We are in opposition of the suggested rule changes. Death penalty cases, felony jury trials, and abortion without parental consent cases are just too important to risk to the inherent inefficiencies of electronic recording because life and liberty are inextricably dependent on a clear and accurate record. Please vote against any changes to the current rules.
 
This new language does NOT require that the courts make an attempt to schedule a certified reporter EVEN IF REQUESTED by a party, it is left to the discretion of the Court, which is contrary to SB1267.
 
Please submit your public comments in opposition to R-20-20013, Petition to Amend Various Rules of Procedure Related to Creating the Verbatim Record of Judicial Proceedings by NOVEMBER 1, 2021 at: https://www.azcourts.gov/Rules-Forum/aff/123
 
• The legislative process in passing SB 1267 is undermined and the proposed rules do not follow the Administrative Office of the Court’s own verbatim testimony during the legislative process of the reasoning and intent of SB 1267. The Administrative Office of the Court is attempting to create not a huge disservice to the litigants but to our judicial system. Please vote against any change to the current rules.
 
• Certified Reporters have ethical responsibilities in taking down testimony and in the production of the transcripts. These areas are instances where people’s lives and liberty are at stake. To rely on electronic recording leaves too many opportunities for error. Please vote against any changes to the current rules.
 
• The Keeping the Record Committee in 2005 did a thorough study with all stakeholders present regarding hat court hearings needed a certified court reporter to preserve testimony and what the best practices were. Nothing has changed since 2005 that would warrant changing the policy determinations previously made by the Arizona Supreme Court. People’s lives and liberty are at stake, and relying on electronic recording to create the record would be a major injustice. Please vote against any changes to the current
rules.
 
• The SKREM Task Force in 2019 was a rushed process and the resulting Final Report, where some of these suggested rule changes came from, are not in the public interest and are outdated based on newer information and standard practice. Please vote against any change to the current rules.
Remote Depositions in a Pandemic World

If you’re tired of hearing about the pandemic, you’re not alone. Like many of you, our business model adjusted to the new reality that our volume of remote depositions in a pandemic world increased, while at the same time the need for in-person depositions decreased. Okay, maybe not the need, but for the safety of everyone, attorneys increasingly turned to remote options.

While our court reporting team has been part of many remote depositions, the need to learn more and be aware of changes as a result of the pandemic was a new experience.

Other changes we noticed were in the volume of travel opportunities for court reporters as well as learning more about Zoom and its features. Like you, we had to improve our deliverables as we all became remote workers, court reporters, attorneys, paralegals, and witnesses.

  • 50% is the number estimated for the rate of ongoing remote depositions even as we move toward an in-person world again.
  • There is worry from court reporters who work in courts that their job will become unnecessary. That is to be determined, and likely on a state-by-state basis, and based on the severity of the crime, as has always been the case.
  • Court cases continue to be conducted, even through 2020, and there is still a court reporter shortage, increasing opportunities like travel and working remotely on depositions.

We say this all because how we conduct depositions has changed over the last couple of years and we wanted to share what we’ve learned.

Here are our tips for remote depositions:

  • Educate yourself on the latest technology. It is often the court reporters that arrive early to a deposition, even a remote one, to make sure everyone has access to the Zoom meeting.
  • Create a secure meeting. When scheduling on Zoom, check the settings to be sure there is a passcode required and a unique link. This will help prevent the Zoom hackers from joining the meeting.
  • Organize exhibits. Keep track of exhibits by organizing them into folders on your computer as they are presented so you can refer back to them.
  • Work with the attorneys. As you’re preparing for the remote deposition, remind the paralegals and attorneys that large exhibits should be in zip files, so they are easily shareable. Ask if anyone, including the deponent, is challenged by technology, and assist in their set up.
  • Sharing of exhibits. Be sure to have a way to share exhibits between attorneys, typically a secure file share system.

For some, the idea of remote depositions is relatively new, at least in practice. This makes it important to be detailed in your communications and to arrive ahead of time to handle remote deposition tech issues.

If you’re interested in scheduling a deposition in Phoenix or surrounding areas, call Herder and Associates at 480-481-0649 today!

 Rotary: People of Action

     As we all begin to take a deep breath, we find time to soak in the final statistics of an amazing April of Rotary in Arizona.

     Rotarians held over 60 projects all over Arizona.  Nearly 1,000 lbs. of trash were picked up in the Verde Valley, so much food was raised in Goodyear that American Furniture Warehouse is temporarily storing the excess, and (my personal favorite) food banks and schools were renovated and cleaned up in Chandler! Over 1,000 backpacks were filled with school supplies for Title 1 schools – pencil pouches, masks, hairbrushes, notebooks, so much more! Gardens and parks were cleaned up all over the state! Trees were planted! Hygiene kits were packed! Peace poles were brought to cities. The entire community in Prescott came together to raise money for local food banks.

 

     Was thinking out of the box always comfortable? Oh hell no.  Was it at times exhausting?   You betcha.  But the tragic ramifications on the impoverished due to the massive shutdowns from Covid screamed for Rotarians to quickly pivot, to step up, to be pressed to the limit.  After 18 months of tirelessly serving our communities during the peak of Covid, this fast-tracked behemoth undertaking was the brainchild of our outstanding District 5495 leadership and District Governor Elizabeth Mahoney, and Southeast Valley leadership of ADG Ed Anderson, as they encouraged, pressed, and supported we club presidents and our boards across the state to propel Arizona out of the starting blocks and rapidly emerge from the global pandemic.

     In an overwhelmingly short time, Rotarians embraced massive undertakings, engaging all generations. We had young children of Rotarians out at food drives and parks, Jr. High and High school Interact students at projects all over the state, Rotaractors in every city of the state, and positive, upbeat Rotarians even into their 90’s enthusiastically jumping into the challenge.

 

     Throughout history Rotary has stepped in and manned the front lines of every epidemic and catastrophe.  Thanks to selfless Rotarians and those who support us this has been a season to remember, a season to be proud of, a season of Service Above Self.   This is who we are.  This is who we have always been.

 

     Please, come join us. Your life will never be the same.

 

     Marty Herder, President
     Chandler Horizon Rotary
Resolutions for 2021

When the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2021, I felt a sense of optimism but also the weight of 2020. Many of us feel like that. While some choose to bulldoze forward, others are more cautious. Whatever you’ve chosen for your resolutions for 2021, you’re doing what is best for you. If you’re like many of the people I’ve spoken to in the last couple of weeks, there are a few schools of thought.

  • Focus solely on your personal life. Turn off the news and social media.
  • Forget your resolutions for 2021 and focus on politics and social media.
  • Find a delicate balance of understanding current events while focusing on positives like family and friends, health, wealth, and happiness.

I highly recommend the third option as it keeps you informed while not consumed. If you’re not sure what to do for your resolutions in 2021 or have gotten off track, let’s discuss ways to stay grounded in a crazy world.

  1. Name three areas of your life where you’d like to focus. Faith, family, business, health, and wealth are among the most popular. Of course, these can be further broken down if you’d like. Business, for example, can be broken down into business development, accounting, marketing, etc., as can the other areas, keeping in mind that the goals should be attainable.
  2. Keep it simple. Choose a 12-week planning option and set reasonable and attainable goals for yourself and your business. Exercise every other day; that can mean a walk or a full workout, that’s your choice. Eat more vegetables or less takeout. Watch a movie with your family once a week. Whatever your goals, keep them simple. The world is pretty complicated right now so give yourself a break.
  3. Forgive those who have hurt you. Author and wellness coach Sweta Vikram suggests that forgiveness is quite freeing for your own soul in her article The Key Ingredient for Emotional Healing, and that by forgiving others, we can move on. 2020 was rough on many levels and it’s time to forgive. Forgiving others doesn’t mean you need to engage with them again, only that you’ve dealt with the hurt and moved on.
  4. Take action. If you’re focused on political change, write letters, and call your politicians. Give back to your community by volunteering. Rewrite your resume. Publish an article a month. Connect with networking contacts you haven’t seen in a while. Take one simple action each day or week toward your goals.
  5. Set 30 minutes a week to assess where you are in relation to your big goals.
  6. Make adjustments to your goals as needed. This is where I love the idea of 12-week goals because it means smaller building blocks toward a big goal rather than the daunting task of meeting a big goal. It also affords you the opportunity to assess and make adjustments throughout the year.

In other words, eat the elephant one bite at a time. 2021 isn’t a separate year from 2020. In a lot of ways, it feels like 2020 has a hangover so take your time and give yourself the grace to make changes as you walk through this year. If you’re struggling, find people and resources to help you. You’re not alone and we wish you all the best for the new year!

Trial lawyers and judges across the country agree on one thing right now:  There is a dire need to keep moving forward, to proceed with hearings and depositions by virtual and remote means.  This is not the time for delay tactics or gamesmanship, as it is predicted that dockets will be packed and backlogged for months whenever things resume.  Courts are already becoming overwhelmed with pending cases, rescheduled court dates and other deadlines.

The Covid-19 shutdown will undoubtedly end up delaying cases even further than most could have ever anticipated when they first chose to be idle.   At this point one must consider that each delayed date exponentially impacts the others in a case in a domino effect, with each delay critically impacting your client’s case. 

Will your client wait?   Will your practice?  

Our current reality of social distancing calls for physical distancing, not for locking up all progress and productivity.  We must be committed to keep any momentum going, no matter how small or incremental.  Keep moving forward, today, and the next and the next. 

                                         Commitment Ignites Momentum

Procrastinating (or accepting your opponent’s desire to do so) won’t help you win your case.  Don’t let your circumstances define your progress.  This doesn’t mean that you ignore the reality of our current situation.  It means that you proactively find a solution to promptly overcome the challenges that you’re up against, just like you have your entire career.   Assess, Adapt and Overcome.

Even the Supreme Court announced on Monday that it would hear arguments by telephone over six days in May. 

You’ve spent countless hours, years, building solid momentum in your career and in your practice.   Why let it come to a screeching halt, or unnecessarily concede to slog through decreased productivity and lost momentum?   

“We’re going to have to completely rethink how much has to be done in person, how much can be done using technology” Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht recently shared with ABC News.

Many of your clients may be suffering massive losses right now, but that does not change the fact that they fully expect you to quickly figure out how to keep the momentum of their case moving forward, no matter what. 

T.Harv Eker said,  “The world doesn’t need more people playing small. It’s time to stop hiding out and start stepping out. It’s time to stop needing and start leading.”

Pro Tip:  First, identify a handful of key people who have a proven track record, a superior work ethic and reputation, and the desire to help you move forward.  Herder & Associates Court Reporters is your experienced resource to help you navigate your transition to encrypted, password-protected remote video proceedings.  It is time to move past any hesitation or roadblocks you have and keep the momentum going.   

Call today: (480)481-0649 or email at: [email protected]  

Be well and stay healthy.

Random Acts of Kindness 2020

To say 2020 has been challenging is an understatement. The pandemic has brought stressors and unanticipated needs to families and businesses around the globe. At Herder and Associates, staff, friends and family are making a difference and is supporting random acts of kindness in 2020 and they aren’t the only one.  We encourage you to do the same.

Court Reporters: Random Acts of Kindness

The Journal of Court Reporting shared the story of a Facebook group dedicated to promoting random acts of kindness within the court reporting community, including monetary donations to those in need.

What started with a handful of friends wanting to raise $500 has grown to more than 1,200 members who have raised more than $21,500. The group has been able to help other reporters with upgraded equipment, payment for a student’s Case CATalyst software, paying for NCRA membership, reimbursing the cost of books, and purchasing a replacement chair for a reporter with back issues. In addition, the group has received donations of equipment that has helped reporters and students in need.

Rotary is doing its part worldwide in the community.

Random Acts of Kindness

Like Rotarians everywhere, Chandler Horizon Rotary tirelessly looks for ways to practice Service Above Self in everything they do to help the community.  As an award-winning chapter of Rotary International,  CHR has raised over $700,000 for charity.  The proceeds of their all-volunteer events are earmarked for charities in Chandler and surrounding communities.  Since becoming President of the Chandler Horizon Rotary just four months ago on July 1, 2020, Marty Herder and Chandler Horizon Rotary have stepped up their “boots on the ground” work, providing random acts of kindness across the city and beyond:

  • Donated eight laptops to the Chandler Unified School District for students in need during COVID-19 so they can study safely from home.
  • Participated in Chandler’s 2020 Back to School initiative, the largest back to school collaborative drive for Chandler Students in need.
  • Feeding the homeless through the Interfaith Homeless Emergency Lodging Program (i-HELP).
  • Donated over 700 vaccines to Rotary International’s End Polio Program
  • Participated in the Red Cross Blood Drive
  • Donated 661 packages of much-needed diapers and 955 wipes to the Fans Across America This organization provides daily living necessities to homeless students and their families, families in transition, and children and victims of domestic violence.
  • Provided hundreds of blankets to the homeless adults with the Aris Foundation.

What can you do to practice random acts of kindness in 2020?

With the pandemic leaving so many in need, it is the perfect time to give of yourself, if you can safely do so. Here are ways to give that don’t take much time or money:

  • Giving blood.
  • Performing small acts like holding doors, saying please and thank you, and giving positive online reviews of small businesses.
  • Connecting job seekers with key people at your company or in your network.
  • Mentoring a new court reporter or someone interested in your area of expertise.
  • Sharing positive Good News stories on social media.
  • Offering solutions like participating in a canned food drive or volunteering at a food bank or soup kitchen.
  • Volunteering to help older adults with grocery shopping or other tasks.

Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

At Herder and Associates, we live each day committed to Rotary’s “Service Above Self” motto, striving to make a difference in the world one small act at a time.    We encourage you to do the same.   Check out your local Rotary Club.  Your life will never be the same.  Cheers!

staying fit during covid-19

I’ve been an advocate of fitness nearly my entire life. In whatever capacity you’re able, I encourage you to get moving. This is especially important during COVID-19. Why? Because exercise decreases stress in the body, stimulates the immune system, and increases productivity. If you love your gym, staying fit during COVID-19 means abiding by new gym rules, which look and feel different than before the pandemic.

Current State of Business

As gyms in Arizona begin to re-open (again), and as law firms are inviting employees back to the office, even on a voluntary or as-needed basis, there are cleaning protocols that need to be in place. Employees and, in the case of gyms, members, need to be educated about new rules and expectations.

JD Supra comments that, “Although it may be tempting to reopen as soon as possible, be sure to take the time necessary and to work with counsel to figure out how to exercise a new normal while avoiding potential risks. This will not only ensure a safe workplace for employees but also help to avoid future litigation.”

I agree with that statement. I’d add that there is no guarantee that any business will be allowed to stay open, especially if protocols are not followed.

Staying Fit During COVID-19

If you love working out at a gym like I do, I highly recommend asking your fitness center what you need to do as a member to keep everyone safe.

  • Go at a less crowded time of day, like mid-day.
  • Wear a mask while working out.
  • Wipe equipment before and after each use.
  • Bring your own water to avoid sharing a water fountain.

These are simple things we can do to make sure gyms stay open.

Why is fitness important?

As if our world weren’t stressful enough, we worry that every sneeze or cough could give us the virus. Perhaps worse is that we become asymptomatic while having the virus and carry it to vulnerable members of our family and community. That’s a lot to process!

I don’t mean to scare you, only to express the importance of following gym protocols, and to impress upon you the reason staying fit now is important.

Researchers studying work and self-reported work performance asked 200 employees at three organizations to evaluate themselves on days they exercised and days they did not exercise.

On workout days, participants reported scores that were 21% higher for concentration at work, 22% for finishing work on time, and 25% higher for working without unscheduled breaks. Most notable was that 41% reported feeling more motivated to work on the days they exercised!

If that isn’t enough to convince you to take a walk during lunch, there are many studies that report working out, even just 30 minutes on most days, results in weight stabilization or loss, less stress, lower blood pressure, and better mental health and quality sleep.

Even if the gyms are closed again, we are heading into the best winter weather in the country here in Arizona. Get outside and walk. Buy an exercise bike and/or weights. There are free videos and apps all over the internet. Staying fit during COVID-19 is key to your overall health and productivity.

Make Your Paralegal a Star

If you’re wondering how to make your paralegal the star, we recommend expressing gratitude for their dedication in this ever-changing world. Shifting from working in an office to working from home in an instant is stressful. Marty Herder, President of Herder & Associates can attest to that. He has spent the past six months providing 24/7 tech support and guidance to attorneys, paralegals. various courthouses and court reporters, as everyone was forced to make the complicated migration from working at the office to working at home. We understand and we are here to help!

How to Make Your Paralegal the Star

What are resources that can be used while running a remote law firm? Take stock of what and who you have available. While you may not be together at the office, you can still work as a team.

  • Client Communication: Is your CRM being used to its fullest extent? Find out if you can send multiple emails to a group. Inform witnesses of their upcoming deposition. Let them know the court reporter may be contacting them directly. Then call us to schedule the deposition. We will take it from there.
  • Shifting Roles: Can technology or marketing be outsourced? If you are the one normally in charge of social media and are overloaded, find out if someone else on the team has capacity or outsource to a contractor, same with tech issues like the internet and computers.
  • Thank Your Paralegal: We’re all in a similar strange boat and can use a gesture of gratitude. Tell your paralegal thank you for their dedication, even while working from home under COVID-19 restrictions. It can go a long way in making them feel appreciated.

As a court reporting agency, we want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all our clients. We understand what paralegals are going through and are dedicated to assisting in any way we can. From having to look for alternate ways to conduct depositions now that in-person is not available, or quite limited, to talking to witnesses, running technology on deposition day, and communicating transcript due dates, Herder and Associates is available.

Know that we appreciate you and will work with you to make sure your firm is not having to file continuances. We are dedicated to making our paralegals shine by taking care of witnesses, and handling everything from scheduling and preparing witnesses for deposition day to on-time transcript delivery.

We are in this beautiful chaos together.

Call Herder and Associates at 480-481-0649 to schedule remote video depositions.

remote video depositions

As a court reporting agency, we understand the value of time, organization, and partnership with paralegals in serving clients. During this time of COVID-19, we’ve had to make adjustments to our Phoenix court reporting but rest assured, Herder and Associates is serving clients with the same integrity and on-time delivery as always. We’re ready to take remote video depositions for you and your clients in Phoenix and across the Valley.

Let’s get ready…set…remote video depositions!

While the world seems to be changing by the minute, we understand your cases are still happening and we are here to help with video depositions in these ways:

  • Scheduling all parties for the remote video depositions.
  • Preparing witnesses, including testing their equipment.
  • Coordinate scheduling changes.

In other words, let Herder and Associates handle before, during, and after the deposition so you can focus on your case and clients.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have scheduled dozens of weekly depositions via Zoom and will continue to do so. That moves your practice, paralegals, and client cases forward, so you’re not stuck in a never ending loop of continuances because you were not able to have deposition transcripts ready on-time.

Why are many attorneys seeking continuances?

The primary reason the parties seek continuances is because they hope physical distancing and stay-at-home orders will be lifted to allow for in-person depositions. Reviewing the daily Arizona Department of Health COVID-19 Dashboard, it would seem this virus is here to stay. At this time, it is simply not feasible for the Court to extend deposition deadlines until a time when they can safely be conducted in-person because we don’t know when that will happen.

For the foreseeable future, remote video depositions are the best alternate to get cases through the court system. We are telling our clients and court reporters to not expect this to change any time soon.

Parties and their counsel should not expect to be able to conduct in-person depositions. The norm, at least for now, is that we are doing remote depositions.

What are the legalities of conducting a remote video deposition?

The judicial acceptance of remote depositions is substantially complete. The Federal Civil Rules Handbook[4] states that, “Generally, leave to take depositions by remote means will be granted liberally.”

In other words, when utilizing deposition best practices, a remote deposition holds the same weight in court as an in-person deposition. The court does not view them differently.

At Herder and Associates, we coordinate all aspects of the depositions on your behalf and to the best of our ability. This includes preparing witnesses and taking care of the technical aspects of a deposition. 

Contact us today to schedule your remote video deposition!

advice for paralegals

What does our ever-changing world teach us about running a law practice? For many, it means being open to change, even if the change is thrust upon us like it has been this year. For court reporters, lawyers, and paralegals, it means having to adapt processes to continue to serve clients while keeping everyone safe. To say this year has been challenging is an understatement! We’ve got advice for paralegals to continue to serve clients with regard to depositions and client management.

Disaster Planning

In Phoenix and all of Arizona, the worst disasters we’ve experienced are likely related to weather – snow, rain, and dust storms. While these are an inconvenience, they don’t cause work stoppages or force changes to how business is done. COVID-19 changed the landscape. If you’ve been forced to work from home or modify the office schedule, you understand the importance of disaster planning.

We often think of disasters as huge events like 9/11, but there are procedures that can be put in place for events like COVID-19.

  • Does your firm have a plan to move people, phones, computers, and internet access? Does the plan keep client data confidential? VOiP services for phones and data and Zoom for meetings will help your firm stay connected. Get the team trained before there is another disaster.
  • Business Continuity. Even if the team is working from home, at least part-time, does it feel seamless to clients? If you’re not sure, ask them. Even during a disaster, it is important to continue to serve clients at the level you’ve done in the past. It can make all the difference as the world gets back up and running.
  • Stay Connected. How will your team stay connected to each other? How will they stay connected to clients? Pick up the phone and call employees and clients. It can be as simple as checking in to say hello, ask if they are okay, or more personal like a birthday message. It is especially important to stay connected; no one likes to feel alone.

Advice for Paralegals: Once the disaster plan is in place and operating, sit back and take note of what is working and what is not.

Having trouble working from home? Establish a routine, even if that means an open/closed sign on your home office. Communication with family and your team is also important. They need to know when you’re working and, for your family and friends, they need to know when you’re available for social time. The routine will help you stay focused and productive.

Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t forget to take time for yourself. Take a walk. Meditate. Listen to music. Watch less of the news. Video chat with friends. Whatever helps you wind down, do that.

At Herder and Associates, we are focused on continuing to deliver high-quality service to our clients, as we have always done. We’re all in this beautiful chaos together and we are dedicated to assisting you with depositions and are continuing to offer video depositions so that you can continue to serve your clients. 

Call Herder & Associates at 480-481-0649 to schedule a remote video conference deposition today!