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WORK + LIFE BALANCE

COURT REPORTERS DESIRE:  WORK + LIFE BALANCE

We have all heard how important it is to live balanced lives. What does that mean? For most of us it means having enough time to take care of the things we must do (such as our jobs) but still have time left over for things we want to do (such as family, friends and taking care of ourselves).

If you are finding it more challenging than ever to juggle the demands of your court reporting career with the rest of your life, you are not alone. Our lives have become so fast-paced and our smart devices keep us “connected” so that we are always on call with just the beep of a new email or the chirp of a new text.

Court reporters pursue one of the most stressful careers. They are routinely surprised at depositions to discover that a short job will last all day.  And we all know how attorneys decide at the last minute they want a rough draft or final transcript on a rush basis.  Have you ever received the Friday afternoon “surprise” when you are leaving town on a family trip that your transcript is urgently needed because the attorney is going to trial on Monday morning?   The constant juggling of work needs with family/life needs can quickly cause a court reporter’s life to be out of balance.

When a court reporter teams up with CRC as their back-office team, they can quickly see our company’s purpose in action. Our business model is:  We do everything we can to take care of the court reporter. And that’s what our team at CRC has been doing ever since we opened our doors in 1997.

CRC’S PROMISE TO COURT REPORTERS

KEEP YOUR CLIENTS:

Court reporters want to grow their own firms and their own brand name. CRC is not another reporter-owned firm. We are a back office designed specifically for court reporters so they can keep and grow their own clients. CRC remains “behind the scenes” and represents you and your firm starting with the calendar all the way through production and billing. With CRC you can grow your own firm and your own brand and never have to worry about losing clients.

LOSE THE OVERHEAD: 

Court reporters that have their own clients or “book of business” need a professional office address, a professional and competent office staff, and the latest technology to stay competitive with other larger reporting firms. Many reporters try to do everything themselves – report, cover their extra jobs, produce their jobs, bill and collect. This creates countless hours of office work that can be the least efficient use of a court reporter’s time and skill plus be the highest source of stress in a court reporter’s life – especially if they are trying to juggle children and a family. CRC provides everything a court reporter needs “behind the scenes” to help you manage and grow your own firm without having to spend money on office leases, copiers, supplies, or hiring and training employees. CRC provides a complete office solution with no contracts or fees charged to the reporters.

GET PAID WEEKLY:

Court reporters need and deserve the reliance of consistent paydays. CRC pays all reporters on bill-out every Friday. Many court reporting firms do not pay reporters until the attorneys pay their invoices, which can be months later or sometimes never. CRC deposits your pay into your bank account every Friday.

CRC’s core values, purpose for existing, and promise to our clients are directed towards creating and supporting Work + Life BALANCE.

Myths and Facts About Court Reporter Support Services

Lack of knowledge about things can hurt us in many ways. Suppose you need to open a bank account but you are unaware of the fact that you actually need a minimum amount to open the account. To use a less common example, flying in an aircraft and not being aware of the safety hazards and exit signs can be quite harmful indeed. In case of an emergency, it is simply not advisable to search for the safety handbook, read instructions and then follow them. You have to be armed with the right information from the start.

The bottom line is that accurate, contextual information always comes in handy. In every situation that you find yourself in, it is imperative that you are aware of the what, who, where, why and when of things. Your employment opportunities are no different.  Most jobs offer training periods and workshops to provide information and resources to help employees. However, as an independent court reporter or as someone who runs a court reporting business, there may be a lot of information that you would not be able to find on your own without assistance from experts in the industry. court reporter support in Texas can help you with back office support and carry out the administrative tasks letting you focus on the court reporting itself. However, these agencies also offer conference rooms for court reporters to conduct conference calls and depositions. They save the expense of hiring and paying a secretary by handling a phone line on your behalf and providing secretarial services. They provide online calendars for court reporters to stay up to date and provide billing support. Court reporters can also access production services and get transcripts, exhibits etc.

 Myth: Support services are mainly for individual court reporters

Fact: Although many individual court reporters access these support services, court reporting firms and their attorney clients also find them helpful. Court reporting firms can actually save time, money and effort by hiring a court reporting support service to carry out the administrative jobs. This means that the firm will not need a full-fledged administrative staff. All these needs will be taken care of. Attorney clients of court reporters are also valued customers of court reporter support services. They are provided with conference rooms for calls and depositions, internet access, an effective online calendar, a web repository for file backup and nationwide coverage. Court reporter support in Denver can help attorney clients with OCR scanned exhibits, too.

 Myth: Support services do not help with marketing

Fact: Along with all the other services they offer, court reporting support services also provide marketing help for individual court reporters. In today’s competitive world, it is foolish to sit back and assume that business will come to you. Court reporters need to put themselves out there. With the help of support services, court reporters can develop their own personal brand. They will help reporters to design a personal logo, start a personalized website with details about the offered services and testimonials, letterhead for official purposes and business cards, the ultimate weapon of networking. If you are a court reporter looking for success, look beyond standard marketing strategies and utilize something unique and industry-specific that will cater to your target audience.

 Myth: Duties of the support service agency ends when the decision to sell the court reporting firm is made.

Fact: Suppose you decide to downsize or sell your court reporting firm. There might be various reasons why you could be doing it. Maybe you have decided to expand into a bigger target area or decided to invest in something else. Maybe business hasn’t been going well for you. This could be a hard decision to make. Court reporter support service companies understand this and will help you during this period of transition. Your firm will need all the administrative support it can get, in terms of consolidation of data, financial records and letting clients know about the decision. Support services can help you with these tasks.

 These myths about support services arise from the lack of knowledge about court reporting business and what goes with it. In the field of legal careers, it is important to be precise and efficient. With the daunting task of court reporting, reporters have enough to do without worrying about marketing, office support and secretarial tasks. By providing such services to court reporters, support agencies play a huge role in the success of the legal system itself and the efficiency of hundreds of thousands of legal proceedings. As a court reporter, if you want to make the most out of such agencies and access valuable support while you continue to do what you do best, call 877 – 732 – 1805 today!

The Different High-Tech Services that can Strengthen Your Court Reporting Career

Court reporters who don’t use latest technologies can lose out on great opportunities. If you are starting a court reporting business you should invest in high-tech services that will help you to work productively.  Similarly, if you are a freelance court reporter, you should use advanced technologies to provide cost-effective and high quality reporting services.  However, with the backing of CRC National, you need not worry about investing in high-end services on your own. We offer every possible solution for you and your clients. This will allow you to benefit from a high level of professionalism and advanced services, without the need to put forth a large amount of your own capital.

Exhibits – OCR scanned and Hyperlinked
Whether your exhibit is large or small, document scanning and exhibit management services can be provided by court reporting support agencies.  The paper exhibits are OCR scanned so that they are rendered searchable. For safety, these OCR’d exhibits are uploaded to our secure document repository.

Conference rooms with all facilities
When your career begins as a court reporter, you probably wouldn’t be in a position to invest in high-tech facilities, like conference rooms for meetings, on your own.  By obtaining the services of court reporting agencies you can use their conference rooms for important depositions and meetings. They will arrange everything required to conduct such meetings.

Conference calling and videography
Conference calling and videography can make a huge difference in how clients view your ability to render them the services they need. With these advanced technologies, you can compete with the biggest players in the industry. Court reporter support agencies know exactly how to win new businesses for you.  They also provide Real-time Internet access so that you will be connected to your clients at all times, and so that you may run video conferencing whenever it is needed.


Easy scheduling with an online calendar
With the online scheduler, court reporters need not worry about hiring staff to manage bookings. The easy to use online scheduler does that for you. This will help you keep track of your bookings and generate new business, without having to worry about missing appointments or meetings.

A web repository to back up valuable files
In today’s competitive and ever-changing environment, a web repository to back up valuable files is very important. Some court reporting support firms provide this service, an CRC national is one of them.

CRC National gives you the comprehensive court reporter support services you will need to take your business to the next level. Call 877-732-1805 today to find out how you can further your career with our extensive service offerings!

Become an Established Court Reporter With the Help of Court Reporting Support Agencies

Most freelance court reporters fail to establish themselves in their profession mainly due to their inability to bring in repeat business. Whether they are looking to receive work from law firms or from other parties, they should retain support from court reporting support agencies. These agencies provide all administrative support that is crucial to building a good court reporting career. When petty issues are taken care of for you, you can focus on the really important things that will determine your success as a court reporter.

Your work is challenging and often you have to work under great pressure to meet deadlines. Promptness is something that is not just appreciated, but is mandatory in the legal industry. However, busy schedules often prevent timely delivery of depositions and this can cause valuable clients to take their business elsewhere. In order to gain repeat business it is necessary to retain existing clients and obtain new clients through referrals. To achieve these goals, you must strengthen your marketing efforts and hire staff to take care of billing and administrative needs, which could be very expensive and time consuming. On the other hand, you can hire the services of a court reporting agency, which can help relieve you of the pressures of running a business on your own.

Build a court reporting business with the help of court reporting agencies

  • Manage bookings and get more business with an online scheduler
  • Benefit from complete back office support as well as court reporter business help
  • Get your own marketing materials to promote your business
  • Benefit from full administrative support without hiring and managing your own staff
  • Outperform your rivals by offering flawless and high quality transcripts
  • Get paid quickly and benefit from billing and collection support
  • Enjoy personal time and work without any guilt

Independent court reporters can take advantage of the services provided by court reporter support agencies. With all their additional work taken care of, court reporters will have enough time to learn new skills and work productively. In addition to full back office support, these agencies also provide conference rooms, conference calling and videography, real-time Internet access and a web repository to back up valuable files.

CRC National can offer you court reporter support services and ease your workload. To find out how you can use this service and be on your way to the top of the legal industry, call 877-732-1805 today!

What to Look for When Choosing a Court Reporting Firm

Court Reporters Cheering

The demand for court reporting services has led to the proliferation of court reporting firms and freelancers. Some firms are more reliable than others, and you should be able to identify which will provide superior service. There are also firms that provide court reporter back office support. Their services simplify the business tasks of court reporters and also open opportunities for freelance court reporters to have affordable back-office support. For your next deposition, hire a court reporting firm that meets the below mentioned criteria.

Understand your need: When it comes to choosing a court reporting firm, you should understand what services you expect. After understanding your needs, hire an all-around, general-use court reporting firm, a court reporter with experience in your particular areas of expertise, or a stenographer with similar background.

Quality court reporters:  Everyone is searching for the best court reporters for their depositions. A good court reporting firm should have skilled and experienced staff and they should send a quality reporter to their clients, every time. Court reporters should be licensed and should act professionally. Court reporter business assistance firms do a tremendous job by supporting the efforts of court reporters.

Court reporters should be:

  • Professionally dressed.
  • Confident and accurate during read back.
  • Careful with spelling and important details.
  • Polite and respectful to others.
  • Highly skilled in proofreading, editing and researching.
  • Able to type a minimum of 200 words per minute.

 Professional support staff: Good customer service is something you want from a court reporting service. If the staff or court reporters are impolite or lack candor, you should look for another firm.

Updated website: An up-to-date website offering all the necessary information, including deposition scheduling, and an array of document depository features is indispensable for a court reporting firm.

High-quality transcripts: If transcripts offered by the firm are of poor quality, then you should look for another court reporting company. It is necessary that the transcripts provided abide by the standard formats or regulations fixed by the appropriate court reporting governing bureau for the area in which you live.

  • Transcript should be concise and accurate.
  • Transcript should be provided in such a way that it can be easily unbound for internal copying use.
  • Transcripts should be delivered promptly and on time.

Some companies deliver transcripts before the standard time, however, you should see that they don’t compromise on quality. Transcripts carry important information for a case, and their accuracy is paramount.

Multiple locations: Choose a court reporting company that has multiple locations across the state or nation so that they can cater to the various deposition needs possible. Otherwise, you may have to rely on multiple companies for wide-ranging court reporting needs, such as CART/captioning services, or note taking. Select a company that is capable of offering high-end services like voice-to-text transcription, to transcribing from audio files, to remote internet real-time streaming.

Reputation: Reputation is another factor you should consider while choosing a court reporting firm. Apart from a court reporting firm’s experience and reputation, understand the type of clients they usually work with. A court reporting agency with over five years of experience will know how to handle a deposition accurately.

Cost of services: Cost can be a determining factor in choosing a court reporting firm. Before starting a project, the cost of the services should be thoroughly discussed and agreed upon. The client and the company should discuss a convenient billing schedule to avoid any future disagreement. Your time-limit parameters should be communicated to the firm clearly, along with defining your court reporting needs.

Researching prices and making comparisons is good practice, if you are looking to save money. You should consider page rates and hourly sitting fee. Some firms provide additional services like legal videography and video conferencing, at no extra cost. Discounts are given for big cases by some firms and you can check if your project may be eligible for those discounts.

Technology: A court reporting firm should be able to provide a team who knows how to employ a mix of stenographic, real-time stenographic and voice writing technologies. The client can benefit from real-time translation and litigation-support technology.

Management skills: When you do business with a company, you expect them to be very competent and efficient in everything they do. If the company compiles proposal requests on time and accurately, this may reflect positively on their ability to do future work. They should also possess good project management skills.

Online efficacy: A court reporting firm with good online expertise, is greatly in demand. Clients can benefit from online repository that allow 24/7 access to all documents, transcripts, video library and exhibits. When you are on the go, you can access any details of your cases and prepare accordingly.

In some places it is not necessary for a court reporter to obtain any certification, in such cases you should be extra careful while choosing a court reporting company. Good reporting agencies, who are committed to work professionally and ethically, provide good references to potential clients. Keeping clients happy and satisfied should be the primary goal of any court reporting agency. With a friendly staff at their side, a court reporting agency can achieve its goals.

Court reporter services are often a necessity, as individuals and agencies are greatly benefitted thanks to our skilled professionals. The above criteria will help you hire an excellent court reporting firm. Similarly, if you are a freelance court reporter or court reporting firm looking for assistance in making your court reporting services less challenging to provide, get in touch with CRC National today!

Significance of Court Reporting Agencies

Being in a court or deposition surrounded by lawyers, witnesses, and/or defendants and in an atmosphere filled with tension, can be stressful. Professionals must be present to document the legal proceedings. The role of court reporting agencies is to cater to all documentation needs and litigation services to help you prevail in your legal battles. shakinghands

At CRC we offer court reporter services, so that you can concentrate on the other more important tasks on your office’s daily to-do list. With our Court reporter support services you can depend on us for all legal matters and we make sure to offer accurate results. We understand that you have to take care of back-end load, and by hiring us, we can help take the weight off your shoulders. Court reporting agencies make use of state-of-the-art technology and work with experts. Everything related to the case is handled and the lawyers can access the documented data anywhere, anytime. This allows them to make better, more informed decisions. Apart from court reporting, services like video depositions, interpreting and translation and video conferencing are offered by court reporting agencies. Most court reporting agencies are strategically located so that they are easily accessible by clients. From documenting testimony within a courtroom to recording details of evidence, it is all taken care of by our affiliated reporter firms and freelancers.

Court reporting agencies help you save time

If you hire a court reporting agency, you can save a lot of time by assigning time consuming tasks away from your attorneys or staff. Gathering and organizing data are challenging tasks and require a special skill set. If you decide to perform these tasks on your own, your work can be negatively affected. With reporting professionals at hand, these tasks will be taken care of easily, and you will benefit from faster and accurate results. Court reporting agencies have professionals with IT skills that will prove very useful to lawyers. By offering accurate data, you can strengthen your advocating position. When it comes to choosing court reporting agencies, consider their experience and reputation first. If you need an experienced Court reporter business assistance, get in touch with our experts for a private, situational analysis.

Myths Busted about Court Reporters

Court reportersPeople outside the legal world will probably picture court reporting as a court scene from movies or television and a court reporter as a typist sitting in one corner of the courtroom, cross-legged. This article throws light on the most common misconception about court reporting and court reporters.

Myth – Court Reporting is a typing job
People think a court reporter is just a glorified typist, but what they don’t know is that court reporting requires professional skill set, along with traits like attentiveness and ingenuity. In order to understand the complicated terms, court reporters must have an acute ear and fast typing skills to report all details. Court reporting is a demanding job, and becoming a court reporter is quite challenging.

Myth – It is hard to find a good court reporter
Firms and individuals are always on the lookout for proficient, certified court reporters. In the past, finding a good court reporter was a daunting task, but now top reporting services have a strong online presence which makes booking easy. You can book a court reporter with a click of a mouse, sitting at your home or office.

Myth – Technology will replace court reporters
When it comes to transcription, the human ear can do the job more efficiently. Computers, speech-to-text technology and speech recognition software fail to recognize and pick up double meaning and the figurative nature of speech. In short, there is no substitution for human analytics in court reporting.

Myth – A court reporter cannot do much other than reporting
Court reporters are now capable of providing a number of services to law firms as well as to the business community. A reporter’s fast typing speed and accuracy can be used to present closed captioning for the hearing impaired, transcribe the spoken word in audio and video materials, and can create records of meetings and events. Along with legal firms, corporations, television stations and other institutions are benefitting from Court reporter services.

Myth – Court Reporters are all women
The moment you hear the word court reporter, an image of a woman sitting in the courtroom comes to your mind. Don’t worry, you are not alone. This is because, in the past, court reporting was mainly female oriented. Now, however, this profession is more divided between men and women.

Myth – Court Reporters Only Work in the Court Room
Most of the court reporter’s time is spent in a law office, instead in the court room. In order to create well-written testimony and documents, which will be used as evidence, they are required to work on depositions. Court reporters are also seen working in other environments like political hearings, business meetings, webcasts and medical conferences.
Starting a court reporting business is now challenging than ever, with several companies offering comprehensive services to help set a new court reporter on his or her path to success.

An American Success Story

Paula BabinDallas, TX—Paula Babin, owner of Court Reporters Clearinghouse and Rocky Mountain Reporting, is featured in a special online/print edition of American Success Stories, originating from the studios of KWRD the WORD 100.7 FM.  To find the original article, please click here.

Paula, you had a father who was a role model for you in business.
“My dad really cared about his clients and it wasn’t just because he earned a professional fee as a CPA. He took their best interests to heart and was genuinely interested in the successes of his clients. They benefited from it and it gave him a great sense of personal satisfaction. “

An apple falls close to the tree

How has that carried over to you in your own business? 
“The very nature of our business is all about helping others be more successful, but for me at a personal level, all of life is about helping people—regardless of generating a profit.  Some life traits just stick with you because you have observed them for so long at such close range.”

“My dad grew up on a farm. He worked hard all his life and became a CPA after the war.  His business was just an extension of who he was.  He cared about people because that’s just the way he was shaped by his own life experiences.  Things he did were satisfying to him because he enjoyed making a difference in the lives of other people.  I want to be that way.”

 How do you actually find yourself implementing these principles? 
“Court Reporters struggle to balance their work and home life. When I worked at a law firm, I saw it. When I managed a court reporting firm, I saw it in even more graphic detail. If you can imagine someone trying to do ten things at once, you are standing in front of a court reporter.”

“So, our company is based on freeing them up to do what they do best: writing and growing their own businesses—while having some balance in their personal lives, too.”

“But it takes trust for busy court reporters to let go of even a small part of their businesses. Over the course of 15 years, we have tried to earn that trust by demonstrating the accuracy, dependability, thoroughness and real care that convinces them it is more profitable for them to let us help them carry what is a heavy, back-end load.”

Life is for doing more than paperwork.

What can clients expect from you? 
“When the time is right, a court reporter will entertain the idea of allowing us to ease her load. This can be a time of mixed feelings: relinquishing some control, wondering how competent we are, whether we will perform to expectations, all the things anyone would feel during a time of accelerating the growth of a business.

“We have been through this process hundreds of times and know that clients want results—not excuses. That’s why we have adopted the attitude through the years that we exist to help our clients succeed—even more than they thought they would.

“Our clients expect to win. We expect to help them win by allowing them to generate greater margins of profit!”

Using LinkedIn For Independent Court Reporters

LinkedIn for businessUnlike Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn is focused on business professionals and is an excellent tool for an independent court reporter. With over 65 million members in 200 countries, LinkedIn has quickly become the largest audience of influential professionals in the world. Since most LinkedIn features are offered free of charge, there’s no reason for a court reporting agency not take advantage of them.

  • A new LinkedIn profile is created every second
  • LinkedIn members have an average annual income of $109,000
  • Half of all LinkedIn members are decision-makers

An established LinkedIn profile is a business asset for any independent court reporter.

Creating a LinkedIn Profile for a Court Reporting Agency

A LinkedIn profile presents a business to the online community and can provide very specific information about a company. This tutorial provides a walkthrough for creating a profile. Remember to keep status updates business-like and professional.

Build a Network of Professionals

LinkedIn networks are built through connections at the individual level. Once a profile is created, publish it and begin looking for connections. Add connections to a circle of familiar professionals. Then expand the circle to include their connections. Use connections to build a client base for an independent court reporter or small court reporting agency, or expand a client base from a list of existing attorney clients.

Join Groups to Expand the Network

LinkedIn groups bring professionals together around a common subject of interest. Expand a network by joining groups and participate in discussions to establishing new relationships. To sell a court reporting agency, initiate communication with potential buyers. LinkedIn contact features are simple for interested parties to use.

Answer Questions to Establish Credibility and Expertise

Members search for answers on various topics by using the search function and selecting “Answers” from a drop-down list. Providing useful answers to posted questions establishes credibility and expertise for a court reporting agency. After Logging in, click “More” and go to “Answers.”

A Showcase for a Court Reporting Agency

Have a list of regular attorney clients? LinkedIn allows members to publish testimonials from clients they’ve worked with. Regularly obtaining testimonials will maximize the LinkedIn Recommendations function. Not only is this an excellent way to show potential buyers a business is well established, the recommendations function provides a way to showcase a court reporting agency.

Targeted Ads Are Cost-effective

If advertising is required to sell a court reporting agency, LinkedIn offers DirectAds, a cost-effective form of advertising. Target specific groups based on geography, business niche, company size, age, and gender.

5 Tips For Attorneys Working With Court Reporters

attorney and court reporterThe relationship between an independent court reporter and the attorney is symbiotic. Attorneys could no sooner function without court reporting than they could without judges or clients, but they tend to get in the way of the transcription process without even knowing it. Lawyers can help the court reporter enhance performance and accuracy by adhering to a few standards

Be Prepared

Many issues for the independent court reporter can be avoided with proper prep. Schedule depositions well in advance to ensure everyone has time to prepare. Prior to the proceeding, give the independent court reporter a business card and the names of all parties present. Place the reporter station near the deponent for better acoustics. Before beginning, ask all persons in the room to turn off phones and mobile devices. They can interfere with the independent court reporter equipment.

Speak Clearly

Fluency is critical to ensuring the transcription from the independent court reporter is accurate. For example, reading quotes too quickly is a common error. Enunciation, especially at the end of a sentence, and spelling out names will go a long way to preventing delays.

Leave the Exhibits

Once the proceeding completes, the independent court reporter creates the transcription that includes an index of exhibits. Give the reporter time to work with the exhibits before taking them away. If possible, add a second set just for the CRs use.

Read the Body Language

Lawyers can anticipate problems by paying attention to the independent court reporter. For example, if the reporter stops writing, halt the proceeding to see if there is a problem. If the CR looks unsure or puzzled, repeat an answer back to the deponent to ensure it is correct.

Start the Proceeding Slowly

Most deponents are nervous. Nervous people tend to speak quickly. The deponent or witness will follow the lead of the attorney. Starting slowly with forethought and intent will help anyone testifying relax. In addition, it gives the CR time to warm up and acclimate to the voices in the room.

Schedule Breaks

Court reporting is a physical job. Long depositions should include scheduled breaks to allow the independent court reporter time to organize and catch a breather. The reporter sits in a tense position during the entire proceeding. This can lead to stress injury and other physical problems. Taking breaks will keep everyone in the room speaking clearly, as well.

Time Is Money – Find a Good Scopist

Happy Relaxed Court ReporterA good scopist is a court reporter’s best friend

By assisting court reporters, a scopist helps to ensure the accuracy of the reporter’s work product and saves court reporters time in the production of final transcripts. A scopist helps court reporters maintain their personal dictionaries and during busy periods, can ensure court reporters produce transcripts on time.

The Scopist’s Job

A scopist’s job begins with a court reporter’s Computer Aided Transcription (CAT) translation in English text. Once the scopist receives the translation, his or her job is to minimize the need for corrections to the final transcript. Working with accompanying audio tapes, supporting documents and exhibits, the scopist produces the cleanest possible transcript before returning it to the court reporter.

How A Scopist Helps

To help streamline the production of final transcripts, a scopist helps maintain court reporters’ personal dictionaries for them. The scopist adds new names, new terms, and makes global entries to the reporter’s dictionary. As a scopist edits a transcript, incorrect strokes are replaced with correct ones. If a transcript contains typos, the scopist corrects them. This process expedites a court reporter’s workflow, making them more efficient.

A good scopist is fluent in machine shorthand. To produce the cleanest possible transcript, the scopist marks or flags names and terms that cannot be looked up for the court reporter to quickly resolve. When the process is complete, the court reporter’s transcript is ready for final proofreading.

How To Find A Scopist

A scopist is often used by court reporters when increases in work put them at risk of falling behind schedule. The Internet allows a scopist to work from anywhere and many work from home offices. A scopist may also work for court reporting firms, individual court reporters, or do freelance work. Finding a scopist can be a challenge, but here are some sources for finding a good scopist.

JoyfulScoping.com provides a service for court reporters looking for scopists and uses this form. Scopist are required to successfully complete the Scoping Made Affordable Examination.

ReporterSupport.com and sister site Mazco.org provide services to help court reporters quickly find a scopist. Mazco has scopists that use Aristocat, Case Catalyst, Cheetah/Turbocat/Smartcat, Digital Cat, Eclipse, Maestro, Oz, Premier Power, ProCat, StenoCat, XEC-5 and Xscribe.

Scopists.com provides a free list of over 500 scopists by state and city and includes the scopist’s training, experience, and equipment in their Looking for a Scopist section.

Stenograph.com provides over 200 listings in their Scopists section. Listings are given by state.

Great Apps for Court Reporters

smartphoneA smartphone is an essential tool for court reporters, one that can effectively eliminate the need for other devices to complete tasks and get transcripts ready. The following Apps for Court Reporters will help streamline your workflow on the go.

Adobe Reader – For iPads and iPhones, this app allows you to read a PDF the way you want.

Black’s Law Dictionary – This app is written in easy to understand language and is based on the same clear and precise legal definitions of the most frequently cited legal dictionary in print.

Court Days – Customize your own date triggers. Based on the California Code of Civil Procedure, an iPad calendar app created specifically for those in the legal field.

Court Reporters Clearinghouse – When you work with CRC National, you can use our own App to instantly access transcripts and case files, check a schedule, get directions to a deposition, look up an invoice or an outstanding balance.

Dragon – This app allows you to dictate a message to your iPhone. Your voice is transcribed nearly instantly, and with amazing accuracy.

Dropbox – Accessible using several electronic devices, Dropbox works in the cloud. Send large .wav files to your scopist, share files with clients, or share word lists with colleagues.

Evernote – This free app transforms an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad into a tool to remember everything important. Instantly syncs from an iPhone to a laptop or desktop computer.

iAnnotate – For court reporters who prefer onscreen proofreading, this app will flag spots in a transcript that need correction. This app can also be used as a Transcript Order Form. Get signatures directly on the screen using a stylus or even a fingernail. Once a document is signed, immediately email it to your client.

iBooks/Readdle Docs – These apps allow onscreen proofreading and you can purchase books right from your smartphone.

ScannerPro – Once you snap a picture of a document, use this app to square-off the corners and create a PDF. Easily obtain a copy of a notice or an exhibit retained by an attorney or witness.

Square – Begin accepting credit card payments. Sign up with Square and use their free app for any iPhone, iPad, or Android. Reads all major credit cards with just a 2.75 percent fee per swipe. One of the best Apps for Court Reporters.

Tether an iPhone – Offer free Wi-FI to clients. Use this technique in the courtroom, at a law firm, or anywhere there’s a fee for Wi-Fi.

Training Tips For Realtime Reporting Certification

Realtime Court ReportingWhether you’re new to court reporting or a seasoned professional, training and certification in real time court reporting increases your chances of landing your first job and will help you gain more clients if you’re already established.

Training in real time court reporting is offered by many colleges and technical schools throughout the country. The length of the various training programs differ, depending on which branch of court reporting you plan to enter. The NCRA provides a list of schools offering certified programs; however, you only need to pass the NCRA exam to become a Certified Realtime Reporter, or CRR.

A variety of training programs exist, from in-class type study to online courses. Once you complete training, the NCRA certification program provides the testing for certification as a CRR.

Special Training in Real Time Court Reporting Offered by the NCRA

In addition to certification and testing, the NCRA has two technology-based certificates available:

  • The Trial Presentation Professional Certificate
  • The Realtime Systems Administrator Certificate

Workshops for real time court reporter training are offered at the annual convention in August. Registration for the workshops is on a first-come, first-served basis. Due to the nature of this type of training, attendance is limited.

There are no prerequisites for the workshops; however, it is recommended that you have a basic knowledge of real time court reporting and basic knowledge of the hardware involved in real time court reporting technology.

NCRA Training for Trial Presentation Professional

The Trial Presentation Professional program provides you with hands-on experience in trial presentation using real time court reporting technology. Upon completion of a day-and-a-half seminar, you’ll need to pass a written exam.

The Trial Presentation Professional program in intended for freelance court reporters, legal videographers, attorneys, paralegals, and owners and managers of court reporting firms.

The NCRA provides a list of FAQs for the Trial Presentation Professional training program.

NCRA Training for Realtime Systems Administrator

This workshop is intended for owners and managers of court reporting firms, freelance court reporters, as well as official reporters, to improve their marketability as professionals and gain technical proficiency.

The Realtime Systems Administrator workshop provides you the technical knowledge and troubleshooting skills necessary for providing real time to your clients. The seminar lasts a day-and-a-half and focuses on each aspect of real time hookups as well as litigation support that relies on real time connections.

You’ll receive training on how to set up your client or judge with vendors providing real time court reporting technology including Teleview, CaseView, LiveNote, Eclipse Bridge, Summation, DeNoto, Visionary, and Speche.

As you explore each aspect of connectivity, the training is based on real-world scenarios and you’ll learn how to quickly troubleshoot real time issues by experiencing them as they occur.

Workshop participants receive a copy of the Realtime Systems Administrator Guide that provides an in-depth look at the information provided at the seminar.

Upon completion of the workshop, attendees take an assessment exam and upon successful completion of the exam, receive their certificate.

The NRCA provides a list of FAQs for the Realtime Systems Administrator training program.

Real time Court Reporting Credentials Distinguish You as a Professional

The NCRA adheres to the strict standards for real time court reporting training and credential programs established by the National Organization of Competency Assurance and American National Standards Institute.

You’ll stand out in an interview for your first job as a freelance court reporter with your certificate in real time court reporting. If you’re already established as a court reporter, you’ll easily gain new clients as a result of your credentials.

Resources for Houston Court Reporters

Calendar for the Texas Court Reporting Association

Resources for Denver Court Reporters

Calendar of Events for the Colorado Court Reporting Association

Looking To Become a Realtime Court Reporter?

Download Our Guide “How to Become a Realtime Reporter In Eight Easy Steps”

Guide To Become A Realtime Reporter

 

How to Become a Realtime Reporter In Eight Easy Steps

realtime reportingThis instruction guide will provide you step-by-step instructions so that you can soon become a Certified Realtime Reporter!

Step 1: Make the decision that you can be a realtime reporter

Usually it is our brain that gets in the way of our success, so Step 1 in this journey is to decide you can do it! Realtime reporting has significant benefits for a court reporter, such as improved job security and increased pay, so it is well worth considering. The process will be much easier for you when you decide this is what you want. You probably have doubts in your mind about if you can really do it or what happens if you make a mistake. However, every reporter has doubts and questions, and many people, just like you, have successfully become a realtime court reporter.

Step 2: Practice, practice, practice

If you are able to pass your Registered Reporter Certification, you are capable of writing realtime to yourself. In order to get the necessary realtime certification, you only need to build on the skills you already have. You need to be a good writer and have confidence in your writing – and the way to become the kind of writer you need to be to do realtime is by practicing. Find Realtime Coach or one of the other online programs that help you with your speed and accuracy, and sit down to your machine several times a week. Obtain a list of finger drills and perform them while waiting for your depositions to begin.

Step 3: Consider upgrading your laptop computer

Next you will need to consider updating your laptop computer if you have not done so recently. Although many CAT vendors provide computers as part of a package they sell, you do not want to blindly purchase without first becoming a knowledgeable consumer. Find someone to help you who understands computers, if you do not feel comfortable with this purchase. Check with your CAT software to confirm what hardware requirements are necessary. It is typically recommended that your laptop has two USB ports and comes with Bluetooth capability. (Industry experts recommend having a backup method of connecting your laptop to your writer in case your standard method isn’t available.) We also suggest purchasing as much computing capability as you can afford. Most realtime reporters use a computer with the fastest processing speed available and a minimum of 4 GB of RAM.

Step 4: Consider upgrading (or changing) your CAT software

All major CAT systems today have realtime features. You will want to do the necessary research and choose the CAT software which will be most beneficial to you for doing realtime reporting. It would be a good use of time to get some demonstrations, ask colleagues what they use, and create some comparisons on your own of the different features and capabilities of the software platforms that are available

Take the time to become more knowledgeable about your CAT software. If you already have the current version of your software, you should still take the time to learn more about its capabilities. Take advantage of ongoing training and seminars offered by your software manufacturer. Contact your CAT software salesperson/representative to learn more about what kinds of ongoing training is available to you. Software manufacturers are continually adding capabilities that cater to realtime reporters so that they can write more cleanly. As a result, it becomes very beneficial for you to become and maintain your proficiency with the capabilities of your CAT software.

Step 5: Connect your steno machine to your laptop

This connection can be done by cable or by Bluetooth. (Tip: It is recommended to connect your steno machine to your laptop via cable when you are first starting out writing realtime.) Have the ability to use Bluetooth as a backup if necessary. We recommend purchasing the realtime cable from your steno writer vendor to ensure you are purchasing the correct cable for your steno writer.

Step 6: Practice setting up and taking down your realtime equipment

Once you have the necessary equipment, you need to practice assembling it and breaking it down until you are very comfortable. One way to test yourself is to pretend you are at a deposition and to time yourself. The important thing is that you have worked with it enough so that you are able to quickly and smoothly set it up without using the directions. We recommend that you do a mock setup AT LEAST three times before a deposition – and that means a complete teardown of the equipment, putting everything away, and setting it up again. It should take you no longer than 15 minutes to do the setup.

Step 7: Take your laptop to all depositions and work on your writing

Take your laptop to all of your depositions and work on your writing to attain a higher translation rate. At this point, you are not writing realtime for attorneys; you are simply doing it for yourself. You are receiving the benefit of the feedback of the immediate translation so that you can improve your writing skills. You will find this immediate feedback very useful. Your editing time will be cut in half because you are writing better (or at least trying to) as well as editing at the job. Less work at home means more time to do other things, including taking on more work and making more money.

Step 8: Complete your certification

When you are comfortable with your equipment setup, your CAT software realtime functionality and your realtime translation rate has improved sufficiently, it is time for you to take the leap! You are ready to take your Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR) exam. You can register for the exam by visiting the NCRA Certification Test Center. The CRR exam consists of three phases:

  1. Setting up and operating your equipment
  2. Accurately writing realtime for five minutes at 96% accuracy from professionally recorded two-voice question and answer material at the speed of 200 words per minute
  3. Converting your file to an ASCII text file.

Looking To Become a Realtime Court Reporter?

Download Our Guide “How to Become a Realtime Reporter In Eight Easy Steps”

Guide To Become A Realtime Reporter

 

Get Your Realtime Reporting Certification!

realtime court reporterThe National Court Reporter’s Association (NCRA) provides exams for various skill levels of certified court reporting, including certification for realtime court reporting. 

You must be a member in good standing with the NCRA and a current Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) to register for the Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR) exam. Once your RPR status is obtained, you’ll be ready to register for the exam. Upon successful completion of the exam you’ll receive a certificate, be recognized in the NCRA’s Journal of Court Reporting, The Court Reporter Source Book, and listed on the NCRA website. You’ll also be awarded .25 Professional Development Credits when you pass your CRR Exam.

The Testing Process for Certification in Realtime Court Reporting

There are three components of the exam. In the first component, the reporter exemplifies proficiency in setting up the stenotype machine with the equipment used in realtime court reporting.

The second component is a five minute realtime court reporting session taken from recorded material spoken at 200 words-per-minute. The reporter accurately transcribes the recorded content using a stenotype machine integrated with realtime court reporting technology. 

Once transcription is complete, the reporter converts the resulting transcript file from the exam into ASCII format, and the ASCII file is submitted for grading.

The CRR Job Analysis is the blueprint for the certification program you can use these helpful Grading Guidelines you prepare for the exam.

Registration for the Certified Realtime Reporter Exam

Registration information is published in the January and July issues of The Journal of Court Reporting, and you can register for the exam at the NCRA website.

The CRR is currently given three times each year. The CRR exam is concurrent with the two annual RPR examinations and with the Annual Convention.

Information for registration, test dates, location, and fees are available at the NCRA’s Certification Test Center. 

You can register online for the exam.

Maintain Your Certification for Realtime Court Reporting

To maintain your CRR, you’ll need to participate in NCRA’s Continuing Education program and maintain your NCRA membership by earning a minimum of 3.0 Continuing Education Units over a three-year period, the same 3.0 CEUs needed to maintain your RPR.

Resources for Houston Court Reporters

Calendar for the Texas Court Reporting Association

 

Resources for Denver Court Reporters

Calendar of Events for the Colorado Court Reporting Association

 

Looking To Become a Realtime Court Reporter?

Download Our Guide “How to Become a Realtime Reporter In Eight Easy Steps”

Guide To Become A Realtime Reporter

 

What Is Real Time Reporting?

realtime reportingReal time court reporting combines the skills and experience of a court reporter with the speed and power of computers. A court reporter’s keystrokes are instantly translated into text and displayed on multiple laptops and screens in the courtroom.

The receiving software allows acceptance of the feed directly into a new transcript file and is easily integrates with video allowing streams of courtroom proceedings over the Internet for access from remote locations.

The process of real time court reporting is easy to learn, the technology is easy to use, and the equipment is portable and easily moved from location to location.

Real Time Court Reporting Provides Instant Transcripts

There’s no waiting for transcripts with real time court reporting. Information is captured, stored, and available immediately. This streamlines a court reporter’s workflow by allowing immediate printing of rough drafts. Drafts can be saved to CDs and made available for attorneys and judges to review during court recesses. Instant availability of transcripts provides court reporters the ability to quickly deliver final transcripts.

Integration of Real Time Court Reporting Technology

Courtroom participants connect to the court reporter’s laptop with a serial cable or over the Internet to receive the transcript. A real-time session requires a laptop with a 9-pin serial port or a 9-pin to USB converter with software such as LiveNote®, Bridge®, CaseView®, or Summation® installed. Litigation-support programs offer instant access to rough drafts of the proceedings.

Using Real Time Court Reporting in Proceedings and Communications

Judges and attorneys and can call up depositions for instant comparison to current testimony. The technology enables attorneys to bring volumes of legal research into the courtroom on a single compact disk.

Using the cut and paste feature, notes taken directly from the court reporter’s transcript can be combined and displayed on courtroom screens, saved to printable reports, emailed, or faxed.
Case Information is Entered Once

As a case begins, the court reporter creates an index of names, terms, keywords, and phrases unique to each case. Once specific information for each case has been entered, real time court reporting provides efficient search capabilities.

Participants can automatically mark and search for references to the indexed information throughout the proceedings. Forward and backward file searching is easy and simultaneous searches across one or more documents to locate case specific keywords and phrases is easily accomplished. By enabling attorneys to organize and mark testimony as it is given, real time court reporting allows them to keep more accurate notes for further research and collaboration with expert witnesses and other professionals.

The indexing feature allows key issues in a case to be easily identified within the record, and can be set up to highlight or tag specific words and phrases within the transcript as testimony is given, or during any stage of the proceedings.

Synchronize Video and Text Records

To maintain accuracy, the court reporter’s computer is synchronized with the internal clock of the camera or VCR in the courtroom. Time codes ensure the text and video record is in sync and allow specific portions of the record to be searched from the text portion of the record, allowing easy location of specific information whenever it’s needed.

Streamlines a Court Reporter’s Workflow

While real time court reporting provides many advantages to judges, attorneys, and witnesses, one of the most important characteristics of the technology is its ability to streamline a court reporter’s workflow. Instant availability of transcripts provides court reporters the ability to deliver final transcripts within hours (or minutes) after proceedings adjourn for the day.

Resources for Houston Court Reporters

Click here to learn more about how to become a realtime reporter

 

 

Top 9 Benefits of Real Time Court Reporting

real time court reportingAs the world becomes more technology-driven, realtime court reporting provides court reporters with better tools to deliver accurate captioning and transcription at a much faster rate, and recent advances in streaming technology have completely redefined real-time court reporting. Real-time court reporting can now be streamed and accessed over the Internet, eliminating the need for all participants to travel to one location. The benefits of real-time court reporting are many, and we detail the most significant ones here.

Real-Time Court Reporting Transcripts Are Instantly Available

There’s no waiting for rough transcripts with real-time court reporting. Information is captured, stored, and available immediately. Final transcripts are also usually available faster.

Information is Searched Easily and Found Quickly

Real-time court reporting transcripts can be quickly searched for keywords used in previous proceedings or discussions. An entire database of transcripts can be quickly searched and an on-screen report assembled to summarize important points of the case. The summary can be shown to all participants.

Instant Viewing and Sharing of Case Information

With real-time court reporting, files from demonstrative evidence and presentations can be linked to the transcript; then with the click of a mouse, readers can review evidence that relates to those specific items. Information from transcripts can also be copied and pasted into an email or fax, and then sent to other professionals involved in a case.

Live Testimony Is Instantly Impeached Using Real-Time Court Reporting

With live transcripts literally at their fingertips, attorneys can quickly impeach witness testimony. During depositions given using real-time court reporting, a lawyer with remote access can request clarification or challenge a key issue, eliminating the need for secondary depositions.

Transcripts Are Synchronized With Video

During proceedings, the transcript can be seamlessly integrated with video. Real-time streams aid in the assessment of things like credibility and demeanor during playback or from remote locations.

Synchronized Time Codes

Later, the synchronization of real-time transcription provides for easy searching and location of information. By searching the record for keywords, it’s easy to find a desired topic or navigate to an exact time in the video or the transcript, using synchronized time codes.

Notes and Annotations Made Within Transcripts

Quick note and annotation capabilities provide the ability to access indexes of key information unique to each case. Court reporters create indexes of the unique terms and names for each case in advance. Each time a deponent mentions a keyword, a quick-mark or note can be made within the transcript. Accurate quick-marks and annotations are valuable tools for any legal team.

Provides for More Effective Participation

The use of real-time court reporting allows more effective participation of all participants in proceedings. If a room has poor sound quality, or if a witness has an accent or speaks too softly to be heard, on-screen transcription of real-time court reporting helps everyone understand what’s being said. The hearing-impaired have a much easier time participating in and following the proceedings.

Saves Time and Money

Since streams are accessible from anywhere there’s an Internet connection, real-time court reporting saves on travel costs. Legal professionals avoid expensive travel and save time, because meetings can be streamed to attendees in remote locations.

Questions About Real Time Reporting?

Contact CRC National

 

Financial Planning For A Sabbatical

financial planning, sabbatical, court reporting agencyWhether you own an agency, a small firm, or you’re a freelance court reporter, you’ve decided to take time away to reboot your life. You’ve decided on a goal or purpose for your sabbatical and saved your money. With the money safely tucked away, it’s time to start the financial planning for your sabbatical.

The purpose of your sabbatical will determine how you plan the finances for your trip. When working outside the country there are tax advantages to consider. If you’re attending courses that relate to your business or to your career as a freelance court reporter, there are tax advantages. There are also many ways to save on traveling expenses, accommodations, and personal expenses. A well planned sabbatical doesn’t have to break the bank.

Working Outside the US

Congress recognizes the value of working outside the country and encourages it with the foreign income tax exclusion. If you’re gone more than 330 days over a consecutive 12 month period, most (or all) income is tax free. The Foreign Income Exclusion is explained in IRS Publication 54, Tax Guide for US Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad.

Tax Benefits for Education

If you own a court reporting business, you can take business courses. If you’re a freelance court reporter you can take courses that relate to your career. In both cases, tuition and books are tax deductions. IRS Publication 970 Tax Benefits for Education explains educational deductions and credits. If the courses you take don’t fall within your career field, you may be eligible for a tax credit instead of a tax deduction.

Saving on Airfare and Transportation

Especially if you’re planning a sabbatical in Europe, consider using buses and trains for short distance traveling to save money. For discount airfare, Kayak searches Orbitz.com, Travelocity.com, and Hotwire.com. Kayak makes comparisons and finds the best price; it connects with more than 140 airlines and travel agencies to find the least expensive flights.

Tips on Accommodations

Consider staying in hostels. They’re all over the world and are very inexpensive. Use a site like HostelBookers to find locations near your destination, prices, and read reviews. Have a backup plan for accommodations at each location you plan to visit. Sites like LastMinute will help you find accommodations quickly if your first choice doesn’t work out. The site also provides last minute reservations for airline tickets and lists local attractions.

Miscellaneous Expenses

If you plan carefully, you won’t need to use a credit card; however, having one for an emergency is a good idea. Before leaving, buy personal hygiene items, favorite snacks, stationary, and stamps. Pack them in small boxes and have a friend mail you a box once a month. This will reduce your expenses and you’ll have all your favorite products.

Proper financial planning for your sabbatical will help make it a reality. Whether your goal is to rest and reboot, work, volunteer, or take classes, good financial planning will help you achieve the goal of your sabbatical.

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Taking A Sabbatical From Your Independent Court Reporting Practice

sabbatical, court reporting agencyRemember, be clear about why you’re taking time away from your business and what you want to achieve. Have a well thought out plan and begin planning early. This will help you transition out of your independent court reporting business and back when you return. Author Dan Clements suggests taking the following three steps as a process to help you remain true to your decision and follow through with your plan to take a sabbatical.

Start Saving Money

Set up an automatic savings plan. Have an amount automatically transferred from your checking account into a savings account each week. Think of things you can go without for a few months. Pack a lunch for work and save every penny you can. If you receive a tax return, save it. Compare prices using resources like TripAdvisor to find good deals and save money. Choose your destination carefully so you can remain within your budget, and bring along a credit card in case of emergency.

Choose a Departure Date

Making concrete plans for a departure date will help you follow through, says Clements. Purchase tickets and make reservations. Register for the class you’ve always been interested in, sign up to teach English in another country or get a job on a cruise ship; whatever you want to accomplish, start planning.

Realize that as your departure date nears, you may feel like you can’t get away for some very important reason. As the owner of an independent court reporting business, or any business owner, this is completely normal, even expected. Whatever your concern, address it with the people you leave in charge. Share your feelings with those who’ve supported you in taking time away from your business. Making travel arrangements is part of the process of planning a sabbatical and will help you remain committed to your goal.

Share Your Plan With Others

Marking the date on a calendar in your office, provides an easy way to “break the ice” for sharing your plans with others. According to Clements, it’s very important to share your goal with others because you’ll know who you can count on for support. Seek out those that support you during times of doubt. Those that support the goal of your sabbatical can help you plan and assist with logistics. 

If you decide to temporarily rent out your home, take steps with a property management company to find a tenant or ask a friend take care of your home while you’re away. Consider a temporary home trade on a site like HomeExchange or arrange a stay with another traveler on a site like CouchSurfing. According to Clements, it’s important for business owners to make firm commitments. Making travel commitments for specific dates will help you stick to your plan and achieve the goal of your sabbatical.

Finally, remember CRC National. We’ll help you take a sabbatical without putting your independent court reporting business at risk. We’re here to take care of your business while you’re away.

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The Benefits of a Sabbatical for a Freelance Court Reporter

Sabbaticals, once reserved for academia, are now considered an important part of the benefits package for about a quarter of the 2012 Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For. Many companies are realizing the benefits of time off –either for personal or professional development– far outweigh the risks and are finding that people return with a fresh outlook and a boost in productivity.

Court Reporting Agency Owners Afraid To Step Away

Most people start their own businesses because of the freedom they anticipate will result – the freedom to determine when they work and when they take time off. Once their businesses becomes successful, many feel it can’t survive without them. A Staples poll found it was difficult for 37% of business owners to remember when they last had a vacation. American Express recently surveyed business owners and found that half of them worried they’d lose a major client if they took a vacation.

How A Sabbatical Can Help

It’s no surprise that thinking about a sabbatical seems even less doable to the owner of a court reporting agency than a vacation. However, time away allows a clarity to return that reignites the passion they once had for their business. When they return they are more apt to apply new ideas and are ready for new opportunities. Many find they can do a lot more for their business when they’re not “in” their business and that delegating responsibilities becomes far easier once they spend time away. A study from TSNE and CompassPoint found that a sabbatical that’s well planned has significant positive effects on an organization as a second tier of leadership assumes more responsibility. Linda Manassee Buell, owner of coaching firm Simplify Life, encourages clients to take time away and suggests small business owners who feel their business can’t survive without them need to ask themselves two questions. First, what is it that they control that they can’t let go of and second, whether they’ve created a culture within their business in which everything must either get channeled through them or originate from them. The process of letting go is healthy; it benefits both the business and the business owner.

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Tips For Sale of Your Court Reporting Agency

Agency for saleWhen a business is no longer desired, regardless of the service provided or material produced, it must be sold or the ownership transferred to another individual or corporation. If this business is a court reporting agency, with a full backing of clients and current services, it shouldn’t be difficult for the current owner to transfer the title of the company. There are several different options to selling a court reporting agency, and the owner and potential buyer need to agree upon a particular method before the ownership transfer may take place. Understanding each method will help a seller determine the best option for their business.

Outright Sale

An outright sale is when the court reporting agency is sold with the one time exchange of cash. Generally, this is done when the owner of the reporting agency needs money quickly and just wants out of the business. Typically, the price of the business is reduced in order to sell the agency quickly. If the owner wants to receive top dollar for the reporting agency, this is not usually the best method to use.

Gradual Sale

There are very few times where someone has enough cash to flat out buy a company, especially for the desired asking price. In order to buy the company, it’s possible for the owner and the buyer to come to an agreement where the buyer pays a specified amount of money over a period of time. This method is best suited for both the buyer and seller. The seller is able to receive closer to the desired asking price and the buyer, who probably is not able to front the cash, is able to purchase the agency eventually, over the course of time.

Lease Agreement

There are times when a business owner, such as an owner of a court reporting agency, simply wants to get away and not deal with the company. When this occurs, they are able to come up with a lease agreement with a desired buyer. This is similar to leasing out an apartment and other property, as the desired individual pays a certain amount each and every month in order to take over the daily tasks of running the court reporting agency. This is a rather tricky agreement to come to, and it takes specialized paperwork.

Points to Remember

When it comes to selling a court reporting agency, there are several keeps points to keep in mind in order to receive not only the best price for the company but in the most timely fashion, such as:

  • Money necessary to sell
  • Outright is faster, not necessarily better
  • Gradual sale most beneficial
  • Test waters with lease agreement

For starters, you need to determine how much money you need to make it worth your wild. After you receive the determine value of the company, you are able to proceed from there. If you need the money right away, your best bet is to go with the outright sale. The outright sale gives you money the fastest, but it also gives you the smallest return on investment. If money is not instantly necessary, a gradual sale is beneficial as you slowly transfer ownership of the company over until the desired buyer is able to provide all the necessary money. If you are not sure about selling the company, you have the lease agreement method, which although is sometimes problematic, allows you to test out the waters before diving head first.

Selling your company often takes a leap of faith, so educating yourself before jumping head first into uncharted territory helps ensure the outcome proves more successful.

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Tips For Negotiating the Sale of Your Court Reporting Agency

Negotiating KeyPeople who are seeking buyers to sell their court reporting agency business must take in to account important considerations in order to get a good deal. Many people negotiate emotionally and fail to attain a worthy price. Obviously, everyone wants to make reasonable money on his investment. Instead of giving away the business for a small amount, consider important aspects of the deal in order to sell the court reporting agency business for a higher price.

Determine buyer’s needs

Assess the situation of the buyer. Collect information about his background, his nature, his financial standing, and his style of negotiation etc. Find out buyer’s interest in purchasing the business and his estimated price through reliable sources. All these things will give an overview of buyer’s perspective which is useful in getting a better deal.

Establish the terms of the deal

Before sitting down on a negotiation table, determine the price and terms of sale beforehand. Prepare thoroughly for negotiation before fixing an appointment with the buyer. Put forward few additional terms which can be foregone during negotiation. Determine how and in what manner the proceeds of the sale are to be received. The terms and conditions have a great impact in determining the final selling price. So, be wise and draft the terms of sale in a manner that will fetch a better selling price.

Set the price

Price the business after considering its true value. Don’t be short or feel shy of the big numbers while determining the price. After assessing the value of the business, figure out with the desired selling price. After all, investing valuable time and money in setting up a court reporting agency business warrants its worthy price. Pick up a comfortable and negotiable price; inflate the price so that there is room to come down to the desired price while finalizing the deal. Remember, a deal that demands lot of upfront cash will fetch a lower price. On the other hand, if the level of net adjusted income supports the buyer’s ability to make payment easily, it will attract higher price. Consider these important things, and set the price accordingly.

Know your walk away price/terms

Always be prepared to walk away, if the price and terms of selling are much below expectations. Often buyers quote a very low price to grab a deal for a dirt cheap price. Similarly, some buyers put forward unacceptable terms during negotiation. In such situations, it is preferable to walk away instead of settling with their terms and price.

Things to remember

While finalizing the deal, do not forget to consider vital things. Write down the terms of negotiation on a piece of paper, and have it signed by the buyer to avoid any problem later. Similarly, go through the final agreement before signing, and ensure that the terms and price are depicted in the agreement as per negotiation. Make sure that the buyer has a clean record without any criminal background to avoid becoming a victim of fraud. Consider minute details like date and date of agreement, details of check payment and any other thing pertaining to sale.

Conclusion

Remember, negotiation is an art which pays decently. Instead of getting carried away by emotions, negotiate smartly. Weigh all pros and cons, and assess the situation of the buyer in order to sell the court reporting agency business at higher price. Apply little diligence, keep patience and negotiate wisely. All these things will attract higher selling price with much less efforts.

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Exit Plan

 

How To Value Your Court Reporting Agency

Valuing Your Court Reporting AgencyCourt reporting agencies play a vital role in transcribing the goings on of court proceedings. Many agencies work with or inside law firms to provide accurate and effective reporting services. There are many different certification processes as well as legal obstacles to be aware of, so selling a court reporting agency can be extremely difficult and potentially risky. As a business owner, whether the firm is large or small, it is important to understand exactly how to value and market your business. Maybe it has taken decades to build a trusted business or maybe you have worked closely with a certain law firm to help build your court reporting agency. Either way, it is important to check out the Small Business Administration’s checklist for selling your business. This checklist will give you the bare minimum essentials in helping to market and sell your business successfully. However, these are just guidelines and provide general information to business owners looking to sell.

Valuing Your Agency

The complexities of business valuation should not be taken lightly. Understanding what goes into your business’ worth is important. First of all, you should consider the net income or revenue of your business. Many times, small businesses will sell at a certain multiplier of their net yearly income. The smaller the business, the smaller the multiplier. Typically, if a business can be run by one person, with access to all the customers and clientele, the multiplier stays at 1x the net income of the business minus any debts or personal expenses. Certainly you have worked hard to build your business, but it is important to realize that your business is only worth what can be shown on paper. Pricing multipliers increase if the business has an established customer base that will not migrate elsewhere after the sale, as well as other factors such as assets and equipment as well as business office and floor space. More information from a business broker relative to pricing multipliers and how they relate to assets, liabilities, and net income can be found here.

Some Steps To Follow

A court reporting agency typically has relatively low overhead costs due to the fact that the labor that goes into recording and transcribing the court proceedings is the core value of the business and generates most of the income in most cases. However, if you feel as though you need a very general yet very easy to understand formula for valuing your business, check out this site, which offers a “What Is My Small Business Worth? 3 Easy Steps” discussion. Many times, the valuation of a small business is much more complicated than people realize.

Do Your Research

Court reporting agencies will always be in demand as there will always be court proceedings to record and transcribe. Understand that since there are many different reporting agencies out there, you should be able to get a pretty good idea of your court reporting agency’s value from researching recent past sales and brokerages of similarly sized businesses. This is by no means the best way to value your business, but it will give you vital information relative to a starting point. Also, understand that just as the potential buyers will be researching your business and you in order to make the best and lowest possible offer, you should research each potential buyer to gauge exactly how they will behave during sale. This information will give you the most amount of negotiating room when it comes to talking numbers and eventually selling your business. Business valuation is not simple, but now you’ve got a few excellent tools at your disposal to help.

For More Tips On Selling Your Agency – Download Our Exit Planning Guide

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Need An Exit Plan For Your Court Reporting Agency?

Need an exit plan for your court reporting business?

Starting and owning your own small business is an exciting adventure. Building your business takes enormous effort and commitment. Once you get it up and running, it is incredibly rewarding to successfully manage your business and your clients year after year. In doing so, you have created something worthwhile and valuable.

However, one thing many independent court reporters don’t consider is how to wind down or exit from their business. They work hard for many years, and one day they decide to retire or to do something else. The challenge is to do so smoothly while also realizing the value of what you have created. We have created this guide to help you think and plan for your exit from the independent court reporting business, so that it is as smooth and as painless as possible for you.

How To Exit Your Court Reporting Business

1. Think About Your Dream

The first thing you should do when you decide you want to leave the business is to consider what it will mean for you. How old will you be? Where will you live? Who will you be sharing your life with? Do you still want to work a limited schedule? Do you want to do something entirely different? Do you want to leave work behind and truly retire? The important part is to start thinking about it so you can plan effectively.

2. Don’t Wait To Get Help

Successful business owners like yourself have learned when to ask for help. This transition point in your career is one of those times. You will want to have a financial planner and a lawyer. If you want to sell your business, you will want a business broker.

3. Take Stock of What Is Working for You.

The gap between where you are today and where you want to get to may be significant, but that shouldn’t stop you from achieving it. Research all of your options, and rely on your entrepreneurial skills to create the outcome you want to achieve. Start the process early enough so you will be able to make these changes deliberately. If you have less time on your hands, you may need to make some compromises, but your experience as a business owner should help you get to where you want to be.

4. Start the Process – NOW

Most small business owners, regardless of where they are in the exit planning/retirement process, feel like they have a long way to go before they can sell or retire. The solution to speeding up the process and giving yourself peace of mind is simple: Start now! Start by being proactive about research, finding professionals, and identifying necessary changes to your business. Taking action, even if it is just small steps, will give you a sense of momentum and control and reduce any feelings you may have of being overwhelmed.

Want Some Help Exiting Your Court Reporting Business?

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What Not To Do – 7 Common Pitfalls For Small Business Startups

deposition service, court reporting agencies, court reporting agency, court reporting service, litigation service, court reporter, litigation support1. Skipping the Planning Phase

Planning may be tedious, but without a solid plan for your business you will be operating in the dark. The most important plans to consider include a business plan, a financial plan and a marketing plan.

2. Not Setting Goals

Goals can give you a direction when you first start your business, then keep you on track during the day-to-day operations.

3. Undervaluing Your Products or Services

Under-pricing your products and services is dangerous because it undermines the value you bring to the table and opens up the possibility of resentment and frustration. Recovering from undervaluing your goods is a long road, so be sure to research the pricing in your market thoroughly as you start your business.

4. Avoiding Technology

As small business owners, technology provides efficiency, opportunity, and cost reduction. New technology can be intimidating, and require time to learn, but an unwillingness to adapt to new technology advances will hurt your business.

5. Being Afraid of Marketing

Marketing can take many forms from word of mouth referrals, to traditional advertising, to Internet marketing. There aren’t any set rules when it comes to marketing; the best type of marketing for you depends on your business and your target audience. The mistake is assuming you don’t need to market and that business will come to you.

6. Not Knowing Who Your Ideal Customer Is

One vital part of any successful marketing campaign is understanding who your ideal customer is. It’s not enough to create a marketing budget and try a little bit of everything. You need to do some market research to identify who you are trying to reach, where you can find them and how they will react to your marketing activities.

7. Overspending and/or Underspending

Starting a business doesn’t have to require a large investment, but some new business owners feel that they need to spend a lot to purchase the best, from marketing help, to equipment, to software. There are usually other, less expensive but equally viable options available, if you’re willing to do the research. Creating and sticking to a business budget to curb overspending is always an excellent idea. Some small business owners who don’t overspend fall on the other end of the spectrum and refuse to spend much of anything. While there are certainly ways to start and grow a business with limited funds, going too far and not investing any kind of capital in your business can severely limit your potential for success.

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Top 5 Reasons to Own Your Own Court Reporting Agency

Deposition Service, Court Reporting Agencies, Court Reporting Agency, Court Reporting Service, Litigation Service, Court Reporter, Litigation supportStarting your own reporting firm, even if it is just you, is the dream of many court reporters. Just thinking about it is exciting and overwhelming. It can be a great opportunity, but since so many new businesses fail, it’s a good idea to think it through carefully and have a plan in place before you jump out on your own. CRC National has helped over 100 independent court reporters start their own firms. Using our 15 years of experience of helping and supporting independent court reporters start their own firms, we have developed this guide to help you as you work up your plan to start your own independent court-reporting firm.

1. Control Your Own Destiny

Entrepreneurs are by nature people who like to take control and make decisions. Owning your own business frees you from having to work for someone else.

2. Find Your Own Work/Life Balance

One of the benefits of owning your own business is the flexibility that comes with it, setting your own hours, wearing your pajamas or even sitting next to your pet while you work. Entrepreneurs say that owning their own business lets them set their priorities.

3. Choose the People You Work With

When you work for someone else, you rarely get to choose whom you work with. When you own your own business, you get to make the decisions about who to hire (and fire). You can surround yourself with positive people who give you the confidence and optimism you need to keep moving forward.

4. Take the Risk, and Reap the Rewards

Owning your own business is a risky proposition. Owning your own business is a risky proposition, but with risk comes reward. Like every other great game, the more you play, the better you get.

5. Connect With Your Clients

You decide which clients to work with and which ones are jerks. When you market your own company you are growing your own firm and not someone else’s firm.

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Visioneering for Your Court Reporting Agency

Paula’s Reflections

One of the important aspects of building your own court reporting agency is to make sure you are doing what you need to do to be successful. As a part of this blog, I will share some experiences and thoughts from my own personal journey these past 15 years growing Court Reporters Clearinghouse as well as great ideas I come across in books, seminars and presentations. You might want to incorporate some of these ideas into your own personal and professional life if you think they will help you become a more successful court reporter and a happier, healthier individual. We welcome your thoughts and comments about these ideas and would love to hear back what has worked for you as well.

Visioneering – Take The Stairs

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Deposition Services, court reporting agency, court reporting agencies, litigation services, court reporter, litigation supportToday’s topic comes from a book I read recently by Rory Varden entitled Take the Stairs. Visioneering is a term that Varden uses to combine both “vision” and “engineering.” He uses it to mean “creating a new idea” or vision of what you want to be and how you live your life.

For Varden, a vision is important because it inspires you to take action. What you call it isn’t important – it can be a goal, a purpose, or something else. What matters is that it is clear to you, and it is inspiring.

Make It VAST

In order to provide yourself with clarity about your vision, Varden encourages you to take three steps. First, he encourages you to make your vision detailed and clear by making it VAST. By this, he means for you to write down your vision of what you want for yourself or your business using words that appeal to the senses: Visual, Auditory, Smell, and Touch.

Vision Boards

Second, in order to help provide visual clarity, he encourages you to create a Vision Board, which is a collage of images taken from anywhere – the Internet, magazines, photographs – that visually display what you hope to manifest in your life. You then place the Vision Board in a location where you are able to see it regularly. The technique is powerful because every time you see it you are quickly reminded of the goals you have in front of you, enabling you to maintain focus on your priorities.

Develop Focus

The final step is a way to keep yourself focused on your vision each day. His recommendation is to make the first and last thoughts of the day ones that inspire and motivate you. In the morning when you wake up, hit the snooze button one time and stay awake in bed thinking about the parts of your life that you are thankful for and the parts of your vision you are striving for. When you go to bed at night, allow your mind to wander to a visualization of what you want most in your life.

By putting “Visioneering” into action, you start to take control of your thoughts. When you have better control over your thoughts, you give yourself a better mental attitude, which translates into better actions that you take in your life. The better and stronger your actions in life, the better your results, both in business and in your personal life.

How Visioneering Works For Me

Recently I put this idea of Visioneering into action in my own life. As many of us often do, I wake up anxious in the morning and worry in advance about what problems “might” happen that day: “Can we get all the jobs out as fast as the attorneys need them? Will the reporter’s plane leave on time so she can make it to that afternoon job in another city? What happens if the technology doesn’t work for that internet realtime streaming job?”

I recently started applying this positive Visioneering idea by changing these fearful anxious thoughts that pop in my head into positive thoughts. Such as: “We have a great staff and they will stay as late as necessary to get all the jobs out. We have a great IT department that we can call if we have technology issues. Just changing these worries to positive thoughts really seems to help. I find myself relaxing and those anxious feelings subside. Waking in the morning and using the first few minutes to think positively and be thankful for all the good things in my life helps me handle stress better.

How could it work for your court reporting agency?

If you are starting your new court reporting business, or you are an independent court reporter trying to rejuvenate your current business, give Visioneering and Varden’s book Take the Stairs a read. See if you can incorporate some of these ideas into your life. I hope you will find that you gain much more control over your thoughts, your attitudes, and ultimately your actions.

Sincerely,

Paula

Welcome to Our New Website and Blog for Court Reporters

Deposition service, court reporting agencies, court reporting service, litigation service, court reporter, litigation support, independent court reporter, freelance court reporterIntroducing the CRC National Blog

Welcome to our updated CRC National website and our very first blog. You are probably thinking what I was thinking when I contemplated writing this. Another blog? Who needs it? Well, I was surprised to find out that 1/5 of all the new information being published on the Internet is through blogs.

It seems that everyone is a writer or an “expert” these days. Over the past 20 years, what I’ve learned about court reporting is that our collective wisdom is so much greater than the sum of its parts. Even the most seasoned reporter might have a question that another reporter can help with.

Additionally, time is our most precious commodity. We all already deal with information overload and the constant contact of emails, IMs, Facebook, LinkedIn and cell phones. So we will try to make our CRC postings concise and valuable enough to be worthy of your time.

Those of you who already know us at CRC, know that we are that court reporting firm who has no attorney clients. We don’t provide court reporting services, but instead we provide comprehensive support services for independent court reporters. Different? Yes, but we love our niche – and that is taking care of independent freelance court reporters. That’s all we do.

A Community for Independent Court Reporters

Independent court reporters who work on their own rarely get to spend time with other reporters, comparing notes, asking questions, getting feedback. Sometimes we just need to connect with others who understand this unique profession. Our goal here will be to share ideas, information and links that might help you – the super busy, stressed out, independent freelance court reporter – provide better court reporting services to your clients.

Knowledge is everything. Sharing knowledge that we learn along the way in a quick and easy interactive platform. We hope to become a resource in the weeks and months ahead to help you provide better litigation support to your attorney clients.

We don’t propose to have all the answers but we have a wonderful client-base of independent court reporters that might have had a similar experience or already solved a similar problem. So let’s share and learn together.

New Court Reporting Technology

Some of our realtime reporter clients started using a new Internet streaming service a few months back and the experience has been great. Check out www.livedeposition.com. What we like about this new service is – when we stream the realtime, remote attendees can see the realtime and hear the audio without video being required. LiveNote streaming doesn’t offer audio unless video is being streamed too.

Cool App for Court Reporters

Do you need an easy way to keep track of the time used by each attorney? Check out this $2.99 app called Chronology – Timer available through the Apple App store. It lets you run and view multiple timers simultaneous.

Paula Babin

CRC National

Court Reporters Clearinghouse

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