Court Reporter Firms – A Most Valuable Resource For Small Law Firms

It would seem that law firms would have no problem hiring the best court reporters. But that’s often not the case, especially for smaller law firms that don’t have a human resources department. Although smaller firms know what they want in a reporter, finding the time and resources to determine whether a reporter meets their qualifications can prove difficult, and usually results in their using one of two methods to find the right reporters: seeking professional references from other law firms that require litigation services, or seeking reporters through the aid of court reporter firms. While professional referrals can be helpful to finding top rate reporters, seeking a reporter through court reporter firms is usually the better option for two reasons: many reporting firms offer additional litigation services associated with court reporting, and contacting a reporting firm is the best way to choose from the largest number of qualified candidates.

In some cases, court reporter firms that offer additional legal services are contacted to secure these services alone. But the most common reasons that law firms turn to reporting firms is for assistance with depositions reporting, which begins with hiring the right reporter for a company’s type of depositions. In terms of deposition type, the first selection criterion is whether a law firm conducts video or non-video depositions. In today’s legal scene, the assumption that a reporter has experience in video depositions is automatic. But insuring that the experience exists through a reporting agency is the safest bet. The next selection criterion is whether a reporter has experience with a law firm’s case area. For example, a health law firm would be wise to hire a reporter that has training and experience in medical terminology. The third selection criterion is what type of reporting technology is desired, such as digital reporting, voice writing, real time reporting, etc.

The three selection criteria mentioned above are the basic building blocks for choosing the right court reporter. But there’s also a fourth selection criterion that isn’t as straightforward as the rest: determining whether a reporter has the right personality. From a distance, a court reporter’s personality would seem to be one of the last things that determined his or her court reporting ability, as a reporter’s job doesn’t involve interacting with attorneys or deponents during the reporting process. However, there are various instances of poor transcript quality and even emotional reactions from reporters due their previously unnoticed personality flaws. While the majority of reporters are professional enough to handle circumstantial feelings of boredom, bias, unexpected anger, etc., some reporters aren’t as adaptable. To avoid such reporters, reputable court reporter firms evaluate their candidates’ personality in addition to their credentials and work experience.

What Are Effective Case Law Citations in Essay Writing?

In view of the problems that many students all too often experience in this area, in this brief article I look to now take you through the intricacies of referencing case law in all subjects with a legal element to their study in the UK in particular. Therefore, this will prove especially useful for those studying English law or any subject areas with an English law element when writing your work.

With this in mind, when looking to cite case law in your work it is necessary to consider the traditional form of referencing case law for essay writing in legal subjects that looks to provide –

(a) Name of Case

This should be printed in italics or underlined (do not highlight or use different coloured ink)

(b) Year

This should be in square brackets [1992] or round brackets (1957). The majority of modem law reports use square brackets indicating the year is an integral part of the reference, but some series also adopt a system of volume numbering that runs consecutively through the series in which case the year is in round brackets and simply indicates the date the judgement was given.

(c) Volume Number

Many reports have several volumes each year numerically. As a result, the year will be in [square brackets] and will be an integral part of the reference, whilst those case law series that are numbered consecutively from the beginning will have the year in (round brackets).

(d) Abbreviation for the Series

This indicates the series in which the law report is published – the All England Reports (All ER) is very popular. For your further information a full list of abbreviations can be found in Raistrick. D. S (2007) ‘Index to Legal Citations and Abbreviations’ 2nd Edition, London, Bowker-Saur or in the monthly parts and yearbook of ‘Current Law’.

(e) Page Number or Case Number

The page number is the number within the volume of the report where you will find the case.

Since 2001 some series have started using unique numbers of each case within each year. Therefore, for example, ‘[2005] 2 Cr. App. R. 4’ refers to the fourth case of volume 2 of Criminal Appeal Reports 2005.

At the same time, however, recent reports also number each paragraph, so that the precise point in the case may be cited. As a result, this is especially useful if you are quoting directly from a particular judgement. At the same time, however, it is to be appreciated that, in the past, particular passages could be identified by reference to the letter to be found in the margin.

(f) [Optional] Court

On this basis, it is always important to know which court made the decision and it is good practice to develop the habit of including an indication of the court at the end of the reference – for example, House of Lords (HL) and Court of Appeal (CA).

Examples – There are generally too forms of case law decisions to be cited –

(i) For civil case law decisions in a case like ‘Johnson v Phillips [1975] 3 All ER 682’, by way of illustration, it is usually the claimant (plaintiff) v defendant. As a result, the ‘v’ stands for ‘versus’ or ‘against’, whilst the case is normally referred to in direct speech in a court scenario, for example, as ‘Johnson & Phillips’.

(ii) For criminal case law decisions in a case like ‘R v Lynch (1966) 50 Cr. App. R. 59’, by way of illustration, it is usually the Crown v the defendant. Moreover, as well as the ‘v’ standing for ‘versus’ or ‘against’, ‘R’ stands for ‘Rex’ (‘the King’) or ‘Regina’ (‘the Queen’). This case would then usually be referred to in direct speech in a court scenario, for example, as the ‘Crown against Lynch’ or just ‘Lynch’.

Neutral Citations

Moreover, it is also to be appreciated that, from January 2001, there has been an alternative method available for effectively referencing cases that was introduced to cope with the growth in the number of online reports that also proves very useful for the essay writing process. As a result, all of the case law decisions from the High Court and Court of Appeal have been assigned unique numbers so as to then be able to more easily identify the case since this new method of case citation for academic work also uses paragraph numbers within the case citation itself as part of the essay writing process in this area.

Example:

Grobbelaar v. News Group Newspapers Ltd [2001] EWCA Civ 1213.

Therefore, all case law is to be cited by the name(s) of the parties followed by the medium neutral citation in the essay writing process. Moreover, as well as the year when the case was cited, the reference in essay writing not only shows the legal jurisdiction, but also the court, the division of that court, the reference number assigned to the case by the official court shorthand writers, and (also often) a paragraph reference.

Health Care Reform: The Employer Mandate and Reporting Requirements

Many employers remain confused about health care reform, and how their business will be impacted. One of the most important parts of the law is the employer’s “shared responsibility” role, in which employers are required to provide affordable health insurance coverage to their staff. However, “this pay-or-play” mandate has been postponed, providing employers more time to understand and comply with the law.

Reporting Requirements

Employers and other reporting entities will be provided additional time to provide input and feedback on ways to simplify information reporting, while remaining consistent with the law. Known as “transition relief”, it is intended to provide employers, insurers, and other providers of minimum essential coverage time to adapt their health coverage and reporting systems.

In anticipation of the application of the provisions in 2015, however, the IRS encourages employers to voluntarily comply for 2014 with these information-reporting provisions (once the information reporting rules have been issued) and to maintain or expand health coverage to all full-time employees in 2014.

Employer Mandate (employers defined as “large” by the ACA)

No “Employer Shared Responsibility” penalties will be assessed for 2014 (the piece of the law requiring employers to provide all employees with affordable coverage). Large employers who do not offer coverage or who offer coverage that does not meet the ACA’s definition of affordable will not be penalized in 2014. However, these employers need to be ready to comply for 2015.

Individual Mandate

The individual requirement, which is effective January, 1, 2014, has not been delayed. Under the individual requirement, U.S. citizens and legal residents are required to carry health insurance or pay a penalty tax. It is expected that the set-up and operation of the new insurance marketplace, called “The Exchange,” will continue in each state.

Premium Credits through the Exchange

The delay does not affect the availability of premium credits for individuals eligible for federal subsidies. Individuals will continue to be eligible for the premium tax credit by enrolling in a qualified health plan through the Affordable Insurance Exchanges (also called Health Insurance Marketplaces), if:

a) Their household income is within a specified range; and,

b) They are not eligible for other minimum essential coverage, including an eligible employer-sponsored plan that is affordable and provides minimum value.

Benefits eligibility for full-time employees/Hours Tracking

The ACA defines a full-time employee, for the purpose of benefits eligibility, to be one working an average of 30+ hours per week. Due to the delay of the employer mandate, employers will not be required to comply with this definition in 2014. There is no need for employers to track hours in 2013 to determine eligibility for 2014, or to decide on a measurement, administrative, and stability period.

Maximum waiting period

The delay does not affect the maximum waiting period rules effective January 1, 2014. The ACA requires that an employer must not have a waiting period that is longer than 90 days. Note that some states, such as California, may have more stringent laws.

Although the two items being delayed are significant, we recommend that employers continue their diligence with understanding and preparing for the implementation of Health Care Reform provisions in 2014, through 2020.