Midwest Litigation Services | Nationwide Court Reporting and Video Services | St Louis Missouri

Midwest Litigation Services Launches Dollars for Depositions Program

Midwest Litigation Services announces the Dollars for Depositions program, which will provide up to $21,000 in funding for deposition services for the Missouri Coalition for the Right to Counsel (MCRC), a non-profit partnership that allows young attorneys to gain case and trial experience by taking on cases from the public defender’s office on a volunteer basis, thus helping to ease their caseload.

“After learning about the important work that MCRC is doing – a private-public partnership bringing swifter justice to the indigent – it was an easy decision to join many of our partner law firms in supporting their efforts,” said Debbie Weaver, President of Midwest Litigation Services.

The Missouri public defender’s office last year saw a 12 percent increase in cases to 82,000. MCRC was launched earlier this year to help ease that case load, and founders believe it could make a significant impact in the future, potentially creating a model for other states facing similar challenges.

“I was astonished to learn that the Missouri public defender’s office ranks 49 out of 50 states in terms of funding per case, and with such tight budgets, public defenders are only able to depose four percent of cases and take only one percent to trial. We are committed to being part of the effort that changes that,” Weaver said.

As part of MCRC efforts, the Missouri State Public Defender’s office has trained 100 volunteer lawyers to date. Currently, 52 active cases from the public defender’s office have been assigned and accepted by MCRC volunteers, each of which is eligible to take advantage of the Dollars for Depositions program.

“This Dollars for Depositions program is not only exceedingly generous, it also validates that our volunteers are doing important work and others, like Midwest, are out there to back them up as they represent the indigent defendant on the front lines of the justice system,” said Richard Scherrer, chair and co-founder of MCRC.

In addition to the scheduling and coordination provided by Midwest Litigation’s internal staff, many of the independent court reporters and videographers in their network have pledged support as well.

“We believe everyone deserves access to a good defense. If you’re assigned a public defender, it shouldn’t be limited because the state doesn’t have the budget,” said Weaver. “We know how important the discovery process is to building a strong case, which is why we are supporting this program with deposition services.”

Midwest Litigation Services is excited to announce the hiring of our new Account Manager, Jessica Thompson

Midwest Litigation Services is excited to announce the hiring of our newAccount Manager, Jessica Thompson.  Our Little Rock office has experienced tremendous growth and we are so grateful to our clients.  In response, and to better serve their needs, we will soon be moving to a larger facility and have added Jessica to the Midwest team.

Jessica looks forward to applying her past legal and marketing experiences as well as her eight years of proudly serving in the U.S. Marine Corps to continue to drive our client growth.

An Inside Look At Court Reporting

Everyone has watched a TV show or movie that showed a person sitting in the courtroom, silently typing away. And we’ve all wondered, what in the world are they doing? Midwest Litigation Services, which specializes in court reporting and video services, is here to answer that exact question and more.In honor of National Court Reporting and Captioning week, Midwest Litigation Services gathered numerous questions that people had about court reporters and their field. These questions were then answered by real-life court reporters using their personal experiences.

What do court reporters do on a day-to-day basis?

Tammie:

On a day-to-day basis, court reporters serve as human recorders of every word said in a room by every person, verbatim; we are the human playbacks of those words when someone needs a question/answer or other testimony read back immediately; we are the watchdog of the exhibits, keeping track of numbering them, and making sure everyone knows where they are at the end of the day; we are the referee of making sure everyone take turns speaking one at a time; we are like the best waiter/waitress at the finest restaurant in town, informing our customers what services we offer, taking orders, getting names, addresses, etc., always providing an impeccable experience of legal assistance in a friendly and professional manner.

What do you think is the most common misconception people have about court reporters?

Tammie:

Contrary to popular belief, we DO NOT have symbols that look like Gregg Shorthand on our machines!

Sheryl:

The biggest misconception I find is that people not in the business always seem to think I go into court all day and it’s just like TV. Couldn’t be farther from what I really do. I take depositions typically in an attorney’s office, sometimes a hospital or doctor’s office. Heck, I even went to a peach peeling facility once in Central Mexico. Our client took me shopping in one of the largest shoe shops in the world. While in New York City taking a depo, we wound down at night at Times Square taking a horse-drawn carriage ride. So it’s a little different than the court reporters on TV.

Nancy:

I think the biggest misconception people have about court reporters is that they employ a quaint but antiquated method of recording the spoken word. Back in 1978, as I was nearing completion of court reporting school, my father sent me a Wall Street Journal article stating that videographers were going to replace court reporters in the “near future.” Granted, the original version of today’s steno machine was patented in 1911. Yet despite all the advances in both videography and voice-recognition software over the 40 years since that WSJ article appeared, there is still simply no other technology that can match the unique ability of the human brain to decipher foreign accents or differentiate the words of multiple people speaking simultaneously. Some cite the development of digital audio recording as a superior means, but without human intervention, if a recorded utterance is found to be inaudible or indiscernible after the fact, it’s too late to ask someone to repeat or clarify what was said. There have been many examples over the years where, due to audio recording system breakdowns or human error in system operation, a trial recording was lost and the case had to be retried, at great expense to all involved and at the cost of justice delayed. Unfortunately, because of such misconceptions, there is a growing shortage of court reporters today. Far too few people are aware that developing the skills to manually report speech at 225 or more words per minute on “that little machine” can be a fascinating and lucrative career option for intelligent and motivated students. The National Court Reporters Association’s www.crtakenote.com website cites the growing need for this skill.

Another misconception is that court reporters only report testimony in the courtroom. Deposition reporters are actually far more numerous, enjoying great flexibility with their hours and a wide variety of cases. In addition, TV broadcast captioners can work from home, and reporters who provide communication access realtime (instantaneous translation of the spoken word onto a computer screen) enable deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals to fully participate in schools, trainings, conferences and other venues. In short, court reporting is one of the best-kept career secrets out there. It’s not only among the most interesting jobs in the world but also one that can provide a handsome living to those with well-developed skills and a superior work ethic…and it doesn’t require a 4-year college degree.

What is the best part of your job?

Sheryl:

I think the best part of my job is the diversity. I don’t go to the same place day after day. I work with so many different people and have developed friendships with people I would have never thought possible. The flexibility is also very nice. Being able to make appointments or hang out with my family and being able to adjust my schedule is a great thing.

Nancy:

Getting to travel to unique places and meet interesting people. I probably have hundreds of stories that would provide great examples of this, but two specifically come to mind. The first was one job that allowed me to fly to Texas to take statements in the investigation of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. I went to both the Johnson Space Center and to the University of Texas at Austin to report interviews with scientists involved in the design and launch of the shuttle. I felt like a witness to history in the making. The second, and by far one of the weirdest jobs in my career, took place at a bull auction. It was a standard auction, but with some very unique items ranging from bulls to actual bull…well, semen.

What was your favorite moment on the job?

Tammie:

I think any court reporter could write a book on their experiences as a court reporter. Our job is pretty hilarious at times. So while I cannot come up with a favorite moment, I can say some more memorable things have been an attorney asking and answering questions TO HIMSELF for an hour; a witness vomiting on my machine claiming she was having a heart attack because she didn’t want to be deposed; while in a filthy home, having kittens climbing up the leg of my pant suit and a 3-year-old child climbing on my back DURING the deposition. And that is only the short version of just a couple of stories you would find in my book!

Nancy:

I had the amazing opportunity to work as one of the court reporters for Pope John Paul II’s visit to St. Louis in 1999. It was an incredible event that brought worldwide attention, including mass media coverage. Former President Clinton as well as Vice-President Gore and their wives were in attendance. The venues included the airport, outdoor plazas, and several huge auditoriums. But even though the terminology and accents were challenging and the security was exceptionally tight, it was a once-in-a-lifetime professional experience.

What was your least favorite experience on the job?

Nancy:

I reported a lot of night hearings, mostly planning and zoning boards. While I found the subject matter generally very interesting, the sometimes contentious nature of the proceedings made these jobs really difficult. For the more unpopular agenda items, NIMBYs (“Not in my backyard!”) would show up in droves. I once reported a hearing on a petition for a medical waste incinerator that was held in the local junior high school auditorium to accommodate the size of the crowd. I was seated on the stage with the attorney representing the petitioner and an engineering witness, while the audience was full of chanting protesters. Because of the noise from the crowd, the questioning attorney had to cup his hands to his mouth and yell at the top of his lungs, “PLEASE STATE YOUR NAME FOR THE RECORD,” and the witness would yell loudly in response. Good Times. It got to the point where I could judge the difficulty of a hearing simply by the number of cars in the parking lot when I arrived.

Why did you become a court reporter?

Tammie:

I was a single mother, and I needed a career that would allow me to provide a nice means of support for my young family, as well as be flexible so I didn’t have to miss out on being a parent; raised two children and never had to miss a field trip or send a sick child to school.

Nancy:

I graduated from college with a social science degree and found myself in a low-paying job that I really did not care for. I had played piano as a child, so a friend of mine said, “Oh, you’re manually dexterous. You should become a court reporter. It’s really easy, and they make a lot of money!” I figured I could hate another job for more money, so I looked into it and found the prospect of learning how to use the steno machine and working in the legal environment really interesting. I eventually quit my job and attended reporting school full time. Becoming a court reporter was NOT “really easy”…in fact, it was not easy at all. The dropout rate is north of 95%, and there were times when I wanted to just give up, because the skill and speed were so difficult to attain. But I kept at it and persevered and eventually ended up in what I think is the most fascinating job on the planet. On any given day, you can report anything from a mundane slip-and-fall to the words of a celebrity or world leader. And for those reporters with realtime skills and a superior work ethic, the profession can be very lucrative indeed!

Do you think there will be an increase in career opportunities for court reporters?

Tammie:

Our legal system is an integral part of the foundation of our country. There will always be a need for judges, there will always be a need for lawyers, and there will always be a need for court reporters. I definitely believe there is and will always be an increase in career opportunities for court reporters. I think by the sheer nature of more people in the world, more issues arise that need legal interpretation/proceedings, more of everyone working in the legal system. Some people question whether technology will ever fill the role of a court reporter. I firmly believe there is no better “machine” for our job than a human! Siri, Alexa, and computer voice recognition systems WILL NEVER take our jobs! To name a few human-only capabilities, those systems cannot distinguish speakers with more than one person talking at a time (which happens at least a little almost every day in a deposition setting), they cannot read back from ten minutes ago when the witness said the word “procrastinate” in his answer, those systems cannot put into writing slang and words that people make up that aren’t part of the human language; those systems aren’t able to only hear words when someone sneezes or coughs at the same time as someone else is speaking. So technology will continue to make us more proficient at our jobs, but will never replace us.

Midwest Litigation Services is Pleased to Announce Two Promotions to Director

Midwest Litigation Services is Pleased to Announce Two Promotions to Director

In light of continuous company growth, Midwest Litigation Services (MLS), a court reporting and legal services provider based in St. Louis, MO, is pleased to announce the promotion of Mark Ward and Carrie Lewis.
Mark Ward has been promoted to Director of Operations. Mark joined MLS in 2013. Prior to that, he spent 5 years as a practicing attorney, and over 20 years in law firms and services industry management. Mark earned his J.D. in 1991 from St. Louis University.  In addition to overseeing the operations of the company, including the IT group, Mark’s duties have expanded to include key input into MLS’ growth strategy.
Carrie Lewis has been promoted to the Director of Finance. She joined MLS in 2015, with over 24 years of financial experience coupled with 13 years in management. Carrie has a B.S. in Accounting.  Carrie now oversees the Billing and Accounts Receivable Departments, in addition to Accounting.
“We’re thrilled to have Mark and Carrie take on greater leadership roles within the company,” said Debbie Weaver, MLS President.  “Their unique and considerable talents make them each very valuable contributors to the continued growth and success of MLS.”

Midwest Litigation Services is Excited to Welcome New Director of Business Development

mls-kristianrobertMidwest Litigation Services is very excited to welcome our new Director of Business Development, Kristian Robert, to the Midwest team. He is ready to use his distinguished skills and background to assist our clients.

Kristian has spent the past 14 years in sales, with much of that time at Fortune 500 organizations. His overall goal is to align Midwest’s services to the needs of customers and to earn their business through trust, integrity, commitment, and competence.

 

Nancy Hopp Inducted as Fellow of Academy of Professional Reporters and Chairman of National Court Reporters Foundation

Midwest Litigation Services’ Chief Operating Officer, Nancy Hopp, was inducted as a Fellow of the Academy of Professional Reporters and was also installed as Chairman of the National Court Reporters Foundation at the National Court Reporters Convention and Expo held in Chicago August 4th-7th.

 

In bestowing the Fellowship to Hopp, Tiva Wood, National Court Reporters Association President, stated that, “This professional distinction is conferred upon a person of outstanding and extraordinary qualifications and experience in the field of shorthand reporting.”

Hopp was also installed for a three-year term as chairman of the National Court Reporters Foundation, where she will direct fundraising efforts in support of the Foundation’s philanthropic programs, such as the Veterans History Project and student scholarships.

 

Debbie Weaver, President of Midwest Litigation Services, said, “Nancy is an inspiration to me, and to all those in the reporting profession, as a leader and an educator. NCRA’s mission to promote excellence among those who convert the spoken word to text and to support members in achieving professional expertise is faithfully upheld by Nancy.”

Midwest Litigation Services is Pleased to Announce the Acquisition of Flynn Legal Services

Midwest Litigation Services is pleased to announce, effective September 1, 2016, the acquisition of Flynn Legal Services, a court reporting, videography and trial consulting firm with offices in Little Rock and Fayetteville, Arkansas.

 

Flynn’s mission statement aligns perfectly with that of Midwest, providing a natural fit between the two companies:  to provide the highest quality customer experience by anticipating client needs, immediately responding to requests and providing state-of-the-art litigation-related services, technology and support.

 

“This is a win, win, win. It’s a win for Flynn because it allows us to see our vision continued at a much quicker pace. It’s a win for Midwest as they expand their footprint and continue to provide added value and services. But most importantly, it’s a win for our great clients” said Coy Flynn, President of Flynn Legal Services.

 

Debbie Weaver, President of Midwest Litigation Services, stated, “This acquisition allows us to expand our reach and bring state-of-the-art legal technology and service to yet another market. I believe that this will be a huge benefit to our clients, and I’m excited that Coy and Sarah Flynn will be involved in the business moving forward.”

 

For more information about Midwest Litigation Services or this acquisition, please contact Adam Weaver, Director of Special Projects at aweaver@midwestlitigation.com or 816-221-1160.

 

Debbie Weaver Named 2016 Wonder Woman

Wonder Women PhotoMotivated by a strong sense of urgency in her professional life, a pull to help others and a desire to step outside of the mainstream, Debbie Weaver found entrepreneurship to be the right fit and created Midwest Litigation Services, a court reporting, video and trial services company, in 1985. While leading her company for the past 30 years, Weaver has made sure to mentor others and be involved in the community. “I hope that I was able to help and serve all of our clients that support us each and every day,” she says. “I am hopeful that throughout the day, at some point I mentored and helped one of my employees and thanked as many people as I could along the way.”

In addition to cultivating an environment that is responsive to both her clients’ and employees’ needs and supports their success, Weaver seeks to bring others who are in need of support into her circle. “Through the Women Lawyers’ Association and the Association of Legal Administrators, I have been involved with their Women in Transition program,” she says. “I hired an ex-drug abuser who had served time in prison and who has ultimately become not only one of our top performers but a highly respected source of inspiration for the rest of the staff as well. She has since been able to regain custody of her children and become a productive member of society.”

Outside of Midwest Litigation, Weaver is involved with a number of community organizations, including working with budding high school entrepreneurs at Clyde C. Miller Career Academy, where she coaches them for a business competition. “It has been a pleasure to share my business savvy and real-world experience with them,” she says. “Their enthusiasm and creativity are truly inspirational. Wherever I can, I strive to help others through both direct action and fundraising efforts.”

Community involvement, especially for child-related causes, is very important to Weaver and is a core component of Midwest’s culture. “When we are unable to donate our time, we give money,” she says. “Giving back to our region’s culture and economy helps residents and other local businesses thrive, grow and give back in turn.”

Midwest Litigation Services and Global Legal Discovery are very proud to announce their partnership

Midwest Litigation Services and Global Legal Discovery are very proud to announce their partnership. These two steadfast companies have joined forces to offer a wide array of services spanning the entire litigation life cycle, from forensic document collection, ESI processing and document hosting, through court reporting and video services in the discovery phase, to war room support and trial presentation in the courtroom.

Debbie Weaver, President of Midwest Litigation Services, stated, “We are dedicated to providing a legal concierge experience and are constantly looking for services that could make our clients’ lives easier. Partnering with Global Legal Discovery will allow us to offer an impressive, comprehensive collection of solutions, simplifying the provision of state-of- the-art litigation-related services.”

Founder and CEO of Global Legal Discovery Manuel Kaloyannides reflected on the partnership by stating, “Midwest shares the same commitment to customer service which is the foundation of our amazing 15 year success here at Global.  In the discovery business the reality is that you are only as good as your last deliverable and that is how we run our business. Midwest Litigation Services clearly embodies the same focus to customer commitment and we are proud to have them as a Partner.”

For additional information regarding our entire range of services, please call 800-280-3376 or email aweaver@midwestlitigation.com.

 

ABOUT MIDWEST LITIGATION SERVICES

Headquartered in St. Louis, with ten additional regional offices and over 250 nationwide affiliates, Midwest Litigation Services provides comprehensive court reporting and transcription, litigation management, trial technology and support, and mediation services.

 

For additional information about Midwest Litigation, please contact:

711 North 11 th Street

St. Louis, MO  63101

(800) 280-3376

www.midwestlitigation.com

 

ABOUT GLOBAL LEGAL DISCOVERY

Global Legal Discovery is a leading provider of discovery solutions that include forensic data collections, electronic discovery, and review technologies. Directed by a team of recognized experts in electronic discovery and advanced analytics, Global continues to raise the bar by designing defensible workflows that include preservation, quarantine and forensic collection of data, predictive coding, relevancy ranking, and cross-lingual search technologies – to name a few.  Global utilizes the best of breed technologies from our partners Access Data, Minds eye,  Venio, Content Analyst, iPro, NUIX, and kCura’s Relativity to name a few.  Global’ application of customer service, project management, and technology have collectively made Global one of the fastest growing companies in the eDiscovery space as recognized by the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America.

 

For additional information about Global Legal Discovery, please contact:

Brad Reed, Vice President

Global Legal Discovery

208 South Jefferson Street Suite 201

Chicago, IL 60661

Office:  (312) 669-8800

brad.reed@globallegal.com

www.globallegal.com