Gaining Autonomy in the Workplace: Law Edition

More autonomy is almost always ranked when it comes to surveying what attorneys desire within the law firm. The wide array of benefits that come with increased autonomy for attorneys in the work place: more flexibility in work style, increased fluidity in work processes and the most important benefit being increased morale and happiness within the firm. We are all too familiar with the stresses that come along with attempting to stay within the guidelines of company workflows, especially when you know of a more efficient and optimized method.

Being an autonomous lawyer is often likened to being a trailblazer. The one adopts a creative take on the law practice, they are much less likely to be confined to the very nature of a law firm that makes it a draining environment. When achieving success in your creative ventures within the firm, leadership will begin to accept your creativity as your method of servicing your clients.

As time goes on, not only will leadership be down your neck less, you will also begin to inspire other attorneys within your firm which transforms the firm’s overall culture.

More importantly, everyone has different work styles and as attorneys, the work you do is incredibly important. Therefore, you should be able to work in environments that are flexible enough for you to integrate the work style that’s most efficient for you and your clients. The increased efficiency and productivity can have profound effects in every professional environment you’re a part of.

This post is designed to inspire you to take that next step in trail blazing a new path for your personal practice within your firm. There is always going to be push back hence challenging the status quo. However, if you open the eyes of leadership to new workflows and efficiencies, this creates a plethora of opportunities for both transformation and advancement. You create opportunities for more than just increased autonomy when you explore creativity in the workplace.

Select Court Reporters You Can Count On!  Covering all of Central Florida including but not limited to Orlando, Orange County, Florida, Kissimmee, Osceola County, Sanford, Seminole County, Florida, Winter Garden, Ocoee, Winter Springs, Oviedo, Winter Park, Altamonte Springs, Lake Mary, Longwood and all of Central Florida.

Professional Meeting Venues Add Value to Case Discussion


The meeting venue is an important aspect of a case discussion. Face to face meetings can
bring a lot to a case discussion. With a neutral meeting venue, the meeting is more likely
to be productive, allowing both parties to accomplish their goals in an efficient manner.

How to Choose a Neutral Meeting Venue

So how do you choose a neutral meeting venue that is perfect for your case discussion or
other types of litigation? Think about these questions when selecting the venue for your
upcoming meeting:

● Is the venue big enough to fit all your participants?
● Is there a provision of food at the venue?
● Does the venue fully support your technological requirements?
● Is the location of the venue conveniently accessible?
● Is there a provision for logistics storage?
● Will your meeting materials be prepared beforehand or at the location?
The following details are just a few of the benefits of selecting a neutral meeting space
for a case discussion or other types of litigation.

● Minimal Accommodation Distractions
Hosting a meeting comes with a variety of tasks such as preparing a room and
putting together snacks and drinks. You will have fewer of these responsibilities
when you meet somewhere else, enabling you to put more attention towards the
litigation itself.

● Fewer Interruptions

The breaks that you have during a case discussion should allow you to clear your
head and take a few minutes to regroup. If you’re meeting at your home, there is
a greater likelihood of having family members trying to talk to you during these
breaks about topics that may have nothing to do with the litigation at hand. While
it is possible to get interrupted at any location, there will be fewer interruptions
from staff when you’re away from the office.

● No Expectation to Provide Copy Services

Many people agree to host a meeting without realizing that it will mean providing
copy services to the attending counsel. This may not seem like a big deal, but
secretaries and assistants have better things to do with their time. Having the
meeting in a neutral location minimizes these expectations.

● Ease of Commuting

The meeting venue, when conveniently located for your participants and within a
fair distance helps avoid excessive travel and saves the attendance from the
undue pains of commuting.

● Good Customer Service

It helps to make sure that the venue is responsive to your needs before the event.
Having sufficient support staffs on location when the event is taking place will
ensure that you and your attendees’ demands will be responded in a timely
manner.

Digital Recordings vs Court Reporting

With today’s advanced technology, many attorneys and legal establishments are choosing to eliminate the human factor and record the majority of their cases and hearings digitally. This option is cheaper in terms of man-hours but can be incredibly costly when it comes to accuracy. Even court reporters are beginning to use digital recordings. In most cases, though, they use the digital advantage as a backup.

Digital Recordings

Digital recordings provide an accurate account of everything that has been said during the course of an interview, interrogation, or testimony. Video recordings can capture facial expressions, gestures, and other visual elements that a voice recorder does not.
When digital recordings are used, the equipment must be properly maintained so that it continues to function properly at all times. It’s also important that the equipment is monitored throughout its operation to make sure that there are no glitches or \malfunctions that could cost you valuable information.

The Advantage of Having a Court Reporter

There are advantages to having an actual court reporter on hand to transcribe a hearing or other legal meetings. Using a court reporter not only ensures accuracy throughout meetings or interviews, it also allows for mistakes or malfunctions in equipment to be corrected as they happen. No information will be lost and there will be no fear of lapses in recording time.

Another benefit of having a court reporter do the transcribing is the fact that everything will be captured. The spoken word, inflection or tone, and any visual cues will be recorded as they occur and placed in the notes creating an accurate and complete record of the session.

Digital Recordings vs. Court Reporting

While digital recordings are a good choice in certain situations, having an actual person on hand can mean the difference between an accurate transcription and a complete transcription.

Digital recording is an excellent option if there is no way for a court reporter to be present. When a court reporter is available, however, employing the human factor may make all the difference between an accurate recording and one that is not only accurate but complete and concise as well.
In reality, blending the two concepts will provide the best of both worlds.

How Attorney’s Are Choosing A Court Reporter

Certifications and Memberships

Look for a court reporter who is both certified and a member of professional organizations. This will give you a good indication of their credibility and commitment to providing quality work. As a member of a professional organization, court reporters must adhere to a specific code of conduct.

Availability

It’s essential that the court reporter you choose offers flexible hours and is available when you need him/her. This is especially true if there comes a time when the need arises outside of regular business hours. Having a court reporter who is available whenever they are needed can be extremely beneficial.

Experience Level

Look for a reporter who has experience in both courtroom and deposition settings. This allows you to use the same person for both types of jobs. Ask around to see who other legal professionals use. Most of them will be willing to share the names of the reporters who are hard-working and professional.

Unbiased Approach

In the legal field, it is essential that the court reporter you need is neutral and
impartial. Find one that does not have an affiliation with either party so that
there is no question about the accuracy of the files and credibility of the reporter.

Turnaround Time

Most court documents are time sensitive and have deadlines attached. Choose the reporter who has a reputation for being on time and consistent when turning in their work. Try to search for a company that offers a guaranteed turnaround time that meets your expectations.

Effective Communication

It’s important that the lines of communication are always open. This allows you to get answers to your questions when you need them, not when it’s convenient. Whether it be by email or phone, choose someone who is always responsive to your needs.

Perks of Being A Court Reporter

Many people don’t know what a court reporter is and even more so have  never even heard of a court reporter. I would say court reporters have one  of the neatest jobs ever, but I may be a bit bias. Let me tell you some of the  great perks we have and you be the judge.

1. Depending on how hard you work and how often you are trying to grow  yourself as a court reporter, you could be presented some awesome  opportunities. History is made every single day in courtrooms, how  awesome would it be to be part of it.

2. You work on your own time 90% of the time. As an independent  contractor working for a court reporting agency or even your own agency,  your work schedule is on your own time. Of course you’re only paid for jobs  you do so flexibility and availability are the key to success. There are also  plenty of government entities with a set schedule if you’re looking for a  more stable schedule with benefits.

3. Court reporting allows you to have your space and be social. You’ll meet  a ton of people – lawyers, paralegals, witnesses, and judges. You will hear  everyone’s business and learn a lot. While it’s obvious that you must remain  unbiased and more or less seen and not heard during official proceedings,  you still must build and maintain relationships. If your turnaround time is  fast and court has never waited on you, you can guarantee yourself more  jobs to come.

Those are just a few awesome perks of being a court reporter. If you’re  interested in becoming a court reporter, do some research and give it a try.

4 Ways To Increase Your Bottom Line

As most court reporters are well aware, selling value-added services is an  effective way to increase your bottom line. But are you selling a service that  actually has value?

Seeing rough draft transcripts everyday, I can attest that most reporters  make the attempt to present a rough draft that is usable by clients. But here are a few tips for making sure no one ever questions your rough draft.

1. Clean up your notes  

If you are someone who makes a lot of notes to yourself during the  job, take the time to search your notes and clean up those sections in  advance.

2. Proofread against the audio 

Take the time to proofread the first 10-15 pages against your audio.  Counsel shouldn’t have to pay for your warm-up session, so by taking this  step, the reader can immediately feel confident in the product you’re  selling.

3. Turn off your timestamps

Be sure to turn off timestamps before submitting your rough draft. If  you had a significant drop for any reason, your timestamps on the rough  draft will give you away.

4. Spell Check

Be sure to spell check, you write for a living and nothing looks worse  than misspelled words through a professional type up. You may be  surprised what spell check finds and will save you embarrassment later.

5 Questions Your Court Reporting Firm Should Answer

With all of the data breaches and the increased risk of hackers at every turn, a court reporting firm needs to find ways to protect all the confidential information that crosses their desks. Therefore, before contacting a court reporting firm, you should make sure that they have answers to the following questions regarding data security concerns.

How Serious Are You About Data Security?
Your court reporting firm should be able to provide you with peace of mind when it comes to ensuring that your vital information is fully protected. When it comes to procedures and protocols, make sure that everything is in place, and their programs are effective.

Are You Serious About Meeting Your Client’s Needs?
Court reporting firms must be dedicated not only to data security but also to finding solutions that meet each client’s unique needs. Talk to your court reporting firm to determine what they deliver, and ask for a personalized plan to make sure you get everything you need.

How Do You Manage Quality?
It’s essential that your court reporting firm informs you about how they effectively organize and manage every facet, from your billing to your data security. This quality assurance will make sure that all of your confidential information is completely protected.

How Do You Manage Your Confidential Information?
The court reporting firm should follow the highest standards of confidentiality, and should never allow that your confidential information is stored in local work areas. They should use data encryption and store information in certified data-centers to protect it from hacks and breaches.

Is Your Data Security Program Trustworthy?
Make sure that the firm uses secure technology at every possible level. Data encryption protects information and allows it to be stored and distributed safely without fear of it being leaked or corrupted during any of the processes. From deposition to client retrieval, your information should remain safe.

It is vital for the court reporting firms to reassure the clients that their information is a top priority. You should know that the information your court reporting firm provides is secure and fully protected at all times. It’s their responsibility to give you that peace of mind and reassurance.

At Select Court Reporters, we take care of all of these aspects to ensure the highest standards of confidentiality for all our clients. We work hard every day to earn your trust and to make sure that all your confidential information is protected.

What Every Court Reporter Wants You To Know

Context – When we walk in the door, assume we don’t know anything about the case. Providing spelling of proper names or technical terminology before a deposition begins can help us create a cleaner transcript the first time around, improving the quality of our readback, realtime computer-to- computer translation, and even a rough transcript, if you order one.

Who are you – Keeping in “context” with the above bullet point, it would be helpful for us if you could provide a case caption, along with your business card, to ensure we get the correct information for the cover pages of your transcript.

Neutrality – We are neutral third parties, officials of the court, and we are not supposed to give, or even have, an opinion of how we think your case is going. In reality, we only ever hear one side of the evidence, so we wouldn’t make good judges anyway!

Special Circumstances – There are many different ways a deposition can be taken. If you can let the reporter know in advance what special circumstances to expect, this will ensure that the deposition does not have to be rescheduled, and also that it will run smooth and efficiently. Examples would be “realtime,” expedites, roughs, etc.

Timeout – Short breaks every hour or two not only help us rest and stretch, but also help with our endurance throughout the day. A long day with very few breaks may actually impede the integrity of the transcript as we become fatigued, and no one wants that to happen!

Fast Talkers – Pauses in between fast talkers are invaluable. They allow us to catch up and prevent us from having to interrupt and slow everyone down. A 3- second pause in between the questions and answers can help immensely.

Arguers – Heated arguments are often unavoidable, but you should know that if you want what you’re saying on the record, you must try your best not to interrupt and talk over others. Otherwise, it is virtually impossible to get what you’re saying on the record.

Mumblers – A mumbler is usually more difficult to take down than a fast talker, so please speak up clearly, and avoid covering your mouth with your hands.

“Exhibit A” – While verbally assigning exhibit markers, please pause for just a minute to allow us to physically mark them before resuming with questioning. We can’t type and mark at the same time.

Video – Beware: Everything that can be heard on the video will be transcribed. We mean everything!

Continuing Legal Education: Schedule It!

 

Here in Florida, attorneys are required to meet certain requirements where it concerns their continuing legal education.  The Florida Bar sets hourly obligations that attorneys must meet.  Specifically, over a 3-year period, each member of the Florida Bar must complete 33 hours of continuing legal education, five of which must be in the area of ethics, professionalism, substance abuse, mental illness awareness, or bias elimination, and three hours in technology.

 

 

While this might seem like an easy feat, there are times that attorneys fall behind, especially if they have a heavy caseload.  That’s why putting together a schedule for your continuing educational pursuits is a good way to stay on top of your obligations.

 

 

Begin by prioritizing your CLE requirements.  Which will take longest and be the most intensive?  Make a list of those items first.  From there, you can move on to the less intensive items, and so on, and so forth.

 

 

Second, compare your CLE list with your daily or weekly task list.  Find ways to implement your required educational hours into your task list by scheduling them as a part of your day.  Get your staff involved—have them set you up the same way they would for your regular tasks and appointments.

 

 

Third, keep a record of all your required CLE obligations.  Mark off items as you complete them and have your assistant or a staff member submit them to the Florida Bar.  Be sure to save all of your receipts and certificates of completion to a file.  Back it up along with your other confidential legal documents so you always have proof that you have met your obligations.

 

 

Finally, stay positive!  Continuing legal education requirements often overwhelm attorneys, particularly if they are already inundated with a busy work schedule.  Keeping an open mind, setting up an easy and productive schedule, and maintaining a positive outlook can help diminish overwhelming feelings.  It will also increase focus and help familiarize you with your limitations.

 

Select Court Reporters provides exemplary court reporting services to attorneys and law firms throughout Central Florida, including but not limited to Winter Springs, Oviedo, Winter Park, Maitland, Orlando, Apopka, Altamonte Springs, and Kissimmee. We are currently expanding our client base in Seminole and Orange Counties and would love to connect with you. Contact us today to discuss your needs.
Phone: (407) 977 – 7725
“Select Court Reporters you can count on!”

 

 

Employee Motivation: A Formula for Success!

 

 

Ever walk into your law firm and notice a lull has overtaken the room?  Your employees seem almost lackadaisical and uninterested, their motivation at an all-time low?

 

 

Employee motivation can be a difficult hurdle to overcome.  Making someone interested in their job is not something you should have to do, but it is something you should try to cultivate.  It’s like caring for a garden.  While you might not be in charge of how your plants will grow or when, you can motivate growth through watering, fertilizing, pruning, and aerating their soil.

 

 

Apply the same metaphor to how you manage your legal staff:

 

 

  • Work closely with them every day—learn to understand how they operate and how it can be utilized to promote change for the better;

 

 

  • Encourage them—let them know that you are always available if they should have questions or if they need assistance with a particular duty. Also, keep them apprised of their abilities to bolster their growth;

 

 

  • Help them find ways to improve their job performance—by being honest with your employees and pointing out areas where they could improve in a constructive way, you can help them work through areas of difficulty and better themselves as an employee and a person;

 

 

  • Praise them for their good work! Anytime an employee or staff member receives praise, it boosts their confidence and helps establish a strong and steady sense of self.  You want poised and self-assured employees who can perform their duties well.  Praise is a great way to continually reinforce their abilities and talents!

 

 

This process will not only promote motivation and productivity, it will also help you become a more understanding and empathetic attorney, a talent that will improve how you work with clients and how you manage yourself in the courtroom.

 

 

 

Bottom line, showing an interest in your firm and its operation is the first step towards motivating your staff.  It is also a wonderful way to inspire unity, a key ingredient to a successful law firm.  When everyone is on the same page, they all know what their duties are and work together to get them done!

 

 

Select Court Reporters provides exemplary court reporting services to attorneys and law firms throughout Central Florida, including but not limited to Winter Springs, Oviedo, Winter Park, Maitland, Orlando, Apopka, Altamonte Springs, and Kissimmee. We are currently expanding our client base in Seminole and Orange Counties and would love to connect with you. Contact us today to discuss your needs.
Phone: (407) 977 – 7725
“Select Court Reporters you can count on!”