Report on the state of vendor technology

At NCRA’s TechCon held in April, members of the association’s Technology Evaluation Committee conducted interviews with the exhibiting vendors to learn more about their products and services, and plans for the future. Below are the highlights from each interview.

VENDOR: DEPOSITIONCONFERENCING.COM

About the company: DepositionConferencing.com is based in Florida and has been in existence for nearly a decade. It is primarily a provider of audio conferencing bridge services with a focus in the legal arena. What differentiates them from other companies is that their billing practice invoices the participants in a case and then pays a commission to the court reporting firm that has arranged for the company’s services. The commissions are paid immediately even before invoices are paid by the participants.

Products/Services: To use Deposition Conferencing.Com services, companies sign up for an account and are provided a participant code when they refer clients. To monitor the number of participants in a call, the company provides each reporting firm and the law firm or client with a toll free number and then compares a call report with the reporter’s list of who was attending the deposition by phone.

Currently Deposition Conferencing is focused on growing its legal business and is in the development stages of producing a Web-based streaming service with plans to unveil the new service at NCRA’s Convention & Expo in August. The goal is to make it easy for both reporters and attorneys to do business while maintaining its current billing to the remote participants and paying commissions to the reporting firm that arranges for the deposition.

The new service will allow users on the receiving end of the stream to use their choice of browsers or an iPad app in order to remotely participate in the deposition. To secure ownership of the transcripts, users will be allowed to make marks but not able to save them for the participants to view. Several members of NCRA’s Technology Evaluation Committee expressed concerns that some clients will want to maintain the information they have added to the text, even if it’s highlighting, and recommended that there be a save/ no save option.

Other security features will include:

  • Users will dial in for the audio, making it separate from the video, to ensure a fail-safe solution.
  • Limiting the bandwidth used by the service will avoid conflicts with others streaming video on the law firm’s network.
  • Security will be encrypted streaming.

Because DepositionConferencing.Com doesn’t believe that wireless will ever be able to compete with the performance of hard-wired connections, the company recommends all users to be hard-wired where possible, to prevent relying on the vagaries of wireless communication. Its base product is planned to be one-way only — not video back and forth — due to the bandwidth challenges that may be present depending upon how all participants are connecting to the service.

DepositionConferencing.com urges NCRA to encourage their members to embrace and accept technology and better educate their clients on what court reporters do as well as what services are available. For more information about Deposition- Conferencing.com, visit www.Deposition Conferencing.com.

VENDOR: EDEPOZE

About the company: eDepoze is based in Irvine, Calif., and provides litigation software that enables depositions using electronic exhibits through an iPad app interface. The product, designed for attorneys by attorneys, retains the benefits of the paper exhibit process but provides a method for taking depositions using electronic documents, which can be introduced and shared either locally or remotely.

Products/Services: The company has been in a limited release mode but is about to make its general public release.

Reporting firms will resell the eDepoze service to their clients on a per-deposition basis. Once the reporting company sets a user up with access to eDepoze through their personal branded website, users can operate the entire process themselves. Reporters can have as little or as much interaction with their clients as desired.

Before a deposition, users review and determine which documents they may want to use as exhibits, set up a new deposition session on the eDepoze system, then upload their potential exhibits in PDF format to that deposition session via eDepoze’s cloud-based repository. Users then conduct the deposition using the eDepoze iPad app. Exhibits are introduced one at a time by marking them with an electronic exhibit sticker, then sharing the exhibit with everyone logged into the deposition session.

Once an exhibit has been introduced, each participant can review and annotate his or her own personal copy. The witness also can annotate exhibits, and the annotated version is captured directly from the witness’s iPad so it can be introduced as a standalone exhibit. Users do not have access to each other’s personal documents. Since the documents are stored on the cloud, eDepoze members have immediate access to the official exhibits that have been marked and introduced at the deposition. Guest users (who do not pay for the service) will not be able to access the exhibits at the end of the deposition.

Once a deposition is z the official exhibit folder for the deposition. In addition, he or she can download and zip the files and email them to other participants. The files are also available as individual PDFs and can be linked in a number of litigation support products.

eDepoze is in the process of releasing online tutorials, certain of which they would like to share with NCRA to link back to their website. In the coming year, the company plans to integrate its service with a variety of other products available in the reporting profession, such as trial presentation and realtime sessions.

For more information about eDepoze, visit edepoze.com.

VENDOR: INTEGRATED REALTIME

About the company: Integrated Realtime was started in 2013 and is based out of New York City. The company provides turnkey hardware/software solutions to both reporters and agencies that either do not feel tech savvy enough to put all the pieces together or do not have the time. The product was designed in response to a gap between a reporter’s skill set as a reporter and his or her skill set as it relates to technology. Integrated Realtime’s goal is to build a business that relieves reporters of the stress of hardware/software selection and implementation. The company’s Integrated Realtime kits can be purchased, leased, or rented.

Products/Services: The company markets its realtime kits to reporters throughout the United States. Its onsite technical support is focused on the New York City area with planned expansion to include other major metropolitan areas. The company can also serve as a remote IT department for small- to medium-sized reporting agencies or individual reporters. The company queries potential clients on the types of software they use, such as CAT, realtime, etc., and then configures the hardware and installs the software on the client’s laptop or iPad, configures the routers, and provides the reporter with a realtime solution just about out of the box.

Integrated Realtime normally provides the laptops and iPads so that clients don’t have to use their own. The company has also standardized the hardware it uses in its realtime kits, and can also modify hardware to the specific needs of a user, for example, running an Apple Mac or PC-specific CAT applications. Integrated Realtime also provides training separate from the training provided with its realtime kits.

The company’s goal is to be recognized as the reporting profession’s system integrator and is interested in partnering with real time service providers to serve as the integrator of software, hardware, and service, to ensure all systems work together seamlessly. Security is also a concern for the company, and it is implementing best practices as it integrates hardware, software, and realtime service.

Integrated Realtime is willing to provide NCRA with documents that can be linked back to its website to assist reporters interested in using its services.

For more information about products and services, visit www.Integrated Realtime Solutions.com.

VENDOR: LIVEDEPOSITION.COM

About the company: LiveDeposition.com is a leading provider of Web-based live deposition and video conferencing solutions. The company’s cutting-edge technologies provide the legal industry with a no-download-required, hassle-free way to stay connected, allowing reporters, paralegals, industry experts, and legal teams to streamline the litigation process by conducting realtime depositions and online meetings. The company is based in Sherman Oaks, Calif., and provides 24/7 live phone support. Features include:

  • No software downloads: The only requirement to join a live deposition is a high-speed Internet connection.
  • 100 percent Web-based solution: Depositions are instantly conducted in realtime with anyone, from anywhere, at any time.
  • Simple deposition scheduling: Built-in invitation tools allow deposition hosts to easily send an email containing deposition details, such as URL, date, and time.
  • Multiple platform and browser compatible: Service works on PC, Mac, and Linux machines, plus apps are available for Android and Apple mobile devices.
  • Live video feeds: No bulky external hardware components are required to stream video in realtime. Video can be broadcast through a common web camera.
  • Audio broadcasting: Attendees can listen to what an interviewee is saying instantly through built-in VoIP or Toll-Free Conferencing.
  • Streaming transcription text: As information is entered into a steno machine, the data is formatted and displayed in real time within the deposition room.
  • Secure instant messaging: Private Group Chat feature allows instant feedback from team members or anyone connected to your group.
  • Built-in collaboration tools: LiveDeposition.com gives clients the ability to load and view exhibits in realtime, so everyone is on the same page no matter their geographical location.

For more information about products and services, visit www.livedeposition.com.

VENDOR: PROCAT

About the company: ProCAT is a leading provider of software, electronic stenotype, and hardware to the court reporting and closed-captioning industries. Founded in 1982, the company is based Calabasas, Calif., and introduced the first PC-based computer-aided transcription software.

Products/Services: The company’s new Impression writer is considered one of the most technologically advanced portable realtime writers. New enhancements include increased processing power to allow for the ability to translate and to provide remote CART and remote depositions from the writer via a wireless router to an attorney’s PC. Other enhancements include the ability to import existing transcripts and dictionaries onto the writer and customized keyboards similar to other CAT products designed to aid with simple transitions by new users of the Winner writer.

Recent upgrades to the Winner writer software include dual channel audio, which allows individual microphones to be set up for the witnesses and the attorney, enabling the reporter to separate the channels and listen independently when two parties speak over one another.

Users also have the ability to email transcripts created with software dating back to 1997 and the ability to store files directly to Google Drive and SkyDrive.

ProCAT has announced enhancements to its Winner Vox that will include the ability of a reporter to switch between stenographic and vox.

For more information about products and services, visit www.ProCAT.com.

VENDOR: REALLEGAL

About the company: RealLegal provides transcript management tools to court reporting firms, freelance reporters, official reporters, courts, and law firms. Developed with input from both court reporting and legal professionals, these distinctive products fit into the unique workflow of the litigation process. The result is greater efficiency, lower costs, and more opportunity for real growth. The company is based in San Francisco, Calif., and is owned by Thomson Reuters.

Products/Services: The company offers an array of products that include:

  • E-Transcript, which produces secure, custom-formatted, electronic transcripts with tamperproof electronic signatures;
  • West Publisher 5.5, which combines all transcripts, exhibits, and video into a single bundle for clients, using RealLegal Publisher 4.0, LiveNote LEFMaker, and Case Notebook;
  • iBinder, which provides clients with on-demand access to transcripts, exhibits, and video files and operates seamlessly with RealLegal Publisher. Binders can be delivered via CD, DVD, or through the Internet to an encrypted and secure Real – Legal iBinder site;
  • LiveNote Stream, which connects off-site participants to live depositions and trials by streaming live broadcasts to authorized clients; and
  • Case Notebook, which allows attorneys to organize, analyze, and collaborate transcripts, exhibits, and video clips received from court reporters into an electronic case file.

RealLegal is working to increase the awareness of professionals in the litigation arena about the products and services it offers, including free, unlimited training, support, and upgrades. The company recently released enhancements to its iPad and iPhone viewers to allow access to electronic files, and Etrans V9, which can create searchable PDFs.

Watch for additional new product and service launches later in the summer. For more information about products and services, visit www.RealLegal.com.

VENDOR: STENOCAT

About the company: StenoCAT is owned by Gigatron Software Company, based in Irvine, Calif., and delivers the latest in court reporting software designed to work with nearly all writers on the market.

Products/Services: StenoCAT is currently working on a new realtime browser that will be designed to work with any mobile device including iPad and Android devices. The product will be Web-browser based for application in a LAN environment.

StenoCAT also has developed a steno machine iPad app called “iStenoPad,” which is free of charge and can be downloaded via the iTunes app store. A dictionary can be added to the new app, and it can be connected to a CAT system with an addon purchase of iStenoDock for realtime and file transfers. A keyboard overlay is also available for purchase to help users with key touch.

While the company has no plans to create a repository for reporters, its software works well with Dropbox and SkyDrive. The company also offers instructional videos and files on using either Dropbox or Skydrive with its software and is in the process of creating additional educational materials such as videos and tutorials covering such topics as networking. Some popular features of StenoCAT are the new SmartBriefs, seating charts, autosave, integrated address book, Internet search capability, and PDF with digital and/or electronic signatures.

StenoCAT charges an initial start-up fee for new users, plus a first-year subscription. After the first year, users can renew their subscriptions on a one-month, three-month, six-month, or one-year basis.

For more information about products and services, visit www.StenoCAT.com.

VENDOR: STENOGRAPH

About the company: Stenograph was founded more than 75 years ago and is considered a leading supplier of productivity tools for the court reporting profession, including the developer of shorthand writers and computer-aided transcription software. The company is based in Elmhurst, Ill.

Products/Services: Stenograph is currently beta testing a new product designed to use a wide area network and allow CVN to work over the Internet for users of its CATalyst software. The product is intended to stream realtime text to either a remote attendee, or it can be used on-site.

The easy-to-use new product requires users to select their output to CVN in CATalyst, and enter a realtime stream access code that could be purchased on a weekly, month, or yearly schedule. The company is also moving toward open standards so that CAT transcripts could be opened through Open Office. In addition, Stenograph is working to identify ways to encourage more people to become court reporters, including finding ways to get students through school quicker and pushing steno games to potential students to help increase interest in the profession.

For more information about products and services, visit www.stengraph.com.

VENDOR: VISIONARY LEGAL TECHNOLOGIES

About the company: Visionary Legal Technologies is a legal software company that offers powerful, easy-to-use trial presentation software, and trial presentation services. Based in Addison, Texas, the company developed Auto Syncing, which uses voice recognition technology to sync deposition transcripts to the deposition video for use in trial presentation software.

Products/Services: Visionary has 16 products designed to aid the litigator from discovery through appeal. Currently, the company is reviewing how to integrate their products with tablets.

Among the products Visionary offers is VPrint, which uses secure digital signatures in documents and password-protected PDFs for e-filing of appellate transcripts; REDI for courts, a synch product that produces transcript plus audio; and V-Net, a repository product that includes transcripts with hyperlinked exhibits, and access to video/audio.

Visionary Legal Technologies also offers LiveFeed Remote, a streaming product that works with all known steno providers.

The company currently offers a variety of Web-based training materials on their company website, in addition to offering training services for a fee.

For more information about products and services, visit www.Visionary Legal Technologies.com.

VENDOR: YESLAW

About the company: YesLaw is based in Santa Clara, Calif., and provides repository, transcript production software, and synchronization services to professionals working in the legal arena, including freelancers and firm owners.

Products/Services: YesLaw provides YesLaw Online, a unique cloud-based website that allows users to upload video, transcripts, and other documents. Users of the service can view deposition transcripts, linked exhibit documents, and synchronized video, as well as highlight, annotate, and make video clips of important transcript passages. The YesLaw Online toolset provides always-available access to search and review case content by Web browsers and mobile devices.

The company is serious about the issues of security and confidentiality and maintains all client data in an encrypted format stored in a secure facility. Modes of delivery of transcripts and other documents are also safeguarded by delivery through the cloud.

YesLaw offers an array of written educational materials in PDF format geared toward attorneys, as well as a variety of product-specific material. The company is interested in providing links to the NCRA website to provide members with easy access to educational materials, and has offered NCRA the opportunity to host YesLaw training videos.

Currently, the company is providing a variety of solutions with other vendors to integrate their products and services into the YesLaw production software.

For more information about services and products, visit www.yeslaw.com.

This article was produced on behalf of NCRA’s Technology Evaluation Committee.

Captioning corner: From court reporter to captioner, Part II

Have you been practicing your local news, talk shows, and sports? I hope so and that you are still interested in becoming a captioner.

COST

Let’s talk about the costs associated with becoming a captioner. If you think you’d like to become an independent contractor, as opposed to an employee, you will likely incur the expenses of upgrading to captioning software, installing two land lines, and being sure you have reliable Internet. Some employers provide all of the equipment. Some provide everything except steno machines. Employees who work at home must also have reliable Internet.

TRAINING

Your next step should be to seek training. If you are going to be an independent contractor, I recommend attending a boot camp or working with a personal trainer. Some companies provide training, and you can find boot camps and personal trainers online. If you work with a personal trainer, she or he will review your files and help you attain 98.5 percent accuracy. You may be thinking 98.5 percent means a 1.5 percent untran rate, and that you’re already there. This is not related to your untran rate. Your untran rate thinks that the word humanity translated as “hue man tee” is perfectly acceptable because they are real words. In captioning, it is three errors. Use NCRA’s “What is an Error?” as a guide for grading your files. A general guideline is if you write 3,000 words in a half-hour with 30 errors, it is 99 percent accuracy; 60 errors would be 98 percent accuracy.

I hope that you will join the many that have gone before you to find a new, exciting, and rewarding avenue to utilize your skills.

Beyond the comfort zone: Titanium technology and glaucoma effects

The registered nurse was speaking to me about my mother’s recent ICU discharge when overhead speakers broadcast a doctor’s page. He cupped one hand over the back of each ear. I watched, sans comment. I am witnessing many medical professionals with hearing loss. Yet these moments are far more frequent than years ago — especially during the past two years as I viewed my father’s care prior to his death.

Perhaps it is my antenna as I view Mom’s challenges to “avoid death’s door” (a term given to Mom) wherein I see many now working with hearing loss. He said softly, “Don’t tell anyone. I have hearing loss.”

I nodded, “I see that you have coping skills to assist you.”

“You noticed?”

“Yes, sir. Due to my work.” Mom tells everyone, every shift, “My daughter is a court reporter, a teacher, and an author.” I simply bow my head. On many occasions I have been so happy Mom is alive that I avoid the daughter sigh.

I was prepared to not pursue this topic. Yet I find 99 percent of people who have hearing loss do want to detail their world with me. I listen, humbled, learning from each.

He said, “Most people don’t notice. My wife’s worse! She’s the one I worry about. I’ll tell you tomorrow, okay?” I nodded. We returned to our task — required gowning with gloves and mask in the hall before entering.

The next day the nurse met me. “I’ve been waiting for you.” He asked how I was familiar with hearing loss. I shared “court reporter, CART provider, captioner, consultant.” This nurse said, “My wife and children have serious issues. I just have hearing loss. But I know what I want before I lose my hearing.

“My wife has glaucoma. When she was a teen she took glaucoma medicine to decrease her eye pressure. The medicine also decreases inner ear pressure and damages nerves. Her hearing loss now is from medicine long ago. What’s worse than that?

“Each generation then has hearing loss from the parent’s medicine. Our children have decreased hearing and so will their children. One son is 12. He has huge decreased hearing. I worry about our children.”

He paused before continuing. “Since their hearing loss is more severe, their treatments come first. I’ve studied genetics about this. The fear of losing eyesight and hearing is devastating to my wife and to our children. That’s why we’re not going to have any more children. And my work

…” his voice trailed off.

He beamed, “But I know exactly what I want. It’s state-of-the-art.”

My eyes were as big as saucers as I listened to this man talk about the glaucoma medicine and generational effects. He summed it up, “Tomorrow I’ll tell you what I want. I probably won’t get it. Yet I have to have hope. Right?”

The next day, this nurse sprang from his chair when I came to see my mom. “I’ve been waiting for you. I told my wife about you and court reporters. We know all about your work. We thank you and your profession for helping us. Once I tell you what I really want, could you tell me how to help my 12-year-old?” I nodded.

I whipped out my iPad, asked permission to write notes. He said, “Sure! Let’s go look at the latest and greatest. It’s not well known, but it could be once the price comes down. And with glaucoma patients and their children’s children — and their children — they’re all going to need your help.”

We hunkered together and looked up “tympanoplasty.” The prostheses resembles a small earring. Hearing must be present. He emphasized, “This is different than cochlear implants. It’s titanium. Implants require relearning sounds and have differing results. This titanium tympanoplasty device is shaped to fit into each ear. It originated in Germany.”

The nurse shared that his wife and children are not prostheses candidates due to their “glaucoma medicine–induced hearing loss” (the kids never had glaucoma, nor do they have the gene).

He shared, “Medical costs are $30,000; insurance doesn’t cover it — yet. But I could hear again with this. I’ve done my homework. Now I just have to find a doctor who will do the surgery and not want thirty grand,” he said tenderly.

Later that day, he found me in the hall way — staring at the floor — wearing the isolation gown – holding the required gloves, sans mask. Now he held a notepad; he asked how he could help his family. “One son already has problems. He’s been bullied. I taught him karate for discipline and confidence. His speech is now thick-tongued as pressure in his ears create hearing loss from his mother’s glaucoma medicine before he was born.”

Since English is each son’s first language, I shared about the Alexander Graham Bell Association. I shared AGB techniques. Children work with balloons voicing sounds. Balloons bounce and have specific reactions to vocal sounds and exhalations of breath. Older children (and adults) often work with lit candles. If the flame is extinguished, the exhalation was not appropriate for that sound. “Fascinating,” he said.

Now he took notes saying, “My wife insisted I ask you. Insisted!” I detailed the Hearing Loss Association and other groups. I shared that each association has chapters; chapters are wonderful resources for children and adults.

We shared information each time I visited Mom. The nurse expressed his gratitude for being able to share his dreams, his hopes with me, and said each time, “I have to help my wife and children before I help myself. It’s the right thing to do. Yet I know my time is limited here on the floor.”

Looking left and right, he said, “I have problems with phones when there are overhead announcements. External noises are hard to work around. Yet I know if I get that titanium device before I have another hearing drop, I’ll be able to hear. I do not have the absolute fear of going blind and also losing my hearing. That is the fear, you know.”

I softly replied, “Yes, I know the deep fear for many deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals is to lose vision.”

This nurse truly enjoyed helping me learn about glaucoma patients who will then pass their decreased hearing down to their children — and then to their children. He exacted a promise that I share. (Mom also told him I would write an article …)

He shook my hand, “Great! Now if I can get that electronic stethoscope — that’s what I call it — I can help others. I’ll do my darndest to help my family, myself, and to help others. Good deal, right?”

“And you promise to write about this? (I nodded.) Maybe I’ll get my titanium surgery when others know how important this is. And my wife and children need help, too. You promise?”

“Yes, dear,” I softly replied.

Then he quoted, verbatim, a lengthy Monty Python skit, complete with accents. The nurse bowed, “We’ve walked barbed wire fences together you and me.”

He sprinted down the hall. Again, I was tired, cold, and hungry. Yet I was charmed by this man’s energy, his hopes, and his goals. Mom’s overhead light went off (in isolation — not many rush to her room). And I headed back in to help Mom.

Suddenly, the gentleman called my name. He put his hand over his heart and paused. Watching, I placed my hand over my heart.

Slowly, we nodded once in unison. And now I fulfill my promise sharing with each of you — together.

By special assignment: Seeing the world

Last November, Heidi C. Thomas, RDR, CRR, a member of NCRA’s Board of Directors, boarded a plane armed with her equipment case and steno machine. Accompanied by a technical expert, Thomas, an independent contractor from Roswell, Ga., with 36 years of experience as a court reporter and 25 years of experience as a captioner, flew nearly 14 hours to an assignment in Dubai, one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates. Hired by a captioning firm, Thomas spent two weeks in Dubai, considered to be the most modern and progressive of the United Arab Emirates, providing CART services during an international conference.

Thomas, who has also completed assignments in Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, Africa, and Switzerland, says that while traveling overseas to work is an exciting opportunity to experience other cultures, it can also prove challenging, especially, she says, when toting along all of her realtime equipment, including steno machine, computer, and tables.

“I keep my equipment case with me at all times. I never check it with my baggage, and when I go through security or customs, I sometimes think the security folks want to detain me or jail me. Of course, it depends where you are and how the authorities view your work. In Switzerland, they are happy to see you and invite you right in,” Thomas says. “But sometimes it can be even more difficult getting your equipment out of a country. In Mexico, for example, there were discussions about taxing my equipment.”

BE PREPARED

Prior to arriving for an assignment overseas, Thomas says CART providers, captioners, and court reporters need to be sure that all of their equipment will work properly, since many countries have different electrical outlets and voltage requirements than the United States, not to mention different Internet regulations. Nothing is worse than being overseas for an assignment and finding out that chargers and adapters won’t work or that your feeds won’t interface with a country’s recording or video format, she explains. Typically, the captioning companies that hire her take care of letting her know what, if any, additional adapters, plugs, or interface software she’ll need prior to traveling to ensure a complete and quality assignment, she adds.

“When a company hires me, they have specific contract requirements, so they let me know what I’ll need, because no matter where you go, there are always equipment issues,” she says.

CART providers, captioners, and court reporters who travel abroad to work also need to be aware of the official documents a country requires. Thomas says that some countries, such as Africa, require a visa in addition to a passport to enter the country. Before traveling to Africa, she was also required to have certain vaccinations to protect against disease. And although lead time between being hired for an assignment overseas and the actual travel dates is typically about two months, there are assignments that come up more quickly, and reporters need to act fast to ensure they have all the correct paperwork completed and medical requirements taken care of.

“When I traveled to Switzerland and Africa, I had about a 10-day lead time to prepare. My passport was in place so Switzerland was pretty easy to prepare for. However, with Africa, I needed to obtain a visa, and because of the short lead time, several of the vaccines I needed did not have time to take effect before I got there,” Thomas says. “You need to read up on the country where the assignment is and understand what the requirements are to work there, especially if it is an underdeveloped or third-world nation.”

Prior to her traveling to Dubai, Thomas says she studied the country’s customs and was prepared when she arrived, knowing that women have a different place in society in the UAE than women do in the United States and that some behavior by foreigners could be mistaken as aggressive behavior. She recommends that CART providers, captioners, and court reporters visit the U.S. State Department’s website before traveling abroad to learn the latest information about a country’s political climate, any travel advisories that might be issued for Americans, and about the nation’s cultural differences.

“Years ago I traveled on assignment to Mali, and it was fine. Today, however, with the political unrest there, I could not travel there to work. By comparison, you’ve got to figure that an international conference that includes attendees from more than 190 countries, like the one in Dubai, had to be held in a safe place,” Thomas says.

YOU WON’T GO IT ALONE

CART providers, captioners, and court reporters who travel overseas to work are often part of a larger team that can include several reporters and technical advisers.

“Whether you are the only reporter going on the assignment or whether there are several of you, there should always be technical support available on-site. You typically spend between 24 and 48 hours prior to the start of the assignment dealing with equipment setup and troubleshooting, as well as acclimating yourself to any time difference,” she notes. That means you may want to be compensated for days that are devoted to travel and/or technical setup, as well as days you’ll be writing. Though Thomas was the only CART provider on-site at the Dubai assignment, she says there were many CART providers stateside providing remote services to the simultaneous breakout sessions held during the conference. Given the time difference between the two countries, many of those CART providers ended up working in the middle of the night to cover the sessions, she says.

GETTING THE ASSIGNMENT

According to Thomas, professionals interested in working abroad should reach out to the numerous reporting and captioning companies that specialize in working with clients overseas and start by accepting international assignments that can be done remotely, as a way to develop a feel for the work, especially for the writing portion of the job.

Thomas also advises those seeking work abroad to make sure that the company hiring them is diligent in doing its homework when it comes to providing the necessary information about the assignment’s location, special equipment needs, official paperwork, and medical requirements.

In addition, Thomas cautions professionals who want to go the overseas route as independent contractors without the backing of a company, to be sure to understand that the information a company would normally supply them becomes their responsibility to find out.

“If you plan to take an assignment on your own, you need to understand that there is a lot of homework on your part. If you have never worked overseas before and will not be working for a company, I would caution that the job might be a red flag. Take the time to really think it through, and be sure you have access to all the information you need and know the questions to ask to ensure you will be safe and be able to produce quality work,” Thomas says.

“One of the most exciting things for me working an overseas assignment has been experiencing the different cultures of the countries I have traveled to. But I will say each time I come back home, I count my blessings, and realize how lucky I am to be a citizen of the United States.”

Other voices: Stenograph celebrates 75 years

On the occasion of Stenograph’s seventy-fifth anniversary, Jim Cudahy, NCRA’s executive director and CEO, took the opportunity to talk to John Wenclawski, Stenograph’s president. Here are some highlights of the company’s history from the interview.

Jim Cudahy: Congratulations. Seventy-five years is quite a long time. Can you tell us how the company was founded and what it was like at the beginning?

John Wenclawski: Well, nobody who was around 75 years ago is still here, and nobody did a real good job creating a record. M.H. Wright founded the company in 1938 in Chicago. Back then, the company was selling machines for $45 or $65, and they sold about 4,000 machines annually. But when the United States entered World War II in Sept. 1939, the government came in and took over the factory, and it slowed the production of machines. Plus, there wasn’t a demand for stenographers or machines during the war.

When World War II ended, production of the machines started up again, and sales soared. It was also about this time, in 1948, that the person who’s most associated with the company’s success came into the picture — Bob Wright. Bob took over the company in the 1950s, and he ran the company until it was sold in 1978.

Here’s something most people aren’t aware of: In the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s, it was a much smaller company as you would anticipate, and half of the company’s revenue was from non-stenographic applications. We did some really interesting things that we found in the archives.

Cudahy: What kinds of things was the company doing?

Wenclawski: I could say about 50 percent of our revenue came from government sales. We were making little “encoders,” basically little devices that you could input a message in. There was a code, so the actual letters that were coming out were not the letters you typed in. It was getting put on a magnetic tape, which in the 1950s nobody was using tape yet. Today, it’s old, but back then, tape wasn’t even being used. These were all handmade devices that would get buried behind enemy lines to communicate critical information. Then the tape would be put it into a decoder for the message to get translated. Stenograph produced a number of variations of these devices.

Cudahy: It probably started with the Army but also the CIA.

Wenclawski: Army, CIA, all these domestic and international groups. The thing was, back in those days, it was all done by hand.

In the 1960s, we were selling 15,000 to 17,000 machines. That is a lot more than we sell today. Back then, shorthand was being taught in the high schools — not for court reporting but for secretarial applications.

Cudahy: What have you seen as the biggest changes that have occurred in the profession since you’ve been involved with Stenograph?

Wenclawski: When I came to work at Steno graph in 1983, CAT was a concept that people didn’t think would work. They didn’t think it was a viable alternative to typing or dictating. It was a concept that you had to sell people on, to educate people on. To see what has happened with technology and CAT software is just amazing. The machines we sold then had a data cassette, and an eight-inch floppy disk in the computer, which weighed 100 pounds. We thought those computers were so fast back then; but today the systems can process 50 times faster. If the computer would translate 250 pages an hour, we thought that was good. Today, everything is instantaneous.

We had no idea the technology would move as fast as it did. We really believed that those computers were going to last 10 or 20 years. But the computer business now just moves so quickly. Everything’s faster, smaller, and less expensive.

Cudahy: What do you like most about the court reporting profession?

Wenclawski: You meet a lot of really nice people in the community. Generally, they’re honest people, they’re respectful, and many are very appreciative. I see the relationships with court reporters that have developed into friendships and you see them walking around giving each other hugs during conventions. People really mix business and pleasure.

Cudahy: Let’s take a step back and ask you some more specifics about Stenograph.

Wenclawski: We talked a little bit about some of the alternative products Stenograph worked on for government intelligence back in the 1960s. We also did a program with the government translating Russian newspapers during the Cold War. We came up with using a stenographer and some software we developed to translate the Russian papers to English. Also in the 1960s, we developed the first CAT system in conjunction with IBM. The computer took up the whole room. It was a service center application. People would send in their steno notes, we would translate the notes, and they’d get a big stack of green bar paper to proof. Not very successful, but it was our first attempt at CAT.

Cudahy: What’s something about Stenograph that people don’t know and they should?

Wenclawski: Many people think we’re bigger than we are: We have 150 employees, many of whom have been with us more than 20 years, and they’ve been with us because they really care about the company, and they care about the customers. There’s really a positive customer service attitude within the organization.

Another thing is that I don’t think people realize or appreciate the technology that we’ve developed over the years — everything from the machine to the software. I don’t think we get the credit that we deserve when it comes to technology.

Cudahy: What’s really the core of your business these days?

Wenclawski:We always look at our business in three sectors: The machine sector is primarily the professional machine today, it is the biggest piece of our business, and it’s driven by the Diamante. Software business is very important but because so many people have a CAT system and don’t want to go through the process of changing CAT systems, software in general is down slightly. But it’s still a very good piece of the business especially with the support part of it. The school part of the business is our third sector.

Cudahy: Tell us why Stenograph got into the school business.

Wenclawski: We were very reluctant to get into the school business because a fair percentage of our business came from the schools, but at the same time, we had customers — both the school owners as well as reporters — reaching out to us to say, “You need to get involved because the school market is going down.” Schools were closing on a regular basis, and they needed someone to come in who understood the schools, who had a commitment to the schools, and who really would show a commitment to the profession for the future of the profession. At the same time, we thought education in general would be a good business opportunity, and that’s why we got into it. It’s been a challenge.

Cudahy: What’s the stenographic court reporting profession going to look like 25 years from now? How might it be different?

Wenclawski: Over the past 20 years, the Stenograph machine development has really paralleled the evolution of notebook computers. We have a $2 million R&D budget on an annualized basis, but we cannot compete with the Apples and Dells of the world. We have to take their ideas and quickly bring it into our future development.

The primary request from the court reporter focus groups we have done has not changed. They want a machine that is lighter weight. They want a machine that has got better battery technology and helps in improving their writing. I think every generation of machine that we’ve introduced has included improvements in those areas. As far as the profession itself, I believe that it will not be as tied to its traditional legal roots. Legal work may continue to be the backbone, but there’ll be more nontraditional jobs. The future of the court reporting profession is taking the spoken word and creating an immediate useful, searchable text document, and that doesn’t necessarily have to be in the legal world. It can be over the Internet. It can be educationally oriented. There are all sorts of applications, and what’s going to make the profession successful is thinking outside the box, utilizing the unique skills, the realtime, and the technology that’s available. That’s the future.

As young attorneys come on board, they’re going to want that text fast. It’s a “now” society; everybody wants instant gratification, like our mobile devices. They’re going to want it everywhere, all the time. You’ve got to embrace the technology. It’s got to be realtime. If you do that, I think the demand for the service just goes up.

Cudahy: What keeps you up at night as the president of Stenograph?

Wenclawski: The future, there’s no question about it. When my day comes in the not-too-distant future, when I hope to retire someday, I would like to be able to hand over a thriving growth company.

That concerns me because I’m not sure where the profession is going at times. We don’t have new people coming in. We don’t have people embracing technology in their workplace, but the average person won’t keep a flat screen TV, cell phone, or cars — anything related to technology — that’s more than five years old. Yet a reporter will use a shorthand machine that might be well over 10 years old. Court reporters should be computer savvy, because that is their lifeline to making money. They should really know their software because there’s so much that the software products can do that would save them time. They’d be more efficient, and if you’re more efficient, either you can be making more money or enjoying life or both. I say that a lot of professions are experiencing these same challenges because we are really at a point where the profession is evolving. It’s going to be different in the future.

It’s important that you embrace technology because how you market yourself is important. Here’s a for-instance: I had dinner with an attorney a couple of weeks ago. He mentioned that he worked with this court reporter a week ago who had a really sleek-looking machine, which happened to be pink. He just kept going on and on about this machine. It made an impression on the attorney. By having the latest technology, that court reporter is going to improve how attorneys see her. She obviously did a good job, but in his eyes, she probably didn’t do that much better than others. But her use of technology, bringing that machine that was so sleek, made her stand out.

When you go out there with a 20-year old machine, it does not send a good signal about the profession. People think it’s antiquated. But if you go out there and throw iPads in front of them and use a nice machine and have a notebook computer and the realtime’s going, that’s impressive. Even if they don’t use it, they’re going to say, “This person has got her act together.”

That’s what keeps me up at night. How do we get reporters to embrace that stuff? Some do, but not enough.

Cudahy: Looking back on the 75 years of the company’s existence, what do you think is Stenograph’s legacy?

Wenclawski: I really believe that we’ve been the rock in supporting the court reporting profession. Throughout that time, we’ve developed and been the primary manufacturer of the instrument that is the backbone of the profession, the shorthand machine. In addition to that, we’ve continued to develop technology, in essence to push competition and the marketplace. With the court reporting profession, I’d like to think we’ve had a partnership that has allowed Stenograph to prosper for 75 years, and I think it’s really helped the court reporting profession prosper. Without each other, we would be in trouble. If we didn’t have court reporters embracing technology, embracing CAT, continuing to go to court reporting school, we’d be out of business.

Not many companies can say that they’ve been in business 75 years, and especially in the last 17 years that I’ve been president — we’ve been in a very solid financial position because of the partnership. I think it goes both ways. We’ve been able to give quality products and quality service that have allowed the reporters to make it easy to invest in us. We’re in this together.

Cudahy: How would you finish this sentence: Stenograph exists at its 150th anniversary if …

Wenclawski: If we find a way to truly exercise and participate in our core philosophy of being the purveyor of technology to take the spoken word and allow realtime access to the spoken word across the board. We have to build on our foundation in the court reporting business and expand beyond that as a technology supplier.

Cudahy: Thanks for talking with me, John. It’s been a pleasure to hear more about the business.

Wenclawski: Thank you, Jim.

Products & Services Spotlight

NCRA’s Virtual Exhibit Hall

The purpose of this article is to provide newsworthy information on reporter-related products and technologies. This column is for our readers to use in their research; NCRA does not endorse or critically review these products and services in any way. The following briefs were provided by the companies and manufacturers.

The JCR plans to make this section a recurring feature in the magazine. The JCR invites parties interested in making announcements to send their news items to JCR advertising and editorial coordinator Amy Law at alaw@ncra.org.

RealLegal Management Tools

800-548-3668 / www.reallegal.com

RealLegal provides transcript management tools to court reporting firms, freelance reporters, official reporters, courts, and law firms. Developed with input from both court reporting and legal professionals, these products fit into the workflow of the litigation process. The result is greater efficiency, lower costs, and more opportunity for growth. RealLegal E-Transcript technology is the benchmark for electronic transcripts, and the standard delivery format for litigators nationwide. E-Transcript files ensure page and line integrity, allow for custom formatting, and offer the security of a tamperproof, electronic signature. The free E-Transcript Viewer is all that’s needed to view an E-Transcript. E-Transcript files are also compatible with Case Notebook and other popular litigation software.

Aptara

302-864-0664 / www.aptaracorp.com

No company summarizes more depositions than Aptara. With more than 400 transcripts summarized per day for the largest court reporting companies nationwide, and more than 5 million transcript pages to date, no one comes close.

Toxic tort. Medical device. Products liability. Negligence. Social Security. Workers comp.

If your clients report to partners, claims managers, general counsel, steering committees, or prepare for settlement or trial, they need deposition summaries. A deposition summary is a concise and objective abstract used by lawyers, and it remains at the core of their case preparation. Your clients are under increasing pressure to cut legal expenses, and Aptara’s ability to provide professionally prepared, cost-effective deposition summaries with quick turn-around not only saves them time and money but also gives you an added profitable service that’s in demand.

Aptara’s led by an experienced trial lawyer who knows the importance of valuable discovery and case management solutions. The company creates summaries that meet varied practice needs, and company officials report that competitively priced medical record summaries are also available.

Attachmore

800-975-7712 / www.attachmore.com/ncra

Be more productive in sending and sharing files with Attachmore. Each day brings the common problem of emailing large audio files or huge .pdf exhibits. Email limits how much you can attach. Other online storage services are often too cumbersome. Attachmore makes it easy with a simple “right click” on a file or folder to upload, company officials report. The Attachmore software uploads the selection and presents a download link, which users can easily email with their preferred email program. Recipients are able to open the email and click the download link to retrieve the sent files without logins or visiting other websites. Simplify your digital life and be more professional in your file communications.

College of Court Reporting

866-294-3947 / http://www.ccr.edu/index.php/programs/ev360-professional-loocs

College of Court Reporting launched its latest innovation, ev360 Professional Development and Continuing Education. The PDCE program is designed to provide the general public with educational and professional development, continuing education, and resources, to ensure that all learners have access to post-secondary and continuing education, the working world, and life-long learning. Its purpose is to further develop and implement research-based curricula that are aligned with industry standards in order to improve individual achievement and professional growth. It is the goal of PDCE to ensure the highest quality education for all learners, facilitated by skilled and professional educators who are supported by CCR personnel, according to company officials. Recent approval from the Indiana Board of Education, makes CCR the first college to offer programs that consists of a Living Open Online Curriculum (LOOCs) for both instructors and students. This program will also be the first court reporting program to award online Badges for students who demonstrate skill and knowledge as a result of completing any of the courses through ev360 PDCE.

Courtroom Connect

www.cameovideosystems.com

Courtroom Connect’s new and innovative video conferencing package, Cameo Video Systems, is a unique conferencing package that allows court reporters, lawyers, legal aids, and other professionals to instantly connect through a secure video conference solution. Unlike other video conferencing products, Cameo Video Systems is a unique bundled package exclusive to CameoCall participants, and can connect using any device: video conference systems, PCs, Macs, smartphones, and tablets.

Court Reporter Reference Books & CDs

Monette.Tutoring@CRRbooks.com / www.CRRbooks.com

Court Reporter Reference Books & CDs is a proven leader providing training and test prep material for court reporting students, novice, or veteran reporters, CART providers, and captioners. Users will learn why answers are correct or incorrect, the company reports.

Court reporters can study essential details to pass state and national certification written exams with a textbook, workbook, and a companion study guide, or study with the Court Reporter Reference Tutorial CD if preferred. The goal of the materials is to have users test only once, and the company reports that students and reporters have a 95 percent success rate advancing their credentials and passing tests.

Monette Benoit, the Court Reporting Whisperer, has provided oneon- one tutoring and empowerment coaching for more than 20 years. Are you stuck in school or desire to create new goals at work? Monette will confidentially assist clients with specific, custom-designed guidance.

CRRbooks.com includes testimonials, multiple products, CATapult Your Dictionary CDs, services, and articles Monette has written for the JCR in her monthly column.

DepositionConferencing.com

877-988-DEPO / info@depositionconferencing.com

DepositionConferencing.com has been a partner to court reporting agencies throughout the United States for a decade. The latest offering from DepositionConferencing.Com is Looking Glass Depo, a fully remote deposition attendance service including video streaming, web conferencing, text streaming, and HD audio conferencing in one easy-to-use package for attorneys and court reporters. Combining best of breed technology with industry proven solutions, Looking Glass Depo allows required attendees to be a part of the proceeding without having to travel to the actual location.

Divinescripts

www.divine-scripts.com/cprp

Is your job in jeopardy? Are you looking for something new or perhaps just need additional income?

The landscape for court reporters is shifting these days, but as a CART provider, you can increase your marketability and enhance your earning potential. Reporters nationwide are taking on full and part-time careers in the world of Computer Aided Realtime Translation.

Very specific skills and knowledge are needed for these CART positions, and Divinescripts LLC, is one of the industry leaders in training and preparing judicial reporters for the world of CART. The company reports that it is currently offering the only online training program available to get interested reporters started.

The world of CART is growing — and fast. CART providers are in great demand all over the country — and worldwide. Opportunities are available in many arenas. CART providers can demand salaries on par with judicial reporters while often enjoying the freedom of freelancing and even working remotely from their home office.

Integrated Realtime Solutions

www.IntegratedRealtimeSolutions.com

Integrated Realtime Solutions, Inc., is a startup company whose mission is to combine and simplify the technology in court reporting, based on the belief that court reporters shouldn’t have to double as computer technicians. The company’s main product line centers around a series of customizable kits that provide reporters or agencies with a stream-lined, easy-to-use, and configuration-free solution for providing realtime to clients. Integrated Realtime Solutions offers flexible options for purchase, lease, and rental of kits, and also partners with other providers in the industry to integrate complementary products and services to provide a complete solution for realtime needs. Support and training are included to ensure that products function exactly as required in the demanding court reporting industry, company officials note.

Starting in New York City with planned expansion across the country, Integrated Realtime Solutions can supply an on-site tech to provide and set up equipment for large jobs.

Karasch & Associates

800-621-5689

Karasch & Associates is a court reporting firm that has been in business for more than 30 years. In addition to providing court reporting and captioning services throughout the United States, Karasch & Associates also provides a mentoring program for graduating court reporters and captioners.

Graduating from court reporting school is very exciting but can be very scary as well. The company’s mentoring program is designed to give each student the confidence and professionalism they need to succeed in this exciting, fast paced world. As members of the Board of Orleans Technical Institute of Court Reporting, Karasch understands what the next step is for graduates.

The Karasch program offers students first-hand insight into depositions, arbitrations, and CART/captioning with our dedicated staff available to answer all questions. The goal is to put reporters at ease for a successful “live” experience.

Join the Karasch Mentoring program and become one of the many court reporters and CART captioners who have started their career with tenacity and confidence.

Lawser

www.lawser.com

Lawser has launched its groundbreaking social network developed exclusively for the legal community. The new platform creates an interactive online hub where attorneys, law students, and those who service the legal industry can network, share best practices, and generate referrals.

Lawser is immediately available at no cost, and members of the legal community are encouraged to set up their personalized accounts at www.lawser.com.

Users simply and quickly create a profile highlighting their career experience and specialties. After building new connections through Lawser’s easy-to-use interface, users may send direct messages to individual community members or post to a newsfeed where members can request personal recommendations and provide referrals from everyone in their network.

“The idea behind Lawser is to create a central gathering place online where members of the legal community can connect,” said Lawser founder Marc Astor. “We constructed what we believe will be the best social networking site for lawyers and the larger legal community. As the site grows, Lawser will be an incredibly beneficial resource that provides tremendous value for legal professionals and ultimately their clients, worldwide.”

LiveDeposition.com

888-337-6411 / www.livedeposition.com

LiveDeposition.com recently added a new product to its line of realtime deposition streaming solutions. Local Realtime is designed to wirelessly connect onsite deposition attendees to a court reporter’s realtime transcript. Local Realtime eliminates the hassle of extra cables or adapters, is iPad and Android tablet compatible, and integrates with all litigation realtime and CAT software.

LiveDeposition.com’s local and web-based streaming deposition solutions remove the need for bulky cords or expensive hardware and gives court reporters the ability to take depositions in a safe and secure environment.

Magnum Steno Club

mark@magnumsteno.com

Magnum Steno Club is a popular online location where reporters and students go to gain speed and accuracy. The testimonials page is jam-packed with letters from excited people who have seen great results from the Magnum Steno Club and the principles and teachings of its founder, Mark Kislingbury. There are more than 120 hours of dictation on the site and more than 1,000 videos. Dictation can be sped up or slowed down to virtually any speed. Around 100 instructional videos go into the mental side of court reporting. Hear all the principles that helped Mark to achieve a Guinness World Record 360 wpm — and you can apply those very principles to your own writing. Every weekday a new dictation video is posted. When you join the club, you gain access to every video on the site. Enjoy Mark’s inspirational, encouraging teaching style.

Martel Electronics

800-553-5536 / www.MartelDirect.com

Meet the world’s only Digital Recorder and Transcriber All ‘N One. Are you plagued by unreliable recording and transcription on your computer? If you are looking to simplify your world, this is the only way to go digital without the hassles of a computer. The unit operates like a tape recorder and tape transcriber. It has one button for start recording and one button for stop. When you are ready to transcribe, simply plug the foot pedal into the unit and it becomes a tape transcriber.

Min-U-Script

888-877-1187 option 2 / www.minuscript.com

Min-U-Script V. 4 offers a host of powerful new features that will deliver outstanding marketing opportunities and efficiencies in producing and delivering your work-product.

Features include casewide batching of all transcripts and/or linked exhibits onto one CD; customizable file hosting service for delivery of large files; automatic Insta-Linking of exhibits; casewide word index reports and Transcript Library Management Reports.

The company has a 23-year tradition of innovation and quality with more than 1,500 licensed users. Visitors are entitled to a free fullfeatured evaluation.

My Realtime Coach

www.learnrealtime.com

MyRealtimeCoach has recently added two new packages to its already extensive array of exercises: Certification Prep and Live Court.

With the Certification Prep package, users can choose from Pace Yourself, Push Yourself, and Test Yourself. Learn to write through those end-of-test jitters with exercises that vary in length from one to eight minutes. Practice challenging material with variable speeds so you can handle anything on test day. Take actual past NCRA exams, and get instant feedback so you know when you’re ready.

Do you have what it takes to write for the U.S. Supreme Court? Now you can stretch yourself every morning with this brand-new package of U.S. Supreme Court proceedings. Arguments, questions, responses — all from the cases that make headlines. Choose from more than 250 exercises created from the actual courtroom audio recordings.

Just 15 minutes a day on myRealtimeCoach™ can lead to careerchanging improvements in speed and accuracy, the company reports.

New York Career Institute

212-962-0002 / NYCI.edu

New York Career Institute’s New Captioning Lab features 10 fully equipped stations for teaching the basics of closed captioning and CART. As a continuing education program, NYCI offers this program to its current student body and professional reporters to help further enhance their realtime skills, as well as learn about closed captioning and CART.

OMTI/Reporter Base

650-544-2147 / omti.com / sales@omti.com

meTranscript (short for Mobil-Elite Transcript) is the latest service from OMTI, developers of ReporterBase business applications for marketing and managing court reporting businesses.

meTranscript gives lawyers their transcripts on smartphones or tablets in a format that maximizes legibility and ease of use while preserving the original ASCIIs page and line formatting.

Clients of court reporting agencies that offer meTranscript can access the service through RB Web Mobile Apps on their iPhone, iPad, or Android device, or on their laptop or desktop through a browser. On mobile devices, lawyers can highlight and make notes on transcripts, email their work to colleagues, and sync it with the master copy that resides on the agency’s RB web server.

Lawyers can do the same tasks through a browser as well, plus view related exhibits, video, and other files within the open transcript. And by syncing, they will always have the latest version when they open the transcript again whatever device they view it on.

OMTI’s other court reporting business applications include RB office management software and RB Web online offices, including case repositories, a PDF transcript creator, and mobile apps.

Stenograph

www.stenograph.com

Stenograph will introduce Cloud, the newest feature for Case- ViewNet and iCVNet, at the NCRA convention in August. Case CATalyst users with a CaseViewNet license can use Cloud to enable clients to view their realtime transcript, whether they are in the same room or anywhere in the world. Cloud uses the Internet to expand the reach of CaseViewNet beyond the court room. Stenograph will be demonstrating CaseViewNet Cloud at the NCRA convention, Aug.8 – 11 in Nashville, Tenn.

Stenovations

www.stenovations.com

Stenovations is now shipping its newest Classic LightSpeed writers. The new LightSpeeds are available in black, silver, and pink aluminum. New features include longer vowel keys that now have two sensors; wide asterisk and wide -DZ keys; a more robust USB connection; and upgraded state-of-the-art electronic components with redesigned circuitry to prevent electronic interference.

The state-of-the-art components and the redesigned circuitry combine to make the latest LightSpeed the most sensitive keyboard ever manufactured, company officials report.

StreamText.net

608-234-4759 / www.streamtextlegal.com / info@streamtextlegal.com

StreamText.Net’s newest platform, StreamText Legal, leverages the industry’s best communications platform, Adobe Connect, to create the most complete deposition platform on the market today. It delivers the highest level of security, reliability, and flexibility, company officials say. StreamTextLegal is a complete deposition solution that allows reporters to offer live video, realtime interactive transcripts, attendance reports, custom branding, evidence sharing, archiving of recorded depositions, private chat, video conferencing, and much more. More than just a deposition platform, StreamText Legal is built on Adobe Connect, which can be used as a central platform for all communication needs — not just depositions.

Designed to be easy to use for both the court reporter and the deposition participants, StreamText.net is cloud based, which means customers can access the platform from anywhere on almost any device. StreamText Legal is iPad, iPhone, and Android compatible.

The Varallo Group

508-753-9282 / www.thevarallogroup.com

The Varallo Group, a trusted name in court reporting, brings outstanding personal attention with first-rate reporters, business development, and administrative services to match clients’ needs and budget.

The firm’s suite of services — including sales support, marketing, and website design — provide court reporters and court reporting firms a single source for all of their management, administrative, and business development needs, and strengthens their business growth efforts, and frees them up to enjoy some well-deserved downtime.

At The Varallo Group, we understand both the current needs of our clients and the tools they’ll need to grow and evolve in the future.

Owner Nancy Varallo is a veteran court reporter, educator, and business owner. As a provider of court reporters and management services to the industry, Nancy’s dedication to the profession reflects the company’s longstanding commitment to the time-honored values of quality, service, and accountability.

Visionary Legal Technologies

www.visionarylegal.com

Visionary Legal Technologies (VLT) has been providing technology answers for the legal industry since the early ‘90s. VLT offers a complete line of production software to standardize, normalize and brand your transcripts and video for delivery to your clients in the most-used formats.

The V-Print product line provides court reporters and agencies with powerful tools to distribute high-impact, branded transcripts in digital and paper formats with no monthly fees. With our template method, you can customize and design each template once and use them forever, following the rules set by each jurisdiction. Digital signatures ensure secure transmission of transcripts between the court reporting agency and court reporters. Deliver unique transcripts in several formats, including full page and mini .pdfs, with word index. V-Print Pro delivers transcripts with hyperlinked exhibits in multiple formats.

Our Auto-Syncer was the industry’s first automated syncing tool. As such, it is the most trusted and accurate transcript-to-video synchronizing tool available on the market today. Visionary Auto- Syncer is a complete solution for creating and syncing files compatible with most trial presentation products, including Visionary 8 Pro.

In your own words: “We are technology” for students

My interest in court reporting began at age 14 during a career day when I sat in with a court reporter. Career days, how ever, have become somewhat extinct. So how are high schoolers supposed to learn that court reporters don’t use those old waterfall-type machines that cascade paper into piles on the floor and that we truly have embraced technology? Well, if their only exposure to our field is through Hollywood, students will never know the truth. But if they take time to participate in career events like the one I participated in, they’ll be in for a big surprise — a pleasant one, of course, but a surprise, nonetheless.

Who can we thank for providing this wondrous shock? Business Professionals of America, of course — or BPA, for short. If you’re not familiar with BPA, it is a career and technical student organization. With more than 43,000 members in more than 2,300 chapters in 23 states, BPA has positioned itself as the leading CTSO for students who wish to pursue careers in business management, office administration, information technology, and other related fields. Since its inception, BPA has proven to students that they can rely on the organization to provide them with the absolute latest information on their careers of interest.

On March 22 and 23, BPA Michigan held its conference in Grand Rapids. Representatives of the Michigan Association of Professional Court Reporters participated with a break-out session. The session, “We Are Technology: The Four Amazing Fields of Realtime Reporting,” overflowed with more than 300 students, and questions were aplenty.

Break-out sessions weren’t the only offerings for students; there were also a number of different competitions. Those who placed at the regional level competed in Grand Rapids at state-level events. Those placing in Grand Rapids moved on to Nationals in Orlando, Fla.

On top of all that, MAPCR also staffed an information booth — or should I say, I helped staff the information booth. There, I gave my realtime spiel. Students hovered in droves to watch Melinda Dexter, MAPCR’s president-elect, write realtime to her iPad. They were amazed. “I’ve never heard of this career,” is what we were told over and over. And the students said, “This is so awesome!”

So, did MAPCR sway students to consider a career in realtime reporting? Only time will tell. Seeds were sowed, however, and as we all know, it’s the planting that leads to growing.

MAPCR is starting a fruitful experience with its BPA chapter. Wouldn’t you like to help expand the field? Just imagine how many students could be reached if all state associations’ leadership participated in their BPA state leadership conferences. If your association would like to take that first step too, go online to www.bpa.org/ about/saac to locate a BPA chapter in your state. Reach out. Offer to present. Open thousands of students’ minds to consider our amazing profession for themselves.

Represent your state with an awesome booth demonstration by going to www.mapcr.org to order your public relations kit, which includes customizable trifold brochures, a PowerPoint presentation, and “We Are Technology” t-shirts.

What’s Happening: Court reporters reach out to Oklahoma

In the wake of the devastation caused by the massive tornado that touched down in Moore, Okla., the Oklahoma Court Reporters Association collected donations to benefit a court reporter who lost the home she was living in and all of her belongings. NCRA has also contributed to OCRA.

“It is important that members of the court reporting family know that they have the support available to them to help replace damaged or lost equipment and other items that would prohibit them from working,” said Jim Cudahy, NCRA executive director and CEO. “Court reporters are inherently caring and generous, whether the need is for money or time. Their readiness to aid a fellow reporter reflects the selflessness that makes those in our profession so unique.”

Kelly Stoabs, a freelance reporter, was away when the tornado hit the city of Moore. However, the home she was living in was flattened by the tornado, leaving her with only the clothes and items she had with her. Her steno machine was with her, said Chrystal Vance, a member of OCRA’s board of directors and donations coordinator.

Welcome to NCRA

The following are new NCRA reporter and associate members joining in March 2013. Members are listed by state or country. Endorser’s name, where available, appears in parentheses following the new member’s address.

NEW PARTICIPATING AND REGISTERED MEMBERS

Nicole Lynn Paulk, Auburn, AL

Sheila R. Merrell, Menlo Park, CA

Cheryl A. Martin, Newbury Park, CA

Christina Suzanne Morton, Palm Desert, CA

Julissa Valdez, Walnut, CA

Lorraine L. Ramsey, Norwalk, CT

Tracy Lynn Hansen, Celebration, FL

Katiana Louis, Miami, FL

Annelese Bernard, Orlando, FL

Donna Fontaine, Orlando, FL

Debbie Rotruck Krick, Tallahassee, FL

Elizabeth Ann Taylor, Evansville, IN

Jennifer J. Nall, Louisville, KY

Heather Marie Chiaro, RPR, Baltimore, MD

Angel Berry, South Field, MI

Rhondi R. West, Anoka, MN

Brandi N. Bigalke, Minneapolis, MN

Ellen M. Godino, Hackettstown, NJ

Edie Lyn Casselberry, Mays Landing, NJ

Lydia Davidson, Los Lunas, NM

Eunice Patchen, Hartsdale, NY

Mary Jane Yaeger, Rochester, NY

Wendy Haehnle, Milford, OH

Sondra Black, Erie, PA

Melissa A. Smith, Levittown, PA

Delicia B. Struss, Houston, TX

Ann Fleming, Park City, UT

Mark K. Hovila, CM, Lake Forest Park, WA

NEW ASSOCIATE MEMBERS

Aurora Joslyn, Hollywood, FL

(Annette Montalvo, RMR)

Kelly Anne Bader, Blackwood, NJ

Christopher Lackner, CLVS, Brooklyn, NY

Deborah Darlene Self-Newman, Plattsburgh, NY

Judith Lynne Dodge, North Scituate, RI

Foundation seeks funding for Bradley Manning trial court reporter

The Freedom of the Press Foundation created a crowdsourcing campaign to pay a professional court reporter to transcribe the trial of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, according to a May 9 article on Politico. The Freedom of Press Foundation said in its press release, “This campaign aims to fully fund a court stenographer, who will be credentialed with a media organization and attend the trial in the court’s media room. The court stenographer will produce a transcript of the trial, and as soon as the transcripts are available, the Freedom of the Press Foundation will post them online for journalists and the public.”

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