50th Anniversary of First Moon Walk

Today we are mesmerized by the 50th Anniversary of the first walk on the moon. Our young newly-blended family lived in Central Florida, with “new Dad” a bright engineer working in the space program. He was delighted to wake us up at dawn to gather in the front yard so he could show his new sons “dad’s rockets” as each satellite and Gemini project launched. I miss Dad, the son of non-English speaking Ellis Island immigrants, who learned to speak English in first grade, “from the wrong side of the tracks” who respected the importance of totally assimilating into the country that he loved dearly and later proudly served as a Navy man. Dad went on to become a Villanova graduate and the epitome of the opportunity, freedom and greatness that America has to offer. I’m blessed that the memories are still crisp of the summer of 1969, standing there beneath the palms with my older brother, holding my new baby sister, engulfed by the humid Florida air permeated by the aroma of the citrus groves. We sometimes struggled to keep up as Dad enthusiastically explained jet propulsion, gravity and orbital circumnavigation. We were in awe in many respects, as a family and as a country. We were finally a whole family, reunited, static, safe, loved. And, the country was healing, united for an electrifying snapshot in time as Americans were authoring a new chapter in the history of mankind. Strangers from every walk of life, background, race and religion gathered around TVs everywhere, in stores, offices, restaurants and homes. For a moment, people were uniquely united and proud to be a part of something bigger: Being American.

I’m proud of dad, of his peers, his industry and of our country. They pursued greatness and achieved the impossible. They brought diverse groups of people together through their efforts, even if only for a moment. My heart and respect goes out to all the men and women of the space program who have dedicated their lives to this amazing and noble pursuit.

, ,

Service Above Self

(From the Arizona Court Reporters Association publication ArizoNotes, Spring 2019, Volume 47, Number 1 )

Hi friends. First, my thanks and appreciation to our ACRA board and our AzNotes editor for their selfless contribution each and every week to our profession. Also, a shout-out to all of those who have served before over the years. Thanks to each of you, we as a court reporting family are better situated, better prepared and better informed.

My father-in-law Harold, (“H”) was a force to be reckoned with. Direct, bold, successful, yet extremely generous with his time. I particularly enjoyed and respected his business acumen and sense of community participation. H was a Rotarian, and he planted the seed of volunteerism from the day I first started dating his lovely daughter, Ann.

One day after a depo a client, who I also respect deeply, brought up joining Rotary. With an infectious smile, he invited me to breakfast at the Chandler-Horizon Rotary Club. That was 17 years ago. At the time Ann and I were overwhelmed. We were building a brand new business. We had a two-year old and a newborn, and we had just moved into a new house in the middle of nowhere, miles further out than I’d ever commuted before. Also, I was commuting back and forth to Los Angeles several times a month to comfort mom during her battle with cancer. I remember driving to my first Rotary meeting thinking, “What am I doing? I’ve got no time in my schedule doing charity work for strangers.”

I could not have been more wrong. I, like many, had no perception of the profound and positive influence a life of “Service Above Self” would have on me, my family, my friends, and most importantly those that we serve.

The Chandler-Horizon Rotary Club is an award-winning, dynamic Chapter of Rotary International . We work tirelessly throughout the year, volunteering with many organizations and causes to provide extra hands, love, and our commitment to help in order to make sure that as many needs as possible are met.

Is it exhausting? Sometimes. But, it’s been one of the most joyful and rewarding decisions of my life. The men and women of our Rotary “family” like most volunteers, are the most kind and giving human beings you will ever know. Whether its Saturday mornings at food banks, Friday night fundraisers, or weekdays volunteering at a local shelter, each week is a new opportunity for adventure with other enthusiastic community volunteers from all backgrounds and walks of life. I have learned that volunteerism is an amazing way to broaden your life experience while having a tangible, positive impact on your community

When Hurricane Harvey hit land, we Rotarians hit the ground running, tirelessly collecting supplies and emergency funds for victims, and sending a team to Houston to rebuild homes.

In 2018 alone I was privileged to be a part of many of our ongoing fundraisers and efforts for the Desert Cancer Foundation of Arizona, Foundation for Burns & Trauma, building storage rooms for The Clothes Cabin, helping build a well in Nigeria, fundraising for an eye clinic and water project in India, providing natural disaster Shelter Boxes to Haiti, working with Hope Crisis Animal Assistance, participating in The Rotary Third Grade Dictionary Project, boxing food for Feed My Starving Children, United Food Bank, and the Chandler Food Bank (Azcend).

In December, there was the tearful, but rewarding “Juguetes para niños” (Toys for Tots) in the expansive barrio of Puerto Penasco, Mexico helping “Santa” distribute 100s of toys, clothes and food to poverty-stricken masses of children.

I’ve stood crying with veterans of all ages organizing the Healing Field at Tempe Beach Park, and laughed with grateful 4th graders during the Back-to-School Backpack Project.

Apparently passion is contagious, as both of my teen daughters have spent their high school spring breaks and vacations on mission trips volunteering around the country. My youngest (16) went to Malawi Africa last summer with a team to support the medical clinic and orphanage.

Ask anyone who knew me 30 years ago, and they’ll tell you that Rotary and a life of “Service Above Self” has changed my life in more ways than I’ll ever be able to repay.

We’re all in this chaos together, with our insane schedules and busy beyond comprehension, right? But, think about this: The need is equally overwhelming. The world needs more people like YOU.

So, wherever you’re at in life, whatever you current level of service work or charity is, the next time you ask yourself, “What can I do?”
The answer is simple: “More.”

Preparing an Expert Witness

preparing an expert witness

Are you preparing an expert witness for an upcoming court case? Understand that it takes time to find the right expert and to prepare them for your case. Because they are specialized in their field or on a particular topic, they may be challenging to handle. Couple that with your expertise and familiarity with the case, and the interaction could be challenging. Remember why you’ve hired them – to offer their insight and experience that can ultimately help or hinder your case.

Begin by asking why you need an expert to testify.

There are a variety of reasons to request an expert witness to testify. These include clarifying or explaining a complex portion of the case for the jury, requirement of the law depending on the jurisdiction, or an expert to oppose another expert witness. Forensic experts are perhaps the most commonly seen not only on television shows but also cases like the Casey Anthony or OJ Simpson trials where evidence needs to be explained in a way the jury can understand.

Once an expert has been hired, address the key reasons they are needed for the case.

You’re the attorney so you know the case best. You know why the witness was hired so you can focus them on that portion of the strategy whether that’s the cause of death for Caylee Anthony, OJ’s leather glove, or something else. That way your legal team can make the most of preparing an expert witness, including requesting that they begin developing their testimony. Oftentimes witness prep time is limited so it’s important to focus them right from the start.

Let the expert give the tough testimony.

Preserve your relationship with your client by letting the expert talk about unfavorable portions of the case rather than you. That will maintain the trust you’ve developed with your client which is especially important if they are also one of the witnesses taking the stand. Rogue witnesses or clients are only good for plot points on television or in the movies. In real life, they can screw up a case and make your job a lot more challenging.

Preparing an expert witness is about what they say, not necessarily how they say it.

Some experts have the false impression that they need to sound a certain way to be taken seriously and that’s not true. They simply have to offer their expertise to support your client’s case. Jurors tend not to play well with experts who are arrogant, for example, and tend to connect more with folks who are like them. Take that into consideration when you hire an expert.

As with any other witness, remind them that it is okay to ask for clarification or to say they don’t know the answer. They’re people just like us and the jury will appreciate the honesty. Preparing an expert witness, or any witness, takes time and effort from the legal team but it is worth it when the case ends in favor of your Phoenix client.

,

Best Practice Tips and Social Media Ideas For Legal Professionals

Social Media Ideas For Legal Professionals

It’s no longer a viable option for legal professionals in Phoenix, Arizona to avoid social media or even blogging. If your firm isn’t interacting online and doesn’t have an online presence, and the attorney down the street does, you are missing an opportunity to market your firm and your services in a way, and in a place, in which your potential clients gather. Social media ideas for legal professionals begins with understanding professional standards so you can align you firm with best practices.

As with any profession, there are specific business practices to which the firm must adhere. That is nowhere as true as in the legal profession. An attorney or court reporter must never share information that could be construed as legal advice or legal opinion online. Likewise, divulging sensitive information must be carefully considered, if not altogether avoided.

Here are our best practice tips and social media ideas for legal professionals

Posting articles and information from credible sources on your social media pages and your blog as you’re building your brand and making connections will help improve your credibility and provide content for search engines to better understand who you are and what you do.

Being online, having a website and being active on social media is an ideal way to build your brand. Brand building keeps you front of mind for the time when a reader needs to reach out to you for a legal matter. Brand building doesn’t mean constantly “selling” to your followers but becoming a thought leader in your industry.

Be selective.

Don’t “friend” or add everyone you know. Be selective. Set your privacy settings to the highest levels so that your personal information isn’t being shared with the public. If you have a personal page, be cautious about what you share and what you say.

Never share advice.

You never want to share what can be construed as a legal opinion or advice. Never talk about an ongoing case unless it’s already been covered by a major news source or is already public information.

Be ethical.

This should go without saying, but it is important to keep in mind that ethics matter online as well as in the courtroom or your office. Anything you say can, and probably will, be used against you.

If you’ve decided to put your law firm on social media and to start blogging for your Phoenix, Arizona firm, one of our final suggestions is to be consistent. If you add social media and marketing to your overall marketing strategy, be consistent and complete all of your social media profiles fully.

Steps to Become a Legal Videographer

Become a Legal Videographer

Are you looking for a career that has the potential for you to potentially never work the same day twice? A career that won’t have you performing the same task with no uniqueness to your workday? If you have an eye for detail and are looking for an intriguing career, have you researched how to become a legal videographer?

Legal Videography Today

Technological advancements have made legal proceedings more efficient and legal practitioners who use legal videographers are becoming more effective in the capture of legal proceedings. This mean that there has been an increase in tech-centric legal support careers.

One of those careers is legal videographer. This individual, also known as a court videographer or a forensic videographer is charged with using video equipment to record “digital images for court proceedings.” There are times this individual will be called upon to replay the information they have recorded at trial.

A legal videographer is in the courtroom to capture video imagery used in wills, courtroom presentation, reconstructing incidents, documentaries, fraud evidence and more.

What are the steps you need to take to become a legal videographer in Phoenix, Arizona? Here are a few to consider.

Certification

It isn’t necessary to have a certificate in order to pursue a career as a legal videographer, but it never hurts to pursue one. The courses that a legal videographer takes will only serve to enhance his or her career.

Certificates and additional education to consider include: videography, editing, criminology and/or forensics; the last two will help you if you’re looking to specialize in a specific type of courtroom videography.

Equipment 

Let’s first dispel the notion that a legal videographer in Phoenix, Arizona or any part of the country can use a smart phone as his or her video equipment. You will need to show your professionalism by investing in a video-camera – film or digital, a tripod, handheld lighting, monitors, editing equipment and a high quality microphone. You will also need to invest in a computer that is equipped with video editing software so you are able to edit clips and footage.

Practice your technique by shooting short films on your own. Practice your editing skills. “Interview” friends and family in different settings so you can hone in on the lighting and the microphone quality you’re capturing.

Don’t feel you need to rush choosing your specialty.

If you want to specialize, many Phoenix, AZ legal videographers do, talk with others in your profession to see how they feel about their specialization. Do you have a particular interest in a legal field in which you’d like to become a legal videographer? Know your personality and that will also help you determine the types of cases you’d feel comfortable being in the courtroom recording.

Professionalism

Shooting a legal video is only a portion of the job of a legal videographer. You will need to edit clips or present raw video to whomever requests it. Remember, not everything you will be recording will be exciting, but you need to pay attention to whatever you’re recording so as to not miss any crucial nuances.

Always having a business mindset will keep you focused and will keep you in demand for your skills.

Legal videographers appear to be in high demand. If you’re looking for a career with growth potential and you love being behind the camera, pay attention to detail and are professional, this may be the career path you’ve been seeking.

For more information about how to become a legal videographer or court reporter, please contact Marty Herder at Herder and Associates in Phoenix, Arizona.

Step Away from the Phoenix Law Office and Embrace Spring Fun

Phoenix Law Office

While the rest of the country is experiencing snow, wind, and ice, even as they’re springing their clocks forward, we encourage you to step away from the Phoenix law office and embrace spring fun! From Cactus League Major League Spring Training games to arts and food festivals, the valley is hopping with activity for singles, couples, families, and winter visitors.

Let’s root root root for the home team!

Whether you’re a Diamondbacks, Cubs, Giants or a fan of the dozen other Major League baseball teams that play in the Cactus League, take an afternoon off from your Phoenix law firm to enjoy America’s past time with your colleagues and families. Lawn seats are perfect for young families as it gives the kids space to play. Older kids, and their parents, can enjoy up close seats right behind home plate to see veterans and up and coming rookies take to the field.

Missed the Cactus League season? Check out the Arizona Diamondbacks regular season games under the roof in a cool-ish 75 degree environment. 

Take a hike. 

Whether you’re a novice or seasoned hiker, this time of year is perfect for a day outside. Wear hiking shoes, sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses and bring water and snacks. You never know when you may go off trail by accident and need a few supplies to get you back to the parking lot. Not only that but if you’re not used to being outside in the Arizona sunshine, you will dehydrate more quickly making water and a sports drink or electrolytes an important part of your hiking backpack.

Not ready for a big hike but want to enjoy the cool weather?

Google “hiking Arizona” to find resources for the best trails. If you’re not sure where to start, I recommend a nature walk at the Riparian Preserve in Gilbert, the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, or Papago Park. Other options include festivals and food centered events like the Aloha Festival in Tempe.

Anything to get you out of your Phoenix law office and into the sunshine is perfect this time of year! Have fun. Stay safe. We will be here to help you and your clients when you get back.

If HAL 9000 were Alexa…

If HAL 9000 were Alexa

If you’re a fan of sci-fi movies, the name HAL 9000 is likely familiar. Developed long before Siri or Alexa, HAL 9000 is the artificial intelligence that controls the systems of the Discovery One spaceship in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. That got us thinking about if HAL 9000 were Alexa, what would it be like? We took our search to YouTube and found this video that gave us a chuckle:

Open the pod bay doors, Alexa. 

Alexa: Searching for cod recipes online.

The video continues through a series of misheard commands that would undoubtedly lead the spaceship to unintended places. If you’ve tried to use Alexa, you likely had some of these moments yourself!

What does HAL 9000 have to do with court reporting?

For years we’ve been hearing about how speech recognition software like For the Record may replace the verbatim court reporter but these claims ignore important aspects of the role of Phoenix court reporters.

The claims ignore that trial and deposition testimony is filled with unique challenges that speech recognition cannot overcome like people talking over or interrupting each other or low talkers (remember that Seinfeld episode?). If we utilize speech recognition technology in conversations or meetings where people frequently interrupt each other or talk over one another, such as in a deposition, it’s likely to be a poor recording that is challenging for a court reporter to transcribe.

The problem with digital recordings is that they aren’t done by humans.

Variations in the pronunciation of words, unwanted ambient noises, homonyms, as well individual dialects and accents create challenges for a machine that is simply recording. “There” and “their,” “air” and “heir,” “be” and “bee” are all examples. There is no way for a speech recognition program to tell the difference between these words based on sound alone.

This software also faces other problems with the type of hardware used to input the sound, as the results can have a huge impact in how the software will interpret the speech.

The idea of replacing a sworn officer of the court who is also witnessing and recording each of these nuances leaves keeping of the official record vulnerable and open to inaccuracy. In spite of challenges in our industry including a court reporter shortage, the Certified Professional Court Reporter remains the gold standard for producing a real-time verbatim record.

If you’re in need of a court reporter for an upcoming deposition, contact Herder and Associates today!

Press Release: Leader in Court Reporting in the Southwest Accelerates Growth with Relocation to Central Business District of Phoenix

This press release was originally published here

 

Herder & Associates Court Reporters are pleased to announce the relocation and expansion of their Phoenix headquarters to the prestigious Renaissance Center, Two North Central, Suite 1800, Phoenix, Arizona, 85004. They are poised for growth as they join many of Arizona’s elite law firms. 

“Bigger, stronger, and faster are our growth goals,” says founder Marty Herder, “With five offices throughout Arizona, the decision to expand our headquarters in the Phoenix area was a logical step in our business strategy. This move increases our ability to serve current and future clients across the state and country.”

The investment in expansion reinforces Herder’s 40-year roots in Phoenix and provides the leader in Southwest court reporting firms the technology and manpower necessary to support continuous growth in an evolving market. Herder & Associates is the turnkey reporting firm for Arizona depositions in an inspiring and energizing environment.

Located in the heart of Phoenix’s central business district, One Renaissance Tower is in the heart of downtown.

Its exclusive location offers the best access to government buildings, Arizona State University downtown campus, and professional sports and entertainment venues. Fine hotels and the Metro Light Rail Station are nearby making it easily accessible to clients and exciting for the team to explore downtown Phoenix shopping, restaurants, arts, and theatre including CityScape which is just across the street, or take in a Suns basketball game or Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game.

Herder & Associates is a leader in the court reporting industry. The firm offers state-of-the-art, certified professional court reporters for every aspect of litigation, hearing, arbitration testimony, with a diverse range of clients. State of Arizona and federally-approved contract vendor, with an excellent reputation for integrity and professionalism in both the reporting and legal industry.

Superior cost-containment with personalized professional service. Full-spectrum elite national experience providing tailor-made service for your litigation. Specialties include large complex civil litigation requiring full commitment and organization during discovery of an elite team of experienced professional reporters. Visit www.CourtReportersAZ.com.

Moving Your Phoenix Law Firm?

Moving Your Phoenix Law Firm

With the New Year comes new decisions like moving your Phoenix law firm. At Herder and Associates, we’re set to move our headquarters to the prestigious Renaissance Center in central Phoenix as we grow our court reporting firm. The move increases our ability to serve current and future clients in Arizona and across the nation. Relocating is exciting but it also comes with decisions and planning.

Why are you moving your Phoenix law firm?

Whether it’s to move out of your home office into executive suites, add people to your legal team, or to grab space at a prestigious location, there are considerations to be made. If you’re moving simply to be in the new development, we caution you to look at the complete picture before signing a new lease. Consider the following:

  • What’s the cost to get out of your current lease? It could be cost prohibitive to leave your current location if you have to break a lease.
  • What’s the cost per square foot at the current location versus the new location? Brand new offices tend to have a higher per square foot cost than older buildings.
  • Why do you want to leave your current location? If it’s because you want less walls and more open workspace, think about renovating instead of moving. It may cost less and get you the same results.

It’s grand to think about having the corner office with a view of downtown but if your current office is suiting your needs, it might not be time to move. On the other hand, if your law firm is poised for expansion and has the resources to move, it may be worth it to have a new address and more space.

What’s the cost of moving?

The costs of moving aren’t as simple as packing boxes. In addition to the cost of breaking a lease that I mentioned earlier, there are costs like hiring professional movers and the design and build of the new office to fit the needs of your firm.

  • Office furniture – Are you going to move old furniture into your new office? Either way you’ll need to either get rid of it or move it. If you get rid of it, there’s the cost of purchasing new furniture.
  • Wiring for technology – The new space may need to be hardwired for internet, phones, and servers.
  • Data Security – Even if you don’t have someone full-time on staff, consider hiring an IT firm to act as Chief IT Officer for you law firm ensuring your client and case information is securely stored and safe from hackers.

As your Phoenix law firm expands, there will likely be additional cost considerations.

What’s your plan for moving?

If you’ve decided it’s time to move your firm, plan ahead to make sure moving day is as smooth as possible.

  • Hire professional movers. Ask their advice about what you pack, what they pack, and if the move needs to be over a series of days or weeks. The larger your firm, the more likely the move will need to be done in phases.
  • Assign a team member to coordinate the move. They can communicate with the movers as well as with the rest of the team to develop a timeline of what needs to be done and by whom.
  • Don’t move everything. Take stock of what you need to move, what can be placed in storage, and what can be thrown away or recycled. You may even be able to sell old office furniture though likely not for the same amount as what you paid for it.

With a fair amount of analysis and planning, we’re sure your move will be a good one!

For us, the investment in expansion reinforces our roots in Phoenix and enables us to serve our clients, delivering high quality transcripts accurately and on-time. Contact us today to schedule your next deposition.

,

The Best Court Reporters in Phoenix Have These Qualities

Best Court Reporters in Phoenix

Just this week I saw a post on social media asking where current phone books could be acquired and the comments were hilarious. While one response was to set up a time machine and go back a few decades, most were along the lines of, “check Google,” and, “as long as you’re here in this neighborhood group, just ask us.” While I don’t know why they wanted the yellow pages, I suspect they were a student conducting research or someone seeking a simpler way of finding information. If they were looking for the best court reporters in Phoenix, I would’ve recommended they call Herder and Associates!

Our full-service court reporting agency specializes in utilizing state of the art technology and certified professional court reporters for every aspect of litigation, hearing and arbitration testimony, and audio transcription. 

If you’re an Arizona attorney in need of a court reporter, keep these qualities in mind.

Technical Expertise

We specialize in large, complex cases which means there is no room for technical errors. Our court reporters use the latest technology to capture and transcribe testimony and are familiar with industry-specific vocabulary and medical terms. While this should be the standard, it isn’t always the case; we’re dedicated to making sure you’ve got the best court reporter for your case.

Accuracy 

Whether you’re calling someone from the yellow pages or you’re an attorney reviewing witness testimony, what you’re reading has to be correct right down to the last word. In addition to being the record of exactly what was said at the legal proceeding, our work must be free of errors, typos, and grammatical errors.

Speed 

When it comes to the best court reporters in Phoenix, it’s not enough to have a high rate of accuracy. Our court reporters are also able to type quickly while listening and capturing all of the speakers throughout a case. When legal teams talk over one another or when a witness simply points to answer a question, it can make for a challenging day!

Focus

A distracted court reporter isn’t nearly as effective as a focused one for the simple reason that in order to capture what is happening, they need to concentrate. There’s no checking messages or updating social media when they’re working. Not only that but proceedings can be long and tedious so reporters need to be on their game and able to effectively deliver the transcript on-time and accurately to our clients.

Whether you found us in the yellow pages, Google, or another way, we’d love to work with you. We strive to work with the best court reporters in Phoenix who have a combination of qualities that include speed, accuracy, technical expertise, focus, and experience. If you’re looking for the best of the best, give Herder and Associates a call to schedule your next deposition.