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Written by jjcourt  
26 Dec 2012

Reposted from the AAERT Blog website.

On a bookshelf in my office, I have a 4″ black binder with the letters AAERT scrawled vertically down the spine. Its contents are divided by colored tabs: AAERT, Board Minutes, 1994 Convention, Membership, Newsletters, Financials. The binder has sat on the shelf for over 18 years and been given very little attention except for an occasional dusting. Its creation at the time was of course dictated by the need to organize the growing number of documents I had been accumulating from my involvement in a new professional association.

The first item in the binder is a letter dated September 24, 1992 from Dennis Borlek and Connie Meadows (later Connie Rill, AAERT’s first President) soliciting membership to a new professional organization. This association is being founded to “establish and maintain professional standards, render legislative support…” and continues in the next paragraph with “the Association will provide a certification program…for reporters and transcribers.”

At the time, I was President of the fairly-new Certified Transcribers Association of NJ and saw the worth of a professional association promoting the above values on the national level. So, without any idea of what lay ahead, I sent Connie a two-page letter dated October 26, 1992. The letter concluded with “I would be willing to come out…and assist you with setting up this organization.” A year or so later, the original Incorporators, Connie Meadows, Janet Harris and Steve Townsend, asked if I would serve on the first Board of Directors.

Fast forward to November 2012. I sit at my office computer with my AAERT President’s hat on, a hat I had previously worn 13 years earlier, and I have been tasked with creating an article for the AAERT Blog. Thanks to the great work of our Strategic Task Force and our subsequent adoption of a new Strategic Plan, AAERT has identified a need to be more involved in the social media arena as a way to better connect and communicate with our members and the industry as a whole. As a result, AAERT now has Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and WordPress pages.

As I typed the last paragraph and looked over at that dusty black binder, I could not believe what has transpired in just 20 years. In 1992, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn were at least a decade or more away and social media described a cocktail party of newspaper journalists. My first e-mail address contained only numbers, 75223.1764@compuserve.com. Reel-to-reel recordings were replaced with audiotape cassettes in the analog age. We now have moved to the digital age where court audio and transcripts are routinely sent through the internet.

As an association, we have grown and adapted to these changes and our growth has been nothing short of phenomenal. Tasks handled by committees of one now need committees of many, not to mention an Executive Director and his staff. And with all of this growth, AAERT has held true to the promise it made to me in the letter I received in September of 1992. And I am certainly most proud of our certification program as I had a hand in bringing that to fruition and I consider it the greatest asset offered by AAERT.

About the author: Jim Bowen is the Vice President of J & J Court Transcribers, Inc located in Hamilton, New Jersey. Jim has been a long-time active member of the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers (AAERT) and currently holds the role of President of the organization. Born and raised in Hamilton, New Jersey Jim spends his downtime playing and watching his favorite sport, soccer.

Posted in Blog  

Reposted from STATELINE, The Daily News Service of The Pew Center on the States

By Maggie Clark, Staff Writer

In his novel David Copperfield, Charles Dickens describes the difficulty of learning "the noble art and mystery of stenography." Dickens wrote from experience: Before becoming a novelist, he worked as a court stenographer. People have practiced the "noble art" for millennia, from the Ancient Greeks to the actor Harvey Keitel, who worked as a court reporter before launching his acting career.

But 162 years after Dickens published his classic novel, a shrinking number of U.S. courts rely solely on human beings to record legal proceedings. In an era of tight budgets, courts in all 50 states have replaced court stenographers, many of whom can type more than 250 words per minute, with digital recording systems. These systems range from simple tape recorders to multiple-camera, motion-sensitive systems.

Undoubtedly, digital recording saves money. For instance, a salaried New Jersey stenographer will cost a court between $50,000 and $60,000 per year, says Jeff Newman, deputy clerk for New Jersey's Office of Reporting Services, as opposed to a $5,000 per year cost to set up and maintain digital recording equipment.

In Kentucky, video recordings of court proceedings have served as the official court record for 30 years, ever since judges wanted to take back control of the record during a stenographers' strike. But Kentucky's experience also demonstrates that relying entirely on digital recording can be risky: In 2010, a judge in Jefferson County had to rehear a murder case after the court's digital recording system malfunctioned.

Cost-cutting measures
While there surely are non-fiscal benefits to digital systems, like speeding up the time it takes to certify the record, a desire to save money is the primary reason courts move away from in-person court reporters.

In 2009, Utah shifted all transcription to private transcribers and created a web-based system where reporters could access all the audio and video files of the court proceedings online. "The impetus for this change," wrote Utah State Court Administrator Daniel Becker in an article about Utah's reengineering, "was...a result of budget reductions." Since the transition, Utah has saved more than $1.3 million, eliminated nearly 50 full-time positions and cut the time from transcript request to delivery from an average of 138 days to 12 days for cases not on appeal.

Similarly, in California, the state Legislative Analyst's Office recommended in a 2011-2012 policy brief that the state courts could save $113 million if every court used electronic court reporting. San Francisco Superior Court installed audio recording equipment to replace court reporters in misdemeanor and traffic trials earlier this year and expects to save $1.5 million in ongoing salary savings following the layoffs of 29 court reporters, says Ann Donlan, communications director for the court.

Maintaining control
In addition to cost, many courts have moved away from human stenographers because they want to maintain ownership of the court record. In fact, it was this tension that led to the first digital recording system in Kentucky more than 30 years ago, says Kurt Maddox, known as the "chief evangelist" of video court recordings at Louisville, Kentucky-based Jefferson Audio Visual Solutions.

"If (the stenographer) didn't show up, you couldn't have court," Maddox says, "and from a process point of view, you can see how judges weren't too keen on having others control the workflow of the court." Over time, Kentucky expanded video recording systems to every court in the state, making it the only state to completely abandon stenography.

Posted in Blog  

Maine.Gov Logo
Reposted from the State of Maine Judicial Branch website.

Proceedings in many of Maine's courtrooms are recorded using a digital or analog recording system, which may be on at all times. This technology creates a verbatim record without the use of a court reporter. The following practice tips are intended to help you make a clear recording of your proceeding, which is vital to the parties and judges if there are subsequent proceedings.

  • Upon speaking for the first time, identify yourself for the record. Spell your name and state whom you represent. This is important even if the other people in the courtroom know who you are. The person transcribing the record may not be familiar with particular attorneys or parties.

  • Give the clerk the correct spellings of unusual or technical names and vocabulary or words used by you or your witnesses that are frequently misunderstood, when known.

  • Speak clearly and audibly.

  • Only one person should speak at a time.

  • Avoid making noises when people are talking--coin jingling and paper riffling can be picked up and will cover up voices. Be sure that your cell phone or PDA is off in the courtroom.

  • Avoid talking when there is noise---wait until the courtroom is quiet to begin speaking.

  • The recording system can only pick up verbally spoken words. Avoid "uh huh" and gestures. Be sure that verbal responses are elicited from all witnesses.

  • When reading from a document, read slowly and clearly.

  • Avoid making any statements you do not want recorded. Use the mute button (if available) during client consultation; be sure the microphone is turned back on before speaking for the record.

  • Remain within arm's reach of a microphone at all times when speaking.

  • Avoid tapping on or striking the table or microphone.

  • To request a play-back of particular testimony or argument, the clerk will need to find the requested testimony without a printed record. If you know the approximate time when the pertinent statements were recorded, please tell the clerk.

  • When at sidebar, speak one at a time directly into the sidebar microphone. When a sidebar conference is to be on the record, attorneys should not whisper. The microphones in use in, although quite sensitive, have an initial threshold for sound, just as the human ear does.

Written by jjcourt  
20 Jun 2012

Reposted from the AAERT Blog website.

Wondering what American Association of Electronic Reporters & Transcribers conferences are all about? Most importantly are you wondering if they are for you? With 19 years of conference experience we have narrowed it down to these 4 reasons why you should make attending an AAERT conference your top professional priority:

  1. Sessions: AAERT's mission is to provide top-level education for professionals engaged in digital reporting, transcribing, and associated roles. Regardless of your professional role in the industry, when you attend AAERT conferences you will be provided with interesting and useful educational sessions to help further support your professional growth.

  2. Speakers: Attending AAERT conferences will also provide you with access to our hand-picked experts who will provide industry-related education and support that will help further aide in your professional success. From Court Administrative Experts to Social Media Experts, the AAERT Planning Board diligently works to provide you with an enriched and rewarding industry experience.

  3. Network: Attending AAERT conferences will help build your industry-related network, promote peer exchange of ideas, provide you with real-life scenarios and team building exercises that will promote professional growth.

  4. Enjoyment: Our nationwide conferences are designed to provide you with an educational experience but still allow you time to unwind and enjoy time with your friends and colleagues in our featured cities. From Las Vegas to Florida, Pennsylvania, California and beyond, stay up to date on upcoming AAERT conferences and events coming to a city near you.

Questions about AAERT conferences or certification? Leave us a note, join any or all of our social forums, or contact us directly. We look forward to hearing from you: (302)-475-2173.





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Federal Transcript Rates

Transcript Fee Rates - All Parties Per Page

Transcript Order Type Original First Copy to Each Party Each Add'l Copy to the Same Party

Ordinary Transcript (30 day)
A transcript to be delivered within thirty (30) calendar days after receipt of an order.




14-Day Transcript
A transcript to be delivered within fourteen (14) calendar days after receipt of an order.




Expedited Transcript (7 day)
A transcript to be delivered within seven (7) calendar days after receipt of an order.




Daily Transcript
A transcript to be delivered by the end of the next business day.




Hourly Transcript
A transcript to be delivered by the end of the current business day.





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NJ Courts Transcript Rates

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Transcript Fee Rates - All Parties Per Page

Transcript Order Type

Original Rate Copy Rate

Ordinary Transcript (30 day)
A transcript to be delivered within thirty (30) calendar days after receipt of an order.

$3.97 $0.66

Expedited Transcript (7 day)
A transcript to be delivered within seven (7) calendar days after receipt of an order.

$5.96 $0.99

Daily Transcript (24 hour)
A transcript to be delivered by the end of the next business day after receipt of order.

$7.94 $1.32

Effective July 1, 2010


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