No doubt about it, there's a high-tech solution for nearly everything these days. And if Texas Representative Jeff Leach's House Bill 1989 passes, there will be a high-tech solution to the challenges of in-person process serving. Say hello to #YouJustGotServed on Twitter and its Facebook, Google+ and other social media cousins. The gist of HB 1989 is that the state, or a private plaintiff, can legally serve notice on a defendant by sending that notice electronically to a social media site proven to be used regularly by the defendant.

Last week we saw the demise of the pen in court reporting and the introduction of a cross between a jet pilot's mask and Darth Vader with the introduction of the Stenomask. We're wrapping up our four-part series on the history of court reporting with civil rights, legislation, and the power of voice recognition.

The founders of the National Shorthand Reporters Association might be surprised to see the far-reaching importance of their words, "No stenographic creed is to be especially honored or recognized; the rituals of all systems are to have equal force and control." The first half of the twentieth century proved just how right they were.

Last week we saw how Tiro's ingenuity in creating a method to keep up with Cicero's dictation gave birth to shorthand, the basis for court reporting. Hundreds of years and many versions later, an English system based on the alphabet was heralded as a great convenience. This week, we'll see how shorthand had an impact on literary history, the system's further evolution, and its journey to the United States.

Court reporting has a long and varied history of almost 2,100 years. Over the next four weeks, we'll take a look at how this timeless profession developed. While the skills involved weren't always known as court reporting, they were nevertheless valued in the early legal system.

The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) unveiled a fun and educational interactive game. Courting Disaster puts players in the starring role (as themselves) in a series of courtroom dramas.

During a time when the future of live court reporting - as opposed to digital recording – seems bleak, a shining ray of good news breaks through the clouds. On April 22nd,, a national career website, announced its “Best Jobs of 2013” list. CareerCast judges each of the jobs on their list by four criteria: environment, income, outlook, and stress. It also uses data from the U.S. Department of Labor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Losing vital staff members is certainly no friend of the court. As it turns out, it’s no friend to the lawyers who make their living in those courtrooms, either. In addition to delays and forced settlements, lawyers are now facing the fact that they must pay for their own court reporters. Depending on the law practice, this may also mean increased fees for the clients.

No one in the field is unaware of the rash of budget cuts hitting the judicial system. Many states are closing courtrooms and laying off staff at an alarming rate. In fact, some jurisdictions employ court reporters only for criminal trials and certain civil matters. This has had a devastating impact on court reporters, judges, and attorneys; but, what of the clients? Apparently, clients in the legal system are feeling their fair share of the pain, too.

Using a timeline in opening statements and other stages of a court trial have become standard procedure for many attorneys, but there are many that are simply not doing it right. The most common application of these timelines is to develop a single graphic that needs to be thoroughly explained to be understood. The problem is that these timelines are static and the large amount of information present can be difficult to understand and can greatly diminish the importance of each data point if not explained properly. Fortunately, there is a better way of using a timeline in a courtroom.


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