• Our Successful Court Reporters in West Palm Beach

    Court reporting west palm beach

    Sometimes it really surprises me how many of the services we offer at Bailey & Associates aren’t necessarily part and parcel of what most Court Reporters in West Palm Beach offer their clients. We’ve been offering a comprehensive list of services to our satisfied clients for so long, the “extras” that they keep coming back to us for feel like second nature at this point. However, for some agencies, I might understand how certain court reporters in West Palm Beach might have trouble keeping up with the very high and professional standards we set in the industry.

    For starters, both newer and older agencies might have trouble offering their clients the convenience of electronic scheduling. But scheduling our clients electronically has been an essential part of Bailey & Associates for many years, and I can’t see us operating without it. We aren’t afraid to embrace new and emerging technology, which other agencies might shun because they fear change. On the other hand, newer organizations might not have the resources necessary to streamline their scheduling system electronically. At Bailey & Associates, however, synchronizing our clients through our state of the art electronic scheduling system helps us stay on top of our clients’ appointments, and also affords us the convenience of letting them know when we have cancellations or last-minute openings for that deposition which just cannot wait.

    Another electronic service we offer over other court reporters in West Palm Beach is our online document repository. With this repository, our clients can access their documents at any time, from any location. they don’t even need a personal computer to gain this access. If they own a smart phone or a tablet with internet capabilities, they can have access to their documents 24 hours per day, 7 days out of the week. And with our advanced electronic search options, getting the information they need from their documents is quick, easy, and virtually papercut free.

    Of course, those aren’t the only electronic services which put us a step ahead of most other court reporters in West Palm Beach. We use top of the line electronic video equipment to record courtroom quality video depositions and provide our clients with teleconferencing services. Additionally, if our clients need help with video sync or even editing their video depositions, we’re happy, eager, and more than qualified to help.

    At the end of the day, anyone who’s looking for the most technologically advanced court reporters in West Palm Beach won’t have to look much farther than Bailey & Associates. From the moment clients book an appointment with our electronic scheduling service, to accessing documents electronically from any computer, smart phone, or tablet device, to our high-quality video teleconferencing, streamlining, and editing services, our clients get the best court reporting services that their money can buy.

    Frankly, I love incorporating the latest technology into our daily operations at Bailey & Associates. It keeps me at the top of my game and makes be one of the best court reporters West Palm Beach has ever seen…not to brag, of course.

  • A Day in the Life of a Court Reporter in Boca Raton

    Front Office for a Court Reporter in Boca Raton

    The other day, I was out having brunch with some friends of mine who I hadn’t seen in a long while. The main reason (on my end, at least) was because they are not a part of the court reporting industry here in Boca Raton. And you know how it is when you’re a busy adult with a full-time job and an even fuller-time family to take care of; all of those friends of yours who are outside of all of those immediate social circles don’t get to spend as much face-time with you as either one of you would like.

    My old friend Stephanie brought a new friend of hers to our brunch circle that day whom I had never met. When she asked me what I did for a living, I of course responded “court reporter, Boca Raton”. To which she replied:

    “Oh, like a lawyer?”

    I had to politely explain to her that no, I wasn’t a lawyer (or like one, either). I told her that my job was to provide office space for my clients in order to help them with all sorts of legal tasks. Usually, of course, it involves setting depositions. Then I had to explain to her exactly what a deposition was, why it was so important to the legal system, and what all was involved in taking someone’s deposition (without boring her with too many technical details, of course).

    Pretty soon, the conversation evolved into an episode of “Day in the Life of a Court Reporter: Boca Raton Edition”. And I started my tale with a personal experience I had with a brand new client earlier in the week. My client was new to Boca Raton – and the state of Florida as a whole, actually – and it became very clear during our conversation that his previous experience with court reporters in his previous state was night and day different from here in Boca Raton.

    For Starters, he was very excited to find out that his phone could quickly and easily connect to our free, in-office wi-fi network. He was also surprised that the room he had reserved for his deposition was clean, ready, and waiting for him when he showed up for his appointment. I simply smiled and assured him that such was routine in our office; we would never dream of making someone wait or set them up in an unkempt space.

    Next, I asked him if he had any special requests – transcript service, indexing, electronic copies via email, etc – and he actually asked me how much it would cost. Again, I reassured him that we commonly extend those services to all of our clients free of charge.

    Later on, when he received a call and was informed that one of his witnesses was not going to show up on time, he was worried that he would have to reschedule the entire deposition. Within a few minutes, I checked our schedule and luckily, his booked space was going to be free just long enough to wait for his witness and (with any luck) complete the deposition on time. I told him he could go downstairs for a sandwich from the first floor shop while he waited. He was so thankful that he brought me an extra sandwich “for my trouble” (I tried to refuse, but he insisted) and told me on his way out that he was keeping our business card on hand for the next time he had to book office space for a deposition.

  • Being a Court Reporters – What Does it Take?

    bailey-blog-being-court-reporter-stenographer
    People often ask me: what does it take to be a court reporter? The funny thing is that my answer always ends up a little bit different depending on who is asking the questions. Most of the time, I get these types of inquiries from people who have seen a few too many courtroom dramas. They always want to know if Hollywood “gets it right”, or if I’ve ever been taking testimony in a courtroom when some wild criminal decided to get out of control. Thankfully, there have been very few of the latter during my extensive court reporting career. But with regard to the former: yes, I have seen, heard, and recorded for the official and legal record some pretty sensational things. And for the sake of most of the people who ask, I avoid going into too much detail. It also takes flexibility and versatility to be a good court reporter. I’ve had to take depositions in some very strange places, and many of them are not for the feint of heart. I once had to take a deposition in a hotel room. No, not a ballroom or a conference room on hotel property – the actual room where guests usually stay overnight. And then there was another occasion where I had to take a deposition in the middle of an illegal sex shop. Most people can’t even imagine what being inside an illegal sex shop is like, much less being expected to perform your day job (and perform it well) amidst such a chaotic, unnerving environment. Through my own personal experience, I’ve discovered that being a court reporter takes dedication. Above all else, it certainly takes dedication to the English language. And being a court reporter in South Florida presents extra challenges, because there are so many people from different countries speaking many different languages. Of course I’m trained to take depositions in English, and I have many reputable contacts in the area I can call when I have a client who needs to have a non-English speaker deposed. Unlike your typical stenographer job, being a court reporter takes time. I had to go to school for many years to earn my certification in court reporting. On top of that, even the lengthiest training program cannot fully prepare you for the real world of court reporting (much to my chagrin, I never had the opportunity to take “Sex Shop Depositions 101″ during my college years). But I knew early on that this was something I wanted to make into a lifelong career, so dedicating the time to pursuing my profession of choice was a sacrifice which I was more than willing to make. Lastly – and more often than not I feel like this is the most important part – it takes professionalism to be a top-notch court reporter. I’ve seen younger reporters have very emotional reactions to shocking crime scene photos and footage. I’ve seen reporters who lose clients because they couldn’t deliver accurate depositions, or because they didn’t have the adequate facilities for the law offices which approached them. Luckily, that has never been much of a problem for me and my staff here at Bailey and Associates. Not that I’m bragging, of course.
  • Hiring Boca Raton Court Reporters – What to Look For?

    Front of the Court House Where Boca Raton Court Reporters Go

    When different law offices are shopping around for Boca Raton court reporters, I usually get a lot of questions. And, of course, that’s more than fair. After all, hiring the wrong court reporter could very well make or potentially break your legal case.

    Many clients who approach me do so because they are looking for a seasoned, experienced court reporter to help them with transcribing a deposition (or several). Depositions are very important for legal proceedings, even though most Hollywood crime dramas likes to gloss over this less-than-sexy yet very important part of our legal system. Of course, it is not difficult for me to reassure them that I have many years of experience in the field. During the entirety of my court reporting career, I’ve reported thousands of depositions in and around Broward, Miami-Dade County, and Palm Beach. And I always offer up previous happy clients as potential references so that new potential clients can give me a fair evaluation.

    Another popular topic of conversation comes up when a client asks me about my educational background. I always like to start with the funny story of how I actually got pretty bad grades in English class up until 8th grade. Before that, I worked really hard at studying and my parents even tried several different tutor services, but I still kept getting C+ and B- grades. It wasn’t until I took Mrs. Neely’s 8th grade English class that everything finally started coming together in my head. I don’t know what it was exactly, but she had a magical way of teaching that cleaned the cobwebs out of my brain and helped me understand everything that I had previously failed to grasp. After that, it was straight A’s all the way through high school and college. I grew to love the English language so much that turning my passion into a full time career as a court reporter was the only thing that made sense. And I’ve never regretted that decision for a moment.

    I also like to explain to future clients that I consider myself to be more of a court reporter than a stenographer, just to make sure they understand the difference. Many people get the two terms confused. Whether you’re talking about Boca Raton court reporters, or a court reporter in any other part of the country, becoming a professional court reporter takes time, several additional years of education, and special testing in order to earn your court reporter credentials. I worked hard to earn those credentials for myself, and I take pride in the fact that my hard work paid off and developed into the fruitful, interesting, and rewarding career I’ve enjoyed over the past couple of decades.

    It has also been interesting to see technology change and grow in the field of court reporting. My career originally began in the mid 90’s, back when carbon copies and physically searching for cases in the library of the Broward County Courthouse were daily staples of the job. But I’ve evolved accordingly, and I’m just as adept at using newer forms of technology designed for modern day depositions as any of the other young Broward County court reporters are.

  • My Criminal Court Reporting Experiences

    Sample of Criminal Court Reporting Evidence

    South Florida is home to beautiful beaches, sunny days and exciting nightlife. Although there are many court reporting agencies throughout the country, I consider myself fortunate to be a Fort Lauderdale court reporter. I work in a place where people consider paradise. But just like any city or county in the United States, there is crime. When you turn on the TV and see a barrage of three-minute snippets of the day’s terrible events, it catches your attention for that moment. You think “how awful!” but then go about your day. Working as a stenographer, you hear from beginning to end how cases unfold.

    I was the court reporter for a retired judge who had a reputation for being tough on crime. He was nicknamed “The Hanging Judge.” Our division was strictly a criminal trial division and we averaged 85 jury trials in six months. We always were pulling juries, had one “in the box” and one out deliberating. I was his exclusive court stenographer, so you can imagine how many appeals I had. My days were routine procedurally, yet what I experienced on a day-to-day basis was not.

    As the bailiff went down to the juryroom to pull our jury panel, the Judge would read the Information, which lists the charges the defendant is accused of. We tried anything from resisting without violence to murder. The prosecutor and the defense attorney would make any pretrial motions before the prospective jurors were brought into the courtroom. When all motions were completed, the prospective jurors would enter the courtroom. A court reporter’s job is to listen and observe and I always watched the potential jurors enter the courtroom. You could tell by their body language whether they were nervous, upset, cold or ambivalent. After the voir dire process had finished and a jury was selected, opening statements would commence. Each side would encapsulate their case to the seated panel and witnesses would be called.

    One of the cases I reported was an attempted murder. The first witness for the State of Florida was the victim, who approached the witness stand in a wheelchair. He was missing a large portion of his jaw. As he testified, he recounted how he was ordered to his knees and a gun was forced in his mouth. The next thing he remembered was waking up in a hospital. It was alleged that the defendant had pulled the trigger and it was a miracle he was alive. I am giving you the Reader’s Digest version of the events but to see him testify live and to hear in detail what lead up to the shooting and the aftermath was unsettling to say the least.

    Then there are exhibits…..

     

    Some Court Reporting Exhibits are Gruesome …

    I remember on one murder case I was reporting, the attorney representing the State of Florida wanted to introduce autopsy photos. There was an objection from the defense and we went sidebar. These were some of the most gruesome photographs I have ever seen. The victim was shot execution style in the head and the pictures depicted the face after the Medical Examiner had taken off the skin. The purpose was to show the trajectory of the bullets. That wasn’t so bad. The added issue was the victim was found days later and the Florida sun does not bode well on a dead body. Needless to say, it was horrific. I remember the Judge ruling that one photo could not be shown because he was concerned that some of the jurors “would fall out of their seat”. There is a distinct difference introducing an inflammatory photo versus one that has probative value. The jury was spared the experience of seeing that image but court reporters are not. That trial was 15 years ago and I still remember it.

    The first year working as a certified court reporter in that division was tough. This wasn’t a 9-to-5 job where you punch the proverbial clock and leave work at the office. After years of reporting in this division however, I became somewhat anesthetized. It was a slow process that I did not even realize was happening. I still appreciated the severity of the charges, it just didn’t affect me the way it had in the past.

    In the end, I credit my experience working with that particular judge in that division to who I am today, both as a person and as a court reporter. It molded my confidence of being able to report any trial, hearing or deposition. It’s ironic that the events you feel will break you are truly the experiences that will make you stronger.

  • The Strangest Place I Have Taken a Deposition

    Fort Lauderdale Court Reporter Services

    A dear and trusted friend suggested that I blog about the strangest place I have ever taken a deposition and I immediately thought, what a brilliant idea. I immediately started to reflect upon my career. I have reported thousands of depositions in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade County. Although the majority of them have been held in an attorney’s office, I have been requested to travel to off-site locations.

    The strangest place? I received a notice of taking a video deposition and the location was at a hotel. I didn’t think much of it since a lot of out-of-town attorneys will reserve hotel conference rooms. When I arrived, I met with the videographer, who I had worked with before. I asked which room we would be in for the depo and he gave an actual room number, not a name commonly associated with hotel conference rooms. He had gotten there early to set up and was waiting for me to arrive.

    As the elevator was taking us to our floor, I was quickly given the five second snapshot of what the layout was. We finally arrive to the room. This was not a suite but a one bed hotel room that was very small. Three attorneys were sitting on the bed, the witness was seated on a chair next to the bed and the videographer was set up in the corner. I was given the chair and reported the video deposition while all parties were sitting on the bed. It was bizarre seeing attorneys dressed in suits leaning back on the bed pillows. To this day I don’t know the reason for that location, if it was cost related or if there were no conference rooms available. Needless to say, we finally concluded and I was the first one out the door.

    Strangest Depositions in South Florida

    I was curious what other reporters’ experiences were, so I reached out to my fellow court stenographers for their responses. One of my West Palm Beach court reporters said the weirdest deposition venue was in a sex shop. This was during the late 80’s when the Broward Sheriff’s Office was closing up all the sex shops and the location for the deposition services were in the actual shop. The deponents were not complying with their subpoenas so it was decided to take the court reporter to them. One of my Boca Raton court reporters said she reported a deposition in a trailer with 100 cats. They were jumping on her lap and pawing at her Stenograph machine. She remembers the furniture was covered in cat fur and there were bins of cat litter. Others collectively were Florida State prison, daycare nurseries, industrial warehouses and the list went on and on.

    As with any profession, in school you are never taught every aspect of what a job entails. I have heard countless times a new reporter saying “we were never taught that in school”, and they are right. Never did I hear a teacher say be prepared to be sent to a deposition in a hotel room or a sex shop. I think half the students would have run out of the class. One of the things I enjoy about court reporting is you never know what job tomorrow will bring and what strange place you will have to go to report it.

  • The Advent of Technology in Court Reporting

    Court Reporter from Broward County enter records on a Stenography machine

    I have been a Broward County court reporter for over two decades and an owner for over 10 years. Some days seem longer than others but overall the time has flown by. I still think back on my career with amazement on how many depositions I have taken and how many trials I have reported. When I started my career in January of 1994, I began in a Fort Lauderdale court reporting agency even though I lived in Palm Beach. They assigned me to the Public Defender’s Office and over the next year I took hundreds of depositions. The crimes ranged from petty theft to murder. I was fortunate enough not to have been a victim of a crime so I didn’t have much experience on how the justice system worked. I got a crash course.

    I met a lot of public defenders who became lifelong friends. They just graduated from law school and didn’t want to go the “State Attorney” route. They were as new as I was and after the deposition, they would like to present their case to me as if I were a juror. They eagerly awaited my verdict. Needless to say, the evidence in a lot of cases was not favorable to the defendants but I inhaled the attorney’s enthusiasm and only told them that it didn’t have jury appeal.

    Back in the early ’90s the reporters would congregate in the office after work and talk about the various cases they reported or just plain “shop talk”. As a new reporter, I was fascinated with every case and every experience shared. The seasoned reporters had their desktop computers in the office where they worked. There was a story where a reporter was working on a transcript and had left the file open when they went to their job. Apparently another reporter thought it would be funny to insert an expletive in the first question. Obviously the depo was going to be proofed and the curse word caught and a laugh had by all. The way the story played out, it didn’t work that way. The story fast forwarded to the attorney calling the agency screaming saying I never said “state your f****** name for the record.” Everyone was scrambling to find out what was going on and I was panic stricken for the reporter yet wanted to laugh at such craziness. Eventually the deposition was corrected and everyone was happy. No one left their job files open after that.

    This was a time before laser printers, copy paper or Google. We had a three-part carbon paper system where we manually separated the paper. If we had to look up a case, we went to the law library in the Broward County Courthouse. I had a plethora of research books, including Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, PDRs and dictionaries. Our court reporting machines had paper and 3 by 5 floppy discs. There was no audio tape recording and we produced our own transcripts.

    Today the newbies graduating from court reporting school “have it made.” There is no paper to store for 10 years. Researching is only a laptop away. Producing a transcript is just an e-mail away.

    I wonder what the next 20 years will have in store……..

  • What is Court Reporting?

    Hands of a Fort Lauderdale Court Reporter Typing on a Reporting Tool
    In five years there are going to be 5,500 job openings for court reporters and captioners.  Why?  The average age of a court reporter in the USA is 55.  I have written in past blogs about people asking me if I believe there is a future in court reporting.  Speaking from all of my years of experience and paying attention to the court reporting industry, I promise that there is great opportunity for anyone that wants to go to court reporting school.

    Working as a Stenographer

    Stenographer jobs are highly skilled positions that require extensive training in shorthand, as well as the use of the stenotype machine and related technology. Individuals in court reporter programs therefore spend a great deal of time working on achieving both speed and accuracy in stenography. In addition to stenography skills, court reporters must have an excellent grasp of the English language and of grammar, punctuation and spelling, and they must understand a large number of both legal and, sometimes, medical terms, particularly when working inside a courtroom. Stenographers often work in very fast-paced environments, and their work is held to very high standards. Stenographer jobs may be found inside courtrooms, where these professionals are called upon to record everything from depositions to trials. Outside of the courtroom, stenographers work for private business, where there work is often used for important meetings and events. One of the most quickly expanding areas of stenography is in closed captioning services for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Stenographers in this area may provide closed captioning services for both live and recorded television programs, as well as for live events, such as speeches, religious services, and civic events. Stenographers may be employed by the court system, by court reporting companies, or they may work on a freelance basis. This career, which calls for a secondary educational program in court reporting and often state licensure and/or professional certification, can be a lucrative and rewarding one, particularly for individuals with extensive credentials.
  • Working Child Abuse Cases as a Court Stenographer

    CourtRep3
    Stenographer jobs are highly skilled positions that require extensive training in shorthand, as well as the use of the stenotype machine and related technology. Individuals in court reporter programs therefore spend a great deal of time working on achieving both speed and accuracy in stenography. In addition to stenography skills, court reporters must have an excellent grasp of the English language and of grammar, punctuation and spelling, and they must understand a large number of both legal and, sometimes, medical terms, particularly when working inside a courtroom. Stenographers often work in very fast-paced environments, and their work is held to very high standards. Stenographer jobs may be found inside courtrooms, where these professionals are called upon to record everything from depositions to trials. Outside of the courtroom, stenographers work for private business, where there work is often used for important meetings and events. One of the most quickly expanding areas of stenography is in closed captioning services for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Stenographers in this area may provide closed captioning services for both live and recorded television programs, as well as for live events, such as speeches, religious services, and civic events. Stenographers may be employed by the court system, by court reporting companies, or they may work on a freelance basis. This career, which calls for a secondary educational program in court reporting and often state licensure and/or professional certification, can be a lucrative and rewarding one, particularly for individuals with extensive credentials.