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.

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.

How To Stay Active While Working From Home

It’s often customary to spend eight, sometimes nine hours a day sitting while you’re at work. And by the time your workday comes to a close, you just want to go home and relax. So by default, you end up sitting again either in front of the TV or computer. Medical studies have found that spending seven or more hours sitting can lead to long-term health concerns. It has also been found that physical activity can stimulate the brain, improving memory and thinking skills.

A unique way to incorporate low-impact physical activity into your workday is to hold meetings on the go. A number of employers are encouraging this (when it’s feasible). If you’re part of a small meeting that consists of three or four people, recommend a “walking meeting.” Not only is this creative, different and fun, but it gets you and your co-workers out of your chairs and away from your desks. Walking meetings are a great way to encourage camaraderie while getting some extra steps in and refreshing your brain for the rest of the day. Good blood flow leads to good ideas!

If getting away from your desk is nearly impossible, we all understand time crunches and managing multiple projects, same with tight deadlines, consider investing in a standing desk. Standing desks have become a rising trend in office settings. It is a way to get you or your employees up on your feet without sacrificing productivity. Many are easily adjustable, so that you can alternate sitting and standing throughout the day. If standing while working is not an option or you are in a long deposition, you can get physical activity in while remaining seated. Simply lift your leg, straighten it out, hold for 5-10 seconds, and then lower it back down without letting your foot touch the floor. Do this simple exercise at least 15 times per leg, a few times per day.

When it comes to physical activity, it is easy to forget about your hands and your wrists. They are one of the most common workplace ailments – especially if you’re typing for 8+ hours like many court reporters. The best thing you can do for your hands and wrists is stretching them out regularly. This improves range of motion, and reduces the risk of carpal tunnel and can even protect you from breaks if you fall. An effective and easy stretching exercise is to make a gentle fist, wrapping your thumb across your fingers. Hold the fist for 30 – 60 seconds, and then release and spread your fingers. Repeat with both hands at least four times per day.

We understand that being active when you have a demanding desk job can be challenging. However, there are many ways to implement simple exercises into your daily work routine. Once you start the habit of being more active during your work day, your body and mind will thank you.

Can and Will Technology Replace Court Reporters?

We live in a world of ever evolving technology where each day brings a new gizmo and gadget. While this makes life easier and more efficient, it also threatens the job security of workers across all industries. If you are in the court reporting or legal industry, you have most likely heard the ongoing chatter of court reporters being replaced by voice recording technology. We are here to reassure you that technology will not be replacing the roles of court reporters anytime soon due to more reasons than one:

The legal industry is no exception to the time = money concept. In fact, it is one of the most time sensitive industries. Court reporters must produce accurate transcripts of depositions and trials in a timely manner. More often than not, they are producing a transcript with a very quick turn around time. Their ability to do this depends on their ability to know who is speaking, read lips of soft spoken talkers, mark key sections of the transcript, highlight code text, and make notes to reference later all while the trial or deposition is happening. Some reporters provide real time, which allows legal parties to have instant access to a live transcript feed as the reporter is writing it. However, this is not 100% cleaned up, and may not include punctuation that the reporter goes in and adds later. Individuals who are not on site utilize real time reporting to stream from their location, which saves them both time and money on traveling.

The misconception that court reporters will soon be replaced stems from the notion that voice-recording technologies would cost less than having to hire a court reporter. However, this is simply not accurate. Law firms would not only have to pay for the software, but they would also have to have it hardwired and purchase storage for large digital files. This could cost anywhere from $40,000 to $50,000. When you utilize voice recording technology, you must also have an IT professional available to resolve any malfunctions that may occur. When you add up all the costs associated with the voice recording system, it is more accurate, affordable, and feasible to simply hire a professional court reporter.

Here’s Why Every Attorney Needs a Blog

 

Every attorney needs a blog.

 

We bet you’ve heard this phrase before…

 

While it may seem like a frivolous addition to a crowded weekly schedule, blogging is an important element for your firm. Blogs allow attorneys to connect with potential clients in important ways.

 

For example, if you are a construction litigator and you blog about things like latent defects or other construction items that homeowners should keep an eye out for, you not only provide vital information to an unsuspecting public, you also give them something much greater: peace of mind.

 

This should be a big goal on your list of marketing milestones.

 

Creating peace of mind for clients is an attorney’s job. They want to know that you are on their side and that you’ll protect them from potential legal fallout. If you can provide this service before a person becomes your client, you get a giant head start on your competitors.  By giving your prospects advice via your firm’s blog, you place yourself in that highly coveted column labeled TRUSTWORTHY.

 

That is the ultimate point of a blog. It’s not just about networking with clients and colleagues, it’s about building trust.

 

If you’re feeling lost on how to go about establishing a blog for your firm, check out this great post on building a blog in 2018!

 


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, Lake Mary, Sanford, Longwood, 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
Email: selectcourtreporters@gmail.com
“Select Court Reporters you can count on!”

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!”