Category Archive: Court Reporting

Staying Positive in Stressful Times

With the recent pandemic, insecurities over the economy and job security and other world events, it’s more important than ever to remain positive, both professionally and personally.

It’s easy to read those words but how do you incorporate daily positivity into stressful, sometimes negative environments?

Shift Your Energy

Roy T. Bennett says in The Light in the Heart “instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create.”

Don’t immerse yourself in the worry and pessimism that is prevalent during taxing times. Put your energy elsewhere. Limit your time on social media and watching the news. Don’t react to others’ anger and frustration; instead, step away.

Choose to have a positive attitude. As Mr. Bennett says in The Light in the Heart, “attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.”

Stay in Touch

For many people, a natural reaction to a negative situation is to withdraw and isolate. While temporarily it may soothe it can lead to feelings of separation and detachment.

As Daniel H. Pink says in Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, “human beings have an innate inner drive to be . . . connected to one another. And when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and live richer lives.”

Stressful times can be the best times to reconnect with your friends, family and co-workers. Even if you can’t chat in person, a telephone call or Zoom conference can lift your spirits and remind you what’s important.

Be Helpful

The quickest way to let go of fear and change your mindset is to help others.

Have a favorite charity? Donate — and can be not just money but also supplies and your time — and share that charity’s information with friends.

Offer to help your neighbors with tasks like grocery shopping and yardwork.

Brighten up your house, as well as your neighbors’ views, with a colorful positive message in your windows. If you have kids, let them furnish the artwork or use sidewalk chalk to put the artwork on your driveway.

Foster or adopt an animal from a local rescue/shelter. You’re giving a needy animal a home and that pet will give you unconditional love and positive energy.

Have Compassion For Yourself

Doing for yourself is not selfish, it’s necessary. In times of stress it’s even more important to do the little things that make your heart sing. Practicing yoga, soaking in a hot bath, curling up with a good book or old movie, enjoying a pot of delicious tea — all these things can ground us and recharge us. While isolation is not good, some alone time is beneficial to practice mindfulness and uplift your spirits.

Remember Everything is Temporary

Optimism is a great thing to embrace, even if it’s uncomfortable at first.

As Deepak Chopra says an optimist is “someone who is very aware and mindful of all the setbacks and roadblocks and less-than-ideal things that happen in their life. The caveat is they are just aware that those things are temporary and they have the ability to overcome them.” It’s okay to accept that things may not be ideal at this moment but there are setbacks and roadblocks that can be overcome.

If Nothing Else, Just Laugh

Gretchen Rubin in The Happiness Project says, “laughter is more than just a pleasurable activity . . when people laugh together, they tend to talk and touch more and to make eye contact more frequently.”

Let Us Help You

To continue to remain positive, both professionally and personally, do not hesitate to contact  Elizabeth Gallo Court Reporting for your court reporter and deposition needs.

 

What Litigators Must Do During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Coronavirus pandemic that has hit the globe is causing all of us to adjust how we live, work, and play. Lawyers are no exception to this. In order to continue to live up to the calling that requires attorneys — particularly litigators — to be custodians of our society’s ideals, there are a few things that should be done during this world-wide pandemic.

You Must Resolve Your Cases

Attorneys are called on to resolve disputes, which can be difficult during normal times. The best thing for a litigator to do is to put on his or her “closer” hat. More than ever, clients are losing income. It does not matter if you represent a plaintiff or a defendant — the downturn in the
economy affects everyone, and it is not known when the economy will bounce back from this pandemic. Clients are also in shock and disoriented. Defendants may be wanting to solely focus on business operations and not deal with lawsuits. Plaintiffs may want their lawsuit resolved sooner rather than later because of their current circumstances. Attorneys must be aware of these issues, while still balancing zealous advocacy and not selling the client short. Getting opposing counsel to come to the table is critical during this difficult time. Likewise, court dockets — which are backed up and trials delayed — will appreciate the civility employed by litigators to resolve cases.

You Must be Efficient

While the Coronavirus pandemic has taught us all to be more aware of personal hygiene, it has also forced businesses to become more efficient. The legal field, in many ways, is also a business. Law firms across the nation have transitioned to remote work for attorneys and staff alike. Attorneys — just like remote workers across the nation — are having to juggle work, family time, and schooling children. Legal work requires writing, editing, re-writing, analyzing, and researching, among other skills. While silence is key to these tasks, it is likely not available in prolonged periods right now. Using your time effectively is more critical than ever. Whether this means early mornings while the house is quiet or late evenings when everyone is in bed, squeezing in work and keeping clients up-to-date needs to happen.

Keep Using Discovery

The courts need not be involved in the discovery phase of a lawsuit — unless there is a need for motion practice or hearings due to disputes that cannot be resolved without court intervention.   Use of requests for admissions (RFAs), requests for production (RFPs), interrogatories (Rogs), and depositions are ideal ways to move your case forward during this time. While depositions may be difficult due to social distancing requirements, these can be done via video conference — although, admittedly, they are not the same as in-person depositions. That being said, litigators must be patient with opposing counsel because this time requires this type of civility.

The Case Must Go On

While it is true that the global pandemic has placed us all in an unprecedented position, attorneys must continue to practice zealously for their clients while employing additional patience for those on the other side of the case. In doing so, we can maintain our obligation to our industry while still properly representing our clients.

Remote Deposition Tips from a Court Reporter

 

Whether you are familiar or brand new to the concept, attending remote depositions has become inevitable. As judicial orders get extended due to concerns surrounding COVID-19, in-person depositions are happening less frequently, if at all. While the conditions may not always be ideal, see below for some tips to make your remote depositions run smoothly.

BEFORE THE DEPOSITION

Training. Familiarize yourself with the program you will be using: Zoom, WebEx, GoToMeeting, et cetera. Do a quick run-through ahead of time if possible.

Send exhibits beforehand. Sending emails and downloading exhibits during the deposition takes up time. If you send exhibits before you begin, this will make things easier on your court reporter. And don’t worry about marking exhibits. Your reporter can do that for you.

Arrive early. It helps to log in to the deposition 10 to 15 minutes early for troubleshooting or to introduce yourself and share contact information.

Internet connection. Be sure to use the best internet connection available. (Hardwire into your modem if possible.)

Charge your phone. Even if you do not plan on using your phone, make sure it’s fully charged. If something malfunctions with your laptop or tablet, you will have your phone ready to connect as backup.

DURING THE DEPOSITION

Go slow. It may seem awkward to pause after questions and answers, but now more than ever it is crucial that attendees do not speak over one another during the proceedings. This creates less interruptions by the court reporter for repeats and clarifications.

Close apps. Be sure to close any programs not needed as this will help your device’s connection.

Mute yourself. If you are not actively speaking, keep yourself muted. It helps immensely with the audio quality. If you need to object or insert something on the record, unmute yourself at that time.

Audio through your phone. There is an option through remote meeting platforms to use your phone audio (dialing in and enter your meeting information) in tandem with your computer. This will maximize clear audio.

Turning off your video. If your connection gets spotty, try turning off just your video. Oftentimes, that will clear up audio issues, and you will still be present.

Headphones. Using headphones or earbuds with a microphone helps isolate deposition audio.

Be patient and open-minded. Nobody anticipated we’d be working in a global pandemic. Things may go wrong, but there’s no need to get frustrated. Take a deep breath. We’re all learning!

Background. While on video, aim to sit in front of a plain area that is lit from the side or front. When seated in front of a window, please close the blinds. Sitting in front of a bright, open window makes it difficult for attendees to see your face on screen.

Breaks! Even though most of us are comfortably seated at home, be sure to allot time for comfort breaks.

AFTER THE DEPOSITION

Don’t rush to disconnect. The court reporter will likely have questions about signature, orders, or spellings. Be sure to ask before you hop off the deposition.

Talking afterwards. Please let the court reporter know if you plan to stay in the remote meeting and speak with your client. This way the court reporter will leave the meeting instead of ending it altogether.

If you are holding remote depositions, hopefully these tips will help. Many elements that appear to be challenging just take a little time and practice. If you have questions, be sure to ask the reporter or agency hosting the deposition. Please know that court reporters appreciate you and appreciate your business!

For further information and tips, please check out Elizabeth Gallo Court Reporting’s tutorials on YouTube.

Making Your Remote Office a Success

With the unique challenge of working and keeping businesses going during COVID-19, having a remote office has become our new normal but it can still be an unknown, possibly even stressful, factor amid these disruptive and uncertain times.

It’s more important now than ever to keep your mental and emotional well-being in check, as well as that of your employees and staff.

SET SCHEDULES 

Keeping a regular, and realistic, schedule is vital. Plan your day as if you were in the office with a start time, lunch time and quitting time. Make sure you allow technology-free time to pamper yourself, whether that’s reading a book, working on a jigsaw puzzle or a soothing bath.

HAVE A DEDICATED WORK SPACE

You don’t need a room specifically for your home office but find space that is to be your work area during work hours. This can be a corner in your bedroom, living room or on your kitchen table. Tell your family this is your work area during your scheduled work times. After hours, it can go back to its intended use.

GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK 

Working from home doesn’t (and shouldn’t) mean parking yourself at your desk 24-7. Your mind and body need breaks throughout the day so be sure to take them, preferably every 30 to 60 minutes. It may be getting up to stretch for a few minutes or getting a glass of water. On phone calls, get in the habit of standing rather than sitting to keep that blood flowing.

BUT WATCH OUT FOR THOSE DISTRACTIONS!

Working from home can be wonderful (saving on gas and travel time with no commute and hey, you don’t even have to wear shoes!) but being at home can lend to a host of distractions. Don’t let your laundry, that Harry Potter marathon or social media impact your productivity.

STAY CONNECTED

That said, social media is a wonderful way to keep in touch, not only with family but also co-workers. The office is not only a place to work but also a method to combat loneliness and isolation. Working from home, especially for extroverts, can create anxiety. So check in with your co-workers, not just to discuss work-related matters but also fun things, like sharing recipes and family and pet photos.

AND GET FRESH AIR

Fresh air and sunshine are a necessity. With fewer people driving, and warmer weather upon most of us, getting away from your desk, out the door and into the environment is fundamental. Not only will it invigorate you but will keep your immune system healthy.

SHARPEN YOUR SKILLS

If your workload is lighter than normal, it’s the perfect time to investigate some online courses that will improve your skills, raise the value of your expertise and give you continuing education credit. As a bonus, it also takes your mind off economic worries.

DON’T FORGET YOUR EMPLOYEES

If you’re in management, it’s imperative not to neglect your employees. Understand that they might be feeling anxious, overworked and even isolated. Make yourself available to address any issues they might have. Have regular meetings by video or phone to keep everyone up to date. Let your staff know the best way to reach you with questions or emergencies. Find out if your health plan offers support for insureds who may need it and pass that information along.

 

Lastly, smile and breathe!