Makes us kind of sad that due to court rules we’re still stuck with good ‘ol Courier font!
If you’re embroiled in a legal proceeding, the next Tweet you receive may be something very messy landing upon your head, something you really don’t want!
The sometimes hotly contested debate over steno recording v. digital recording often comes down to one of speed v. accuracy. Stenographers can create a transcript in nearly real-time based on what the stenographer heard, whereas a digital recording is transcribed only after leaving the courtroom but the record can be listened to as often as necessary to ensure that the transcript is truly accurate.
We all know by now about the recent steno error when Justice Clarence Thomas finally spoke — and to make a joke, no less.
Here’s another instance in which speed turned out to not be an advantage. In fact, this stenographer’s error leaves Senator Rand Paul’s PR people mopping up a caustic mess!
For years, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has kept an unusual code of silence during hearings before the country’s highest court. While his colleagues question, comment and cajole from the bench, Justice Thomas has relished a self-imposed role as a passive observer, keeping his thoughts and opinions to, well, his opinions. Yet a recent, rare sighting of the “Sasquatch of the Supreme Court” in the public record of a Supreme Court proceeding has touched off a debate about court reporting and transcription that has reached the Wall Street Journal’s editorial pages.
Justice Thomas’ highly-anticipated statement apparently was a joke, during an oral argument, poking fun at his alma mater Yale Law School. Due to the surprised laughter and hubbub that erupted over the Justice’s joke, the original comment was drowned out and omitted from the official transcript of the hearing. The Journal has a piece that you can read here which covers the brouhaha that followed Justice Thomas’ “ha-ha” moment.
The National Court Reporters Association tried to use this well-publicized event to showcase its argument that human court reporters should not be replaced by digital recording systems, for it claimed the digital recorder present in the Supreme Court had missed this rarest of remarks by the Justice. The only problem with that argument was that it was a human court reporter, not a digital recorder, that had missed the comment. The Wall Street Journal goes on to explain that there is a growing trend among U.S. courts to replace court reporters with digital recorders, a move that increases efficiency and reduces costs for the courts.
While both sides of the debate over court reporting vs. digital recording tried to seize the opportunity of Justice Thomas’ historic utterance to their advantage, the fact is that more and more court are moving in the direction of digital recording and transcription. At eScribers, we work with numerous courts around the country who have “made the switch” to digital recording and their high level of satisfaction would appear to indicate that the trend towards digital recording will only strengthen in the coming years.
Technological advances in the courtroom can impact us in unusual ways.
Take for instance e-filing. As courts make this the norm or even the required method of filing papers with the court, and as benches become routinely equipped with computers with access to these electronic dockets, many judges are moving away from hard copies of filings. They’re relying upon the electronic versions they can pull up at will and read on their computer screens.
Texas recognizes that this is easier with a bigger font, but doesn’t want to expand their page limits for briefs and the like. So they’ve increased the required font size and replaced page limits with word count limits.
In this blog post, Don Cruse asks the question, “How many words is §123.23(A)(1)(i)(a)?” and discovers that the answer is, “It depends.”
Check out how your word processing program stacks up against other popular programs in the word count game at this link.
There are really no winners in the case of an Alabama woman whose death can be directly tied to poor transcription quality standards. Ultimately there was a lawsuit and a very large verdict, though the amount that will be ultimately collected remains unknown. What we can be certain of is that Ms. Juno’s family and loved ones wish that the hospital had used a transcription company that is committed to having the transcription work done only by U.S. citizens and one that has a solid quality control plan in place.
eScribers is proud to be such a company.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the Juno family and wish them the best of luck in finding solace.
We’ve always believed that the eScribers advantage – what sets us apart – is the level of pride that we take in our work. Everyone involved with eScribers – whether as a transcriber, an editor, a member of the operations team or beyond – everyone believes that our value added is in going that extra mile in producing a great transcript.
Our clients rightfully expect perfection every time and so it’s not always apparent that we put in the extra work. In one particular case, though, it was absolutely noticed.
We received a transcript order from a NYC-based court with a letter from the ordering attorney strongly requesting that eScribers be selected to transcribe the proceeding. We were certainly happy to receive that. But what was remarkable was that the issue of transcript quality actually came up during the court proceeding in a direct conversation with the Judge, during this December 11th hearing:
The attorney indicates to the Judge that ‘your’ transcript – the one produced by eScribers is “much better than the transcript that they [opposing counsel] put in that has a lot of indications of inaudible; ours is complete”
As we all know, spending the necessary time to resolve each and every difficult inaudible is time consuming and difficult work. And that extra dedication is precisely what defines us.
Please take a moment to visit the website for the President’s 2012 SAVE Award. We, the public, have the opportunity to vote for one of these four ideas.
Even putting aside our bias – and though these are all great ideas – we endorse Mr. Szender’s suggestion:
A written transcript of Federal meetings or hearings is often required. James from the Department of the Interior proposes, whenever possible, using digital equipment for transcripts instead of hiring a court reporter, as using digital transcription is significantly less expensive than getting a certified court reporter to attend, record, and transcribe the proceedings.
Well said, Mr. Szender!
Digital recording of important meetings and court proceedings have proven to yield significant cost savings to the consumer (in this case that would be all of us!) and can offer a superior product as well. It’s no mystery why Federal and State courts around the country are embracing technology and moving towards digital transcription to create the official court record.
Our only contention is with the implication that only the in-person steno reporter would be ‘certified’. The AAERT tests and certifies digital transcribers as well. The bottom line is that digital transcription offers the potential for tremendous savings without any fear whatsoever for reduction in quality.
We’ve often heard a judge referred to as the “trier of fact”. But it’s rare they get called a “trier of patience”. And yet that’s exactly what happened last week when Judge Strine, Chancellor of the Delaware Court of Chancery, went off on an 11-page tangent in a written decision.
Click here to see why his mouth needs a restraining order!
Some costumes are elaborate and difficult to create — lots of makeup, glue and markers, and whatnot to create the perfect look that can trick people into believing you’re real.
Some costumes just require a temporary name change and a business card.
Check out this story of a man who dressed up as a bankruptcy lawyer and nearly pulled it off! http://blogs.wsj.com/bankruptcy/2012/10/26/a-supreme-masquerade/