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Before You Hire A Court Reporter, Ask These Questions

Hire A Court Reporter

You’ve been handed a case and need to hire a court reporter. Where do you go and what do you ask? While search engines may provide a start for your search, we encourage you to call and ask these questions. Just like with any important hiring decision, you want to make sure you’re onboarding the right candidate for the job.

What is your experience?

While court reporters are an average age of about 53 years old, that doesn’t mean they all have the experience you need for your case. In fact, they may be new or second career reporters so it’s important to ask about the type of cases they’ve worked. Rather than spinning your wheels trying to find a reporter, contact an agency like Herder and Associates who can match you with the right reporter, follow a process, and deliver a final transcript by deadline.

Are you certified and trained?

This is an especially important question for a couple of reasons. Arizona is a transient state meaning many people aren’t from here and they tend to move here and then to another state. Not all states require court reporters to be certified so it is important to ask. In Arizona and surrounding states, certification is a requirement. The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) offers certification and continuing education (CEU) so that reporters are up to date on technology and best practices.

How much advance notification do you need to schedule a deposition?

At Herder and Associates, we strive to provide the most qualified court reporters to all of our clients. While we’re always working to meet your timeframes, the more advanced notice you can give us, the better it is for us to be able to schedule the right court reporter for your case or project.

What is the cost and timeframe for transcript turnaround?

When you call to schedule your deposition, we will provide the cost and timeframe. If you need an expedited transcript, please let us know at that time. Prices may vary depending on how soon you need the final transcript. The more information you can relay to our team, the better we can provide the product and service you desire.

Before you hire a court reporter, ask these questions to be sure you’re getting the reporter that can work best with your legal team. Have more questions or need to schedule a court reporter? Contact us today.

Apps for Legal Professionals

Apps for Legal Professionals

Years ago I wrote an article called Time Management Isn’t about Managing Your Time that’s likely still floating on the interweb somewhere. The idea was that we always have 24 hours in a day so it is pointless to manage our time. Rather, we need to manage how we’re using our time. I’ve found one of the ways to do this is to embrace apps for legal professionals.

Increased Efficiency

My favorite tool for running a small business is Google Drive which includes Google equivalents of MS Word, Excel, a calendar, and other tools. Safely store and share documents with multiple parties or share links to documents that includes view-only or editing options. That means using less space on a computer and sharing documents without sending a separate email. I like this because it’s efficient, especially for those working in teams. Other cloud options include DropBox and iCloud.

Words Matter

DragonDiction is a voice to text app that allows users to dictate text messages, emails, and social media statuses. This is the perfect app for the legal professional who is on the go and needs an efficient way to communicate.

Along with DragonDiction is Evernote which allows users to make lists, take notes, and search via smartphone or computer. Pretty slick and easy to use for the busiest of freelancers.

Legal Specific

DroidLaw is a free app providing access to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Evidence, Appellate, Criminal, Appellate, and Bankruptcy Procedure, and the U.S. Constitution. Available for purchase are state codes and laws and other resources useful to legal professionals. If you’re an iPhone user, LawStack is another option with similar resources.

If you’re a legal news hound, try LegalEdge. This app includes news alerts, updates, and case filings from across the nation. For general news, set up a Google Alert for certain terms and automatically receive news and blog posts about that topic straight to your email on a recurring basis.

It’s worth noting these apps for legal professionals including our Phoenix court reporters, all have free options available if you just want to give them a try. Leave a comment and let us know what you like to use and have fun managing your time!

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What does the court reporter shortage mean for earnings?

court reporter shortage mean for earnings

You’re called for a deposition and in the room is your attorney, opposing counsel, and the court reporter. You’re sworn in and asked questions related to the case in question and you provide answers to the best of your knowledge and leave. While the deposition may be over for you, it’s really just beginning for the court reporter who can earn in the six figures for their quiet work at depositions and other venues. There’s just one problem – a court reporter shortage.

According to Ducker Worldwide, there will be a shortage of more than 5,000 reporters by 2018 including 120 in Arizona and 2,320 in neighboring California.

What does the court reporter shortage mean for earnings? It means new reporters start at average annual earnings of $42,000 and median pay is $51,000; it can be even more in urban areas like Phoenix. For those with experience, they can make well into the six figures.

The reason is simple economics and the law of supply and demand. Court reporters are the product and the price is their salary. When the supply is low and demand is high, as it is today, salaries increase.

Because of the court reporter shortage, Arizona courts only require a court reporter at certain types of cases.

According to the Arizona Supreme Court, human court reporters are only required in cases involving a Grand or felony jury trial, death penalty murder cases, some sex crimes, and parental consent for abortion. That leaves a lot of cases without a human court reporter.

Without a person to record the proceedings, courts are forced to use digital technology and then hire freelance court reporters to transcribe from the recording.

The problem is that the technology is good but not great. Often portions of testimony or exchanges is inaudible in a recording leaving the reporter no choice but to mark it as inaudible and move on.

As an industry, we need to be better about communicating not only the opportunities for court reporters in legal, business, political, civic and educational venues, but about the earnings potential.

Interested in becoming a court reporter? Check out the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) list of approved court reporting programs.

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Social Media and Free Speech

Social Media and Free Speech

The current political climate has lent itself to conversations about free speech, including what people are saying on social media in Phoenix and across the nation. How can we censor ourselves from conversations in which we don’t want to be involved? Can we police who is using social media? How far is too far when it comes to first amendment privilege? The answers are still unfolding in part because social media is relatively new media and with anything new comes a testing of the legal system. 

President Trump and Twitter 

We’ve never had to ask ourselves if the President can use social media on their own private account or if they can, does it count as an official statement, but we are now! President Trump is, at least at the time of the publication of this blog post, using Twitter to directly communicate with the American people.

There are two dynamics at play here.

The first is that his views are arguably not widely accepted, at least not on the left, so many people simply don’t agree with what he is saying. Those that do agree with him are getting in discussions, some heated arguments with the other side, and it’s making some of the media question the President. The other issue at play is the President’s right to interact on social media in a private account and it has the potential to redefine free speech.

The media will likely be arguing whether the President has the right to have a private account until he is out of office which makes for lively debate no matter which side you’re on. The question for the rest of us is how we protect ourselves and what “protect ourselves” really means when it comes to social media. At this point, it’s personal choice and action.

Self-Policing Social Media 

We can’t control what anyone says on social media, no matter what their job title is, but we can protect ourselves. Social sites like Facebook and Twitter allow users to block and unfollow other users. That gives everyone a choice. You choose to listen to the banter or shut it off. 

Personally, I block and unfollow on a regular basis. From political and religious commentary to inappropriate images, I have a standard that I follow. It is my own standard and I don’t make an announcement or message people that I am unfollowing to tell them why. I keep my stress and interaction to a minimum and you can too.

Social Media and Free Speech 

People have the right to say what they choose on social media. They DO have free speech just as much as I have the right and ability to block them. For those that choose to talk about subjects that some of us, including prospective clients and employers, find controversial, they will have to face consequences. For ten Harvard students, they have to face that even though they shared images in a private group, they still got found out and identified, and are no longer able to attend Harvard.

The social media lesson? We don’t know how this will all shake out in court but we do know that what you say, no matter who you are, impacts your future in positive or negative ways and the choice is all yours. Choose wisely.

Using Technology to Serve our Clients

using technology

My father-in-law recently got (another) new cell phone. The reason? He said his smartphone was too smart for him and went with one that was easier for him to use. While that may work for him, using outdated technology, or none at all, in business may not be the best option. Instead, consider how you’re using or could be using technology to serve your clients.

Busy Court System

With 45 jury trials and 254 non-jury trials in Arizona every week, there are a lot of depositions that need to be captured and we’re here to facilitate the process using videoconferencing. Our Phoenix court reporting firm Herder & Associates is streamlining the process by using technology to help our clients.

Why Videoconferencing Makes Sense 

Our clients and court reporters tell us one of the most challenging parts of their jobs is coordinating schedules and getting everyone in the same room for depositions.

Videoconferencing takes the guess work out of who-is-available-when and allows teams to work collaboratively via the internet. Using our videoconferencing suites in downtown Phoenix, legal teams are able to complete depositions faster and more efficiently than their competitors. Not only that but there are less travel costs for all parties involved so it just makes sense to embrace technology.

Benefits of Using Technology

In addition to saving money and time on travel, using technology means teams are more efficient. They’re more likely to stay alert and focused and because they can all see each other like they would if they were in the same room, they’re better able to communicate. Our court reporters can ask questions to make sure we’re delivering the transcript in the format and timeframe needed by our clients.

It is our hope that our tech-equipped conference rooms are a benefit to our court reporters, attorneys and their clients, and the community. It is our belief that if we each do our part, we can keep the court system moving forward as efficiently as possible.

Are you in need of a court reporter or videoconferencing space for an upcoming deposition? Contact us today and let’s get your team on our schedule!

Related Articles:

Arizona’s Herder and Associates Expands Technological Services

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Reasons to Become a Court Reporter

Reasons to Become a Court Reporter

I often utilize social media to connect with other professionals, including being part of a Facebook group for court reporters. I recently asked, “What was your reason to become a court reporter?” and was amazed at the different answers. Here’s a sampling for you. Leave your reason in the comments; we’d love to hear from you!

Reasons to Become a Court Reporter

Family member. Reporters keep it in the family! Some said their father or mother was a reporter while another woman said her sisters were reporters. Still another said her mom didn’t want her to be a teacher like her sister so she became a reporter! Seems it’s a family business. 

Words matter. A love of words and language was popular among the reporters who answered the unofficial survey. It makes sense since reporters need a vast knowledge of industry-specific, legal, and/or medical terms to be able to do their work. 

Money. Quite a few respondents said simply that money was the motivating factor to become a court reporter. I thought that was an honest answer. One said her sister’s standard of living changed when she became a reporter and she wanted the same for herself.

 Second career. After 20+ years in one career, I might consider retiring but for those motivated, they’ve chosen reporting as a second career. They’re back to school and are ready for a new adventure! 

Love of the steno machine. There were some folks who said they love the keys and secret language of the steno. 

Flexible schedule. For those that have a hobby like playing golf or are needing to care for family, court reporting offers a flexible schedule and above-average earning potential with salaries starting at $40,000 or more. 

Variety. Many reported being tired of being tied to an office doing the same work over and over. They love that they cover different types of cases in different places; no two days are the same and they love it.  

Introvert tendencies. If you love being the quiet person in the room soaking up the conversation, consider a career in court reporting! 

Military assignment. Two men said they were assigned by the military to be court reporters. You don’t find many male reporters! While there are approximately 32,000 reporters in the U.S., only about 10% are male. 

Sounded intriguing. 14 years ago I heard a commercial for a fundraising walk that was 60 miles in three days. Sounds crazy but I signed up and completed it that year and again the next because the commercials were intriguing to me. It was the same for the reporters we asked; they heard a commercial and thought it sounded like an interesting career.

If there’s one takeaway in asking the reason someone became a Phoenix court reporter, it’s that they are passionate about their work. I love when people love what they do. It inspires me and I hope it inspires you too!

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Herder & Associates Founder Recognized at Final Meeting of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission

Arizona-based Marty Herder, founder of the court reporting firm Herder & Associates, was recently recognized at the final meeting of the AIRC.

The AIRC was created when voters approved Proposition 106 which amended the Arizona Constitution to create a bipartisan commission independent of the state legislature that would be tasked with redrawing congressional and legislative lines following the decennial census, and was mandated to be in compliance with the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act.

Along with the Commission, its counsel, and the AIRC administrative staff, covering each twist and turn of this historic process was Marty Herder, a certified professional court reporter and owner of Herder & Associates.   Herder is a past president of the Arizona Court Reporters Association and long-time member of the award-winning Chandler Horizon Rotary Club.

The AIRC for the 2011-2020 cycle started administrative meetings in March 2011. It has held 58 business meetings and 43 public hearings in locations in every corner of the state, for a total of over 359 hours.

The media and thousands were in attendance at these public meetings, and 2,350 speaking requests from the public were granted. Mr. Herder, President of Herder & Associates Court Reporters, headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, diligently reported over 10,000 pages of verbatim transcripts of each meeting, which often times included contentious issues and public protest matters. The commission streamed almost every meeting to the Internet, with the eyes of the country watching.

At the final meeting on April 28, 2017, everyone shared a personal thank-you and goodbye. AIRC Commission Chairwoman Colleen Mathis kindly presented Mr. Herder a Commission Medal of Freedom, sharing “I also want to recognize Marty Herder, who also is going to be receiving one of these Commission Medal of Freedom medals. He’s a really great guy. On the back of his medal, I put, “Always ready.””

Herder was recognized for being dedicated to the Commission and the process 24/7 and remaining at the ready for each meeting of the Commission.

After being presented with his award, Herder responded, “If we are lucky in life, once or twice in our career we are blessed with a moment, a moment feeling a part of something far, far bigger than anything we ever imagined, while surrounded by passionate, bright and engaging new characters and new friends. AIRC has been that moment for me.”

To schedule or inquire about the Always-Ready professional court reporting services offered by the elite team at Herder & Associates, call 480-481-0649 or E-mail:  [email protected]

Pay Attention! Do you have what it takes to be a court reporter?

court reporter

If you’re as alert as the Phoenix driver who lived to tell the story of his car being impaled by corrugated sheet metal while he was driving, you’ve got what it takes to pay attention through a legal proceeding!

Court reporting is a seriously rewarding business.

As reporters, we may be the quietest people in the room but we play an important role on the legal team. If we’re absent and there’s isn’t digital recording equipment available, a proceeding will likely not happen; most are required to be recorded and preserved for the record. That puts our work in high demand. Even when there is a recording, it’s court reporters who transcribe and deliver a written record.

Not only are we important to the legal process, a career in court reporting has its own rewards especially for those seeking a career where they can work from home as a freelancer. While some cases and business assignments may be weeks or months long, when it’s over you can take time with family, travel, or relax before the next job.

We’re no longer hiding in courtrooms.

Across the nation court reporters are peeking out from court and deposition conference rooms and entering the worlds of business, television, sports, politics, and community events.

Closed captioning is in high demand and for the fastest and most accurate reporters that means more opportunities to caption television shows, live events, and college classes for the deaf and hearing impaired. The increased demand for services means higher pay for some but it isn’t without its challenges.

With high demand for services comes a court reporter shortage.

Because the skills required to be a court reporter as specialized, we have a problem with student retention in court reporting schools. This has resulted in schools across the nation closing, leaving some without a place to finish their certification. Often they abandon their dream of being a reporter in favor of another program, leaving the industry set for a court reporter shortage of more than 5,000 by the end of 2018.

If you’re seeking a new career and have what it takes to be a court reporter – fast acting, attention to detail, organized, and punctual, to name a few – then we’d love to talk to you!

Need a court reporter for an upcoming Phoenix or Scottsdale case? Contact us today!

Source Metal Cargo Smashes Through SUV Windshield

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Current Events Impact Court Reporter Demand

Court Reporter Demand

The recent Executive Order travel ban left many immigrants and refugees stranded at airports or worried that when they arrived, they wouldn’t be allowed to enter the United States through Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix and airports across the country. Immigration lawyers and activists made themselves available to those with questions and even as the ban is sorted out in court, we wonder how current events impact the court reporter demand.

If the instance of immigration and refugee cases increases, court reporters will be in higher demand.

For a city like Phoenix that has the 10th highest population of undocumented immigrants, the travel ban and possible subsequent orders, makes us wonder how many more court reporters we may need to cover immigration or refugee cases. With 250,000 people undocumented, that’s a lot of folks to process through an already busy court system. And that’s just in our city. Let’s not forget border towns and suburbs.

It’s not only a potential challenge for the court system which utilizes digital recording rather than live court reporters, but it’s a problem for the court reporting industry.

Even when proceedings are recorded, someone has to create the transcript.

Let’s say the courts could process 250,000 cases, which is unlikely unless legal teams and judges work around the clock for months, there is still a court reporter shortage happening across the nation, not just in Arizona. Even if we were able to send work to remote reporters or bring in freelance reporters from other states, the cost could be astronomical. That’s assuming they’re available and not covering immigration cases in their home state.

While it seems, at least for now, the travel ban issue has resolved itself in higher courts, there are other events that impact court reporter demand.

The court reporting industry is driven in part by the insurance industry. According to Ducker Worldwide, the better the economy, the more legal activity and therefore the higher the court reporter demand. If the economy continues on an upward trajectory, we will likely see a growing need for reporters. Couple that with the rain storms in California and an extended winter in the eastern United States, and you’ve got the perfect storm of increased insurance claims, court cases related to property damage, and higher demand for reporters.

For those that think court reporting is a dying profession, we’re here to tell you it’s a growing field in need of trained professionals before there’s a crisis in the courts. Interested in learning more? We’d love to talk to you.

Source

Iranian immigrants welcomed to Arizona as federal court weighs travel ban

Court Reporting Industry Outlook Report by Ducker Worldwide

Where to Find Court Reporters Online

court reporters

There is an assumption that because court reporters handle confidential information that we don’t have a place online. In addition to our own experiences, there are organizations and groups where you can learn more about court reporting. While we need to exhibit professionalism when talking about cases and clients, we can also add value for others in the industry.

National Court Reporters Association is a valuable resource whether you’re new or considering court reporting as a career or are an experienced reporter. Visit the NCRA website for links to their social media including three LinkedIn groups they manage – one for networking with others in the field, another for NCRA members only, and a third for Certified Legal Video Specialists (CVLS). Those aren’t the only groups available.

LinkedIn Groups

Target the people you’re spending time with online by interacting in court reporter specific groups like those found on LinkedIn. Search “court reporting” for a variety of resources including connecting with reporters based on geography or area of expertise. Whether you’re a reporter or an attorney, you can learn what’s going on in the industry and comment based on your experience.

Be the Resource

As a seasoned reporter you have unique experience to share with those just entering the profession.

  • What are the benefits of being a court reporter?
  • How can social media benefit you as an Arizona court reporter?
  • What are you tips for new reporters?
  • What do you wish you had learned when you started this career?

There’s great value in being the experienced person acting as a resource for the newer generation. And it truly matters in court reporting especially with the looming shortage.

If you’re on Twitter, check out #courtreporters for industry news.

Court Reporter Shortage

By 2018 there will be shortage of 5,000 or more court reporters across the country, including an estimated shortage of 120 in Arizona alone. The more we can share our experiences including the benefits of court reporting, the better for the industry. We’ve got to fill the seats in court reporting schools or it could spell trouble for courts, including rural courts in Arizona that are already feeling the pains of the shortage.

We encourage you to connect with Herder & Associates on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, utilize LinkedIn groups, and continue to be the voice for the industry.