It’s Court Reporting & Captioning Week! Each year the National Court Reporting Association honors the unique professions of court reporting and captioning by showcasing to the public the large impact court reporters have had, and do have, on capturing history for posterity, as well as the wonderful services captioners make available to help better the lives for millions of Americans who are deaf and hard of hearing by providing captioning in realtime for live sporting and theater events, church services, movie houses, and many other venues.
In honor of this special week, I’d like to share with my colleagues and legal professionals my favorite gadget that I utilize in my court reporting business. A “gadget” is generally thought of as perhaps a mechanical device; however, I am broadening the meaning of “gadget” to include a device that is perhaps unique, not necessarily mechanical, and helps me be productive with my court reporting work.
I use each gadget for a specific purpose — and that is for productivity! Productivity is defined as: “the quality, state, or fact of being able to generate, create, enhance, or bring forth goods and services.”
I know there are many of you out there that feel like there is too much to do and not enough time! As busy professionals, we all are constantly juggling family, work, and other commitments. I understand each of you has multiple roles — spouse, parent, cook, breadwinner, whatever. You need extra hands!
I am constantly striving to find new ways to aid me in my quest to complete a job more efficiently. After all, who doesn’t want more time to spend with family and friends; right?
My iPhone and iPad are my top go-to products to help me with my court reporting business and are a tremendous asset for productivity. As I’ve written in a previous blog post: “The smartphone has become an essential tool for every court reporter and ultimately eliminates the need for other gadgets one used to traditionally rely on in completing certain functions/tasks to get your transcript out the door. My smartphone of choice has revolutionized the way I do business and increases my efficiency and productivity immeasurably. Utilizing one intuitive device is the preferable and superior choice over multiple devices. In addition, the size of a mobile device conveniently and effortlessly fits into a pocket or a handbag.”
The smartphone is, indeed, very powerful; but there are a few gadgets that I rely on when I’m in the deposition setting and/or the courtroom. The JCR asked me to write an article last year about my top gadgets. When I first received the request, I was, like, “How am I going to come up with 10 gadgets? I don’t think I really use that many.” Well, when I sat down to compose the article, it made me realize how many gadgets I really do have in my little arsenal. Oh, my gosh, I was a monster with the gadgets! That being said, I am going to concentrate on my number-one gadget in this article — the iPhone/iPad.
Many of you may already utilize a tablet or iPad in your day-to-day worklife. There are many ways to use the iPad/iPhone in the deposition and/or courtroom setting as well. I recently upgraded to the iPad Air. For Father’s Day last year, I gave my husband the iPad Mini. I swear, sometimes I should stealthily “borrow” it from him. I definitely love the smaller footprint and feel it would have some benefits over the full-size iPad.
- I created an iPhone/iPad app for my business called Omega OnTheGo. Within the app, there is a Transcript Order Form where attorneys may fill out the form and either use their finger or a stylus to sign the form. That way, there’s never a question whether the attorney ordered the transcript. The form is automatically emailed to them after the Submit button is clicked. Currently, the app is no longer available for download for iPhone, but you may still download the Android version.
- If one doesn’t want to go to the expense of app creation, there are other ways to accomplish the same goal. Simply create a form within a PDF signing application and an email can be sent from the app. If you have a website, add a Transcript Order Form to your site and access the form from your iPad at the end of the job. I utilize all of these methods because I want to ensure I get paid for the work I do for attorneys and legal professionals. Having the attorney take specific action regarding the transcript order and having a copy forwarded to him reminds him he ordered and, then, there’s no confusion later about whether the transcript was indeed ordered or not. Leave the guesswork out of it and be certain.
Recently, I was working with some out-of-town attorneys. As sometimes is the case, after the deposition, they were in a rush to get to the airport. I thought, “No problem. I’ll just email the attorneys and ask them to fill out the TOF.” It works perfectly and there is never a question about what the client ordered!
- I am a Case CATalyst user. Stenograph has a great app called ICVNet that I can utilize for realtime. I do own netbooks that I utilize for clients to get the realtime feed. The iPad is even more lightweight than the netbook. I’m always a little hesitant to touch an attorney’s laptop to make adjustments to their settings if they are having difficulty hooking up. Having the extra netbooks and/or iPads alleviates all the guesswork, troubleshooting, and hassle. Just hook up with your equipment that you’re familiar with and you’ll have a happy client as well.
- Exhibit marking and retention of exhibits is an essential part of our role as a court reporter. As you all know, sometimes there are physical exhibits that the attorneys want to retain but it would be nice to have some indication of what it actually was so it could be reflected in the transcript. This happens quite frequently in some of the biomedical patent cases I work on from time to time. I take a pic of the physical exhibit and then utilize another app; such as, ScanLife, to turn the pic into a PDF to be attached to the transcript. Best practice, of course, is to make a note in the index that the physical exhibit was retained by counsel.
The enumerated list above is just a snippet of the ways I use this amazing product, and there are many more. My top recommended apps for the iPhone/iPad can be found on my website. There is also an article on apps that was published in a previous issue of the JCR for more app recommendations. If you are an Android user, I know there are lots of options for you as well in the Google Play store. If you do just a little bit of research, I know you will find a compatible app to the ones I have listed.
Technology is great!