Preparing Your First-Time Deponent

First-Time Deponent

Do you remember your first court appearance as an attorney? If you were nervous, had questions, and wanted to understand what would happen, you’re a lot like a first-time deponent.

It can be quite intimidating entering a room with attorney(s) and a Phoenix court reporter. To get the best from your deponent, prepare them prior to deposition day.

Tell them why they have been called.

Begin by explaining they have been called as part of the discovery process and they are a potential witness. In Arizona, they are allowed to be called only once for a maximum of four hours unless agreed to by parties or ordered by the court. Let them know if you expect it to be a four hour or longer event so they can properly prepare.

If they’re called as an expert witness for the plaintiff as part of a pre-trial motion, and the testimony doesn’t support the plaintiff’s claims, the defense can use the deposition to get out on summary judgment and avoid a full trial. That’s why the next point is so important.

Tell the truth.

While a deposition takes place outside the courtroom, it is important to tell the truth as they know it. Your first-time deponent should be reminded that they are under oath and need to tell the truth. If not, their deposition could be used against them at trial. In cases where an attorney suspects lying, they may even opt to hire a legal videographer. A lying witness on video plays differently with a jury than simply reading a transcript.

Ask for clarification.

If the deponent is unsure of what they’re being asked, they need to know it is okay to ask for clarification. If they can answer with a simple yes or no, they should do so. If asked, “Can you tell me what time that event took place?” Reply yes or no. It’s not that you want them to be a hostile witness, they have to answer exactly what they’re asked. As an attorney, rephrase the question to, “What time did the event take place?” Then the witness can provide a more detailed answer.

It’s okay if you don’t know the answer. 

The discovery process is just that – a time to discover and understand what witnesses know about the event in question. Advise the deponent that, “I don’t know,” is a perfectly acceptable answer as long as it is the truth.

Being a first-time deponent can be intimidating but with the right guidance and listening to what is asked, they can give an accurate account of events to best of their recollection.

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Ways to Save on Your Next Deposition

Ways to Save on Your Next Deposition

Whether it is saving time or money, if you’re a member of legal team, it’s likely you are looking for ways to save on your next deposition. Building relationships, setting pricing while controlling costs, and creating efficiencies will go a long way to creating the successful firm you desire. It can begin simply by partnering with a court reporting firm.

Benefits of a Court Reporting Firm

As your Phoenix based court reporting firm, Herder and Associates strives to make your job easier by providing experienced nationally certified court reporters for all aspects of litigation, hearings, and arbitrations. We understand the importance of not only providing the right court reporters and conference rooms to our clients across Arizona, but we also strive for a seamless client experience. Using the latest technology, we build business relationships with you that we hope last for years.

It is the process and experience that saves our clients time and money and we’re proud to serve legal teams across the state. Don’t be afraid to ask for quotes from other firms (we promise we won’t be offended) as you will find we offer the best value for the money.

Opposing Counsel

On a similar note, if you’re seeking to keep court reporting costs low for your next deposition, ask opposing counsel if they would like to also use our firm. We can house the case calendar, transcripts, exhibits, errata sheets, and invoices in the same secure repository so there aren’t duplicate charges to access the same information. This will also be more efficient and more consistent than if two court reporting firms were utilized for the same case.

Video Conferencing 

Let’s face it. Arizona is a really big state making even intrastate travel costs expensive. Consider our video conferencing service rather than driving to remote locations. Not only will it potentially save you in travel costs, it can save in time as well. You can conduct depositions in Phoenix and Yuma, or anywhere around the globe, on the same day right from our state of the art video conferencing suites located  in central Phoenix.

We like to say all you need to do is make the call to us and we can do it all. No matter where your clients are located, we have the team in place to serve you and your legal team. Contact us today to learn more.

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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.

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Reasons to Hire an Estate Planning Attorney and Legal Videographer

Estate Planning Attorney

At Herder and Associates, we work with Phoenix attorneys from a variety of disciplines who have a number of requests of our team including estate planning attorneys in need of legal videographers. Before we discuss who may need a videographer, let’s discuss reasons to hire an estate planning attorney versus downloading documents from the internet.

Who is originally from Arizona?

When I sit in meetings, the speaker often asks who was born in Arizona and who came here from another state. If my husband is with me, he is one of only a few to raise their hand. The rest of us were born elsewhere. Because of the transient nature of Arizonans, we’ve often had wills or trusts drawn up in other states which means what was legal or allowable in Minnesota, for example, may not be the case here. And if you’ve downloaded documents from the internet, you may have missed opportunities that can benefit your heirs and estate after you die. Something as simple as not signing on the right line or checking the proper box can mean your estate goes to probate even if that’s not what you intended.

If you’re not sure if your will is valid, contact an estate planning attorney to review it for you.

What is your legacy?

One of the myths of estate planning is that you need a lot of money to establish an estate plan and that’s not the case. If you have assets to protect or investment accounts that you want dispersed to specific people or organizations, you may need the services of an estate planning attorney to protect what you have today and plan for the future. This is especially true for blended families. If your children are minors and you die, their inheritance could go to their biological parent rather than being used to benefit the child’s education like you may want it to.

When it comes to your legacy, you can’t just say what you want to happen to your money and belongings in the event of your death, you have to write it in a legal document and have it properly executed thus ensuring your wishes become reality.

Do you need a legal videographer?

There may be situations where a family member finds it necessary to hire a legal videographer to record the execution of an estate plan or will signing ceremony. Reasons include if there is (or may be) a question of the mental capacity of the person signing the documents, circumstances surrounding the terms of the trust, or to document the occasion so there are less questions in the future. There may be family dynamics at play, as there often are when someone dies, and it may give the family peace to see their loved one on video executing the documents.

If you’re an estate planning attorney with clients who may need to hire a legal videographer, contact Herder and Associates to book an appointment.

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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Change Your Perspective When You Volunteer Your Time

Change Your Perspective When You Volunteer Your Time

When was the last time you volunteered? Whether it was to build houses, care for shelter pets, or participate in a mock deposition, you can change your perspective when you volunteer your time. For court reporters, there is also the benefit of sharing your experience with others who may be interested in a career in this changing field.

Change Your Perspective

As a volunteer, you see the world through different eyes. Feeding the homeless made me appreciate having food and shelter, luxuries I had taken for granted. Building homes made me appreciate the work my parents did to buy and keep our home. And for one court reporter, the joy was seeing students learn about the deposition process, including a mock deposition. [Source]

Benefits of Volunteering

There’s something positive to be said for spending an afternoon with high school or law students sharing your experience as a court reporter. It connects you not only to other people but to the community. Too often I feel like we’re too busy to pay attention to what is around us when the reality is that what is around us may be even more important than our small world of home, school, and work.

The benefits of volunteering include a feeling of accomplishment, connecting with others, learning new skills, and making a difference in someone else’s life.

Promote Your Industry

If you’re asked to volunteer, think of it as an opportunity to promote your industry and collaborate with others. Whether you like being in the spotlight or not, you’re the center of attention and a representative for other court reporters. Listen to what others are asking, answer them or point them to resources like the NCRA, and connect with them via LinkedIn so you can continue the conversation. Who knows, you might find a new friend, mentor, or client!

If you’re a court reporter seeking new opportunities or an attorney in need of a Phoenix court reporter for an upcoming deposition, we’d love to talk to you. Call us today.

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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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Arizona’s Herder & Associates Delivering New Educational Deposition Program

Whatever you need, whenever you need it.

Your customer doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Phoenix, AZ (PRWEB) June 23, 2017

AZ’s Herder & Associates Delivering New Educational Deposition Program

Herder & Associates, a prominent AZ court reporting firm, is now offering presentations that help highlight the role of court reporters and how to conduct depositions effectively. Titled “So You Think You’ve Heard it All? Everything you need to know to take a Deposition,” company owner Marty Herder relies on his years of experience as a court reporter to provide information about best practices in the field.

These free presentations are used to assist law firms in teaching young associates the do’s and don’ts of taking a deposition. Think you’ve heard it all? Think again. Marty Herder, President of Herder & Associates, brings 37 years of experience in over 5000 proceedings to your team, sharing nuances and tips that are unique to the deposition arena. Mr. Herder is a Past President of the Arizona Court Reporters Association, Court Reporting Program Advisory Board Member – Gateway Community College, Official Reporter for the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, Former Arizona Delegate -National Committee of State Associations (NCSA), mentor and guest speaker.

Depositions are often a crucial component of preparing for a case, but small mistakes made by attorneys and firms can prove problematic later in the case.

“All too often,” Herder says, “A law firm can start off on the right foot for a deposition following a proven path for success. Having worked with hundreds of depositions, I’ve had the privilege to see what makes for a smooth and effective process.”

The topics covered in the presentation include:

How to be effective when the other side is aggressive
Rules and procedure lawyers should know
Common traps lawyers fall into
Frequently made mistakes during the depo process
How to conduct witness prep for maximum effectiveness
Controlling your environment during the depo
Setting goals for each deposition and meeting them

In addition to basics of procedure, these presentations also outline tips for success based on Herder’s personal experience working with many cases. For law firms looking for a great adjunct presentation to supplement any in-house CE programs, seasoned veteran Marty Herder provides an innovative and beneficial program to help law firms get the most out of their deposition process.

Herder & Associates is a full-service court reporting firm based on Phoenix. The company has earned a reputation as a local leader and been a popular choice for attorneys who need reliable and experienced court reporting help. To learn more about services offered by the firm, visit courtreportersaz.com

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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!

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