Litigation Support, Realtime Reporting, Technology, Uncategorized


Yes, we face challenges, but court reporting is still a thriving profession

This is the week set aside each year to inform the public about the important role we play in the judicial system.  It’s also the perfect opportunity to spread the word about our profession to encourage others to join our ranks, especially since we are currently facing critical shortages nationwide.

Because of this, some may think that court reporting is a dying profession.  Far from it.  We are not antiquated; we are cutting edge.  There is no other method that can produce an almost flawless transcript in realtime, basically on the fly.  That is why our unique skills are in high demand, and that translates into commensurate compensation.

Court reporters are the same as every other professional with specialized skills.  For example, if you have dangerous electrical code violations in your home and you are not a licensed electrician, you need to hire one who can rectify the problem.  It’s worth every penny to get the product and service you need that only a certified and experienced professional can provide.

The real problem is the fact that many of our members are aging out.  The average age of court reporters is 55.  It is estimated that there will be a shortage of 5,500 court reporters nationwide come 2020.  This means even more opportunities for court reporters in the broadcast and CART captioning areas and its mainstay:  deposition and official reporting.   It is a shame that just when our profession is at its zenith it cannot be sustained by our meager nationwide membership.  There are an estimated 32,000 reporters in the marketplace, only 11,500 of which are NCRA members.

Court reporters are needed now more than ever, and the need for our services will only increase in the future.  With only 31 NCRA-approved schools, NCRA’s A to Z program is aiming to fast-track students through training and into the workforce, but its full effects won’t be felt immediately.  It will take a while for the newly minted reporters to gain the experience and top-notch skills that those who have been in the field for many years possess.  The question is:  Can our profession survive this gap in reporter availability, or will we be replaced with inferior methods in the meantime?

Court reporting is in truth a thriving profession!  Why?

  • Graduates are guaranteed employment and an excellent starting salary
  • There is always room for growth and professional development for motivated individuals
  • Reporters at the top of their game earn six-figure incomes
  • NCRA and its state associations, as well as organizations like STAR, offer continual support, education, and networking opportunities
  • Our profession is technology-driven.  Lawyers need our expertise to provide the specialized services they need.
  • Tape recorders and voice recognition are inferior substitutes.
  • Reporters may choose to work as freelancers, officials, CART providers, broadcast captioners, even as Congressional reporters.  Many work in several capacities in their careers.
  • Our profession offers other related services such as videography, video conferencing, audio transcription, exhibit synching and linking, etc.
  • Reporters play a vital role in the judicial system.  They are respected by members of the bar for their role in preserving the all-important record so attorneys can represent their clients to the best of their ability.

Court reporting has undergone many revolutionary changes just in the relatively recent past.  Reporters have gone from writing on manual machines to paper and typing their own notes, to dictating into dictaphones for typists, and finally to computer-aided transcription.  There have been eight different Stenograph writing machines since the 1980s.  The investment in hardware, software, and technology over the years has been significant.  So has the learning curve among our members.  But in the end we are in a niche business that provides a service no one else can:  realtime, rough drafts, and expedited delivery.

The court reporting profession may be facing challenges, but hopefully they can be overcome.  Our judicial system depends on an accurate record to protect all litigants.  Court Reporting & Captioning Week is the perfect opportunity to highlight our talent and value.  Recommend court reporting to your friends and family.  Be a positive ambassador of the profession.  If this career has been good to you, it’s time to return the favor.

#CourtReporters #CourtReporting #STARchatter

Litigation Support, Realtime Reporting, Software, Technology, Uncategorized

Kick your case into high gear! Hire a Certified Realtime Reporter!!

When the stakes are high and quick turnaround is critical, insist on a Certified Realtime Reporter (CCR) to report the testimony. CRRs can provide interactive realtime by sending the testimony to your electronic device or over the cloud for others on your team to view remotely, and they can produce an uncertified rough draft at the conclusion of the deposition.

Not all court reporters are capable of providing these services, so be sure to request a CRR when you make your scheduling arrangements.  Less than 8% of court reporters hold the CRR designation. Doris O. Wong Associates, Inc., has several CRRs on its staff.

Recommended Software: CaseView is the industry standard for interactive realtime software, and it’s FREE.  There is a CaseViewNet download for Windows and an iCVNet app for your digital devices.  The realtime feed is sent over Wi-Fi or the Internet for remote locations.  No more cables or driver issues.


What you should understand about realtime using any smart device:

  1. You should expect a “useable” realtime transcript with limited untranslates. A Certified Realtime Reporter has been tested to write a minimum of 96% accuracy on first pass.
  2. Easily mark text, make annotations, and read along with the testimony.
  3. Don’t be alarmed if you see some stenographic outlines or misspellings. The reporter will make corrections when proofreading.
  4. At the conclusion of the deposition, the reporter will do a quick scan to remove the steno and provide an uncertified rough draft.
  5. Upon completion of the final edit, a certified transcript will be delivered to replace the rough draft.

Helpful hint:  In most instances, this is the first time the reporter will hear the subject matter.  Provide keywords, a caption, and as much information as possible for the reporter to review.  The more information provided ahead of time, the cleaner your realtime feed will be.

Realtime is a powerful tool for litigators.  Put it to work for you!

Litigation Support, Software, Technology, Uncategorized

Want an Edge? GO DIGITAL

The legal profession has been touting the efficiencies of a paperless office.  There are case management software packages, apps, and articles written by the American Bar Association and legal tech gurus promoting all things digital.

Doris O. Wong Associates has been offering digital alternatives for years.  As you build your case, the digital resources available to you from the start are as versatile as they are extensive.

Digital transcript formats include:

  • Standard PDF
  • Compressed PDF transcripts with an interactive concordance
  • ASCII or TXT files
  • WORD files
  • PTX files compatible with TextMap

All of these file formats are printable, searchable, and can be securely stored on any electronic device you use, relieving you of the endless pieces of paper.  They can also be emailed to colleagues within your firm or saved in your private repository for further use.

The most popular digital document is the PDF.  A PDF file can be opened on any device across multiple platforms. The standard PDF from Wong is word searchable (for easy copy and paste) and printable.  For those who want more, the Min-U-Script, or compressed, PDF includes an interactive concordance for easy word searches.

Not to be overlooked is the text found within exhibits.  So you can utilize this information fully, all exhibits are scanned in a searchable PDF format.  Electronic document word searches are faster and more reliable than reading through hard copy documents.

An additional benefit to going digital is linked exhibits.  With one easy click, you can pull up an exhibit for viewing whenever it is mentioned in a transcript. The transcript and linked exhibits are delivered to you in one convenient file.

Whether you’re part of a large firm, mid-sized, or sole practitioner, we have the digital litigation support products that fit your budget and suit your needs.  Our goal at        Doris O. Wong Associates is to provide you with the best tools available that will help you organize, manage, and digest the facts presented in discovery so you can best serve your client and win your case.

Malware, Technology, Uncategorized

Phishing, Smishing and Vishing – Hackers are lurking

If you work online, you can get hacked.  No doubt about it.  If you’re not concerned, you should be.

Dan Bistany of BreezeIT is an IT guru who understands data security and working online and in the cloud.  With major data breaches at Yahoo and Equifax in 2017, with over 145.5 million customers affected, it was time to learn about how we can protect ourselves from ourselves and hackers.

First of all, how many email accounts do you have?  How many of you don’t delete unread emails?  Do you bank online? If so, how many bank accounts do you access?  How many of you shop online and use your credit card?  How many of you store your credit card with services like Netflix and Amazon? These are all opportunities for hackers to get your information.  With each email address, each login, each stored credit card site, you have increased your exposure exponentially.

So what is Phishing? Phishing is a suspicious email purporting to be sent by a reputable company requesting action.  Oftentimes, they’ll attach a link asking you to reveal or verify your personal information, credit card number, password, etc.

There are ways to verify a trusted vs. an untrusted email.

  1. Look at the email address of the sender to see if it’s legit
  2. Generic greeting instead of your name is key
  3. It’s asking to verify an account you might not even have
  4. Grammatical errors
  5. The email asking you to verify your email address
  6. Hover over the hyperlink in the email. Don’t click on it.  The hyperlink is very telling.  A bad link can redirect you to an untrustworthy site.
  7. If you question the email, call the source. Don’t call the number on the email.

Smishing, a/k/a SMS phishing, is conducted over your smart devices via short messaging service (SMS); i.e., texting and emails.  Click on the wrong link or attachment, and you can easily download a Trojan horse, malware, or virus.Smishing

How can you protect yourself?

  1. Don’t buy into urgent offers that need you to act immediately
  2. The IRS, credit card, or financial institution will never contact you via texting or emails.
  3. Check to see who is actually sending you info.
  4. Never store credit card or banking information on your smartphone.

The scary part about smishing is that we all use our devices to conduct business.  It’s unusual for us to have a work phone and a personal phone.  That being said, it’s much easier for hackers to infiltrate you and your company’s information.

Ever get a phone call from the IRS saying you owe $1,000 and if you don’t pay up you’ll be arrested? This is Vishing, scams over the phone.  Never give out any personal information over the phone. If they ask you to verify your email address, make them state your email address first.  Then verify.


Being proactive and downloading virus protection and malware software is a great way to start.  However, it may not be enough.  Some things that Dan recommended are:

  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Encrypt your hard drive. Windows 10 has Bitlocker which is free to use and helps protect information if stolen.  Locking your device with a password isn’t enough.  NOTE:  You cannot encrypt your HD and do realtime.
  • Security and awareness training

He also said:  Make a Plan.  If you ever get hacked, your first call should be to your lawyer.  There might be regulatory or security issues with the data breach. Call your IT administrator.  They would understand the forensics of the data breach.  Notify all affected parties of the breach.

Lastly, you might want to get cyber liability insurance.

Ransomware is a growing concern.  It’s a virus that blocks access to your computer and/or threatens to publish your personal data until a ransom is paid.  To pay off the hacker, Bitcoin is the currency to get you out of the jam because it can’t be traced. Hackers are getting very sophisticated.

Lastly, let’s talk about passwords.  How do you remember them?  Are they written on a slip of paper?  Excel spreadsheet?  In your contacts folder?  Again, this is another opportunity for hackers to get your information.  Dan suggested you find a good password manager like Dashlane or  1Password.  Let the App generate and store the passwords for you. Make sure you have a strong password to open the App, and just don’t forget it.  Next, sign up for two-factor authentication.  It’s a two-step verification tool that makes it more difficult for hackers to get into your accounts.  Apple and Google are two vendors of many who have this feature.  It may be a pain for you, but at the same time you’re limiting your exposure.  A little inconvenience can go a long way.

Being connected gives you access to a world of information.  It also gives hackers access to you.  Embrace the good and the bad that this digital age has to offer.  Be proactive and diligent in keeping your personal information safe.

legislation, Uncategorized

Insurers Dictating Use of Contracted Court Reporters is Against MA Law

Law firms who need to sever long-standing relationships with their court reporting agency of choice because an insurance company dictates who they must use is against the law.

According to M.G.L.C. 221, S. 91D(b), 

“Contracts entered into pursuant to the practice of court reporting, not related to a particular case or reporting incident, between a court reporter or any person with whom a court reporter has a principal and agency relationship and an attorney at law, party to an action, or party having a financial interest in an action shall be prohibited.”  

As a court reporting agency with over 50 years serving our clients in all areas of litigation, we are no longer surprised to get calls from counsel complaining about:

  • Use of court reporters they have no relationship with who can’t provide the services they’re familiar with
  • Hidden fees
  • Bundled bills with no itemization
  • Higher costs for opposing counsel

Don’t let insurance companies dictate who you use. Insist on trusted court reporters you have a long-standing relationship with. 

The Commissioner of Insurance, Gary Anderson, would like to hear your complaints. He may be reached at, or call 617-521-7794.