What states allow remote and/or online notarization?

Please note that each state’s notarization laws are different and may only apply to specific proceedings. These laws may specifically refer to the notarization of documents and may not include provisions concerning the oath requirement. Please check with your State Notary, Secretary of State, or other regulatory agency for your state’s specific remote notarization or oath administration laws. If you have any additional updates or changes to this information, please contact NCRA Director of State Government Relations Jocelynn Moore at jmoore@ncra.org.

Faced with both the need to practice safety in this health crisis and yet the need to allow justice to continue its work, many court reporters are attempting to make the remote office accessible for courtrooms and depositions. Keep in mind that for some states and for some officials, their ability to swear in a witness is embedded within their licenses or within their official duties as a court reporter.

According to the National Notary Association, “remote notarization” happens when a signer personally appears before the Notary at the time of the notarization using audio-visual technology over the internet instead of being physically present in the same room. Remote online notarization is also called webcam notarization, online notarization, or virtual notarization.

Several states have implemented changes to laws in the past few months which allow for remote notarization, and we have attempted to gather that information for you here:

Alabama – Effective March 24, 2020, through April 16, 2020, official court reporters, special roving court reporters, special court reporters, supernumerary court reporters, and freelance court reporters qualified to administer an oath in the state of Alabama to a witness in a deposition or court proceeding or trial may swear a witness remotely by audio-video communication technology if the deposition or court proceeding or trial is conducted by audio-video communication equipment that allows the court reporter and the witness simultaneously to view and orally communicate with each other, provided that the court reporter can positively identify the witness.

Alaska – Can swear witnesses telephonically since the 1990s. 

Connecticut – Effective March 24, 2020, through June 23, 2020, all relevant state laws and regulations are hereby modified to permit any notarial act that is required under Connecticut law to be performed using an electronic device or process that allows a notary public commissioned by the Connecticut Secretary of the State and a remotely located individual to communicate with each other simultaneously by sight and sound (“Communication Technology”), provided that certain conditions are met.

Florida 

Georgia – Currently, there is no clear legal authority expressly barring a court reporter from administering an oath remotely, nor is there authority expressly permitting it. Remote depositions, in general, are permitted by Georgia’s Civil Practice Act. “[A] deposition may be taken by telephone or other remote electronic means only upon the stipulation of the parties or by order of the court. For purposes of the requirements of this chapter, a deposition taken by telephone or other remote electronic means is taken in the state and at the place where the deponent is to answer questions.” OCGA § 9-11-30(b)(4). However, the Act does not address whether a court reporter must be physically present with a witness in order to swear the witness in. No appellate legal authority interpreting this code section to impose a live swearing-in requirement could be located; however, no legal authority interpreting it to bar remote swearing-in was located either.

Idaho 

Indiana — pending implementation – Although the notarization laws took effect July 1, 2019, the state required additional time to implement remote notarization rules and technology. Contact the notarization office or regulating agency for information on when remote notarization procedures and services will be made fully available.

Kentucky — pending legislation

Maine – Effective March 25, 2020 until further ordered by the State of Maine Supreme Judicial Court. An officer or other person before whom a deposition is to be taken is hereby authorized to administer oaths and take testimony remotely, so long as that officer or other person can both see and hear the deponent via audio-video communication equipment or technology for purposes of positively identifying the deponent. In addition, all parties are reminded that, “[u]nless the court orders otherwise, the parties may by written stipulation (1) provide that depositions may be taken before any person, at any time or place, upon any notice, and in any manner and when so taken may be used like other depositions, and (2) modify the procedures provided by these rules for other methods of discovery.” M.R. Civ. P. 29. If the parties so stipulate to the person before whom the deposition is to be taken, that person has the authority to administer oaths.

Michigan — pending implementation

Minnesota – Effective January 1, 2019, the Minnesota Legislature enacted remote online notarization pursuant to Minnesota Statutes 358 and 359, allowing a notary public who is physically located in this state to perform a remote online notarial act as defined in Minnesota Statutes 358.645.

Mississippi – All persons qualified to administer an oath in the State of Mississippi may swear a witness remotely by audio-video communications equipment for purposes of readily identifying the witness until otherwise ordered by the Supreme Court of Mississippi.

Missouri – Effective March 25, 2020, until otherwise further ordered by the Supreme Court of Missouri. The Court hereby suspends any local or Missouri Supreme Court rule that may be interpreted to require administering any oath or affirmation in-person when such oaths or affirmations can be administered remotely by available technologies, including videoconferencing or teleconferencing, and is not otherwise prohibited by any statutory or constitutional provision.

Montana – Effective October 1, 2019, Montana Notaries are permitted to perform remote notarizations for signers outside the state.

Nevada

New York – Effective March 7, 2020, through April 18, 2020, any notarial act that is required under New York State law is authorized to be performed utilizing audio-video technology provided that certain requirements are met. As of 2017, the New York Department of State, with regard to CPLR 3113(d), stated that “…with respect to civil depositions, a notary may under the specific provisions of Article 31 of the CPLR and in compliance therewith, swear in a remote witnesses. …” 

North Dakota – The webcam notarization law took effect August 1, 2019. The statute permits the Secretary of State to publish rules for remote notarization, but the Secretary of State is not required to do so.

Ohio – The Ohio Notary Public Modernization Act took effect September 2019. An online notarization is permitted by an Ohio notary public who has been authorized by the Ohio Secretary of State’s office to perform online notarizations. With regard to remote oath administration during depositions, the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure contemplates the use of remote depositions (See Ohio R. Civ. P. 30(b)(6)). However, the rules do not state that the oath has to be administered in person. The Ohio rules regarding notaries public (see Ohio Revised Code 147) do not address the in-person administration of oaths at a deposition.

Oklahoma 

Pennsylvania – Effective March 21, 2020, the requirement of physical presence of notaries who are court reporters/stenographers participating in criminal, civil, and administrative proceedings is suspended as pertaining to notarial acts and oaths of affirmations and will only last the duration of the declared disaster emergency.

South Dakota – The state’s remote notarizations are currently limited to paper documents only and signers for remote notarizations may only be identified through the Notary’s personal knowledge.

Tennessee

Texas – The Texas Supreme Court issued Emergency Order No. 1 allowing for all participants in a civil or criminal proceeding – including a Texas Certified Shorthand Reporter – to appear remotely until it expires on May 8 or is extended. 

Vermont – Notaries public holding a commission to perform notarial acts in Vermont may perform a Remote Notarial Act while physically located in Vermont and only under specified conditions.

Virginia

West Virginia – Effective March 25, 2020. The statutory regulation with respect to the provisions of the Code applicable to court reporters and other notaries, the requirements of personal appearance for a notarial act that relates to a statement made in or a signature executed on record is suspended for the duration of the State of Emergency.

Wisconsin – Effective March 25, 2020 until April 30, 2020. Pursuant to the Supreme Court of Wisconsin’s administrative and superintending authority, court reporters qualified to administer an oath in the State of Wisconsin may administer an oath to a witness at a deposition remotely via audio-visual communications technology from a location within the State of Wisconsin, provided the person administering the oath can see and hear the person and can identify the witness. It is further ordered that if a witness is not located within the State of Wisconsin, the witness may consent to being put on oath remotely via audio-visual communication technology by a court reporter qualified to administer an oath in the State of Wisconsin pursuant to this order. It is further oredered that (1) this order does not alter the ability of parties, by written stipulation, to provide that depositions may be taken before any person, at any time or place, upon any notice, and in any manner pursuant to Wis. Stat. § (Rule) 804.04; and (2) the parties to an action or proceeding may, by written stipulation, modify the procedures provided by this order. It is further ordered that the remote administration of an oath at a deposition via audio-visual communications technology pursuant to this order shall constitute the administration of an oath “before” a court reporter under Wis. Stat. §§ (Rules) 804.03(1) and 887.01(1) or any court order authorizing a deposition upon oral examination; and any other rule of procedure, court order, or opinion applicable to remote depositions that can be read to limit or prohibit the use of audio-visual communication equipment to administer oaths at depositions remotely is hereby suspended.

Still to come

A few other states have enacted remote notarization laws, but these have not taken effect. If you work in one of the following states, be sure to check with your State Notary, Secretary of State, or other regulatory agency for your state’s specific remote notarization or oath administration laws.

Arizona, effective July 1, 2020.

Iowa, effective July 1, 2020.

Maryland, effective October 1, 2020.

Nebraska, effective July 1, 2020.

Washington, effective October 1, 2020.

As a final reminder, if any of your licenses are set to expire in the next few months, taking action early could help you keep working in case the situation worsens.

Stay in the know: NCRA event updates, webinars, and more

The webinar is full!

As NCRA, like the rest of the world, continues to adjust to how daily life and the ability to conduct business is being impacted by the constant efforts to halt the spread of the coronavirus, we encourage all members to be patient as your Board and staff reassess the status of scheduled and future planned events.

In light of the most recent recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and other federal health agencies that the public avoid large gatherings and practice social distancing, NCRA has opted to postpone and possibly reschedule all events that were planned through May, including the 2020 Leadership & Legislative Boot Camp that was scheduled for May 17-19 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in Alexandria, Va. NCRA will be contacting those who have already registered for the event with information about the reimbursement of registration fees. Information about new dates for this event will be announced in the JCR Weekly and by emails to members at a future date.

NCRA has also canceled the spring CLVS hands-on training and production exam that was scheduled to take place March 27 and 28 at headquarters in Reston, Va. NCRA will hold the training and testing again in the fall with dates to be announced at a later date.

Members who have already booked flights to these and other events are advised to contact their airlines directly to find out more about cancellation and rescheduling procedures.

Staff liaisons will also be contacting members of NCRA committees who planned to attend meetings scheduled to take place at NCRA’s headquarters in Reston, Va. Options could include conducting those meetings via online conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Skype.

To learn more about these online conferencing platforms, NCRA Immediate Past President Sue Terry, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, and Director Keith Lemons, FAPR, RPR, CRR, are leading a special webinar Thursday, March 19.

The webinar is now full!

If you purchased the webinar, please check your email confirmation. Because of demand, there are now two sessions, one at 7 p.m. and one at 8:30 p.m. Eastern. Once members or non-members register, they will be emailed a link to Zoom with information about how to sign into the meeting. We are trying to schedule additional sessions, and we will send out the information when we can. Thank you for your patience.

NCRA members are also encouraged to tune into the next NCRA Town Hall happening March 21 at 10 a.m. Eastern. Conversation will address the coronavirus and how reporters,  captioners, videographers, and associate members can empower and sustain themselves and their families through these rough waters we face as an industry, along with the rest of the world. The NCRA virtual Town Hall meetings also offer members the opportunity to ask questions via the Q&A feature. Questions can also be submitted in advance to lbutler@ncra.org. Register here.

Finally, NCRA members are encouraged to begin checking the Association’s website where the latest developments regarding the status of events, helpful webinars, and links to ensure the most current information is available and accessible about the constantly changing health landscape, will be posted. Watch for updates on the homepage of NCRA.org.

NCRA webinar free for Members: Doing business in today’s environment

The NCRA Board of Directors, staff, and I — like many of you — are troubled by the events of the last two weeks with the changing environment caused by the coronavirus. I assure you that we as NCRA leadership and staff are diligently and actively working our way through the issues as they affect our industry, and we will communicate with membership as solutions are put in place.
The most important thing is to stay calm; listen to the information that has been shared by the CDC, WHO, and other health organizations.  

NCRA Board and staff have already made a number of decisions to aid members:

UPDATE: THE WEBINAR IS FULL!

1)     NCRA Director Keith Lemons, FAPR, RPR, CRR, and Immediate Past President Sue Terry, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, will be hosting a webinar on using Zoom and other online videoconference/teleconference platforms, on Thursday, March 19, at 7 p.m. (Eastern). These two tech-savvy members will share how reporters and captioners can use videoconferencing tools to assist clients, courts, and consumers in conducting depositions, hearings, and other court proceedings, as well as provide captioning or realtime via streaming technology through the Internet or through platforms such as Zoom. Many of us already know how to utilize these platforms and have been doing so for years. For those of you who haven’t, we will help you get there together! The March 19 seminar regarding use of video conference platforms will be one hour in length and earn participants 0.1 CEU at no cost to NCRA members. NCRA member value is hard at work by providing empowering solutions. Non-members can pay a minimal fee of $30 for the webinar.

2)     The NCRA Board and staff plans additional in-depth webinars regarding online video conference platforms in the next few weeks. These webinars will deal with the more complicated issues of videoconferencing, such as exhibit scanning and document sharing, streaming of realtime over the Internet via video conference feed, etc. 

3)     On Saturday, March 21, at 10 a.m. (Eastern), please join me for the NCRA Town Hall. We will be addressing how reporters, captioners, videographers, and associate members can empower and sustain themselves and their families through this pandemic, which we must face with the rest of the world. Register here.

We are going to get through this together and be stronger for having weathered the storm. Stay safe and adhere to the medical advice offered by experts. My prayers and best wishes, as well as those of the NCRA Board and staff, are with each of you in the days and weeks to come.

Max Curry, RPR, CRI
NCRA President

Helpful how-tos for remote depositions

By Lynette Mueller

I was supposed to be at the Arkansas Court Reporters Association convention the first weekend in April delivering a seminar on gadgets and apps. Instead of preparing my PowerPoint for the presentation, I’m settling into a writing session by my fireplace. Of course, that is a result of the coronavirus cancellations. This pandemic is very real, and we all need to be vigilant for our own health and the health of our colleagues and loved ones.

See NCRA President Max Curry’s message here regarding coronavirus.

First and foremost, I am personally trying to keep everything in perspective. The days ahead are uncharted waters and will be challenging. We court reporters are forces to be reckoned with. Some adjectives that come to mind about my reporter friends and colleagues: optimistic, curious, resourceful and, most importantly, resilient! This pandemic isn’t the first challenge we’ve faced, and it certainly won’t be our last.

Over the next few weeks, we all will be experiencing our “new normal.” We cannot control the cancellations of depositions and hearings; all we can do is respond to it.

The number one question colleagues have asked me: “What alternative solutions can I offer to my clients?” Others may wonder: “How can we leverage the additional time to improve my skills and my work life?”

As Chair of the NCRA Tech Committee, I tasked our members last fall to publish an article about their tools of choice for web conferencing, a.k.a. remote depositions.

In addition to all the points enumerated in the web conferencing tools article, I will mention some additional options/tools to consider for remote depositions.

  1. Know your notary laws in your specific state regarding witness oaths before you accept a remote assignment.

2. Consider using an external speaker for telephonic or web conference proceedings. I purchased a Beats Pill portable speaker several years ago, and it works beautifully! There are many products available. Be sure to read reviews online and get recommendations from fellow court reporters before making your final purchase.

3. Dana Hayden, CCR, RMR, CRR, CRC, recommends using a great set of headphones/earbuds for your telephonic depositions. My headphones of choice? Bose noise-cancelling over-the-ear headphones. In addition, Dana advises using a splitter. A speaker and headphone splitter allow you to connect two headsets or speakers to one jack. Here are some specific products she recommends.

Here’s an example of a splitter.

Then, you plug an auxiliary cable from one of the jacks into your computer microphone jack.

If you don’t have a microphone jack on your computer, use another setup such as this USB microphone that has a headphone and a microphone jack.

Last, plug the auxiliary cable from your cell to the microphone jack of the USB sound card and plug in your headphones to the headphone jack of the USB sound card. 

4. So many people around the country, including court reporters and captioners, have cut the cord. But you can still be successful offering your services for remote depositions and proceedings if you don’t have a landline. You may use your cellphone as a viable option, if you have great cell service.

When great cell service is not available, you may turn on WiFi calling. Be sure your internet service has a strong signal. Once you have enabled the WiFi calling and connected to your home network, the next step is to enable Airplane Mode. Trust me, this works! You’ll get a much better experience with these settings. Also remember to disable incoming text messages and incoming calls. You don’t want those pesky distractions during important testimony.

5. Handling of exhibits remotely can go smoothly if you educate your clients. By far, the most common method when I work with my remote clients is that they will email or send a secure link to exhibits requesting that I print and have them available for the witness. Easy; right? There are other tools and apps available to counsel for handling of exhibits, but that’s a topic for another article or upcoming webinar coming soon.

6. Should you clean your smartphone and iPads? Everyone knows the smartphone is jam-packed with germs. If you choose to clean your device, check out this article from the Wall Street Journal. The author included the following in the article:

“My phone is the least of my concerns,” says Alex Berezow, a microbiologist and vice president at the American Council on Science and Health. “Worry about touching door handles that thousands of other people touch.”

7. Here’s a great blog post from Cindi Lynch of Stenograph about tools for working during COVID-19.

Finally, just a few words about how to take advantage of this time of social distancing.

  1. Ensure you have a well-organized and dedicated workspace at home, if you don’t already have one. Productivity is paramount here. Those transcript backlogs won’t take care of themselves.
  2. Continue to maintain your working hours routine. Sure, the cancellations have already begun; but there may be a pop-up call that comes your way. You don’t want to miss out on any potential work.
  3. Consider dressing for work. Yes, pajamas and bunny slippers seem like a logical and comfy choice; but, again, it’s important to maintain your routine.
  4. Another option for our forced downtime is to take advantage of online CEU opportunities. NCRA has a plethora of webinars and e-seminars — earn those CEUs in the comfort of your home! This is a great time to take care of those learning obligations. This way, when the pandemic normalizes, you will be ready to go full-throttle work mode when the bookings return.
  5. Dictionary maintenance and speedbuilding should be top of mind and useful endeavors to embark upon. Hone those skills and stay high-speed ready!
  6. Last, but not least, join an NCRA committee. Volunteering your expertise can impact and improve our profession, and so much of it is done via calls or email, you can participate from your home. We need you!

Remember, court reporters: We should keep in mind that in order to be effective and stay relevant, we must keep abreast of technology, embrace it, and never be skeptical of the newest innovations.

Lynette Mueller, FAPR, RDR, CRR, is a freelance court reporter based in Memphis, Tenn., and chair of NCRA’s Technology Committee. She can be reached at lynette@omegareporting.com.

Stenograph blogs about work tools

Stenograph posted a blog on March 13 about “Tools for Working During COVID-19.”

Read more.

Phipps Reporting appoints new CFO

In a press release issued March 12, Phipps Reporting, based in West Palm Beach, Fla., announced that Seth Asofsky has been named the firm’s chief financial officer.

Read more.

Register now for the March NCRA Town Hall

Don’t miss out on the next virtual NCRA Town Hall, scheduled for Saturday, March 21, at 10 a.m. (Eastern). NCRA President Max Curry, RPR, CRI, will be joined by Director Cindy Isaacsen, RPR, a freelance court reporter from Shawnee, Kan., and NCRA Executive Director Dave Wenhold, CAE, PLC. Conversation will include the impact of the coronavirus on businesses, as well as the importance of advocacy and NCRA’s upcoming Leadership & Legislative Boot Camp, which is set for May 17-19 in Alexandria, Va.

The NCRA virtual Town Hall meetings also offer members the opportunity to ask questions via the Q&A feature. Questions can also be submitted in advance to lbutler@ncra.org.

 Members can also catch up on previous Town Halls by clicking here. Only NCRA Members may attend the Town Halls.  Why wait? Register now!

Tools for web conferencing

By Lynette Mueller

In the legal environment that court reporters work in, many clients wish to attend depositions remotely for various reasons. With the high costs of airline travel and the expenses associated with it comes the need to find affordable solutions to take depositions critical to a litigator’s case.

Of course, there’s always the telephonic deposition, which is a good option but not always what an attorney is needing. The traditional videoconferencing hardware can be quite expensive for the small- to medium-sized court reporting firm to purchase and not a great option for those times when the need arises to conduct a deposition remotely. “Web conferencing” is an online service by which you can hold live meetings, conferencing, presentations, and trainings via the internet particularly on TCP/IP connections. You can connect to the conference either by telephone or by using your computer’s speakers and microphone through a VOIP connection.

Luckily, many great options provide video attendance for the legal professionals who wish to attend remotely when conducting depositions and/or hearings. The tools available for web conferences range from simple, free tools to more affordable choices that include several other features designed to streamline the web conference experience. Many different apps and/or software are available to hold a web conference. Court reporters must do research to find the tool and the provider that best fits each individual need before committing to their tool of choice. The benefits of using web conferencing tools rather than the traditional videoconference and/or telephone deposition are many.

1. Some tools are free, with the option of purchasing an upgraded account at an affordable price.

2. Eliminates long-distance telephone charges one would incur in a traditional telephone deposition.

3. Eliminates costly airline travel and extra expenses associated with air travel.

4. Cost-effective method to use when your client may be budget conscious.

5. Viable option when you cannot conveniently meet in person.

6. Allows legal professionals more time on deposition preparation and the discovery process.

7. Gives legal professionals a face-to-face experience with potential witnesses.

8. Web conferencing gives one the ability to gauge reactions and facial expressions of the witnesses.

9. Share exhibits and documents easily utilizing web conferencing tools.

10. The voice, video, file transfers, and instant messages in most of the web conference options are encrypted. This protects you from potential eavesdropping by malicious users.

A few of the NCRA Tech Committee members have some great options for colleagues based on their personal experience.


Teresa Russ, CRI, a CART captioner and freelance court reporter from Bellflower, Calif., has this guidance to offer when using the Skype platform: Anyone using technology today is more than likely familiar with Skyping. After downloading the app, all you need is for your client to sign up and email or text their Skype username. It’s super simple to use. After you have connected with them, you can decide whether to use audio or video.

As a CART captioner, I opt for audio and utilize the screen sharing window in the program. You and your client can make comments by using the comment box. In my experience, if I’m CART captioning a technical class and I write an unfamiliar term phonetically, my client can type the correct spelling in the comment box. I have captioned lab classes and sometimes the student may be working on a project. The student can use the comment box to keep me informed on what’s happening during the class. The inconvenience I have experienced with Skype is losing connection and poor audio reception.

The Skype audio can be used for CART captioning by using other screen-sharing programs. Overall, Skype is my go-to platform because most of my clients have been familiar with Skyping. As long as one has access to the internet, there are no charges. For example, one of my clients, who is deaf, contacted me to caption her morning worship service at church. We had the convenience of just logging into the program without hassling over a cost. The Skype app can be used on a PC, tablet, or smartphone.


Kim Greiner, RDR, CRR, CRC, an official based in Lenexa, Kan., has these suggestions to offer for ezTalks Meetings, her web conference tool of choice: ezTalks Meetings offers a free plan in addition to a monthly or yearly plan. The lowest fees for meetings, which would accommodate a deposition, is $10 monthly if you pay annually. The prices vary, mainly depending on how many participants and how many recordings you need. Sign up is simple: Just use an existing Google account or Facebook account. Participants aren’t limited to a laptop. ezTalks supports Apple and Android devices, allowing busy attorneys and deponents on the go the ability to participate in any location. As with any program using the Internet or cell service for transmission, things will vary depending on the strength of your signal. Cellular users need to be sure they have an unlimited data plan or connect to an existing WiFi service. Some key features of ezTalks Meetings:

1. Record the deposition.

2. Use a whiteboard.

3. Rotate camera on phones to view document witness is looking at.

4. Use invites to allow the participants to simply launch from an email using a meeting code.

5. View the screen of other participants.

6. View the other participants at the same time.

7. Allows attorneys to share their screen so a deponent can view a document.


Robin Nodland, FAPR, RDR, CRR, a freelance court reporter and agency owner based in Portland, Ore., reviews the popular web conferencing tool, Zoom: Zoom is a simple solution for web conferencing. The first time I saw this service in action was at a law firm. It was impressive for its ease of use.

Zoom is a big player in the web conference industry. Other brand names you may be familiar with use Zoom as their platform and simply resell the service under their name. Whether it is run on a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop with large-screen monitors in your conference room, Zoom is a solid application; but it still relies on a robust internet connection. Each user connection should be tested and qualified prior to “game day.”

Zoom has several account options. There is a free plan for one-to-one meetings or limited time for multiple participants. That will get you started. For reporting firms, you will want a plan that allows you to:

1. Add multiple parties for unlimited time.

2. Have H.323/SIP Room Connector capability so you can connect with non-Zoom users and for those clients utilizing a traditional Polycom system. This is an add-on feature you may purchase.

3. Record the session in the cloud for those inevitable instances when the client thought having a videoconference meant there would be a videographer present, even though you explained the difference in advance.

With these plans, one of these multiple “participants” could be considered a laptop/tablet with the exhibits preloaded. Zoom has a wonderful website: zoom.us. They even make equipment recommendations. Also, they have periodic webinars for their customers. I have found their support to be stellar.

Zoom offers end-to-end encryption for all meetings, role-based user security, and password protection. Zoom also offers useful features, such as calendaring with Outlook, Gmail, iCal, and other collaboration tools. Zoom Meetings connects with apps like Slack, Trello, Google Calendar, Microsoft Teams, YouTube for Zoom, etc. Zoom has recently launched Zoom Phone, a cloud-based solution for telephone service. This is a company to watch for future innovative products that could be very useful for our industry.


I want to follow up on Robin’s comments regarding the Zoom platform. I started using Skype about ten years ago for out-of-state clients attending remotely. As the technology has evolved, Zoom is now my first choice for a web conferencing tool. The beauty of using Zoom is that you pay for the tool as you need it. No depositions coming up next month where clients need to attend remotely? No problem. Simply suspend your account until the next time you need the service! The basic free account of Zoom allows up to 100 participants. As Robin mentioned above, Zoom is feature-packed. Other features offered for the free account are unlimited one-to-one meetings, 40-minute limit on group meetings, unlimited number of meetings, and online support. The free account would only be viable for very few depositions, as most of the time the length of the proceedings would more often than not exceed one hour of testimony.

Their group collaboration features within Zoom are indeed robust and include the following:

• Mac, Windows, Linux, Chromebooks, iOS, and Android

• Group messaging • Screen share documents, photos, and video clips

• Simultaneous screen sharing

• iPhone/iPad screen share with iOS mirror • Annotation and co-annotation

• Keyboard and mouse control • Whiteboarding

Features for Simple Online Meetings:

• High quality desktop and application sharing

• Personal meeting ID and URL name

• Instant or scheduled meetings

• Google Chrome and Outlook plug-ins

• MP4 or M4A recording

• Virtual backgrounds

• Host controls

• Raise hand

Additional tips for ensuring a smooth web conference deposition:

1. Audio transmission problems may be a concern when using your laptop. If testing reveals problems with the audio, an easy solution is to instruct your participants to use the telephone number associated with the Zoom booking. If you choose to use the telephone for audio, remember that everyone needs to mute their speakers on their device of choice before joining by telephone.

2. Advise the participants to turn off any and all notifications on the device they are using for the deposition. You don’t want any distractions during the testimony.

3. If you’re utilizing a Mac computer like I do for your Zoom meeting, remember to disable WiFi calling so you don’t have those unexpected phone calls come in during the proceedings.

4. More often in today’s modern offices, you may not have the opportunity to plug in directly to the internet with hardwire. If you’re lucky and the location has a hardwire connection, remember to bring any adapters so that you can connect your laptop via cable to the Internet.

5. More likely than not, you will need to connect to the internet via WiFi. There are multiple ways to do this. If you choose to connect to the location’s wireless network, you can check the speed of their WiFi by going to speedtest.net. I know in one instance my hotspot on my iPhone was faster than the client’s WiFi, so I ended up connecting with my smartphone.

6. Practice a mock web conference deposition with your friends to ensure that you are comfortable with the features of the service and, also, that you’re comfortable with the proper settings for your hardware.

7. Be sure to schedule a test call with your booking attorney or legal professional. Sometimes it’s their first time for a web conference deposition and you want them to feel comfortable with the service as well. The test call will provide the time necessary to address any potential problems that may arise.

8. Advise all participants to call 15 minutes prior to the start time of the deposition to make sure everything is set up correctly.

9. Position the laptop in front of the witness and be sure the witness is facing a window, if there is one in the room. If the witness’s back is toward the window, the backlighting prevents a good image for the attorney attending remotely. Court reporters, you’re well on your way to hosting those video meetings and depositions!

Lynette Mueller, FAPR, RDR, CRR, is a freelance court reporter based in Memphis, Tenn., and chair of NCRA’s Technology Committee. She can be reached at lynette@omegareporting.com.

PohlmanUSA Forms Strategic Partnership with Assure Court Reporting

PohlmanUSA, based in St. Louis, Mo., announced in a press release issued Feb. 27 that the firm has formed a strategic referral partnership with Assure Court Reporting (ACR) based in Fort Worth, Texas.

Read more.

New Professional Profile: Tatelyn Noda

Tatelyn Noda, RPR

My name is Tatelyn Noda, RPR, and I am an official court reporter for the First Judicial Circuit of Alabama. I graduated from Prince Institute in Montgomery, Ala., in 2014 and worked briefly in Alabama as a freelance reporter before moving to Miami, Fla. I continued in freelance until I accepted an officialship in August of 2018.

JCR | How did you hear about court reporting and what made you choose that career path?

TN | My mom had a friend who freelanced, and she mentioned it to me in the seventh grade. At the start of my eighth-grade year, my parents and I toured Prince Institute. I fell in love with the profession. I immediately started college after finishing high school and never looked back. I could never sufficiently repay my mom for guiding me in the right direction and for always being by my side through college, freelancing, and official reporting. 

JCR | What is your next career goal?

TN | I’m currently practicing daily for the RMR and CRR. After that, on to the RDR!

JCR | When you’re not behind your steno machine, what do you do with your free time?

TN | My husband, Carlos, and I spend all of our free time with our boys: Harrison, Everett, and Walker. We enjoy traveling, visiting family, and renovating our historical home.

JCR | How has being involved with state or national associations benefitted you?

TN | Being involved with your state and national association is key to creating long-lasting friendships within our industry. Being involved has kept me up to date on topics and advances surrounding our profession and has even helped me implement new techniques in the way that I write.

JCR | Tell us about your favorite depo and/or location you’ve worked.

TN | My favorite job was a deposition of a very well-known restaurateur. I had absolutely no idea who the deponent was until I scoped the file. Looking back, he was so humble and just an overall nice person. I will never forget that deposition. My favorite location? The Florida Keys! I would never turn down an opportunity to write in paradise! I’d always make sure to stop by and pick up a key lime pie before heading back to Miami.

JCR | After freelancing for a couple of years, what was something you had to get used to when working in your role as an official?

TN | I had to get used to the criminal testimony and domestic matters. Before becoming an official, I only dealt with civil matters. Going from white-collar disagreements to crime scene photos took a little getting used to.

JCR | Who is your mentor, and how have they helped you along the way?

TN | Renda Cornick is my steno hero. She’s a phenomenal writer, reporter, wife, mom, and friend. She never passes up an opportunity to cheer me on in my career and in my personal life. As a newer reporter, she has really been an inspiration to me.

Janet Russo has helped shape me into the reporter I am today. She took me under her wing and has taught me so much. She always made time for me when I had a question and would always look over any work I was unsure of. I am forever thankful — and grateful — for all of the time and knowledge she has shared with me.

Rhonda Hall-Breuwet, RDR, CRR, a freelancer in Lakeland, Fla., has always been there for me when it comes to all things reporting, especially Florida reporting and realtime. She really pushed me to get my certifications and has always helped me whenever needed. I dream of being on her realtime level. She is a phenomenal reporter!

JCR | Any advice for students?

TN | Strive for perfection, but please know that no one is perfect. Learn your software, retain a seasoned accountant, always be professional, and start testing for certifications as soon as possible. Be nice to everyone you meet and always wear a smile!