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Passing The Torch

Passing The Torch:   Get In The Game

 

I was blessed that when I graduated school, I had a dynamic, successful, no-bull mentor, Al Holiday. Al cared enough about our industry, and me, to selflessly take the time to sit down this know-it-all, recent court reporting graduate, and drill into my head the opportunity that I was potentially missing.  For 35 years I have shared this story with every intern, young peer and industry friend.  Although these are from the freelance experience, the same required tenacity and work ethic applies across the board.   I’ve also updated this presentation to include the technology explosion that has taken place, as these “Keys To Excel” apply to many professions and careers.

 

Continue To Grow:   Never rest on your accomplishments. Keep current on cutting-edge technology and continue to reach career milestones.   Do not let up on attaining your next certification, whether it be RPR, RMR, RDR, CRR, writing successful bid proposals, or whatever your industry offers as the next milestone.

Get involved in your state association, leadership committees, and plan on being a resource to others. It won’t happen overnight. Take baby steps and get your toe in the water early in your career. Now. Today.

“If not now, then when?   If not me, then who?”

 

Get Organized:   Before your first depo, project or meeting know how you’re going to organize and label, produce and archive your files, whether testimony, legal writings, solicitations or otherwise.   These are in your toolbox for your entire career.   And,   backup, backup, backup.    Do NOT trust yourself or your hardware, get self-starting update software, (a separate self-executing hard drive backup (like http://www.seagate.com), or better yet $8 a month online backup with http://www.carbonite.com.)

 

Feed Your Pipeline:   Always keep things moving into, and out of, your production “Pipeline.”   Write, edit, print.   You’re never standing still, you’re always moving, producing.   If you’re not writing or working on a project this afternoon between 2 and 6, you are not “off.” You are always available, (no matter what the call-in) while editing/proofing and vice versa. Your personal time is predictable and scheduled, and all other time is devoted to servicing your clients and/or firm.

 

Real Time or Wasted Time: Never write a job without setting up for real time.   Never. Even if you don’t use it.   You are investing in your own productivity and future by fine tuning your writing each hour, each job, each day.   These dividends add up fast.   Two years from now you’ll be absolutely amazed at what translates perfectly, even during miserably challenging expert testimony.   Plus, technology keeps improving. You’ll need a good lead time to build a solid foundation of tech knowledge.

Elite reporter’s dictionaries rock because of this practice.   Also, when real time is requested, it’s one more step that is common and comfortable to you.  You are already dialed in, able to have complete focus and enjoy writing. Yes, I said it:  NJOY writing.   It is a very rewarding endeavor knowing you are knocking it out of the park, writing real time clean with a respected and professional audience depending on you.   You are at the top of your industry, and everyone in the room knows it.

 

Superior Work Ethic: Every successful freelancer/owner that I know, has been the type of reporter that I describe below.   All of these respected peers and friends came right out of school and hit the ground running (sprinting) with a superior work ethic and level of professionalism.   They smoked other reporters’ productivity with a higher level of determination and diligence.   Right from the starting gate, these “A” players had the foresight and vision to recognize opportunity, and were abundantly rewarded not only monetarily, but with a quality of career that many can only dream of.

 

Working For A Freelance Firm

 

1)  Balance: Never let your pipeline get so backlogged and loaded with notes that you can’t keep a promised deadline; but ensure that you have flexibility to put a transcript a day (or two) out of rotation.   To do this effectively you must be adept at communicating with each client about exactly what they need and expect.   Communicate, communicate, communicate.

Keeping your worries, questions and hands in your pockets, afraid to have a friendly, detailed professional discussion with each and every counsel about their expectations does NO ONE any good.  How do you relay your non-communication back to the firm owner? Additionally, non-communication is a red flag to attorneys.   They will appreciate that you are taking the time to inquire precisely what their parameters are.     If you are timid, afraid or shy, build a bridge . . . and get over it.

 

2)  Optimize Your Skills: Do not be the reporter that continually gets walked on accepting weak and infrequent workload from a firm for an extended period of time, getting so few assignments that your pipeline is always empty, as you constantly are waiting around begging for notes, like a dog in a kennel waiting for scraps from the big dogs.   If this situation exists, your skills and commitment are not being optimized and respected.   Let others sit in that kiddie pool.   The water smells there anyway.

3) Perform Like An Olympic Champion:  Respectfully eclipse your competition (other reporters in your same pool or firm) simply by outperforming them.   Just like in sports, actions and results speak louder than words.  There is no need nor place to gloat or boast, just surpass the crowd and get it done.   Everyone will see your consistent dedication, sacrifice and superior performance.   Some can hang, some can only hang on.   You decide which you want to be.

 

4) Availability: If you say you’re “available” to work Monday to Friday 8:00 to 6:00, then you are completely ready and available to that agency each and every minute of that time, not making excuses, or moaning about the assignment, or turning down work because you’ve just scheduled an unplanned mani/pedi with Monique for 2 hours.  It pays off when the quality job comes, and the owner is looking at the pool and wondering who is going to be rewarded…the productive workhorse….or the bellyacher with the fabulous toes.

 

You can catch up, edit, print, etc., on your own time, in the middle of the night and on weekends. J   We firm owners really don’t object to when, as long as it’s not on our time.   Just as long as you make yourself available for the impossible task that we have of covering/juggling multiple jobs, firms, proceedings, venues and personalities each and every day.   Sorry for the tough love, but we cannot build a business which will ultimately feed you better and more frequent work if we can’t depend on you.

 

It’s your career.   Ask yourself, “How do I see my career playing out?”    Do you want to be the “A” player, the go-to person that the coach relies on in tough situations, who is always in the game on each key play?    Or, do you want to be the casual floater your entire career, sitting on the bench, pouty-lipped murmuring, “How come they never throw ME the ball?”

You are our future, our new heroes, our Steno Olympians. Now, suit up, get in the game, and GO FOR IT!

We are all counting on you to carry the torch to others in the years to come.

 

 

Bringing 35 years/4000+ proceedings to your team:
Marty Herder, CSR, CCR,
President
Az Litigation Support, LLC.
[email protected]

 

 

 

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Important Changes Govern Court Reporting and Their Impact on Arizona Attorneys

The Supreme Court Adopts Strict Guidelines to Hiring a Court Reporter in Arizona

The Supreme Court Adopts Strict Guidelines to Hiring a Court Reporter in Arizona

Overwhelming support of the Bar at:

Important Changes to the Arizona Code of Judicial Administration

Our deepest respect and appreciation to membership of the Arizona Bar, the Court Reporting Board, the Committee on Superior Court, The Task Force on Certified Court Reporting Regulation, the Arizona Judicial Council, and the Arizona Court Reporters Association.   The recently-approved revision of ACJA 7-206 goes a long way toward the goal of protecting the public by now registering reporting firms, mandating demonstration of true equality in billing, prohibiting the reporting profession from facilitating or engaging in advocatory activities and defining protocols for increased security of the record.

 

Sen. Kimberly Yee honors the Arizona Court Reporters Association for National Court Reporting and Captioning Week

Arizona Court Reporters AssociationEarlier this year Sen. Kimberly Yee (10th LD) presented the Arizona Court Reporters Association a Senate Proclamation on the Arizona Senate Floor in honor of National Court Reporting and Captioning Week. ACRA leadership was then also introduced and recognized In Session before the full Senate body, as Sen. Yee generously praised the historical significance of court reporters and captioners in American society.

We are deeply humbled and grateful to Sen. Yee and her staff, and to the extraordinary membership that we serve.

“It’s a great day to be a court reporter!”

(Shown L to R:  Sen. Kimberly Yee, Pam Griffin, VP ACRA, Marty Herder, President ACRA, Jen Shuck, Captioning Chair, ACRA)

Top TEN Reasons To Engage The Services of A Local Reporter-Owned Court Reporting Agency

AZ Litigation Support, LLC1)  Locally-owned reporting agencies provide all the court reporting-related litigation-support services available in the national marketplace efficiently and without needless costly layers of administration under the snake oil of “economies of scale.”

2)  Independent locally-owned reporters are truly impartial, not owned by the carrier, and will not subject you and your client to unethical business practices by being contracted to a party-in-interest.  You have the right and duty to demand your client is protected from themselves at every turn in the litigation process.

3)  Your local reporter, the individual who actually attends your deposition, is personally vetted by YOU and your firm, not by an uninformed bean counter on the other side of the country who doesn’t trust your judgement, and who has been duped by a slick national marketing campaign.

4)  Locally-owned agencies reinvest money into the local and regional economies; they do not siphon off significant dollars to other states, regions, counties or countries.   You have the power to strengthen and enrich YOUR community.

5)  Locally-owned agencies have a proud long-term track record of consistent, professional commitment to providing attentive, value-added services to their market and clients.

6)  Volume discounts come with a price and are no bargain when the service rates for the network firm you have been calling are appreciably higher than the comparative service rates of your local reporter-owned reporting agency.

7)  Arizona court reporters are bound by a Code of Ethics that addresses, among other things, a prohibition on kick-back incentives for scheduling with the agency, as well as establishing contracts at below-customary rates, which would compromise, or give the appearance of compromising, the necessary impartial role of the court reporter in proceedings.  National reporting firms have used the defense that they are not bound by this same Code.   A unique defense to skirt ethical violations, until you and your client are on the opposing side.

8)  Arizona licensed CRs are required to attend continuing education seminars on relevant local rules, updates, technology and business practices in order to maintain their certification.

9)  Local reporter-owned agencies know the importance of providing upfront, itemized billing without hidden costs or overcharges to cover incentive programs.

10)  Reporter-owned agencies have been historically efficient at networking among themselves with known, personally-vetted peers to provide coverage for the legal community, and offer the highest level of service available at the most economical cost.

[Statements on this blog reflect the author’s personal opinions and do not reflect the views or policies of any other organizations or institutions with which the author is affiliated.  My opinions are not intended to malign any ethical and code-abiding organization, company, or individual.]

Alex Rodriguez Wants To Keep Video Deposition Uncirculated

Alex RodriguezA-Rod’s lawyers want to ensure privacy of the Record as he is being questioned about personal medical issues.  Rightfully, the judge has indicated, as with EVERY witness, that there are valid concerns about sensitive medical queries becoming public, as A-Rod’s counsel seeks to avoid leaks of his testimony.
But what about your client’s transcript?  Or, is your client making you an accomplice to violating Federal HIPAA compliance?

What if the reporter works for a national, third-party contracted firm that, like most, are completely unregulated by the host state in which the deposition is being taken?

Once that …reporter “turns in” the electronic file of the transcript to his/her out-of-state contractor, (shares custody/control), what protection or prohibition is there from that testimony & private personal information going public once it resides in the massive database of the out-of-state, unregulated, third-party contractor and their carrier clients?

These are the issues that state leadership across the country demand that we in the legal and reporting community address and shore up, in spite of all the feigned indignation that we would dare impugn the Great and Powerful Oz, who publicly market and advertise that they pass around data with their other clients like Chiclets at a border crossing.

Alex Rodriguez Wants To Keep Video Deposition Uncirculated

Phoenix Arizona Court Reporter Marty Herder on Jodi Arias Murder trial

Fox 10 News interview of court reporter Marty Herder, President of Arizona Litigation Support, during the Jodi Arias murder trial. Detailed and informative insight into the challenges of his fellow professional court reporters in a adversarial, high-tech, high-profile industry. “How Do Court Reporters Keep Up?”

The Lemonade Stand – The pitfalls of bloated third-party middlemen in the court reporting industry

A lighthearted look at the limits of economies of scale, beyond which you really see dis-economies of scale: more complexity and bloated management layers and administrative costs. “You learn pretty early in life: Too many middlemen are bad for business.”