It’s interesting how we all get stuck doing things the way we always have, and don’t think about how we can leverage technology to assist us. As a court reporting firm
, we are constantly updating our technology in order to provide clients with transcripts more quickly, more efficiently and in cost effective ways. As the world becomes smaller, certain challenges have become greater: how to connect with people in a way that makes sense for the situation, while bearing in mind time efficiencies and cost effectiveness, as well as practicalities.
One technology that has become mainstream in the court reporting industry with high tech firms is that of streaming in realtime – not only the text, but the audio and video components as well. Only a few short years ago one would have these choices to connect with those in other areas:
• Via conference call (problem: you can’t see the people you’re talking to, expensive)
• Via videoconference (very expensive, but generally good technology)
• In person (problem: where large distance is involved, travel expenses, extra time for commuting, possible delays are just a few areas of concern)
While we always encourage our clients to leverage the latest technology in discovery, trial or hearing, some of the tools of our trade make perfect sense for lawyers in trial preparation. One such example is a web-based program called GoToMeeting. As long as all participants have access to a computer, laptop or tablet that have a webcam, microphone and internet access, meeting from almost any location in the world is possible. Not only can you meet online, but you can share documents or even your computer with others easily.
In looking at the various options, the question you need to ask yourself is: How important is this witness/meeting? The sliding scale answer is as follows:
• Extremely important – your meeting/examination should be held in person or via videoconference. The videoconference should be utilized at every location. For example, if you have participants in Toronto, Calgary and Washington, all three should be “bridged” through a professional videoconference unit. Videoconferencing tends to be the most robust technology available (though subject to the odd problem as any technology is), and is a secure way to connect.
• Moderately important – your meeting/examination could be conducted via web-based programs such as GoToMeeting or WebEx. Multiple parties can connect, documents can be shared, and the meeting even recorded if necessary. This technology is generally very, very reliable but may be affected if any participant has poor internet bandwidth (such as in remote locations). This method also provides a high security value.
• Not very important – your meeting/examination could be conducted via a web-based program such as Skype. Be aware, though, that programs like Skype often have technical issues, such as too many users – thereby affecting internet bandwidth and connectivity – frequent drop-off of the session, and lack of security.
In the legal setting, the possible uses for the above technology are:
• Conducting examinations, cross-examinations and depositions
• Interviewing witnesses/clients/experts
• Working collaboratively with your team, not only verbally and visually, but with the ability to share your computer and documents for marking up, etc.
• Pretrial conferences where a court appearance is not necessary
While it may be argued that nothing beats a face-to-face meeting, there are many times – and many reasons – why choosing a technological solution makes sense!
All court reporters are the same, right? Obviously the answer cannot be “yes” because court reporters are people, with various skills and abilities that they bring to the table. Follow these tips to ensure you get the right person preparing your client’s legal proceedings.
- Experience – If your case is the retelling of a slip and fall, for example, a vast amount of experience is probably not necessary given the vocabulary that will come into play. If, however, your case involves technical terminology – from medical, to engineering, to source code – you will want to ensure you work with a court reporter who has had exposure with the type of case you are working on, or a proven ability to research the correct spellings and to understand the context of what you are speaking of. Remember, a misplaced comma can change everything!
- Requirements – Do you have any special requirements for your case? Will you need expedited transcript? Will you need realtime reporting or rough drafts? If so, be sure to seek out court reporting firms that possess the talent to deliver. If you need realtime reporting, having a qualified court reporter makes all the difference in the world, from the accuracy of her immediate work, to providing basic technical support, to being able to deliver the final product in a timely way.
- Neutrality – The creation of the record is for all, and no special favours or pricing should be in place for one side versus another. Many corporations counsel represent have strict anti-gift giving and incentive policies in place, and have an expectation that these policies are de facto in place at law firms and their service providers as well.
- Judgment – What type of court reporter do you like to work with? How do feel about interruptions when you are mid-stream in a cross-examination? Is that important to you? Speak with your potential court reporter in advance to ascertain if they can work within your parameters and that they exercise good judgment in asking clarification questions and interrupting for whatever reason.
- Certifications – Another way, apart from experience, to find competent, qualified court reporters is to inquire as to their certifications. Shorthand reporters should have at a minimum a CSR designation from their province or state; professional court reporters also tend to obtain other qualifications from the National Court Reporters’ Association (NCRA) in the United States, such as Registered Professional Reporter (RPR), Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR) and Registered Merit Reporter (RMR). These independently administered certifications can provide comfort to those booking court reporting services that the reporter’s skills and ability have been tested and that they have achieved certain markers.
At Neeson & Associates, we are proud of our court reporters and make it our business to understand the needs of our clients so that the right court reporter can be matched to the case’s requirements.
- Litigation support can be vital for firms facing the challenge of diverse sources of information.
Canadian court reporting companies can provide the types if technological support to help law firms accomplish their goals. With the internet and more sources producing documents that could be important to your litigation, it is important to work with a firm that can provide streamlined solutions to organize and manage large amounts of data.
American and Canadian court reporters are recognizing that when it comes to litigation support, they are often partners with the law firm throughout the process. They can provide a crucial organizational role that maximizes the effectiveness of legal professionals as they work through relevant information for their clients.
Through the process, law firms are able to take advantage of new technology that is making a difference for attorneys in the conference room during litigation and in the courtroom at trial. In a multimedia age where information can be delivered via multiple platforms, an experienced court reporting and litigation support firm can help bring diverse elements together for legal teams.
In Canada, that often means serving the needs of both the Canadian and American legal communities and understanding the needs of both during litigation and in the courtroom. That comes from experience. Choosing a court reporting firm with experience with give firms the versatility to work across borders while also utilizing technology that streamlines and packages information and evidence.
In a new video from advocatedaily.com, Kim Neeson talks about how changes in how court reporting happens in Ontario courtrooms could mean more time-intensive work for legal professionals. This new proposal might also produce critical errors that could make a difference in cases. You can see the complete video here on YouTube.
- Could cost cutting measures have an impact on our justice system?
Could new cost-cutting measures that will separate court reporting from transcription cause problems that could have an impact on the legal system? That is the question being asked in a new article appearing on advocatedaily.com.
Kim Neeson, owner of Neeson & Associates Court Reporting and Captioning is bringing her experience to the subject. The entire article can be found here.
- Cost cutting measures may be affecting the administration of justice.
Toronto court reporter Kimberley Neeson says that cost cutting measures that have already restricted court interpreter resources and are now threatening court reporting could impact the administration of justice.
A new article on advocatedaily.com is highlighting this emerging issue and draws from the experience of the owner of Neeson & Associates Court Reporting and Captioning. The entire article can be found here.
- Are you using CART to maximum effect in the courtroom?
Computer-aided real-time transcription (CART) can help enhance the courtroom experience for people with disabilities. On advocatedaily.com. Kimberley Neeson is writing about how the technology is offering accessibility in the legal field, and is also offering tips about how this technology can be used to maximum effect in the courtroom. The entire article can be found here.
- Can organizational technology make a differnece n your business?
Back in April Kim Neeson spoke at the National Court Reporters’ Tech-Con conference in Scottsdale, Arizona about how organizational technology that streamlines email, document storage, and scheduling can make a difference in law firms and court reporting companies.
A preview of her presentation appeared on the website advocatedaily.com. To read more of the preview and learn more about this technology, the entire preview can be found here.
National Court Reporters’ Association TechCon conference – See more at: http://advocatedaily.com/2013/04/technology-is-an-organizational-friend-not-foe/#sthash.5CqCkzEK.dpuf
- The attorney-court reporter relationship is more important than ever.
The Ministry of the Attorney General’s new model means that attorneys will have the same Canadian court reporters from discovery through trial. This means that having a good working relationship can make a difference through out the process.
Kim Neeson, owner of Nesson & Associates Court Reporting and Captioning, Inc. takes a look at this important relationship in a new blog on advocatedaily.com. To read the rest of the post, find it here.
- Flexibility is important when choosing a court reporting firm.
The fluid nature of the legal profession makes it crucial that all parties be ready to adapt to changing circumstances. Canadian court reporters bring this important element to clients’ cases by being ready to handle any turn of events during examinations. When seemingly simple cases turn more complicated, we are ready to handle evolving circumstances.
If a witness suddenly presents a “smoking gun” or other bombshell information during questioning, we have the experience to recognize that these moments are important to cases and can supply rough transcripts as soon as the matter ends. It gives lawyers the timeliest access to information they need that might change their approach to cases, and we are prepared to meet the challenge presented by changing events.
This is just one of the ways that experience is crucial when choosing an Ontario court reporting company. Each day, we work to perfect our work based on the demands of clients and the knowledge that comes with years providing professional service to both Canadian and U.S. legal professionals.
We are taking innovation in the court reporting field and adapting it in ways to best serve the legal community in Toronto and across Ontario. New technology can create efficiency and exciting ways to prepare cases and serve clients, and we are at the forefront of bringing this technology into your legal practice.