Alert: Adobe Flash users should download emergency patch

TechLinks_logoBy Christine Phipps

Adobe issued an alert that Flash users need to update to the latest version as hackers took advantage of a security flaw to install ransomware on computers.

Adobe Flash is a software platform that runs video, animation, and games inside of Web pages. Flash was born when the Web began in 1996 and quickly became the standard for Web video, especially after a little startup called YouTube began using it in 2005. Now it’s largely obsolete, as most websites and apps use different technologies for the same purpose. In fact, in July 2015, Google and Mozilla (Firefox) each announced that their Web browsers will be dropping default support for Adobe Flash, citing the plug-in software’s newly discovered vulnerabilities to cyberattacks. Those moves came only a few days after Facebook’s chief of security called for Adobe to set an “end of life” date for the often exploited 20-year-old platform.

That being said, pretty much everyone that uses the Internet still uses Flash. If the sites you go to do not use Flash, uninstall it. Flash is a program, so uninstall it like you would any other program.

Ransomware has been becoming increasingly popular, hitting law firms and organizations as well as individuals. After visiting an infected website, your computer will install ransomware, which locks you out of your computer until you pay hackers a specified amount of money.

I know we say it over and over again and present it in some form at every convention, but I’m going to say it again because it obviously bears repeating: Back up all of your data. If you do get a ransomware attack, you will have your information saved and you won’t be scrambling to come up with the ransom money to get your important files back — and that’s if they even do uphold their end of the deal.  I recommend a cloud backup and local firmware back up.

You can find the current version number of flash: adobe.com/software/flash/about/.  After you locate which browser you use, write down the number. Then go to your browser and look in your gear icon or something similar, or you can go to install/uninstall programs and look for Adobe Flash and match each one as there are different programs for different browsers. You should also update your software as soon as a new version is released or have set to auto update because there are often security and bug fixes included within them. You should absolutely be running antivirus software as well.

Protect yourself by staying up-to-date with backups and current versions of your particular OS service pack releases and programs.

Christine Phipps, RPR, of North Palm Beach, Fla., is co-chair of NCRA’s Technology Committee. She can be reached at christine@phippsreporting.com.

Reporting: Why you should embrace realtime technology

By Tawny Labrum

Technology. It surrounds us. It empowers us. It makes us more efficient. Think about it: What’s one of the first things you do in the morning? If you are anything like me, or millions of others, you pull out your phone; not just any phone though, you pull out your smartphone. Without ever getting out of bed, I am able to instantly communicate with coworkers, correspond with clients, book appointments, and even read the news. In this day and age, not only has technology forever changed our personal lives, it has made its way into our professional lives as well. The legal industry is no exception to this, and as a court reporter, providing services to this industry, embracing technology, realtime technology specifically, is crucial to the outlook and progression of your career.

It’s no secret that, as a whole, the legal industry is slow to latch on and accept change, but as more and more baby boomers reach retirement age, a new generation of lawyers and litigation professionals, a generation born with smartphones and tablets in hand, are entering the workforce. This generation, the Millennials, are accustomed to using technology to get instant results, and because of this, are demanding that service providers, such as court reporters, offer solutions that will allow them to do so.

Over the past few years, the court reporting industry has grown tremendously, and recent reports show that trend continuing upward for many, many years to come. As with lawyers and litigation professionals, many court reporters are reaching retirement age and will be replaced with a workforce accustomed to innovation, a workforce not afraid to use technology to broaden their careers or outperform their peers. So what does this mean for you? This means it’s time to step outside your comfort zone and embrace realtime technology or else face the possibility of being phased out by those who will.

Today’s lawyers want flexibility, whether it be the option to attend depositions and courtroom proceedings remotely or to walk into a war room with their laptops, smartphones, or tablets and instantly connect to a realtime transcript. As a court reporter, it is your job to offer that flexibility and have the tools and know-how to make it possible.All Posts

For some, taking the leap to realtime technology is daunting; for others, finding the time to learn and implement a new technology seems impossible, but it’s not. Within the past five years, many new cost-efficient solutions have hit the market, making that step easier than ever. From Web-based, remote realtime text and video streaming products to universal, local, on-site, wireless realtime delivery, the opportunities are out there.

If you are unsure of where to start, don’t be afraid to ask. Many realtime court reporting groups on Facebook and LinkedIn often discuss technology and can point you in the right direction. I have found that although court reporting can be a cutthroat profession, court reporters are some of the most giving, open professionals around, and they are more than willing to help out.

Times are changing. Technology has opened the doors to a whole new world of opportunity and has become a fixture within the legal industry. More and more litigation professionals are demanding reporting services that use the most cutting-edge technology when it comes to realtime. Knowing what’s out there, embracing it, and taking action to further your skills is imperative in this competitive industry, as well as to better your career.

Tawny Labrum is the marketing director for LiveDeposition, a provider of universal onsite and Web-based remote realtime delivery solutions. More information on LiveDeposition is available at livedeposition.com.

Finding the right scopist is key to live editing of realtime

Finding the right scopist can mean the difference between providing quality draft realtime transcripts within minutes rather than hours, according to a panel presentation held at NCRA’s 2015 TechCon event held April 10-12 in Denver, Colo. Participants included Lisa Knight, RMR, CRR; Christine Phipps, RPR; and Sue Terry, RPR, CRR.

To help ensure a high-quality product and a quick turnaround of draft transcripts, freelancers should consider having at least two scopists they work with on a regular basis, as well as a good proofreader, however finding the right people to fill those roles many times is not easy. As part of their presentation, guest panelists shared with attendees the following tips to help find the right scopist and proofreader for them.

Find people who understand that having mistakes pointed out to them is not pointing fingers but rather an effort to help increase the quality of the final product. A good scopist and proofreader will also, over time, begin to recognize what words the court reporter has a tendency to miss a lot and be able to make those corrections quickly.

Most court reporters are reluctant to share information about their own scopists and proofreaders if they are good, so getting a recommendation can sometimes be difficult. However, forums for various software provide a good resource for finding high-quality professionals, and often times participants on these forums are actual software trainers as well.

Questions that should be asked when interviewing a potential scopist or proofreader should include:

  • What software and version of it do they use, and are they current on its functions and do they have tech support?
  • What kind of computer do they use and what operating system?
  • Is there a viable Internet connection in the area where they live?
  • Ask them about their error rates, as well as their dictionary entries and how many they make a day.
  • Find out if they have used dropbox before, if they have it on their computer, and if they have used it in scoping or court reporting jobs before.
  • How long have they been working as a scopist or proofreader and have they worked producing daily transcripts?
  • Finally, ask for at least three to five references and check them all.

Once you find a good scopist, the panelists suggested setting guidelines up front in regards to what you expect from them. For example, tell them if you expect a 24-48 hour turnaround on assignments all the time, and make sure they understand that you expect to be in constant contact with them to keep them current about upcoming jobs.

TechCon attendees learn tips to overcome writing realtime fears

Overcoming the fear of writing realtime can become easier if you follow the tips and suggestions shared with attendees of a session led by Marybeth Everhart, RPR, CRI, CPE, during NCRA’s 2015 TechCon event held in Denver, Colo., April 10-12.

Everhart told attendees that to help overcome their fears of writing realtime, they need to understand the three parts of the process: writing, connectivity as it relates to hooking up other people to be able to see the realtime being produced, and self confidence.

“If any one of these parts is troubling for you then you will have problems with producing quality realtime,” she said

Everhart said a good way to improve the quality of realtime writing is to make a commitment to practice writing for 15 minutes each day, followed by an analysis to see what mistakes were made.

“Don’t just do it; check it to see what mistakes you are making. Fixing something will improve your skills,” she said and added that keeping a diary of mistakes or focusing on writing the mistakes correctly will help increase quality by helping to create positive muscle memory and teach the brain to stroke the right keys and avoid the same mistakes.

Other tips Everhart shared included:

  • Consider what your translation rate is. Stop and take a look at it right way. If you don’t remember hearing a word that you have written, proofread your practice with the audio.
  • Keep current with technology and learn everything about the software you are using and the all of the features it offers.
  • Ask other reporters who are already writing realtime to help you with learning how to connect your realtime system.
  • View webinars and attend seminars that offer realtime information and training.
  • TRAIN groups are free. Join one or start one.

Everhart also said that it is important to teach clients about realtime and its benefits: “Show it to them and create a market for yourself. Go to someone you really like. Tell them the benefits. Provide them with realtime on a regular basis for free and follow up with a bill that you credit out to establish the value of the service for them.”

By doing so, realtime writers can better educate their clients on how realtime works as well as show them that while it is also not always perfect and that some terms might not come up correctly, the end product will be accurate, Everhart explained.  Set your clients’ expectations, she noted.

New look and navigation for NCRA’s TRAIN Web pages

By Michelle Kirkpatrick

NCRA’s grassroots project, Taking Realtime Awareness and Innovation Nationwide, has been ever-evolving over the last few years but with the same goals from its inception:  To create an influx of realtime reporters to meet marketplace demand and to allow court reporters to differentiate themselves from other methods of making the record.

The TRAIN program was designed for delivery in small group settings at the local level, and that continues to be the case. The TRAIN program relies on state associations and individual members to carry the message to reporters, which is the ideal way for court reporters to make the transition to realtime.

The new layout of the TRAIN pages on NCRA’s website offers several advantages:

  • Explanations and visual cues help users find specific content; e.g., information in the TurboTRAIN section helps individuals fast-track their personal learning experience regarding realtime, still divided into the original four strategic categories of Hardware Tips, Software Tips, Writing Tips, and Fighting Fears Tips, but with more structure and embedded hyperlinks for easier navigation.

Two of our newer sections lay out references and guidance for State Association Leaders interested in starting their own state realtime committees, and information and PowerPoint presentations for TRAINers and those creating small local TRAIN groups.

Clicking on either of these two folders will lead the user to step-by-step suggestions on how to start small TRAIN groups, including the original TRAIN videos, as well as a few other added gems for our state leaders.

The original TRAIN Dropbox folder has been phased out. Instead, all TRAIN materials are now accessible from the TRAIN home page through these folders mentioned above.

  • All content beyond the home page is now laid out in PDF documents, which makes it possible to save, share, and/or print those pages with ease.
  • The PDF pages have active hyperlinks embedded within them, making access to references still available to users even after downloading to their own computer.
  • All of the inner pages now have a “revised” date in the lower right-hand corner. This will aid users in being able to compare a document they may have printed or saved to their hard drive with the most current one on the NCRA website.

The TRAIN app for phones and tablets is still available for download from the NCRA TRAIN page with the credit going where credit is definitely due for that incredible piece of work. Thank you, Sue Terry!

And finally, in addition to hyperlinked lists of other useful outside realtime resources, there is a link to NCRA’s Realtime TRAIN Facebook page. If you are not a current member of the group, the TRAIN Task Force encourages you to join for some very worthwhile realtime-related discussions!

The TRAIN Task Force is currently hard at work revamping the content of the TurboTRAIN pages. It is a labor-intensive project, and we appreciate your patience! Realtime awareness is alive and well at NCRA.org/TRAIN. Come check it out!

Michelle Kirkpatrick, RDR, CRR, CBC, CCP, is a member of the NCRA TRAIN Task Force and an independent realtime reporter based out of Denver, Colo.

 

Four tips for creating strong passwords

By Christine Phipps

In April 2014, researchers announced Heartbleed, a serious Internet security vulnerability that went undetected for two years, possibly affecting an estimated 500,000 websites through which hackers could conceivably pilfer login information, credit card numbers, and other data. And, every few months, another news report alerts people to more stolen passwords or hacked sites. As a result, security experts have widely recommended changing all your passwords for sites that have upgraded their security certificates.

But creating strong passwords is trickier than it used to be.

According to security expert Bruce Scheier, hackers are becoming increasingly adept at figuring out login credentials, thanks to fast and powerful computers running software that can crack encrypted passwords by guessing millions of variations per second.

Password crackers try common passwords like “letmein” with prefixes or suffixes such as “1” or “!” and run various dictionaries of English and foreign words and names along with appendages such as dates and replacing letters with symbols (such as “@” for “a”). These tactics are remarkably effective at breaking passwords and crack even those you’d think look pretty unguessable — passwords such as “k1araj0hns0n” and “Sh1a-labe0uf.”

So what’s the best way to create a strong password you can remember? Follow these tips to the best password practices.

1. Use a meaningful sentence

Scheier suggests turning a meaningful sentence into a password. For example, “This little piggy went to market” turns into “tlpWENT2m.” Notice that not only does this password use the letters from the sentence, but it uses both uppercase and lowercase characters and replaces “to” with “2.”

2. Never reuse a password

It’s imperative that you never use the same password on more than one website.

“Even if you choose a secure password, the site it’s for could leak it because of its own incompetence,” Scheier writes. “You don’t want someone who gets your password for one application or site to be able to use it for another.”

3. Use a password vault

My favorite password vault is LastPass because it will generate unique passwords such as “R4fpo9)mswH” and saves them in an online vault. Even better, the LastPass browser extension automatically fills in login credentials on every site for which you’ve saved a username and password, so you don’t have to try to recall difficult-to-remember passwords.

For $12 a year, get LastPass on your mobile device so you can access your passwords when you’re not sitting at your computer. LastPass is available on iTunes, Google Play, and the Windows Phone store..

LastPass’s Security Check feature was recently updated to alert users to which of their accounts may have been compromised by Heartbleed, as well as the last time a site’s password was updated and if the site has updated its certificates to make it safe from Heartbleed. Since LastPass is free to download to your computer, it’s a tool worth using. After downloading and installing LastPass, click the LastPass icon in your browser toolbar, then Tools menu, then Security Check.

4. Use two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security by asking for something else in addition to a password before allowing you into a website. Google and Facebook, for example, offer to text you a code that you have to enter on a login page. Google has a page explaining how to sign up for their two-factor authentication service. For Facebook, enable ‘Login Approvals’ from the ‘Account Security’ section of your account settings page.

 

Christine Phipps, RPR, is an agency owner and freelancer in West Palm Beach, Fla., and a member of NCRA’s Technology Committee. She can be reached at christine@phippsreporting.com.

 

Reporting: Save yourself time and avoid errors

By Denyce Sanders

In the February 2013 issue of the JCR, I wrote an article on saving time using Case CATalyst. This year I would like to follow up on that and ask: Have you looked for ways to save yourself time and avoid errors? If you have, fantastic! If not, no worries. You can always start. If time is an issue, do one thing at a time or “schedule” yourself an hour of Case CATalyst time. You can make these changes anywhere – kid’s soccer game, coffee shop, watching TV.

Syncing with Dropbox

I use two computers. I have one that is strictly my depo computer with Windows and a home desktop that is a Mac and runs Parallels so I can access Windows on the Mac. For years, I would have to back up and go home and put the job on my home computer.

In 2014, I crashed two Windows 8 computers. I lost everything. Fortunately, I had my notebook so I could keep working, but I also had my system files and personal dictionary backed up to Dropbox. Dropbox is much more reliable than a flash drive, a CD, or Livebook. I thought I was protected but guess what? My Livebook wasn’t backing up properly. I also write units of every job to Dropbox. That way, I have a third copy of my job. For those of you with just one computer, writing units to Dropbox is an extra protection and safe, from, a theft, car accident, coffee.

Using Dropbox, whatever I write on my notebook automatically shows up on my desktop. Advantages? My rush job didn’t sign properly, my notebook crashed, I forgot to turn in my paperwork on my job but I scanned it and it’s sitting on my home computer. As of 2014, situations like these are no longer a problem for me. I still back up my job to a flash drive (old habits die hard), but I can now go home and work on that job just by sitting at my desk in my office. Didn’t finish my app page? No problem. Anything I might need at a job, I have synced with Dropbox. It has saved my bacon more than once! If I have an Internet connection, I can be anywhere and my computers will sync.

New field additions

I have since added a videographer field and time fields. I used to have a time caret. Now I no longer have to go the beginning and end of a file to find the start and end time and manually type it in. I replaced my time caret with the new field, and I modified a stroke that came with a new version of the Case CATalyst realtime commands dictionary and made it my own. Copy and paste is a wonderful thing!

Before every job, I create my job dictionary. I enter in everything from the caption, including witness name and lawyer names and whatever else I have. If the witness is an expert, I try and Google him and job define the usual things – schooling, type of work, etc.

I have a naming system for my apps and job dictionaries so that I can find them later on. For example, if the case name is Smith v. Jones, my app will be appsmith v jones and my job dictionary will be jdsmith v. jones. I do this for a few reasons. It saves time trying to figure out who the witness I took six months ago was; or, if the case sounds familiar, a couple key strokes will tell me. It is then very easy to find my previous witness and copy and paste those job dictionary entries into my job dictionary. The less I have to define, the more time I save and the cleaner my transcript – especially if they tell me that they want a rough draft … at the end of the day.

My app pages are separate because it saves time on filling fields. Using F8, I can just scan and fill them in versus having to clear them from the page. If a location changes, I have a caret in my master app file next to my Firm1 and Firm2 just in case I wind up at the courthouse instead of a law firm. The caret is an easy reminder and can be deleted quickly, saving a location error.

To save more time and to build on my personal system, I will do cert pages for continuing cases. For example, if I am working for both sides in a case, I create a cert page for each attorney with all the important parts filled out – who gets the original, bar number (field), etc. – and I name each cert file with the name of the taking attorney. So when I am putting the job together, all I have to do is choose that cert file and voila, done! Everything auto fills in –the date, the witness name, the attorneys. The only thing that I should be filling in on a cert page is the caption and that should be copy and paste! Everything else should be a field or a placeholder.

However, I rarely fill in my witness_name field anymore. I have discovered the Define Fields tab on the translation screen. Here I hit “w” for witness name, and I predefine it. I also predefine my exhibit placeholder, too, so when I write realtime, Smith Exhibit 1 comes out Smith instead of my wit_name exhibit field.

Using a briefcase

I use the little black/yellow briefcase at the top of my tool bar for continuing cases, which has a number of advantages. All my witnesses are in one location. My dictionary now becomes a “case” dictionary and that means that any define using k-define will go into that specific dictionary. I do, however, use j-define per witness for things like home addresses and children’s names, etc., that are not part of the case and really only specific to that one witness.

Core lists

I create a core list for my scopist/proofer on large cases or depos with lots of spellings. A core list is useful because it allows me to have all my spellings in one file that I can save and edit. A core list can be used on any job, is easily uploaded to Dropbox, and can be named anything I wish.

To create a core list simply be in the job I would like to create the core list for, go to tools and create core list. It is that easy. Once created, it’s a .txt file so I can modify it and save it/rename it, whatever I need.

There are various ways to do things, and this is my system. I know some reporters do every job as a case. I know some reporters who cut and paste from a previous witness (shudder) to do their beginning and ending pages. This is a tremendous time suck. Some reporters rely on their scopist to do their front and back pages.

Give yourself a time-saving gift certificate this year! I promise you, it will pay off.

 

Denyce Sanders, RMR, CRR, is a freelancer in Houston, Texas. She can be reached at denyces@comcast.net.

 

 

 

TIP OF THE MONTH: Realtime USB tips and tricks

By Keith Lemons

Are you realtiming for yourself or for others? How do you know what USB port is which? Windows boxes are all fairly standard in that if you install a USB peripheral in a particular USB port, it will always use that physical port’s settings.

Let’s say you have a laptop with four USB ports. You set up your writer on the one closest to you and the setup program assigns a COM Port 3, in my example. If you plug your writer into that physical port, it will always be COM Port 3. You have just configured that physical port, but only that physical port. The other 3 have not been configured for your writer. So always plug into that port. I’m going to make the intuitive leap that you will then go into your CAT system and note what port your writer is sending from. If not, here is the two-minute warning. Know your CAT system well enough that you know how to label which port goes in and which one goes out.

Next, take a look at what you may have to plug into your other USB physical ports, such as a software key, a wireless mouse, a Bluetooth dongle, a realtime cable, or something else. You have to know which port you plug them into because you are configuring only that port for that particular peripheral.

Here’s a good thing for you to do if your realtime is infrequent and you are scared you’ll forget what the numbers are. Make a little sticker to put in your case or on your machine or on your computer, or in your courtroom desk drawer, if you have one. On that card or sticker, put the following information:

  1. The name of your wireless network, and your password, or if you are scared to put down the password, what a memory question would be to ensure that you remember it.
  2. The COM port numbers and location on your computer of the USB peripherals; e.g., front left – machine – COM 8; front right – USB mouse; back right – Bluetooth – COM 6; back left – CAT dongle.
  3. The password to your Caseview Net or Bridge or Bridge Mobile or other realtime receive software that you have to issue to the clients so they can receive your realtime.
  4. Get the Realtime Troubleshooting Pocket Guide at the NCRA store. This was written by the Realtime Systems Administrator committee (specifically Sandy VanderPol, RMR, CRR), and I will tell you, it’s worth the $52. This will help you troubleshoot connections to different software problems.

Keith Lemons, RPR, CRR, is a freelance court reporter in Brentwood, Texas, and a JCR Contributing Editor. He can be reached at k.lemons@comcast.net.

Cross-border court reporting: A brave new world

By Kim Neeson

To set the scene: a case tried in two courtrooms – one in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and one in Wilmington, Del.; videoconferencing  required so that Toronto can see Delaware, and Delaware can see Toronto, including the two judges, the witness, the questioning attorney and the exhibits; two sets of court reporting teams – one in Toronto and one in Wilmington – with two sets of realtime streaming – one emanating from Toronto and one from Wilmington; and only one certified transcript of the entire proceedings delivered by 10 p.m. every night.

The quick facts:

  • 23 days of joint trial evidence
  • Over 5,500 pages, with many days with experts being over 300 pages in length
  • Thousands of exhibits logged
  • More than 20 fact witnesses and more than 20 expert witnesses called

This is the stuff that technical nightmares are made of, yet despite some occasional glitches, the reporting teams, consisting of Lorraine Marino, RDR, CRR, and Gail Verbano, RDR, CRR, of Wilcox & Fetzer in Delaware; Deana Santedicola, RPR, CRR, and myself, Kim Neeson, RPR, CRR, CBC, CCP, of Neeson in Toronto, rose to the occasion and delivered the best technical and transcript services our profession has to offer.

Managing a large undertaking such as the Nortel Networks bankruptcy trial is no easy feat. Neeson took the lead with regard to the management of the trial from the court reporting perspective. That undertaking involved hours and hours of management time that allowed us to ensure:

  • The reporters in both locations had screens for viewing both the videoconferencing and the exhibits.
  • The reporters had an audio feed from the audio-visual company that was of high quality and could be used both for recording and listening purposes.
  • The hard-wired Internet connections in both locations were secure and that the reporters would solely have it for their own use.
  • LiveDeposition, our stream provider, coordinated protocols for each stream location to ensure easy connectivity and an “once only” type of setup for the reporters and the users of the system; in addition all parties who were allowed to view the stream were set up in proper groups (hundreds of invitations were involved).
  • A dedicated staff member was trained for trial technical support, transcript production of both the rough draft and the late night certified, and management of the repository and exhibit hyperlinking.

As the reporters on the joint trial, we had to work through many issues before we walked through the courtroom door, such as:

  • How would we jointly indicate the swearing of witnesses, the various examination types, the court designations, recesses, start and end times, exhibits, and indexing, just to name a few issues. The list is long when you start to go through a standard transcript!
  • Develop the protocol for who would be the “cert” reporter and who would be the “check” reporter
  • Develop the protocol for merging of transcripts and the responsibility of each reporter in their jurisdiction
  • Agreeing on how to split billings and actual court days
  • Spellings – Canadian or American or both?

Remember, we were dealing with two completely separate jurisdictions in distinct countries. A small example: while the U.S. identifies the clerk of the court as “The Clerk,” in our jurisdiction we call that person “The Registrar.” We had two judges – they were identified as “The U.S. Court” and “The Canadian Court.” Nomenclature became an interesting point of debate. Canadian courts use the term “Direct Examination” when American courts use “Examination in-Chief,” and since we didn’t want to be biased toward any one court, we agreed we would insert “Examination in-Chief/Direct Examination by” in order to capture both jurisdictions’ parlance.

We also needed to ensure as little editing on our merged files as possible. Lorraine and Gail are on Eclipse; Deana and I are on Case CATalyst. We used RTF file conversions in order to import files into our respective systems. One interesting tidbit: When creating an RTF from either version of software, do not open that RTF file before sending to the other reporter. It took several telephone calls with our respective software support providers to find this out. If the RTF is opened before sending, weird formatting gremlins seem to get implanted. For example, one night the RTF from Delaware had some steno in it – but yet when looking at the RTF in Word, it was perfect! So if you learn nothing else from this article, use this piece of information as a take-away when dealing with your fellow reporters on a job share!

As you would expect, our first week was a fairly stressful, intense one, with technology glitches – such as no audio feed, no Internet access at times and therefore no streaming or uploading to our scopists, and the odd loss of videoconference feed. We decided ahead of time that if the witness was called in Delaware, then the Delaware team would be the cert reporter and prepare both the rough draft and final transcript; if the witness was called in Toronto, we would reverse. We had days when each team performed both duties when multiple witnesses were called. Whichever team started the day as the cert reporter, however, would provide the entire day’s rough draft; there was no time to piece together bits of a rough draft; we saved our energy in that regard for the final certified transcript.

We were very grateful to see that all questioning attorneys were present in the venue where the witness was called; that made life a little easier for the cert reporter. The check reporter would be available to provide any areas that couldn’t be heard, or where there was a technical difficulty, to assist the cert reporter. Lorraine had experienced tremendous audio difficulties when reporting at the pretrials when all audio was by teleconference. We didn’t know what to expect going in whether these issues would continue or would be resolved.

Due to the combination of high concerns about the ability to hear all parties in both courtrooms from one location and the fact that both courts wished to have their own reporters present, all parties agreed that each jurisdiction would have their own reporter, but only one transcript would be ultimately produced.

For the Canadian team, I can tell you it was a bit of an adjustment to see counsel addressing our court ungowned. Our attorneys are fully gowned (but no wigs, which I’m sure everyone is grateful for). I also found some accents difficult to get a handle on, particularly one lawyer from Boston, although I think the London and Scotland experts gave all of us the most run for our money.

Court reporting on the Nortel trial was one of the most challenging jobs of our collective careers. But above all, it was a pleasure to work with such a talented, dedicated group of reporters who made our profession proud. No digital recording system could ever perform this work, and it is yet another reason why steno reporting combined with technology is a winning combination.

 

Kim Neeson, RPR, CRR, CCP, CBC, is a firm owner and freelance court reporter based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Neeson has earned NCRA’s Realtime Systems Administrator certificate. She can be reached at kim_neeson@neesoncourtreporting.com.

 

 

PERSONAL MARKETING: Getting the most out of LinkedIn

By Sara L. Wood

LinkedIn has become the premier place for people to improve their careers. No matter what part of the profession you are in, you can use LinkedIn as a tool to get ahead. However, some LinkedIn profiles are more successful than others. As you position yourself for success, here are six tips for optimizing your personal profile.

1) Showcase your certifications. You can do this two ways. First, make sure your certifications are listed after your name in your title. Even if your potential clients don’t understand what your credentials mean at first glance, certifications can add credibility to your profile. Next, explain what those certifications mean in the body of your resume. Other members of NCRA will know what they mean, but those outside of the profession may not. You worked hard to earn your certifications, so make sure you do everything you can help your clients understand the value you bring as a certified professional.

2) Set up your profile to get better endorsements. While you’ve been browsing LinkedIn, you may have seen the option to endorse others. Other people may have even endorsed you. If you have not yet used this tool, here’s how it works. The LinkedIn algorithm will automatically start suggesting endorsements on your behalf to your network based upon the skills you have listed in your profile. This means that you should begin by listing all of the skills you want others to see when they get suggested endorsement options. Here are some skills to get you started: speed, public speaking, management, videography, realtime, and CART captioning, to name a few. If you are stumped for what to list, take a look at some of your colleague’s profiles for ideas.

3) Increase your number of endorsements. The principle of reciprocity can often apply to endorsements. If you endorse others, they will be more likely to endorse you. To start building up your endorsements and make them count, take some time and endorse those who deserve your accolades. These endorsements should be sincere. Remember that when you are saying that someone else has a skill, you are publicly laying your reputation on this assessment. That said, giving honest endorsements may not only encourage others to endorse you, but it can also help build your social capital with other people on LinkedIn.

4) Assess the quality of your endorsements. As people begin to endorse you, they will have the option of writing in skills that you didn’t necessarily include in your profile. This can be both a positive and a negative. On the plus side, someone might acknowledge you for a skill you never considered. However, conversely, someone in your network may endorse you for a skill you don’t have. If you start to see skills rising to the top of your list that you don’t want to see, reach out to people you know and ask them to endorse you for the skills you would prefer to see at the top.

5) Update your resume, and connect with new contacts. It’s tempting to let your LinkedIn profile languish, but you never know which connections will get you more work. It’s critical to keep your resume fresh, and stay in touch with new connections. When you are out on a job, and if it’s appropriate and ethical to do so, collect business cards. (You may want to check with the firms you work for to be sure you understand the firm’s policy before approaching attorney clients.) If you have a connection, you can follow up with those people after the job on LinkedIn.  Also, don’t just send the standard template connection request. Use a personalized, genuine message when you reach out, and the person will be more likely to remember you.

6) Use a professional headshot. Or at least use one that looks professional. This is the first image that people will see when they come to your profile, and it will set the tone of your personal brand for the rest of their experience on your page. If you have that great photo of you in a bikini on the beach, you will want to think about the message that image communicates to your audience.  While it may be a fantastic picture, it may not convey your professionalism as a court reporter. Personal photos are best left for places like Facebook; again, unless that is the brand you intend to convey. If you have it in your budget, invest in headshots. Depending upon your area, they can range from the low- to mid-hundreds. Larger cities can be higher, so shop around. If you can’t afford the expenditure, put on your nicest business outfit, stand in front of a neutral background, and have someone take your photo. If you want to get a bit more in-depth, Google “how to take your own headshot,” and there are many professional photographers who can give you tips.

Sara L. Wood is NCRA’s Director of Membership & Marketing. She can be reached at swood@ncra.org.