Most of our reporters have been with this firm for over 25 years, which is just astounding in this day and age when loyalty in the workplace is declining. They all work exclusively for this firm.
All of our court reporters have been vetted by our state and national organizations through rigorous skills and written knowledge testing. Several have gone on to earn our profession’s most prestigious credentials, the Registered Diplomate Reporter, Registered Merit Reporter, and Certified Realtime Reporter.
In addition to their degrees in Court and Conference Reporting, some of our reporters have Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in other areas such as human biology, education, Chinese, and music. They also have varied interests outside of court reporting. One reporter is fluent in French and Japanese; another plays the viola da gamba; others selflessly volunteer their time to help those in their communities.
Every reporter on our staff has pledged their support of NCRA’s Ethics First initiative which seeks to educate our fellow professionals, clients, and the general public about the importance of maintaining impartiality and neutrality in the performance of our duties so as to ensure an unbiased legal system for all. We refrain from gift-giving as a means of obtaining future business or favoring one client over another.
Call on our uniquely talented professionals for all of your deposition needs. Your case matters to you. Every word matters to us.
Court reporting students, probably more than students in any other field, fail their tests almost weekly. As a student, you press on day after day, week after week, and beyond, only to see “FAIL” on your graded paper. You can fail because of one missed word. One. And just when you finally pass a test, the process begins anew and you will most certainly meet with failure again the very next week. The cycle can be downright demoralizing.
But take heart.
Every reporter before you has failed, repeatedly, and has come out the other side to a career they love, and you can too. As students you’re expected to fail. You’re learning. You’re not there yet. Probably no one has told you, though, that failure has value, and breakthroughs can come as a result. The key is analyzing why you are failing and doing what you can to move ahead and face your next speed hurdle with renewed enthusiasm and sense of purpose.
This is why reading back and examining your writing is so important to your progress. Read back everything. Be self-critical. Why are you failing? What mistakes are you making? Are you making the same mistakes repeatedly? Try to be as specific in your analysis as possible. There could be several reasons: the same fingering errors; unreadable notes; hesitation; dropping; problems with numbers, synonyms, punctuation; lack of concentration; poor practice habits; time constraints.
Having this information is valuable! Now that you know what is holding you back or giving you trouble, you can address those areas and form a strategy to mitigate or eliminate them. There may be several areas that need your attention, which is common. Don’t get overwhelmed or be too hard on yourself. You are a work in progress. The good news is that there are workable solutions to any issue you may have. Ask for help in overcoming your particular problem area. Reach out to your teacher or a working professional for advice, or ask NCRA for a virtual mentor. You’ll be surprised at how helpful they can be.
Court reporting school is all about the journey. Only those who have gone before you know what you are going through now. The journey will have more failures than successes for sure; but if you heed the lessons that your failures offer, and make a deliberate and steadfast effort during your daily practice sessions, you will become a better writer and PASS that certification test one day!
So the next time you see “FAIL” on your test paper, add the word “FORWARD” to remind yourself to learn from the mistakes made and forge ahead.
The following is the quote from Charles F. Kettering that inspired these comments. May it inspire you too. “Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.”
There has been much discussion in the press lately about the allegations made against Bill Cosby by several women who are accusing him of assault and rape. Then comes the news that Mr. Cosby’s deposition transcript has been released in violation of the settlement agreement made years ago between the parties.
While this office does not know first-hand the particulars of the agreement, whether the deposition was sealed or not, whether some pages were already publicly available, or whether the court reporting agency actually sold the transcript to The New York Times, this case does raise concerning issues regarding transcripts in the possession of court reporters and court reporting firms.
Doris O. Wong Associates, Inc., does not consider transcripts public record and does not release any transcript without the consent of all counsel who were present at the deposition or a court order. Every once in a while, we receive calls from people looking for transcripts -- of expert witnesses, for example – that they can use in separate, unrelated actions. Although we would welcome the income, we refuse to automatically honor these requests, believing it would be unethical and in violation of the trust placed in us as keepers of the record.
As part of our efforts to safeguard information contained in all transcripts in our possession, we adhere to WISP regulations. We send electronic transcript files and accompanying exhibits to counsel via a secure, encrypted, and password-protected platform that offers a layer of protection that e-mail attachments alone cannot.
Mr. Cosby’s attorneys say they will vigorously investigate how his transcript became public. In this firm’s opinion, every deposition transcript, whether of a celebrity or not, deserves and receives protection from those who have no legal right to it.
The National Court Reporters Association will hold its convention & exposition in New York City July 30th through August 2nd. It is the largest annual gathering of court reporters, captioners, scopists, legal videographers, trial presenters, and other legal services professionals. Registrants will attend a myriad of continuing education seminars, network with their peers from around the country, and visit vendor booths that showcase the latest in writing machines and computer-aided transcription software.
NCRA's annual business meeting will be held as well as the installation of its new officers and directors. Always of particular interest at the convention are the National Speed Competition and the National Realtime Competition where our elite vie for court reporting superstardom and immortality.
Those who compete in the Speed Contest transcribe a literary take at 220 wpm, a legal opinion take at 230 wpm, and a two-voice testimony take at 280 wpm. The contestant who qualifies on the three tests (95% or higher) with the highest average for the three is the winner.
The winner of the Realtime Contest must produce an unedited transcription of straight matter at 200 wpm and two-voice testimony at 225 wpm. To qualify, one must have an accuracy rate of 95% or higher on each segment, and the person who has the best combined score among the qualifiers wins.
Court reporters are employed as freelancers, officials, captioners, and CART providers. There is currently a nationwide shortage. For more information on how you can pursue a career in this field, visit http://www.crtakenote.com/. In addition, a documentary called “For the Record – A Court Reporting Documentary” premiered at the SXSW Film Festival earlier this year. In case you missed it, here is the link: http://www.courtreportingmovie.com/. Enjoy!
This Memorial Day we honor and remember our military heroes who died in combat or as a result of injuries sustained during battle and thank them and their families for their sacrifice.
On Memorial Day, flowers are traditionally placed on soldiers’ graves. Many people will wear poppies in remembrance. The red flowers represent the blood of fallen soldiers. Many veterans service organizations annually distribute these crepe paper poppies, called “Buddy Poppies,” that have been assembled by hospitalized veterans in exchange for donations to help needy and disabled veterans.
The poem below was written in 1915 by John McCrae, a World War I soldier and medical officer. Today Flanders Fields, the site of World War I battlefields, is home to thousands of poppies. It remains a fitting tribute to all who died for our country in conflicts past and present around the globe.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie, In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.
THIS WEEK IS NATIONAL SMALL BUSINESS WEEK - MAY 4 to 8, 2015
The website of the U.S. Small Business Administration states: “Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.” This week is set aside to “highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from all 50 states and U.S. territories. Every day, they’re working to grow small businesses, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness.”
Doris Wong started her business in 1967, and it is still making valuable contributions to the legal community. For decades the talented professionals on her staff have been preserving verbatim testimony for trial; and although the method, machine shorthand, has basically remained unchanged, the technological advancements have drastically altered how their services are delivered. Today the gold standard is providing an instantaneous, almost error free, realtime feed. This has meant a huge investment by Ms. Wong and all the members of her staff in cutting-edge technology and an unceasing commitment to the lawyers and litigants we serve to deliver the most accurate and timely transcripts possible.
As Ms. Wong states: “I am proud to say that my firm is celebrating its 48th year in a very challenging, competitive and changing business. We are doing this by embracing and offering all the technological changes in the field of court reporting – and, indeed, we have led the way in many of them – and also by continuing to provide the best service possible to every client, large and small.”
The role small businesses play in today’s economy is crucial. Doris O. Wong Associates, Inc., is proud of its contribution and is pleased that small businesses are receiving the recognition this week they are so deserving of.
April 2015 marks our 48th anniversary, and we at Doris O. Wong Associates, Inc., have much to celebrate!
First and foremost, our reporting staff continues to deliver the highest quality transcripts in the business. True to our tradition, they bring their expertise and experience to every assignment and give every case the attention and care it deserves. All of our reporters are certified; however, we have developed an elite team of professionals who can report the complex technical cases that require premium services such as expedited delivery, realtime, and clean rough drafts. Our reporters’ services have even been requested abroad, most recently in Mongolia.
Our in-house production department has undergone a major upgrade of its systems to enable us to continue to provide our clients with the latest litigation support products available on the market. Our computer manager’s extensive knowledge of transcript formats allows us to provide exactly what you need, and our quality control manager ensures that every order is complete before it leaves our office.
Lastly, our front office remains committed to providing the excellent customer service that our clients have become accustomed to. We give our full attention to every call, every request, and we do our very best to answer all questions efficiently and pleasantly. We aim to be accommodating and will go the extra mile to make sure you are satisfied.
Please feel free to visit our website at www.doriswong.com. It has just been updated and has a fresh new look!
All of us at Doris O. Wong Associates, Inc., are proud of our 48-year history of serving the legal community with distinction.
Yes, the transcript is expensive. Any product of value is. Transcripts cannot be produced by a lay person. It requires a unique skill that only a certified professional court reporter can provide.
Imagine if you were responsible for writing on a machine every word uttered verbatim during this trial, and who said it, hour after hour, day after day, for an estimated 68 days of trial. Imagine the concentration skills required to write, almost error free, approximately 225 pages per day, or approximately 15,300 pages by trial’s end. Imagine the added pressure a trial of this magnitude presents. This is not counting the hours spent in preparation before the trial or editing time after the court has adjourned for the day.
Marcia Patrisso, the court reporter responsible for this trial, has earned two of the National Court Reporters Association’s most coveted credentials, credentials attained by only a small minority of her peers: the Registered Merit Reporter and Certified Realtime Reporter designations. A Registered Merit Reporter can write at speeds of 260 words per minute with 95 percent accuracy, and a Certified Realtime Reporter can produce an unedited transcript in realtime with 96 percent accuracy. Ms. Patrisso has proven her ability through testing, certification, and experience. She has invested in her education, software, and equipment, at her own expense, so that she can perform the duties required of her. She has earned her place in the courtroom.
Owning a Range Rover sure sounds appealing, especially considering the historic winter we’ve just endured; however, it can’t compare to the value verbatim transcripts provide to litigants, lawyers, and judges in courtrooms across the country, transcripts prepared by certified court reporters, guardians of the record.
Imagine our excitement when we learned that today, March 4, 2015, is National Grammar Day! Court reporters deal with words, grammar, and punctuation every day. When we edit our transcripts, we look up unfamiliar words, pay attention to sentence structure, and often agonize over what mark of punctuation would work best in a certain situation. Seminars are given every year on this very topic, and I for one learn something new at every seminar. You probably will never see such spirited debate over comma placement!
It is not uncommon at our office lunch table to have discussions about things written in the daily newspaper. Just this morning, we came across this sentence in the daily Metro: “A couple of newlyweds who were injured in the Boston Marathon bombings are separating.” We immediately thought two couples, four people, were separating; but after sorting through the rest of the article, it became apparent that only one couple was calling it quits. We think it would have been better if the article had said “a newlywed couple is separating” or “newlyweds are separating,” unless of course the author meant two separate people not married to each other are separating. It can get pretty confusing!
Of course gaffes are not limited to print media. How often do you hear a newscaster deliver a blunder that has you either scratching your head or covering your ears? Proper grammar matters. A poor grasp of the English language will hold you back professionally. Your message will be lost if you cannot communicate it correctly.
Note the huge difference comma placement makes in these two sentences:
Let’s eat grandma.
Let’s eat, Grandma.
Please spare grandma’s life and use a comma!
All kidding aside, grammar is important business.
Today court reporters will join teachers, editors, writers, and journalists in celebrating National Grammar Day, which was established in 2008 by Martha Brockenbrough, founder of the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar.
National Court Reporters Association Court Reporting & Captioning Week
The National Court Reporters Association is celebrating its third annual Court Reporting & Captioning Week to take place February 15through 21, 2015. One goal of this annual event is to educate the public about court reporting as a rewarding career. There is a current shortage of court reporters, and projections show that there will be 5,500 job openings in the next five years. Another goal of this event is to recognize the valuable contributions court reporters and captioners make as keepers of the record, as captioners for television, and as CART providers for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Court reporters are currently on the forefront here in Boston as they are reporting two high profile trials: the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev/Boston Marathon Bombing case and the murder trial of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez.
This week we will highlight some thoughts from our reporters about their profession. Our reporters collectively have hundreds of years of combined experience. They are the best the profession has to offer as far as work ethic and commitment to quality and service. They are all certified by our state and national associations; they continue to invest in their education; and they go the extra mile every day to accommodate our clients’ requests. They utilize the latest technology to produce the timely verbatim transcripts our clients have come to rely on for over 47 years. Look for their perspectives in the coming week!
Here in Boston two high-profile matters will soon be brought to trial, the former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez murder case and the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev/Boston Marathon Bombing case. Both matters have garnered national attention, so much so that the process of jury selection alone, especially in the Tsarnaev case, will be long and arduous. The stakes are high on both sides, and the public’s interest has not waned with the passage of time. All eyes may be on the defendants, but ours will be on the court reporters.
The court reporters who are assigned to cover these lengthy trials will be charged with capturing every word spoken. They will be under immense pressure, as they will probably have to provide a realtime feed to counsel and the Court , and perhaps others off site, as well as quick, if not immediate, transcript delivery. To accomplish this, they will have done their due diligence, reading as much about their assigned case as possible and putting words into their respective dictionaries.
During the trials, a parade of witnesses will appear before them, some with accents, some speaking at breakneck speeds, others speaking softly or mumbling, and it will fall on them to navigate through it all, performing their duties quietly and unobtrusively, with limited interruptions. There will be arguments, bench conferences, noises in the background that interfere with their concentration. No doubt there will be thick binders of exhibits to keep track of as well as the chronology of witness testimony under direct, cross, redirect, and recross examinations. In addition, they may have to field requests from the press for immediate transcript excerpts.
These reporters will basically put their lives on hold to concentrate on the task at hand, reporting by day and editing by night, for weeks at a time. We anticipate both trials, but especially the Tsarnaev trial, will be challenging and exhausting, but we are sure they will have a great sense of personal and professional pride and accomplishment in the end.
Hats off to our dedicated and talented colleagues. They are proving that they are an indispensible part of the legal system. We will be cheering them on from the sidelines.