shoulder surfing”); and
  • Befriend them on social media to gain access to their respective profiles.

These state laws also prohibit employers from retaliating or threatening to retaliate against job applicants or employees who refuse to comply with the employer’s request for access to an individual’s social media account. These statutes, however, carve out exceptions allowing employers to request an employee’s social media password when an employer is conducting an investigation into allegations of employee misconduct or illegal activity.

The enforcement procedures and penalties for violations of these statutes vary among the states. For example, Michigan, Utah and Washinton expressly provide a private right of action in the event of violation, although the other states are silent on this point. The penalty in Michigan is limited to $1,000 per occurrence, plus reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs. Utah caps awards at $500 per violation.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of February 6, 2014 similar bills had been introduced or were pending in at least 25 other states (including Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New York and Ohio).

Finally, employers who request or require that applicants and employees hand over their social media passwords must sidestep another minefield; social media websites’ terms of service. For example, section 4.8 of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities states “you will not share your password, let anyone else access your account, or do anything that might jeopardize the security of your account.” In a March 23, 2012 post on its website, Face book’s Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan warned employers that Face book will “take action to protect the privacy and security of our users, whether by engaging policymakers, or where appropriate, by initiating legal action.”

Given the rapid legal developments in this area, employers should be extremely cautions about requesting or requiring an applicant’s or employee’s social media password(s). Many individuals currently live, or will soon live, in, “protected password” states. In addition, employers must be concerned that this practice may discourage otherwise qualified individuals from applying for job vacancies. Finally, asking employees or job applicants for their login information could generate negative media attention.

Eric Matusewitch, PHR, CAAP, is a member of the Montgomery County, Maryland Committee on Hate Violence (Office of Human Rights) and former deputy director of the New York City Equal Employment Practices Commission. He also taught courses on employment discrimination law for New York University and the Long Island University Paralegal Studies Program. Eric has written the Manager’s Handbook on Employment Discrimination Law (Andrews Publications, 2000). He was a member of the Advisory Boards of the Berkeley College Paralegal Studies Program and the New York City Paralegal Association. He holds Masters’ Degrees in Political Science and Library Science, and a Certificate in Paralegal Studies. He is certified as a Professional in Human Resources by the Society for Human Resource Management, and as an Affirmative Action Professional by the American Association for Affirmative Action. He may be reached at ematuse@aol.com.

Six Lessons Learned from Court Reporters: Thoughts on Growing up in the Industry

Six Lessons Learned On Court Reporting:

The court reporting industry offers lessons after a seeing it from the inside.

A reflection on skills transferable to any career path that your child chooses.

At NCRA conferences, I have often had the conversation with other children of court reporters that we need to form a support group. The millennial generation grew up with reporting parents who experienced a rapidly changing legal environment, where the demands and stresses were palpable, unprecedented, and impossible not to have some lasting effect on us. Kidding aside, the truth is that looking back there was much to be gained by having court reporters for parents.

1) Nose to the grindstone

Is writing 250-300 words a minute to a realtime feed difficult? Definitely. But while some think the court reporter’s job is complete after the deposition or trial is finished, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Reporters work very long hours editing transcripts, poring over exhibits, proofreading, and then proofreading again. For every one hour of writing live, 1-3 additional hours are actually dedicated to the final product. The lesson learned for me is not being afraid to go over and above. If you are in the service industry, (and 4 out of 5 Americans are) your clients will appreciate the effort and dedication.

2) Time management

Oftentimes, these transcripts are rush turnaround. A job can turn into a rush without warning and without regard to whether it’s a weekend or weeknight, which segues into the importance of time management. I often say that my parents can get more accomplished in one day than many get done in several work days. They must be efficient with their free time.

Simply put, this is not a 9-5 job. In today’s working world, with the emergence of smart phones and 24/7 access, other industries are just starting to getting used to the mobile worker. However, reporters have been juggling this ball for decades. Yes, it is difficult to make commitments in your social life from time to time. But it has taught me to appreciate the “now” and to truly be present when not working. It has also encouraged me to devote time to being off the grid for an improved work/life balance.

3) Technology’s Rapid Pace

Fear of “the new” is not a luxury available to reporters. My parents often tell the story of how their first computers cost more than their first home in the ‘80s. Court reporters, in an effort to stay current and to continue to provide innovative services, constantly feel the pressure to be technologically savvy.

I have never heard my parents express fear about trying out a new product. If it helps court reporting to remain a viable career, they try it. I was exposed to technology constantly as a kid and loved helping out at the office, feeling a part of the family business. For me, having access to the latest and greatest computer programs allowed for creative tinkering with trial presentation software, editing photos, and converting videos much earlier than my peers. Likewise, their emphasis on the importance of continuing education has encouraged me to never stop learning.

4) Roles redefined

I have vivid memories of my mom in the ‘90s lugging her steno machine and that funny shaped paper into the house while wearing shoulder pads and power suits, coming home after a day of reporting and administering her all-women firm.

Court reporting has become a great vehicle for women to claim independence and own their own businesses. Once a male dominated career, today women have emerged as leaders in the field. Because of this shift, it has also been beneficial to witness the important and unique perspective my father brings to the table in a continually evolving, diverse workforce.

Finally, back to number 2 on the list, the need for constant flexibility also challenged traditional roles in the household. If one parent was called in to cover a trial and the Judge extended the day’s proceedings, the other parent cooked dinner or picked up the slack for chores. It was a daily juggling act but one that taught me not to be constrained by society’s stance on whose duties at home belonged to whom.

5) Relationship building and supporting colleagues

The professional relationships my parents have formed with both their clients and colleagues have inspired me to keep track of my connections. I’ve never heard them say a disparaging thing to our clients about their competitors. Competition makes you better, forces you to grow, and allows for companionship with others who can relate to what you’re going through. The network of reporters we have joined has become a vital asset to aiding in our advancement, and in turn we can reciprocate our knowledge and lessons learned.

Witnessing the way reporters give back to the profession, encourage students, and support fellow reporters has shown me that nurturing your profession can secure its success for future generations.

6) If walls could talk

Court reporters are privy to the intricacies of lawsuits and conversations held both on and off the record. “Keeping the record” is not a responsibility they take lightly. Carefully sealing exhibits, protecting a witness’s identity, refusing to comment on case details to the public or news, these are all attributes of an officer of the court who takes their job seriously.

In short, if you are into gossip and enjoy TMZ, this is probably not the job for you. The role of a reporter is to write while remaining impartial, to deliver a specific work product, and archive it properly. Attorneys appreciate your not sharing their case info with others as well.

This translates to any career where the stakes are high and it is important to hold your cards close. Discretion is something all professionals need to exercise, whether it’s a new product or shifting management.

In conclusion, if you’re on the fence about it, reconsider. If you are worried about the impact it will have on your kids, reconsider. For the reasons mentioned above, reconsider a career in court reporting. Your kids will thank you someday.

Katie Coulter
Trial technician and part owner (Power Presentations, LLC)
powerpresentations.org

powerpreslouisville.tumblr.com

Daughter of Coulter Reporting, LLC owners (Rick and Ellen Coulter)
coulterreporting.com

Washington State Court Reporters

Washington State Court Reporters

Washington court reporters can bring new innovations to today’s legal professionals.

Washington State court reporters can be the important element your law firm needs to work more efficiently on a variety of cases. Through new technology and experienced maintenance and recording of the legal record, these court reporting professionals can help law firms enhance their work.

For decades, court reporting has meant keeping an accurate record of legal proceedings. For lawyers, having this information is important to ensuring that the interests if clients are best served.

However, there are now many other ways that Seattle court reporters are making sure that today’s legal professionals are getting the most out of their work. With new technology for connectivity that allows attorneys to work remotely, court reporting companies are proving to be an important part of today’s case preparation. Video conferencing and realtime reporting have become valuable tools that have allowed lawyers to cut some of their travel, meaning they are closer to their clients and their cases.

When lawyers are forced to travel, court reporters can also provide the facilities to make travel a success. With well equipped conference rooms and other important tools that can help make your next trip a success, we are ready to host your work.

When you are ready to work with one of the area’s top reporting firms, contact us to see how we can help your firm perform at its best.

Realtime Reporting Enhancing Legal Work from Any Location

Realtime Reporting Enhancing Legal Work from Any Location

Realtime reporting is giving lawyers an almost instantaneous look at a rough transcript.

As connectivity has changed just about every profession in America, the court reporting and legal industries have seen enormous changes as well. Today’s court reporters are evolving to meet new challenges in the legal field, diversifying their specialties in ways beyond maintaining the court record.

However, new technology and old duties have combined when it comes to realtime reporting. Realtime reporting is now making the shorthand from the court reporter’s stenography machine an easily translatable language in a matter of minutes.

While a court reporter types the speech or testimony being delivered, the connected software translates the shorthand into the English language. This translation is then sent to computer screens and projectors. This means that even those who are hard of hearing will be able to understand and participate and understand what is being spoken.

For the attorney, it means nearly instantaneous access to a rough transcript. Faster rough transcripts also mean faster final transcripts, and today’s court reporters are delivering them faster and with more accuracy than ever before.  This technology can allow streaming of depositions or other legal proceedings across a room or across the country.

Realtime reporting is just another way that the legal industry is seeing the advantages of new technology every day in practices and cases across the country.

Minneapolis Court Reporters

Minneapolis Court Reporters

Minneapolis court reporters are providing new ways of handling cases.

Minneapolis court reporters bring new technology into law firms each day. This new technology is giving the legal community new ways to manage the increased information that comes into cases thanks to the information age. The same connectivity that gives us an incredible flow of information into cases can also be used to the attorney’s advantage when preparing the case, and Minnesota court reporters are leading the way in providing this technology.

Video is now an important part of the law firm. From video conferencing and video depositions to video presentations used in the courtroom, lawyers are finding new ways to bring this technology into their cases. It can help to eliminate travel, provide a better way to consume depositions, and even sway jurors in the courtroom. In each instance, experienced legal videographers provided by court reporting companies are bringing this technology to the law firm.

There are also several more tools that court reporting companies are bringing into the legal field. Realtime reporting, online repositories and other tools are giving attorneys new ways to control and store information, meaning they are equipped to face any challenge anywhere— even when it is far from the practice.

Choosing the right firm can mean the difference between having all of the technology needed to most efficiently and effectively handle a case or being left behind by the competition. Today’s court reporting firms can bring the best technology and the most experience to each challenge faced by the law firm while also providing the accurate and timely reporting services that attorneys need every day.

Realtime Reporting Crucial to Today’s Legal Professional

Realtime Reporting Crucial to Today’s Legal Professional

Realtime is an important element of today’s legal work.

In today’s legal world, having information when lawyers need it is important to success. This means taking advantage of the latest tools to offer the immediacy that gives law firms the most timely and up-to-date information.

Realtime reporting is how lawyers are getting transcripts as they happen, and the technology is available from court reporting companies working with the National Network of Reporting Companies (NNRC).

Realtime reporting means that the shorthand taken by a court reporter on a stenography machine is translated into English and appears immediately on a computer monitor or a large projection screen.

Realtime is similar to translation work, in that it appears on the screen in a rough draft. It appears within seconds of the words being spoken by someone in a courtroom. If an attorney’s computer is set up to the reporter’s computer, the attorney will receive the translation as well. This modern technology allows transcripts of trials to be delivered within hours after a case closes. It also makes it easier to refer to prior testimony during a trial.

Taking advantage of this technology is much easier than ever before through NNRC. We can connect attorneys to thousands of court reporting firms who can provide the professional assistance and technological knowhow to make utilizing realtime a success. These firms can help set up connections that allow an attorney to view transcripts as they happen anywhere in the country.

Chicago Court Reporting Firms

Chicago court reporting firms

Chicago court reporters are providing realtime reporting to give lawyers a new tool.

For the busy attorney, the logistics of arranging meetings can cost time for clients. Each moment that can be saved from working on setting up these meetings can be spent working on case preparation or meeting the demands of crowded court dockets around the country.

Chicago court reporters ensure that lawyers meet the demands of their bust schedules by offering a variety of services for bust legal professionals.

Using technology, court reporters can help bring attorneys from around the country together with clients, witnesses, and other lawyers through live legal video. Using this technology, lawyers can stay close to their practices and their clients and work on cases remotely, engaging in negotiations, arbitration, and other meetings via the web. This can be coupled with realtime reporting that allows the attorney to connect directly with the reporter’s equipment to see testimony as it is uttered.

For attorneys around the country the creation of an accurate record of the meetings is paramount to the success of cases. Transcripts from these meetings can come via accurate and professional court reporting companies that offer attorneys word-searchable databases to find important pieces of testimony.

In each case, technology and professional services of these firms can help attorneys stay focused on their primary task of working for their clients. The time saved by these services and the invaluable tools provided by the connectivity of legal video and professional reporting services can help lawyers work through their busy caseloads with confidence.