Boston Court Reporters
Sign up now to receive Amicus Advocati by email  ►

675 Massachusetts Avenue

On behalf of all of us at Boston Court Reporters, a heart-felt thank you for the positive feedback we received after we posted the first issue of Amicus Advocati.

Your words of encouragement make us want to do better. 

In that first issue (archived at our website www.bostonreporters.com) the main topic of discussion in Industry Viewpoint was the state of the legal profession and what BCR could bring to the table in our own specific response to some of the recommendations made by the Massachusetts Bar Association Task Force Report on law, the economy, and underemployment. 

Following up on one recommendation from that Task Force Report, Boston Court Reporters extended an invitation to three affinity law associations — the Boston Lawyers Group, the Asian American Lawyers Association of Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts LGBTQ Bar Association — to use our conference room for a meeting or event.

With our location in Cambridge’s Central Square, we’re just steps away from the many culinary and entertainment venues that make the square a popular destination. If you’re a member of an affinity organization and your group could benefit from a donation of conference room space, feel free to drop us a note.

Times are tough for the legal profession (see BlogSay in this issue). No doubt the decade following the great recession will enter the history books as a momentous time for all of us, whether lawyers, paralegals, or court reporting firms. 

In the legal reporting and videography business, the economic downturn — coupled with the ongoing impact of technology change — means a shortage of traditional court stenographers. Boston Court Reporters is committed to making certain that both E-Reporters and traditional stenographers deliver the deposition coverage you need.

We deliver an affordable product in lean times. 

Finally, in the waning days of this past summer, BCR was happy to present Attorney Ian Keefe of the Law Offices of Samuel Goldberg with a pair of tickets to the Boston Red Sox vs. the Baltimore Orioles in a late season match-up on September 18, 2013. Those tickets were the prize in our first ever giveaway contest for new and long-standing customers.

Wishing you a happy and prosperous new year,

Buchanan Ewing

Boston Court Reporters 

In TechNews we share stories that pique our interest.

Here is where we share the stuff and stories that interest us as providers of audio and video digital court reporting and transcription services. We’re always keeping an eye out for innovations that benefit us all.

Whether networking, partnering, or communicating, our primary interest is bringing the very best of technology to the practice of law. As we continue to grow our business, TechNews is where we share the latest trends, ideas and cultural game changers with you, our customers.

Think of TechNews as news-you-can-use.

Are you a blogger with a tech focus, either writing about new products or about the impact of technology on the practice of law? Then send us a link to your site. We also welcome your recommendations for technology news to share with our readers.

Bāb-Ē talk, or Data? I just meta

From the land down under, blogger Kylie Petersen helps lawyers confront “the tyranny of technological language.” Her cheat sheet of E-discovery terms is a good primer in the most basic E-discovery language. 

I Really Don’t Know Clouds at All

From the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center, a webinar on cloud computing, and a review of software for the immigration practitioner courtesy of the ABA Solo, Small Firm, and General Practice Division.

And once you’re up in the clouds, a how-to on sitting straight and flying right from Microsoft on ergonomics and healthy computing, where you can get a refresher and some new info on products that can help you sit for less (stress). 

The Legal iPad (made simple)

“For many lawyers” writes Tom Mighell, “the iPad has replaced the traditional legal pad, both in and out of the courtroom.” Mighell’s popular book is out in a second edition.

Mal Prevent

Your laptop and desktop PC are the tools of the trade in the 21st century, but most of us still don’t trust our tech savvy in performing the simplest maintenance tasks. PC World’s Eric Geier offers-up a how-to to fight pesky malware and “clean and secure your browser like a pro.” 

Back to top

Not all blogs are created equal. The number of active blogs on law grows every day. By one estimate, there are over 5,300 active blogs, podcasts, and newsfeeds on lawyers and the practice of law.

In BlogSay, we cull content from the blogosphere on legal culture, recent legal decisions, the practice of law, and the life of the lawyer. In BlogSay we share news-that-can-amuse, as well as educate, irritate, outrage, and maybe even inspire.

Have you read a noteworthy blog and want to share it with your colleagues? Send us an email.

One man’s trash is one woman’s treasure.

The Center for Computer Assisted Legal Education (CALI), “advances global legal education through computer technology, employs research, collaboration, and leadership to assist a diverse audience in the effective use of this technology in legal education, and promotes access to justice through the use of computer technology.”  Sarah Glassmeyer, Director of Content Development at CALI “ would like to start collecting our shared legal technology history before it all ends up in dumpsters.” Contact her if you have “things like old Lexis/Westlaw manuals, instructions on how to use antiquated systems, old UBIQ terminals” et cetera.

Homework

US News and World Report is just one of many sources that over the last few years have reported on the economic bottom-line benefits of telecommuting.

Still, old habits die hard and many folks remain under the impression that being “at work” means “working.” But as this graphic shows, “work” the noun and “work” the verb are not one-in-the-same, especially around the water cooler, a.k.a. the original social network.

And for current and future telecommuting lawyers whose virtual office might include a local java hut, Loyola Law New Orleans Professor Dane Ciolino offers a recent decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on the ethics of public Wi-Fi.

What Say Ye (Not)

Founder and CEO of A2L Consulting, blogger Ken Lopez is a guy who likes numbers. And why shouldn’t he? With litigation consulting, jury consulting, trial graphics, and trial technology services translating into “favorable decisions in cases worth cumulatively more than $2 trillion,” Lopez’s 7 Things You Never Want to Say in Court and 21 Ingenious Ways to Research Your Judge are worth the read.

Pop! Goes the Legal

Massachusetts and Rhode Island are the state-by-state loss leaders for the decline in the number of practicing lawyers in the United States. That’s the bad news. And what’s the worse news? Well, at least for law schools the worse news is that they continue lose money as enrollments decline. 

For potential law students, blogger Vivia Chen puts her usual spin on the situation, making lemonade out of the withering legal lemons, and Alan Dershowitz (and others) offer-up their own fixes to the changing legal landscape. 

When the Bite is Worse than the Bark 

Does it ever rain cats and dogs? Sometimes. Is dog bite litigation a rainmaker worth exploring? Definitely. “People can suffer serious injuries from dog bites, leaving children and adults with physical and even emotional trauma.”Legaltalknetwork.com presents a podcast on dog bite injuries and the use of structured settlements in dog bite injury cases.

He’s not Gonna like the Way You Look, Especially if you Don’t Dry Clean it…

From Bloomberg Law via YouTube comes 10 Tips on Business Casual Attire. “After seeing his colleagues roll their eyes at some of the business casual outfits associates wore, the office managing partner of a major national law took matters into his own hands. He provided a list of tips to the male attorneys in his office about what business casual really means.”

As Not Seen on TV

Harvard Law graduate and current doctoral candidate in English literature Seth Abramson offers some thoughtful commentary on the imagined and real criminal justice system in America.

Pledge Now, Or Another Downton Abbey Character Dies!

“Hollywood Reporter” blogger Eriq Gardner brought this Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling to our attention. In sum writes Gardner, the court “ruled that Congress didn’t cross the First Amendment line in adopting a ban on for-profit goods and services advertising on public television.” For all of you who can’t get enough of Hollywood but yearn for a take on tinsel town that appeals to your lawyerly interests, Gardner Tweets at @eriqgardner.

Studies in Evil

The court artist Arthur Lien has “been sketching the courts since 1976.” The drawings, Victims Speaking at Bulger Sentencing are available for purchase.

For our readers who represent victims of violence, these drawings are a reminder of why it is you do what you do.

A picture says a thousand words, but with drawings titled “We feel robbed everyday” and “The healing can begin. The nightmare is over. The pain stops here” we get a lot more. 

Back to top

Lawyers on the Silver Screen is our recommendation of a film about lawyers and the practice of law. 

Legendary Hollywood writer and director Billy Wilder’s The Fortune Cookie (1966) is notable for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it’s the first screen collaboration between actors Walter Mattheau and Jack Lemmon. The two actors would co-star in 10 feature films including the screen adaptation of Neil Simon’s Broadway play, The Odd Couple (1968).

The Fortune Cookie is also notable for its on-location shooting at a Minnesota Vikings/Cleveland Browns match-up on October 31, 1965. Requiring over 10,000 extras (including the football team from Ohio’s Kent State University), it was the largest extras call in cinematic history at the time.

The movie is also noteworthy for its cinematography. The Fortune Cookie is certainly the comic romp that film critic Vincent Canby said was “peopled with dropouts from the Great Society,” but what makes it oddly pleasing to our critical sensibilities is how comedy is conveyed through cynical irony by filming in the same widescreen black and white that Wilder used in Double Indemnity (1944) and Sunset Boulevard (1950), his two masterpieces of film noir. 

In The Fortune Cookie Willie “Whiplash” Gingrich (Mattheau) is the kind of lawyer who “could find a loophole in the Ten Commandments.” With that skill-set it’s no surprise that the firm of O’Brien, Thomas, and Kinkaid decides to hire a private investigator to surveille Gingrich’s client (who also happens to be Gingrich’s brother-in-law) Harry Hinkle (Lemmon), a C.B.S. cameraman who suffers a concussion when a Cleveland Browns linebacker goes out of bounds and takes down Hinkle at the sideline.

For us, what makes The Fortune Cookie a notable movie is the cat and mouse game played between Mattheau’s character and private investigator Chester Purkey (actor Cliff Osmond).

Purkey is certain that Hinkle is feigning injury, and by convincing plaintiff’s lawyers on the value of his  firms “Gemini Plan” — two investigators, round-the-clock-surveillance, hidden microphones, and wire tapping — Purkey assures the lawyers that he’ll catch Hinkle’s fraud in “Technicolor” and save the insurance company millions.

In The Fortune Cookie, film is a tool of the defendant. Today you are more often to see a video of a day in the life of the plaintiff documenting the impact of an injury.

For more information on Activities of Daily Living and Settlement Documentaries as powerful tools in personal injury law click here to access our glossary of Digital Court Reporting Terms.

Back to top
Leo Cullum, The New Yorker, 1999

Amicus Advocati is read by over 1,000 lawyers and paralegals in Massachusetts. In our commitment to deliver state-of-the-art digital court reporting technology to lawyers, one thing remains constant: the importance of the expert witness in pre-trial discovery. The expert witness can make or break a case. Their expertise is a key component in litigation.

If you know an expert witness we can profile in Amicus Advocati, drop us a line

In the meantime, Ken Broda-Bahm, litigation consultant at Persuasion Strategies offers some advice on the economy of vocabulary in explaining complex ideas to the cognitively overloaded average juror. 

Back to top
A roadside oxymoron

Know ifs, ands, or buts?

According to the Massachusetts Bar Association, “Among the most challenging skills for a new lawyer is the art of contract drafting and persuasive wrtiting.” Are you a grammarian bar none? Are you a master of the contract language universe? Contact us with your own tried and true rules on legal writing and we’ll give you a forum to reach hundreds of young lawyers who’ll benefit from your help!

For now, and with props to Napoleon Bonaparte who famously said that “Every French soldier carries a marshal’s baton in his knapsack,” blogger Alex Craigie offers a hyperbaton (i.e. an anastrophe) for your legal toolkit as part of his “Four Rhetorical Figures That Will Enliven Your Legal Writing.”

While Cragie might not make you a Learned Hand, his learned hand offers some nice examples to help “elevate good writing into great writing.”

Back to top
Photo by Brian Allen courtesy of the General Services Admnistration

United States Federal Building and Courthouse, Anchorage Alaska

With construction commencing almost two decades before Alaska became the forty-ninth state, the Federal Building and Courthouse in Anchorage represented the federal government’s commitment to the economic progress and development of the territory. 

Definitively modern in its absence of classical adornment, architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood designed a utilitarian building to house every federal agency with an office in Anchorage. Building construction commenced in 1939, but even before completion in 1940 it was clear that the building would not be large enough to accommodate all of the federal agencies in Anchorage. An addition was completed in 1941. Following congressional organization of the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska, a court facilities addition was completed in 1958. 

The U.S. General Services Administration historic buildings survey notes that “the most significant interior space” of an otherwise unornamented building “is the original federal district courtroom” which “features an oil-on-canvas mural titled Alaskan Landscape.” 

It was in this courtroom in 1977 that U.S. District Court Judge Raymond Plummer ruled on the admissibility of plaintiff’s “certain motion pictures” in Grimes v. Employers Mutual Liability Insurance Company. The Grimes decision established an authentication standard for the admissibility of film and video, ruling that the deposition of filmmaker Robert Stern was sufficient verification that the film was not rehearsed, that no special camera effects were used, that the film was not edited, and that the film accurately portrayed what Stern observed while making the film. 

Almost four decades later, the Grimes decision remains a watershed in the growth of legal video in the United States.

Back to top

An E-reporting deposition is recorded by a professional reporter trained in using software specifically designed for taking depositions. Boston Court Reporters provides you with an MP3 audio copy you can listen to and a “discovery video” you can review right at the end of the deposition.  

When was the last time you were able to review a certified deposition while commuting to work? E-reporting is a legal process that redefines the billable hour. It’s immediate, it’s convenient, and you can take it anywhere.

Give us a call for a demonstration

Back to top

Amicus Advocati™ is a trademark of American Trans Media, LLC.