In case of disaster

By David Ward

When Laura Grosso, head of Pennsylvania-based ERSA Court Reporting, turned to cloud solution provider Broadview Networks for business telephone and hosted IT services in mid- 2012, a natural catastrophe was not top of her mind.

“We really went to them because we wanted a virtual office so that we could do our work from homes,” explained Grosso, whose firm has offices in both Philadelphia and Allentown, Pa., and works with about 80 independent reporters. “With Broadview’s technology, we knew that not only would we have our phones, but we would be able to work remotely on our computers as well.”

However, when Hurricane Sandy swept through the Northeast United States in late October 2012, Grosso discovered that Broadview’s services also ended up playing a key role in preventing this natural disaster from decimating her business.

“Our court reporters weren’t operating remotely, but during the storm, we were able to run our office remotely,” Grosso notes. “And while we did have a few depositions cancelled as a result of the storm, the key for us was being able to stay in touch with our court reporters and not leave them out on a limb. We had one client who told us that a state trooper was going to be coming in for a deposition. I didn’t necessarily believe it, but with Broadview, we were able to keep in contact with the client and the reporter in case he was needed.”

Brian Crotty, chief operating officer for Broadview, stresses that what his company provides ERSA, as well as a host of other professional services companies, is a lot more than just disaster recovery. “That seems to imply recovery from something that’s gone wrong,” he says. “We focus more on developing business continuity plans with the goal of disaster avoidance.”

In ERSA’s case, Broadview implemented a hosted IT solution to improve the way the reporters did their business. “Obviously, they didn’t have the foresight to know that the largest hurricane in the history of the northeast was about to hit,” Crotty explains. “But they had other challenges they were facing with their existing services.”

During Sandy’s peak, ERSA’s business was closed, and they had no connectivity and no power. “But working from home, they were able to make phone calls and receive phone calls, actually driving business and generating new business,” Crotty says. “And even though they were working from home, their customers were none the wiser.”

Fortunately for ERSA, neither of its offices was damaged in the storm, and the reporters were able to get back to business as usual within days. “For us, it was all about preparedness and knowing what the customer is going to need. I’m very well protected, and I’m very proud of the fact that my IT team takes very good care of me, and Broadview takes very good care of me,” said Grosso.

For many small businesses, a disaster can end up being the end of their operations or the beginning of the end. According to statistics from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, 40 percent of businesses do not reopen after a disaster, and of those that do reopen, 25 percent fail within one year.

The businesses that do manage to survive a disaster, natural or otherwise, are often the ones that have taken the time to think about what could happen. That doesn’t necessarily mean spending vast amounts of resources on additional servers or technology or insurance, but, as Grosso notes, it does require some form of planning. “You have to think of what might be the next thing to come down the pike,” she says.

Because they’re usually in charge of potentially sensitive testimony as well as other important legal information, court reporting firms often have to do a lot more than keep the lights on and phones working when a disaster strikes.

Jason Primuth, executive vice president with NexGen Reporting, which has offices both on the East and West Coasts, points out that for any reporting firm, priorities one, two, and three in any disaster have to be about protecting their client’s information and data, including transcripts and CAT files.

“The first step is making sure your data is stored in a secure off-site third-party location,” Primuth says. “Every single day, we back up all our data, so if all of our offices fall into the ocean, we would be fine.”

Primuth says NexGen does have a business continuity plan in place, but concedes, “There are challenges that can be planned for and there are challenges and disasters that you can’t plan for. I don’t think attorneys will expect you to be present and working on Armageddon Day. So we plan for the things that could happen, like a snowstorm, where no one could get to the office. We can handle that just fine because we have secure remote access to our office computers.”

When it comes to business disasters, it’s often natural catastrophes that come to mind: earthquakes, hurricanes, blizzards, fires, or tornadoes.

But Diana Karge, president of Amicus Court Reporters in Chicago, points out there are many types of disasters, including problems that you may never anticipate.

“We had a situation in which a reporter got into a serious car accident, and not only was he badly injured, but his equipment was badly damaged as well, to the point where we were not sure we could access it,” Karge explains. “That led to a change in our policy of how we back up data. As a reporting firm, there are specific things we have to look out for because our reporters on the job are carrying information that we’re dependent upon, and that is vital to our clients.”

Karge says that following that reporter injury — as well as a previous incident in which a fire damaged the files of a law firm that was a key client — she decided to get proactive when it came to disaster-proofing her business.

“It’s very important to educate your reporters on how important it is to have backup copies of their information, as well as how they access that information to produce jobs,” Karge says. “So after that incident, we created an emergency form for our reporters to fill out. We do not ask them to share sensitive information with us, but we do ask them to tell us how and where they back up, and we ask them to partner with other reporters and provide them with passwords so we can access not just their work, but also their dictionary in case something happens to them.”

Karge now speaks on the issue of disaster proofing a court reporting firm, giving presentations across the country to groups such as the Deposition Reporters Association of California.
During these presentations, Karge says she focuses on a variety of issues, including keeping up-to-date contact information on landlords/building owners, bankers, and the companies that supply paper to the office.

But the bulk of her presentation is focused on the importance of data protection from the moment a reporter ends a deposition. “I’ve heard anecdotally of reporters having their machines stolen out of the backs of their cars or damaged in an accident,” Karge explains. “So if everything is on your machine when you walk out of that job, you’re very vulnerable. We encourage our reporters to back up right after the deposition by emailing their work to themselves immediately as well as any of their raw files.”

Firm owner Rosalie Kramm, RPR, CRR, based in San Diego, Calif., says she began developing a business continuity plan a decade ago after attending some business classes, in which other small business owners — none of whom were in court reporting or legal services — all stressed the importance of disaster preparedness for their companies.

Kramm Court Reporting was founded in 1985 and is now housed in a building, which Kramm owns, that is designed to sway, but not crumble, in the event of an earthquake.

Kramm notes that, for the most part, a disaster-proofed business continuity plan does not require a huge investment. “You just have to put some time into creating a plan and then making sure your staff buys into it and is thinking about it and is conscious of the issue,” she says. “I put my first business continuity plan together 10 years ago, and that document has changed over the years as technology had evolved, such as moving our storage to the cloud.”

Even in this electronic era, Kramm says her business continuity plan does mandate keeping paper copies of some key information, just in case the power goes out. “Every day, we print our Future calendar, so we have a printed copy of that — and I do have a list of passwords related to our office that I print out every Friday and bring home,” she says.

When it comes to protecting client data, Kramm notes that most independent reporters are very professional and therefore very conscientious about preserving their work. “But we do have some policies in place, and one of the things we do is if something is not written up, we ask our reporters to send us their notes and the CAT file to our server,” she says. “Most of them are so grateful to have another backup.” She added that during regular meetings with her staff and freelancers, the reporters often take great pride in describing the lengths they go to to protect their work.

“What a lot of reporters do is take the job and their notes and, right after deposition, transfer them to a thumb drive, and then put that thumb drive in their purse or pockets — or one of them wears it around her neck,” Kramm says. “Every day, all of their jobs are backed up on this thumb drive before they shut down their computers. Another reporter will not leave her machine out of her sight, even in restaurants.”

Crotty of Broadview points out that while events such as Hurricane Sandy are often the catalyst that gets businesses thinking more about disaster avoidance and the need for business continuity plans, his pitch to companies large and small is that many of the moves that will protect them in a natural catastrophe will also help run their day-to-day business a lot more efficiently.

“Every business today is moving beyond 9-5, and by going to cloud-based solutions, you’re actually able to increase the throughput you’re getting from employees, because now they’re always available,” Crotty says. “We also spend a lot of time educating businesses about the security aspect of our offering and showing them how their business is infinitely more secure with our solution than they are with their existing facilities.”

Karge adds that having the right business continuity plan and the expertise to talk confidently about data protection can also be a great selling point for a court reporting firm.

“For us, it’s been a gateway to getting new clients,” Karge says. “But even if you’re a small reporting firm, it’s important to have a plan in place so you can show that you’re respectful of your clients and your clients’ need to protect their information.”

David Ward is a freelance journalist from Ramona, Calif.

 

TRUE STORY: No excuses

By Rachel Gamez

There is a poster hanging in the courtroom that says, “Nobody said it would be easy; they said it’d be worth it.” If you want something badly enough, you can have it. Just don’t give up.

I never wanted to go to college. I loved high school only because I was very popular and was the drum major of the band. I begged my parents to let me take a semester off when I graduated high school, but they wouldn’t hear it. I took some basic courses at the University of Houston, only because I had a scholarship. I was placed on academic probation my second semester and ended up dropping all of my classes and taking out loans to cover the classes.

I didn’t know what a court reporter was until I was involved in a major car accident. I had to give my deposition. I ended up paying more attention to the girl in the corner typing than to the questions I was being asked. When the deposition was over, I asked her where she learned to do that. She told me Alvin Community College.

I immediately went home to do the research. I found out there wasn’t much schooling required, the salary was amazing, and I would be hearing a lot of gossip.

It sounded perfect. I went and checked it out the next day. I got enrolled and took theory in the spring of 2008. Theory was a breeze for me. Some liked to call me a “mutant.” I didn’t practice as much as I should have; however, I did have to practice. In the summer of 2008, I only passed one test at 60 words per minute. I left the class in tears, many days telling myself, “I can’t do this. I’ll never make it.”

It was not easy.

When I was trying to register for the fall of 2008, the college told me that I had to bring my transcripts from the other schools I had attended. I went to the University of Houston to obtain my transcript just to find out that I still owed them $800. I was devastated. I didn’t have that kind of money. So I went back to work. I worked two jobs in 2009 to save the money to pay off the university.

That’s when I met my future husband. He saw my machine when we first moved in together. He started asking me about it, and I told him the story. He helped me pay off the university so I could go back to school in 2010.

So, in January of 2010, I took theory again. I couldn’t have been happier. I was on the right track for life. I knew what I wanted to do, and there was nothing that could get in my way — so I thought.

A month into my second time taking theory, I found out I was pregnant. I was devastated again. I had always wanted children, but not yet. Not before I had a job or was even married. My mother is a very religious person. I thought she would never talk to me again; however, she was actually very excited about the baby, just disappointed that I wasn’t more careful. My boyfriend and I had a very long talk, and we decided that as long as he was working, we would be okay. He assured me that I could finish school and not have to quit.

I’m not sure how much my teacher, Ms. McCartney, tried to enforce “don’t get up during dictation,” but she was very understanding about my getting up and down all throughout her class. I can’t tell you how many times I ran to the bathroom because of morning sickness. I’m still trying to figure that one out because, for me, it was all-day sickness. Regardless, I got through theory and passed my tests at 40 words per minute, again.

Four months into my pregnancy, I started the 60-80 class. Most of the morning sickness was gone, and I was glowing. I felt beautiful. I finally had the feeling again, the “I can do this” feeling. I took on a job at a local daycare to help my boyfriend with the bills while I still could. I still was not practicing like I should have been. I would practice on the weekends, but not during the week. By the time I went to school then work, I was exhausted, and most days I went straight to bed. My boyfriend would bring me dinner in bed and force me to wake up and eat.

In the fall of 2010, I was in my 100s. I was due November 1. My plan was to get as far as I could and then just miss the end of the fall semester. I passed my last 100 test five days before having my son.

Despite doctor’s orders, I went back to school two and a half months later in the spring of 2011. I hadn’t touched the machine in three months. The 120s murdered me. It took me a whole semester to get back in the groove. I was pumping breast milk in the bathroom on the 10-minute breaks, and I was hurting from having given birth. It was miserable. The 120s class was the only speed class that I had to pay for twice.

I got married in February 2011, just a small get-together at the courthouse. The week before registration for the fall 2011 semester, my husband got laid off. I applied for financial aid. They told me that my student loans from the University of Houston were in default, and I had to get them in good standing before I could qualify. Thankfully, my mom was able to help me make a payment and get them back in good standing so I could qualify for financial aid.

In my 160s, there was a misunderstanding between the professors and me. That was the day I started practicing just to get out and be done. You know what I found out? Practicing really works! I got through my 140s and my 160s in one semester. I thought to myself many times, “Why on earth did I wait so long to start practicing? I could have been done by now!”

In the spring of 2012, my family and I were just sitting down to eat dinner when there was a banging on the door, followed by a loud voice screaming, “Get out! Get out!” I put on my shoes, grabbed my son, and we walked outside. There were so many people outside. It took about 10 minutes before my husband and I saw it: The building was on fire, and it was quickly moving our way. I told my husband to run and get our folder with our important papers, but the firemen wouldn’t even let us close.

It was windy and raining as we watched everything we owned go up in smoke. I couldn’t believe it. As the fire reached our apartment, it was then that I realized I had never taken my school things out of the car. My machine and my computer were safe! For a moment, I was relieved. They moved all of us into the office where the apartment complex got everyone dinner, and we sat and waited for the Red Cross. After a walk-through, we were informed that everything on our second floor was a total loss and most of everything on the first floor. The only things we walked away with were the clothes on our backs, a box of pictures that were in the downstairs closet, and my dishes.

That night, the complex got hotel rooms for everyone in our building. I sent an email to the only teacher that I had contact information for, informing her briefly of what was going on. I showed up to school Monday morning to make sure the teachers knew what was going on. I was definitely going to miss a few days while we tried to figure out what to do. I spoke with the teacher I had emailed. She asked me what I needed, and all I could think of was “everything.” I needed money, clothes and toys for my baby, groceries, a bed, a crib — everything.

On Wednesday of that same week, I returned to school. The teachers led me to a room. When they opened the door, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The room was full. I stood and cried. I never expected anything, but there, right in front of my eyes, were clothes, pots, pans, toys, lamps, bedding, a stroller, a high chair, and so much more. It was truly unbelievable. You never really know how generous people can be — and those people will never know how much they helped us.

Despite all of that, I still finished my 180s that semester and managed to pass the courtroom class. In the summer, I took the written part of the state test. I passed, and it was such a relief to have part of the test out of the way. I was practicing more and more, and I started to realize that I was able to write a mock. So, I typed one, just to see how it would go. I ended up passing the mock, my 200, and my 225 all at the same time. I passed the rest of my tests during the summer of 2012 and qualified to take the state test. It was such a relief because I was out of financial aid and would have had to pay cash for the next semester. My husband was still off and on with work. Things were getting harder and harder, and I was stressed out about passing this test because I not only wanted it, I needed it.

I took the test in September of 2012 and failed it by 13 errors. I can’t even begin to tell you how heartbroken I was.

Around the time I got into my 180s, I started to notice a bump on my finger. It didn’t hurt, so I just ignored it like it was nothing. In December of 2012, it really started to bother me. I went to the doctor and asked him what it was. He said it was a tumor that was almost damaging my nerves, and he wanted to remove it before I permanently lost feeling in my right hand. I asked him several times if I would be healed by January because that was when the test was held. I had already signed up to take it, and the hotel was already booked. I wasn’t about to miss it!

I had the surgery on December 12, 2012. I couldn’t move the finger or get it wet or anything. It hurt so badly for the first week. I regretted having the surgery at first. I couldn’t practice for two weeks. I took the test on January 12, 2013, and completely bombed it.

I started practicing every day after that. I was writing everything — from the books I was reading to the news I was watching on TV. There wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t practice. I passed the state test in April 2013. I was in the grocery store when I got a text, “Results are on the website!” I checked my phone and screamed and jumped up and down in the grocery store.

Life as a reporter for me couldn’t be better. The only regret I have is not practicing more and earlier so I could have gotten out faster. I had everything standing in my way, and I did it anyway. I would love to talk to any one of you. If you have questions or need support, or a pep talk, or anything, just email me. I’ll be happy to help anyone I can.

Rachel L. Gamez is a court reporter in Webster, Texas. She can be reached at RachelGamezCSR@yahoo.com.

 

Speed contest notes: 280 wpm testimony

The following is the text of the testimony portion of the NCRA Speed Contest held in Nashville, Tenn.

Q. Good afternoon, sir. Would you please state your name for the record.

A. My name is Kevin Sullivan.

Q. What is your profession, sir?

A. I am a firefighter.

Q. Are you also certified as an EMT?

A. Yes, I’m certified.

Q. How long have you been working as a firefighter and EMT?

A. It’s been approximately 10 years.

Q. For whom are you now working?

A. For County Services.

Q. Have you always worked for / the County?

A. Yes, I have, since graduating college.

Q. What fields of study did you take in college?

A. I studied to be a firefighter.

Q. Do you have a degree in that field?

A. Yes, I do, a bachelor’s degree.

Q. Have you had any further training since leaving college?

A. Yes, I have.

Q. Can you describe that training?

A. There have been various courses in firefighting and related subjects.

Q. Did you have to complete a / certain course of training to be licensed as an EMT?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. How long was that course and who provided it?

A. The course was six months long, and it was provided by the university.

Q. How many hours of study was that certification?

A. Ten hours per week for six months.

Q. Did you receive a certificate of completion?

A. Yes.

Q. When did you receive that?

A. It was in 200/3.

Q. Was that your first year as a firefighter, sir?

A. Yes, it was.

Q. As a firefighter and EMT, are your primary duties responding to emergency calls?

A. That is always our main job, yes.

Q. About how many emergency calls do you respond to in an average week?

A. About 10 or 12 calls.

Q. Now, do most of these calls involve fires or medical aid?

A. Most of them involve medical aid. //

Q. What percentage would you say?

A. I would estimate some 60 to 75 percent.

Q. So, if I heard you correctly, you respond to about 500 to 600 calls per year; right?

A. Yes, ma’am.

Q. And about 300 to 450 of those require you to provide medical services; is that correct?

A. Yes, I think that’s about right.

Q. Now, did you respond to an emergency call on the / evening of March 27, 2012?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. Do you remember the time you received the call?

A. It was 7:12 in the evening.

Q. Was that your regular shift?

A. No.

Q. Were you filling the position of another firefighter who was ill?

A. That’s correct.

Q. Had you worked a double shift that day?

A. No, I had not.

Q. So were you scheduled to work the following shift as well?

A. No. / I would have gone home upon completion of the shift and returned the following morning.

Q. Okay. Now, what was your understanding of the emergency you were responding to at 7:12 on that evening?

A. There had been shots fired and a man lying on the sidewalk.

Q. How long after you received the dispatch was it before you arrived upon the scene?

A. It was six minutes.

Q. Were you advised who made / the emergency call?

A. It was my understanding it was a neighbor.

Q. Upon your arrival at the scene, what happened next?

A. We found one man lying on the sidewalk and another a few feet away.

Q. Which of these individuals had gunshot wounds?

A. They had both been shot.

Q. Did you treat both of these individuals?

A. No. I concentrated on the person with the most serious wounds.

Q. You are referring to William Jefferson; // (1) is that correct?

A. Yes, that’s correct.

Q. How many times had Mr. Jefferson been shot?

A. Twice in the chest and once in the abdomen.

Q. Was he responsive when you began to work on him?

A. Yes, he was, ma’am.

Q. According to your EMT report, his pulse was light and irregular; is that correct?

A. Yes, it was.

Q. Did you make any attempt to stabilize him?

A. Yes.

Q. Again according to the record, / that was when you started a saline drip and applied pressure to stop further blood loss; is that correct?

A. That’s correct.

Q. Was Mr. Jefferson conscious at that time?

A. Yes, he was.

Q. Did he attempt any communication with you?

A. Yes.

Q. What, if anything, was he able to communicate?

A. He stated that he had been shot by a man who attacked him.

Q. Did he tell you anything else?

A. No, ma’am.

Q. Did you / ask him any other questions?

A. We asked him his age.

Q. What was his response?

A. He said he was 27 years old.

Q. Did you ask about his general health?

A. Yes.

Q. Was he able to give you any other information?

A. He didn’t seem to understand the question.

Q. Did he respond in some way?

A. I recall he only shook his head.

Q. Did you ask him any other questions?

A. No.

Q. How long was / it before you were able to stabilize Mr. Jefferson and begin transport?

A. It was about 10 minutes.

Q. Did you believe his condition to be stable at the time you put him in the ambulance?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. Upon what basis did you make that decision?

A. His blood pressure was stable at 90 over 60 and he was breathing normally.

Q. Was his heart rate still irregular at that time?

A. It was // (2) somewhat, yes.

Q. Did you try to stabilize his heart rate?

A. No, we did not.

Q. Why not?

A. He was conscious and responding to fluids.

Q. So, if I understand correctly, when he was placed in the van for transport, you judged his condition to be stable; is that correct?

A. I thought it had stabilized and he was responding.

Q. After you placed him in the van, did his condition change?

A. Not substantially during / the time it took to transport him to the hospital.

Q. That was County North Hospital; is that right?

A. Yes, ma’am.

Q. How long did the trip take?

A. Around seven minutes.

Q. When you got to County North Hospital; did you speak to anyone?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you remember the names of the doctors or other staff members you spoke with?

A. At the time, I wasn’t given their names, but I obtained them later / for my report.

Q. Do you remember speaking to a Dr. Maxwell?

A. Yes. He was the ER physician on call.

Q. Do you remember how you described your patient’s status to this doctor?

A. I gave his vitals and said that he had sustained multiple gunshots to the chest and abdomen.

Q. Did the doctor ask you if the patient was stable?

A. I don’t recall him asking that question, no.

Q. Were you in / contact with anyone from County North Hospital during the time the patient was being transported?

A. Yes, we were.

Q. Do you know who you were in contact with?

A. That information is not always provided.

Q. Is that a yes or no answer?

A. It’s a no.

Q. Were you instructed by the person you were in contact with to give any drugs to Mr. Jefferson while he was in transport?

A. We were instructed to // (3) start him on dopamine.

Q. What is that for?

A. To raise blood pressure and heart rate.

Q. So would it be correct to say that the hospital wanted those drugs administered to help stabilize him further?

A. I am not a doctor, so I cannot answer that question.

Q. But you believed the patient’s condition was stable when you made the decision to transport him; is that right?

A. It was as stable as we / could reasonably expect on the scene, yes.

Q. Did you in fact give dopamine to Mr. Jefferson during transport?

A. Yes, we did.

Q. What effect, if any, did it have on his status?

A. There was no apparent effect for the length of time we had him in the ambulance.

Q. Was that an indication of a downturn in his status?

A. No.

Q. On what basis do you make that statement?

A. It usually takes longer // (4)  than a few minutes to see a response.

Q. About how long after you began transport did you start the drug the hospital instructed you to give him?

A. It was about three minutes after we left the scene for the hospital.

Q. So you were able to check his status for about four minutes after you began the drug; right?

A. Yes.

Q. So, to review, during that time you saw no real change / to your patient’s vital signs or status; right?

A. Right.

Q. On arrival at the hospital, did you report all the treatment you provided to Dr. Maxwell when you turned the patient over to him?

A. As far as I can remember, we did.

Q. Did Dr. Maxwell ask you any questions about your patient’s condition or the treatment you provided?

A. Yes.

Q. What was your response?

A. We gave him his age, height, and weight. // (5)

Notes for the contestants who placed first, second, and third are available in pdf format.

 

 

MEMBER PROFILE: Deanna P. Baker, RMR

Currently resides in Flagstaff, Ariz.

Position: Captioner

Member since 1981

Graduated from: American Institute of Commerce, Bettendorf, Iowa

Theory: Philadelphia Clinic Theory

Favorite tip:

Never stop learning! By whatever means necessary! Then again, always schedule down time to be unplugged and enjoy your friends and family.

Why did you decide to become a CART and captioning provider?

After being a legal reporter for 11 years, my last deposition did not go so well – I actually walked out, which I wouldn’t recommend – and I knew I needed to go in a different direction.

How did you learn about the career?

I had recently read an article in the JCR about a student who was hard of hearing in Texas and someone was providing realtime services for him in school. I found this fascinating and proceeded to do my research on starting this in my area, which I did and it is flourishing to this day, nearly 25 years later!

What has been your best work experience so far in your career?

I guess I should say meeting my husband, who was my tech support guy. We’ve been married for 19 years!

But in the actual working world, I would say having worked with Hearing Loss Association of America, formerly Self Help for Hard of Hearing, for 23 years now. Knowing who my consumers are and their experiences makes working every day a joy.

What surprised you about your career and why?

I guess being a “pioneer” I really had no idea where and how this skill was going to progress and where it will be going in the future. I never listened to those who thought realtime was a passing fancy and that technology would take over. There is no piece of technology now or in the foreseeable future that can match the human brain. It seems every day there is a new use for excellent steno skills.

Think back to when you were a new reporter. What was your biggest hurdle to overcome and how did you do so?

That was 33 years ago! I remember passing my state exams fairly early on, which I know boosted my confidence tremendously, which is good as I was only 19 years old. Honestly it was having the social and professional skills working with attorneys. If I had anything to do over again, I would have gone to college and then court reporting school!

Do you have a favorite gadget? If so, what it is, and why do you like it?

I’m not really a person for gadgets, basically I have what is needed. I would have to say my wireless headset for my phone. Being a remote captioner, the phone is 99 percent where I get my audio feed, so having the ability to run around the house during commercials with my headset on is really an asset.

What are you most proud of in your career?

All of those fabulous writers out there that I’ve had the pleasure of mentoring!

Can you tell us what that experience was like?

Watching these wonderful writers flourish, go off in different directions and be mentors themselves has me beaming with pride. I couldn’t be more proud of them.

What advice or tips would you offer to new reporters?

Grab every opportunity that comes your way. You never know where it’s going to lead you or who you are going to meet!

Did you overcome a challenge in your career?

As a deposition reporter, the firm I worked at had scopists, which I had never used before. My first scopist gave me my very first job back and said it was a mess. Nobody would work with me until I cleaned up my writing! Which, of course, I did. Now she watches my captions on TV and can’t believe it!

Have you accomplished something not related to your career that you would like to relate?

In additional to having many animals — two horses, three goats, seven chickens, two dogs and four cats — I love gardening. So many years ago, I completely the Master Gardener program, certified Arborist training, and Master Naturalist and Watershed Specialist training! And for no particular reason except I’ve always wanted to, I’m a Master Mixologist as well!

The last page: Truth, justice, and the pursuit of a laugh

Take this job and love it
Q. After high school did you do any vocational or college?
A. I went to college six months to be a court reporter and then decided — I saw all the work that had to be done and decided no, that wasn’t for me.
Q. He loves it.
Alan Turboff, RPR
Houston, Texas

More precisely
Q. Could you explain my confusion in calling this a serology test?
THE COURT: You want him to explain your confusion?
Q. (By Mr. Attorney) More precisely is this a test of blood or is this a test of urine?
A. Urine.
Rosemarie A. Sawyer-Corsino, RPR
El Dorado, Kan.

Living a fantasy
Q. What were you thinking about going in the house shooting Mexicans named Poppy? Was that real, or was that a fantasy?
A. That’s two questions. Which one do you want me to answer?
Q. The first one first; and then the second one, sir.
Rita Davis Young, RPR
Pontotoc, Miss.

What’s the root of that?
Q. What office do you work out of?
A. My office is located in Rootstown, Ohio.
Q. How do you spell Rootstown?
A. R-O-O-T-S-T-O-W-N.
MR. SMITH: It’s where they do root cause analysis.
MS. JONES: Okay, that’s clearly exact.
THE WITNESS: Never thought of it that way.
MR. WILSON: Better than root canals.
MR. SMITH: It’s down in Panama.
Laurie Collins, RPR
Brooklyn, N.Y.

When not to tell the truth
Q. Who asked you to miss a trip with your wife, Mr. Wilson? That’s terrible.
A. Seems like that’s how the schedule worked out.
Q. Not at my behest. At your behest?
A. I’m not blaming anybody.
Q. Oh, okay. I just want to make sure I wasn’t misunderstanding. Because no one said anything to me about a trip with your wife. I think you should have taken the trip with your wife.
A. Well, that’s fine. I’m kind of enjoying having the house to myself.
Q. There you go.
MR. RADICH: You’re supposed to say that off the record.
Alan Turboff, RPR
Houston, Texas

Update your status
Q. All right. When I last saw you, you had just separated from your wife. Are you still separated, or are you divorced now?
A. The divorce went through on 11/12/13.
Q. All right. Are you currently engaged to anyone else?
A. No.
Q. All right.
A. I started to say, “Hell, no,” but anyway, I won’t do that.
Q. Well, I was just checking. You never know.
Loretta Armstrong, RDR, CRR, CCP
Hope Mills, N.C.

Hedging
A. It is — it is a purposely blurry statement because I can only say, with reasonable degree of medical probability, that his condition might worsen to the point that in the future, he will need to have that level previously surgerized fuse. In other words, I, as an experienced orthopedic surgeon, know that there is a probable probability that he might in the future need it. I am not saying that he will need it. It is a gift that I give to both parties that I am attempting to serve to the best of my ability, to let both parties know that there is a chance. And that is all my intent. Beyond that, at the time of my June 2, 2010, report, I could not say.
Q. So there’s a chance, but you cannot and do not quantify the percentage?
A. Exactly. It is — in every medical-legal examination, there is one point in which medicine goes east and law goes west. And as the song from the 1960s said: When we meet again, we’ll see who is the best.
Q. I’m not familiar with that song.
A. It was called “Big John.”
Q. I don’t know why I’m writing that down.
(Discussion off the record.)
THE WITNESS: I apologize. It was not “Big John.” The name of the song is “Ringo,” R-I-N-G-O, 1960, 1961.
Dominique Isabeau
Daly City, Calif.

All about perspective
Q. If we looked at the far right column that says net pay, do you have any reason to challenge the amounts that are listed for these various pay periods?
A. I’ll be honest, I’m uncertain because what’s in the left column still isn’t what I can recall going home with.
Q. And I’m sorry, when you say the left column.
A. I mean, sorry, the far right.
Q. Okay.
A. I’m looking at it out of my left eye.
Ksenija-Margaret Zeltkalns, RPR
Topeka Kan.

Find the pun
Q. From his recollection he believes he was actually bedridden for all intents and purposes for about a year after that injury. Does that seem accurate concerning your records?
A. Significantly limited. I wouldn’t say bedridden, but he had a badly fractured left leg and a badly fracture right heel so he didn’t have a leg to stand on. So he was limited in weight bearing for a year.
Sandy Chadwick, RMR
New Milford, Conn.

Living in the legal gray areas
Q. If there wasn’t a meeting, then would you agree you didn’t attend it?
A. If there was no meeting, then I may not have been there.
Jenny C. Ebner, RPR
Springfield, Ohio

Freak-out syndrome
Q. You went there one time. Did they tell you what was causing the numbness? Was it pregnancy related?
A. They said maybe it was because — because at that time it was cold, so they said maybe I went from — my apartment was hot and then outside it was cold, so maybe that caused it.
Q. Caused your nerves to freak out?
Alan Turboff, RPR
Houston, Texas