Explaining to young, new court reporters in Central Florida, that when I became a professional court reporter in Orlando in 1990, my first electric court reporting machine, dot matrix printer and computer-aided transcription equipment cost more than my car, looks of disbelief are prominent. We worked in DOS with the glare of flourescent green always looming. Carbon paper was the norm. Backups of transcripts were stored one job to a disk on 3.5 inch floppies. Storage boxes and storage boxes were stored in the garage housing miles and miles of paper notes. Our calendar was a big red book with every assignment literally penciled in.
We had no internet. When you needed to find the spelling of a restaurant in England, you actually went to the library and researched it. We had rows and rows of Yellow Pages from across the nation as reference guides. The PDR was our consummate late-night friend. When you were in unknown territory in Miami, Florida, lost, looking for a doctor’s office, you actually pulled over at a pay phone and called someone for directions to guide you in. You could drive in your car, inaccessible, listening to your favorite music for hours and hours.
There was no real-time court reporting. The only product we could offer a client was a paper transcript.
Legal videographers were recording on VHS tapes. Video editing involved a tape splicing machine.
Our Windows-based court reporting writer with Intel core processor can produce real-time feeds to attorneys across the country via the internet. We can provide audio-synced transcripts so clients can read AND hear the testimony provided. With the addition of digital video files and PDFs, we can also synch video to transcripts and hyperlink exhibits so clients can read, hear and see the testimony. Everything in one neat package. Transcripts can be emailed and shared in a nanosecond. The cell phone is now our consummate friend as it navigates us to depositions in California, New York, England, Iceland and Germany. SIRI is our new “ihelp desk” instead of the Orange County library. “Click,” “text,” “e-mail,” are minute-by-minute occurrences.
I don’t miss 1990, but I do miss one thing…. listening to music in my car uninterrupted for hours and hours.
We have come a long way, baby.
By: Paula Leeper, RPR, CLR
Milestone | Reporting Company