Happy Thanksgiving from UBA!

Brett SchatzleBlog

 

From all of us at UBA, we hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving.  Please note that our office will be closed Thursday, November 24th and Friday, November 25th so our staff can enjoy time with their families.

Let’s Talk About Words!

Brett SchatzleBlog

When it comes to words, there’s no need to fuss.
The English language is confusing to most of us.
With words like there, their, and they’re
To, too, and two
It’s vs its
No wonder this stuff is confusing as _______. (fill in the blank)
Your vs you’re
Passed vs past
Fair vs fare
This is too much to bare… or is it bear?
If you need a little help
A little resource never hurt
Check out Donna’s latest ILCRA presentation
Let’s Talk About Words!

 

2022 ILCRA Words PowerPoint Final

Are You Ready For Some Football?

Brett SchatzleBlog

Photo credit: NFL Memes

 

Well, football fans, we have made it to football season, or should I say “szn”?

Welcome to the fantasy football, cursing at the TV, your favorite player got injured in the first game and will be out for the rest of the season… season.

Do you have a fantasy team?  Whether you have a fantasy football team or five (I’m giving the side eye to my husband as I write this) or you gave up on having a fantasy team long ago because after week two, you’d forget to set your players (guilty as charged), for football fans alike, this is the most wonderful time of the year.

Better than Christmas, I daresay.

Here are some of my favorite things about football season:

  • NFL Memes on social media.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you’re missing out.  It’s as hilarious as it comes.  It’s so funny in fact that you can’t get away with any sort of secret social media scrolling under a conference room table during a boring meeting because you’ll give yourself away by randomly laughing out loud.

**Shameless Plug Alert**

Speaking of conference rooms, did you know that UBA has three spacious conference rooms you can use for your meeting or deposition?  Spacious enough for you to do that secret social media scrolling.  Try to look at NFL Memes and not laugh during your meeting or dep.  I dare ya.  Click the link below for more details about our conference rooms.

https://urlaubbowen.com/chicago-meeting-spaces/

Back to football…

  • I also love the little traditions that fans have for their teams.  I’m from Louisiana, so I’m a Saints fan.  We’re the Who Dats.  We chant “who dat say they’re gonna beat dem Saints.”  I’ve chanted that a few times when I attended Saints vs Bears games in Soldier Field and the Bears weren’t doing much bearing down (two names: Cutler and Trubisky).  I won’t rub it in since most of you reading this are Bears fans, but I will say I had a great time at the Saints/Bears games I attended, and Bears fans were a huge part of the entertainment.  So thank you for that, Chicago!
  • The smorgasbord of eats and treats for tailgating events and game-day gatherings.  You know what I’m talking about.  It’s the designated place for you to retreat to for stress eating when your team decides to get goofy and racks up five penalties in the first quarter.  Being a Saints fan, I’ve had my fair share of stress eating, but luckily we go BIG for our gatherings.  We have the jambalaya, the gumbo (for when the weather falls below 70 degrees), the muffalettas, and alllll the seafood, fried of course because we don’t shy away from high cholesterol.  And, no, we don’t cook all of that for one game day.  Well, maybe some folks, but I don’t.

So, football fans, what do you love about football season?  What’s your favorite thing or things?

And just for kicks, below I’ve added a link for Emeril Lagasse’s muffuletta recipe for those of you who may want to add something new for game day.

https://www.emerils.com/121389/muffaletta

Let’s Talk About Habits, Baby

Brett SchatzleBlog

We’ve all heard of this little word “habit,” but do we pay attention to it in our everyday lives?  If you look up the word, the varying definitions all say something similar, which is something along the lines of a routine, practice, or manner you perform regularly to the point where it becomes an involuntary response in most situations.

I had never thought much about habits until I started getting older and wanted to make some changes in my mindset on a few things.  If you’re like me and tend to lack patience, then keep reading.

Last year I read the book Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear, which was probably one of the best books I had read in 2021.  The concept of the book is basically to improve with marginal gains by focusing on small 1 percent improvement as opposed to going all in on the goal you want to achieve.  I mean, how simple does that sound?  Focus on small 1 percent improvement?  Even the impatience in me knows that’s practical.  I know I can do that.

“Good habits make time your ally.  Bad habits make time your enemy.”

Think about that for a second.  How many times have you tried to get started on a task, and you really need to buckle down on it, but you’re finding yourself doing a whole host of other things you feel like you need to do before you actually start the task – – and those things have absolutely nothing to do with the task.

For example,  I’ve had ideas about this blog post roaming around in my head for about a week.  I’ve jotted some notes down here and there, but I’ve never stopped long enough to actually write anything.

Today I made it a goal to get something done with this post.  I said to myself, “At 8:00 a.m. I will do a virtual yoga class, and after that, I will sit down and get started on writing the blog post.”

So I finished up my yoga class, and guess what happened?  I decided to do some laundry and then pay some bills and then text some people and, oh, let’s not forget to check Instagram and then and then and then… and all the while that little voice in the back of my head is saying, “You need to get started, sis!  You have work to do!”  And the more I do other things, the louder that voice gets.

Does that sound familiar?  Procrastinators unite!

So I finally sit down to write, but then I can’t find the pen I want to use to jot my thoughts down in my notebook.  I mean, I obviously can’t work if I don’t have that one particular pen… it doesn’t matter if I already have two other pens near me… I need that one pen.  So I get up and go get the pen.

More time wasted, but, man, I felt better once I got that darn pen.

But in all seriousness, what’s my deal?  Why am I wasting all of this time?  What am I lacking in the habits department?

Well, for starters, I don’t have my work stuff very organized.  If I had taken the time to set out my laptop, notebook, pen that I apparently can’t live without, and my Atomic Habits book in one designated work space the night before, then when I got up this morning, I would’ve seen all of that laid out, and after yoga class, I could’ve gotten straight to work.

Good habit to practice:  having things organized the night before results in less time wasted and more work accomplished. 

And it wouldn’t take me much time to do all of that the night before, probably 5 whole minutes to make that one small change.

Which leads me to one of my favorite quotes in the book:

“You do not rise to the level of your goals.  You fall to the level of your systems.”

Oh, that’s good, isn’t it?

Basically, what he’s saying here is if the goal is the result you want to achieve, then the system is the process that leads to the result.

So having my work stuff out and organized is the tiny change in my system I need to make in order to achieve the goal of being more efficient in getting my blog post writing accomplished.

A new school year is upon us, parents.  What systems do you have in place to transition your kiddos from laidback summer fun to the back-to-school mindset?  Do you start having your kids go to bed early or start having them get into some sort of nighttime routine so they can get into better sleep habits to wake up early for school?

Court reporting students, a new semester is about to begin for you.  Getting to that next speed is always the goal, but do you have a system in place to get there?  Part of your system can be reading your steno notes and finding what word or words are holding you back.  Perhaps taking 15 minutes each day to practice those and make sure you’re hitting the right stroke needs to be part of your system as well.  That tiny 1 percent change may make all the difference for you and get you to your goal.

And as far as the book Atomic Habits goes, check it out if you’re looking to make some adjustments to your habits but need a more practical approach to get there.  It’s worth the read (or listen if you’re an audiobook fan).

New Year, New Skills: Picture-in-Picture with Zoom Video Depositions

Brett SchatzleBlog

We had an increase in picture-in-picture requests for Zoom video depositions toward the latter part of 2020.  If picture-in-picture is something you’ve been contemplating for your Zoom depositions, or if you’re not exactly sure what a picture-in-picture deposition looks like, take a look at the link below for an example of what a Zoom picture-in-picture could look like when captured at the time of the deposition.

Some things to note:

– As demand has increased for more picture-in-picture Zoom videos, our videographers can only capture the picture-in-picture at the time of the deposition.  In other words, no putting the picture-in-picture video together after the fact.

– The videographer and the court reporter cannot share the exhibits during the deposition.  Please be prepared to share your own exhibits during the deposition.  If you need assistance with exhibit sharing, please contact our office and someone can help you.

If you’re not interested in a picture-in-picture video, then no worries.  You can get a video with only the witness (no exhibits showing on screen), just like the good ol’ days.  You can see in the example below that the exhibit was shared, but only the witness stays on the screen.

Order on Zoom Recordings

Rachel SzymanskiBlog

Earlier this year, the question of whether or not attorneys can make recordings of Zoom meetings and use them at trial was settled. Judge Sunil R. Harjani of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, issued the order which you can access below.

Click here to read the order.

Let Us Be Part of Your Quaran-Team

Brett SchatzleBlog

It’s completely normal to feel like you’re drowning in all sorts of responsibilities in this abnormal time.  But when it comes to having successful Zoom depositions, you shouldn’t feel like you’re alone on an island trying to figure out what to do next.

If you’re short on support staff, or if you’re a first-timer to Zoom, let us help get you to where you need to be.  Let us be part of your “quaran-team”!  And as part of your team, we’re happy to assist in the following:

-Generating a Zoom link for your deposition and emailing that link to all parties.

Marking your exhibits for you and then emailing the exhibits to all parties (unless specifically stated otherwise by you).  

NOTE:  We like to have the exhibits marked and emailed prior to your deposition.  We’re just cool and organized like that.  So we STRONGLY urge (hint, hint, wink, wink) that you get your exhibits to us in a timely manner so we can get them back to you in a sufficient amount of time.  That way, if you happen to see an error or if you happen to forget an exhibit, you can let us know, we can work with you to fix it, and no one will be the wiser because this was done in ample time and you can still have a seamless Zoom deposition.

Now, wouldn’t that make you breathe a sigh of relief?  I think so (we take what we can get in these crazy times).

-Setting up a meeting for a Zoom Test Call prior to your deposition.

We’ve all heard the saying “practice makes perfect,” and working with Zoom is no exception.  We recommend that you schedule a time to meet with our support staff prior to your deposition – preferably the day before – especially if you’re a first-timer to Zoom, so we can go over the following things with you:

    • What to generally expect when you log into Zoom.
    • An overview with some tips and tricks on how to make your Zoom deposition seamless.
    • How to use the Share Screen feature so you can become an exhibit-sharing fiend.
    • Answer any questions you may have to help ease your mind.

“But, Brett, I really hate technology.  It gives me pandemic-level anxiety on top of my pandemic-level anxiety.”

I get it. Truly.  But much like the pandemic, sometimes we just need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.  However, if you’re willing to learn, we are willing to guide you.  I promise it’s not as bad as it seems.  Scout’s honor.

Now we’ve gotten to the part where you’ve tried all of the above, but you still feel like you can’t get it on your own.  Now what?

Never fear, UBA is here! (or, actually, we really never left)

Introducing our new support service.

For an additional hourly fee, a member of our technical support staff can tell your nerves to take a backseat and assist you with your Zoom deposition, specifically when it comes to managing your exhibits for you during your Zoom deposition.  But let us know ahead of time so we can have someone lined up for you.  Remember, we’re cool and organized like that.

If managing your exhibits is one less thing you’d like to worry about, LET US HELP.

During these stressful times, being stressed about your Zoom deposition should be the last item on the anxiety list.  By working with us to get your exhibits prepped in a timely manner, setting up a Zoom Test Call prior to your deposition, and letting us know ahead of time that you need additional assistance, we can help YOU succeed and ensure a seamless Zoom deposition.

 

P.S.  Also check out our super fabulous YouTube Channel fully equipped with Zoom tutorials to help you on your Zoom-learning journey.  If you like what you see, subscribe to our channel so you’ll be in the know whenever we release new videos.  Link is below.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYCr9HzxE184gzCcE6gcK2A

Updated Video Conference Tips

Rachel SzymanskiBlog

Back in March, we posted some tips for how to have successful remote depositions via video conference. As we’ve worked with clients for the past several months and helped them resolve specific issues, we’ve added to the list. We hope these tips are helpful for you and your deponents.

TECHNICAL TIPS 

Make sure you have the strongest internet signal possible  

  • Sit close to your wireless router.  
  • If your wi-fi signal is not particularly strong and you are using a laptop, you may want to plug into your router with an ethernet cable.   
  • Ask others in the house not to stream video while you are in your deposition if possible. 

Consider how you will sound  

  • Check your computer or tablet audio with another person in a Zoom meeting with you.  
  • If your computer’s audio is not clear, you can use the phone number provided with your Zoom link and use your phone’s microphone instead. Make sure to mute the microphone on your computer while using your phone’s microphone to prevent feedback.  
  • Make sure you are muted when you are not speaking. Your mic may also pick up any other sound in the room and some even pick up background noise from other rooms.  
  • Inform everyone else in the area that you will be on a live video.  
  • Turn off all notifications on your phone or computer for the duration of the deposition.  
    • To activate the Do Not Disturb function on an iPhone: Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to reveal a tool bar, and tap the button with the halfmoon icon.
    • To activate the Do Not Disturb function on an Android: Swipe down from the top of the screen to reveal the Control Center and tap the button with the minus sign icon.
    • To activate the Do Not Disturb function on a Mac: Hit the Command Key and the Space Bar at the same time to bring up Spotlight Search. Type Notifications and look for the halfmoon icon for Do Not Disturb.
    • To mute sounds from applications on a computer running Windows: Click on the volume control in the bottom right corner of the screen. Then click the mixer button and then the mute buttons for any applications. 

Please note: It is more important than ever that attorneys and deponents do not speak over one another, so the court reporter can hear all parties clearly.   

Special considerations if using a tablet or smartphone for your camera and microphone 

  • To be sure you have enough battery life, keep your device plugged in if possible.  
  • If you have one, use a stand for the device so you don’t have to prop it up or hold it.  

GENERAL TIPS 

Treat it as seriously as an in-person deposition 

  • Give yourself extra time to login to the virtual destination just as you would make sure to leave your office early when navigating to a new destination. 
  • Make sure that you gather everything you would carry with you to an in-person deposition. Don’t forget to bring water or coffee to your workspace. 
  • The deponent’s attorney should remind them before the deposition of the seriousness of the proceeding and encourage them to make every effort to minimize distractions. 
  • The deponent will be kept in the waiting room of the video conference until their attorney arrives. 

Please note: Unless you hire a videographer, there will be no video recording of the proceeding. 

Consider how you will appear on screen 

  • All parties, particularly the deponent, should be seated and attentive. 
  • All parties should be aware that the camera will pick up everything happening in the background.  
  • Be mindful of the sources of light in the room. Consider taking a lamp from another space if you need better light or closing the shades to reduce glare or shadows from light from outside.  
  • Have a blank wall or other neutral background if possible.  
  • Dress as you would for any other deposition.   

ITEMS TO EMAIL TO UBA IN ADVANCE 

  • Attorneys’ information on a notice or in an email 
  • Exhibits to be shared with all attendees 
    • For last minute exhibits, we will send instructions for how to share through the Screen Share option in Zoom.  

NOTES ON EXHIBITS:  

  • If you display an exhibit on the screen and point to a certain spot, you must still explain out loud which paragraph or area in the exhibit you are referring to in order for the written record to be clear. 
  • If exhibits are sent via email prior to the deposition, all attendees should make sure they are downloaded and ready to go before the deposition begins.  

Before the deposition begins, don’t hesitate to ask your support staff for help, particularly your tech support staff. Our staff is also happy to help with any technical questions you may have. 

 

Check Out Our YouTube Channel

Brett SchatzleBlog

Hey there.  Just checking in on you.  At this point we’re about 4 months into this era known as COVID-19 (but in 2020 terms it’s more like 5 years), and it’s possible that you’ve just resorted to watching random YouTube videos and calling it “work” just to keep your sanity.  I feel you.  The struggle is real if you’re still working from home.

But while you’re filling up your work schedule watching random YouTube videos, perhaps you can pencil in UBA’s YouTube channel (link below) and check out our Zoom tutorials.  At least you can say these videos are educational.  No employer can argue with that.  Plus, you may be able to teach your boss a thing or two about Zoom.  Bonus points!

Oh, and if you like what we’re doing, go ahead and subscribe to our channel.  You’ll get notifications whenever we post a new video, so you can continue your YouTube watching and classify it as educational.  It’s a win-win.

Happy viewing!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYCr9HzxE184gzCcE6gcK2A

COVID-19 Procedures at Our Offices

Rachel SzymanskiBlog

If you’re ready to start taking depositions again, our staff is here for you.

We have begun holding in-person depositions at our offices. As we reopen our space, the health and safety of our staff and visitors is our top priority.  For as long as the COVID-19 crisis continues, we will be following CDC guidelines and taking the following precautions in our offices:

  • No one presenting symptoms of the virus will be allowed to enter the premises.
  • There will be a staff member in the office to escort participants to conference rooms.
  • To maintain social distancing in the conference rooms, the number of chairs in each room will be limited.
  • Hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes will be available.
  • Face masks are to be worn at all times by visitors and staff including while depositions are taking place.
  • All rooms will be sanitized after each use.
  • There will be a thorough cleaning of conference rooms each evening.
  • Food and beverage will not be provided by Urlaub Bowen at this time.

We will continue to monitor the situation and the CDC guidelines and adjust our protocols accordingly.

We are also available to attend proceedings at our clients’ offices as we trust that you are all doing your best to keep your offices safe as well.  Our reporters will wear masks during all in-person depositions and we expect that all other parties do the same. This is for the safety of our reporters and everyone else in the room.

Additionally, if you are still working from home, we are equipped for fully remote depositions as well as hybrid depositions with some participants in the same room and some logging in remotely.

As always, Urlaub Bowen & Associates is committed to serving our clients. We wish you and your families the best and look forward to seeing you at our offices soon.

Some Attorneys’ Thoughts about Remote Depositions

Rachel SzymanskiBlog

Some attorneys are sharing their thoughts about virtual depositions. Here are a couple we’ve gleaned – from the internet and one of our clients: 

John Siegal of BakerHostetler in “What Are We Learning In Month 2? Litigating in a Global Pandemic: An Update” in the New York Law Journal: Two months of litigating from home is proving that virtual depositions work. They are feasible, fully functional and required now. We all need to embrace this reality and stop making excuses for why we’re not proceeding with our cases.” 

From Jim Ball of The Ball Law Group in response to our query about videotaped Zoom depositions: “Thanks for the kind words, and all of your great assistance!  I much prefer this method!!”   

Siegal’s conclusion: “We have the tools, the time and the talent to adjust our practices to this new reality—and there is a lot of good to be gained by it, not just in the near-term crisis but going forward to bring the practice of law fully and functionally into the new era that is only just beginning with this crisis.” 

Learning Zoom: Using Zoom on Your Computer

Brett SchatzleBlog

Raise your hand if you’re ready to get back to an in-person work environment… or, honestly, an in-person anything.  I’m sure we all are.  The last couple of months have proven to be quite the challenge for everyone, to say the least.  Not only have you had to learn new ways of working remotely to keep your business going, but on top of that you’ve had to learn how to teach your kids math.  What kind of crazy situation is this?

But for the foreseeable future, working remotely will be the norm, and no one is sure how long that is going to last.  So why not continue to learn something new?  If you’ve been a bit hesitant about using Zoom or technology really isn’t your forte, let us at UBA help you through it.  I promise it’s not as scary as it seems.

Below is just one of many Zoom tutorials we will be releasing over the coming weeks.  These tutorials will be covering the overall process of Zoom and various other Zoom tips and tricks to help you with your depositions or meetings.  It is our commitment at UBA to help you navigate through this new normal.  And I’ll let you in on a secret:  we’re still learning too.  There is always something to learn when it comes to technology.

Now sit back and let us show you how to use Zoom on your computer.

UBA Online Video Repository

Brett SchatzleBlog

If you need a video deposition sent to you, our online video repository is an easy and efficient way to deliver your video.  It’s a great alternative to delivering other media formats, such as a DVD.

If you’ve been a bit hesitant to receive your videos in digital format, take a look at this short tutorial.  It explains the basics of our online video repository from how the video is delivered to you, to how to view it, to how it can be downloaded to your computer.

Keeping Zoom Meetings Safe

Rachel SzymanskiBlog

Urlaub Bowen & Associates is cognizant of the news reports about security issues with Zoom. After monitoring Zoom’s response and efforts to enhance security, we feel comfortable continuing to host remote depositions with this video conference platform. We are taking the following steps to ensure we avoid common mistakes and keep our meetings safe:
  • We are providing a unique meeting number and URL link for every meeting.
  • We are password protecting our meetings.
  • We monitor the meeting participants as they enter and, if desired, we can lock the meeting after all expected participants have arrived.
  • File upload on the chat function has been disabled.
  • We have disabled the recording of meetings.
If you would like to learn more about how Zoom is working to keep meetings secure, please see this letter and data sheet from Zoom.
For the perspective of an attorney and a legal technology expert, see the article “Zoom is Safe for Lawyers (if you use it right).” 
We understand how important security is to the attorneys we work with, and we are committed to our role as a neutral third party and protector of the record when we host and monitor proceedings.

Video Evidence Depositions

Rachel SzymanskiBlog

We have had some clients ask if a video evidence deposition to be used for playback in court is possible with Zoom.  The answer is yes.   Just like we did before remote depositions became our “new normal,” we use a Certified Legal Video Specialist (CLVS) to create professional video recordings.   

Below is a brief clip of what a video evidence deposition looks like in a Zoom video conference as recorded by our in-house CLVS, Brett Schatzle. 

As displayed in the video, there is an option for the questioning attorney to share an exhibit that is open on their screen so all participants can view it through the Share Screen option in Zoom.  

However, we recommend that our clients send us their exhibits in advance, and we email them to all parties. This is because we’ve seen some drawbacks to sharing exhibits only through Share Screen option. 

  1. The witness has to direct you to scroll through the exhibit to get to a certain page which can be time consuming. 
  2. If you are not careful, you may forget to be specific when discussing the exhibits and not end up with the detailed written record you want.  

Here is an example of an attorney with poor record-making habits.

Q. Do you see this document?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you mark this document in any way?

A. Yes, right there.

This exchange does not clearly indicate which document the attorney is referring to nor the exact place within that document that the witness is referencing. None of these specific details will be in the written transcript.  

Here is a better version of that exchange. 

Q. Do you see this document that has been marked as Exhibit 2?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you mark this document in any way?

A. Yes, right there.

Q. Are you pointing to the initials on the left margin of the second page?

To avoid issues like these, we recommend only using the Share Screen option to share an exhibit you decided to include at the last minute or to show an exhibit you do not want the other side to have in advance. If you need to use this option, we have step-by-step instructions to help you learn how. 

Working Remotely with Young Children

Rachel SzymanskiBlog

These are challenging times for people in every profession, but legal professionals face unique issues. Unlike others who are working remotely and may be able to easily handle an interruption during a conference call, when a court reporter or attorney is taking a deposition from their home, it is necessary for the room they are in to be as close to silent as possible. This means those legal professionals who are caregivers for young children and no longer have their usual child care options during work hours face a dilemma.  

What’s a mom or dad to do when they need quiet, but want their kids to be learning at the same time? Luckily, there are some great children’s book authors, homeschool providers, and museums with online education options and activity ideas. 

For those with younger kids at home, here are just a couple of the numerous free resources that are out there:  

Try out these resources and feel free to let us know if your little ones enjoy them. We hope this makes working remotely a little easier. 

Need a Break? Our Picks for TV Shows to Watch During Shelter-in-Place

Rachel SzymanskiBlog

Our staff is hard at work during the day, but in the evenings, we have all been indulging in our favorite TV shows. Here are some of our picks for interesting shows and documentaries to watch during shelter-in-place.

Donna Urlaub, Co-Founder

  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Amazon Prime: A comedy set in 1950s Manhattan following an aspiring comedian from the Upper West Side who begins a career in comedy after her husband leaves her.
  • Schitt’s Creek, Netflix: A sitcom about a formerly wealthy family who must regroup and move to Schitt’s Creek, a town they once purchased as a joke.
  • Succession, HBO: A drama about the shift of power in a family who owns a media conglomerate.
  • American Factory, Netflix: An Oscar winning documentary which tells the story of a Chinese billionaire who purchases an abandoned General Motors factory and hires American workers for his company Fuyao, a glass manufacturer.  

Dayna Urlaub Trotta, Scheduling Manager

  • 30 Rock, Amazon Prime: A semi-autobiographical comedy by Tina Fey following the life of Liz Lemon, the head writer of a late-night comedy sketch show.  
  • Modern Family, Hulu: A sweet, smart comedy following the fun, crazy antics of patriarch Jay, his two adult children, Claire and Mitchell, their spouses, and kids.  

Bill Huron, Finance Manager

  • The Resident, Fox/Hulu: A medical drama set in Chastain Memorial Hospital where Dr. Conrad Hawkins tries to teach his residents how the medical system really works.  
  • New Amsterdam, ABC/Hulu: Another medical drama set at the oldest public hospital in the United States where Dr. Max Goodwin tries to tear down bureaucracy to allow the hospital to provide exceptional care. 

Brett Schatzle, Videographer

  • Breaking Bad, Netflix: A drama following the lives of a high school chemistry teacher turned meth kingpin and his former student who becomes his assistant. 
  • Better Call Saul, Netflix/AMC: A spinoff of Breaking Bad, this is the backstory of Saul Goodman aka Jimmy McGill, a charming con artist making his way as a lawyer in Albuquerque. 
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm, HBO or HBOGo: A comedy following the misadventures of Seinfeld creator Larry David.  
  • The SopranosHBOGo or Amazon: A crime drama following Tony Soprano, a husband, father, and mob boss who is in therapy.  
  • Pandemic, Netflix: For those who want to lean in and learn more about pandemics and how we might prevent them in the future, this docuseries delivers.  

Kathy Hillgard, Court Reporter

  • Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, Netflix: This 7-part docuseries examines the life of the eccentric Joe Exotic who ran a big cat park in Oklahoma and his feud with Carole Baskin, the founder of the nonprofit Big Cat Rescue. 

Katie Elliott, Court Reporter

  • The Valhalla Murders, Netflix: An Icelandic murder mystery with a detective returning home to help local police find a serial killer. 
  • Gilmore Girls, Netflix: The touching, comedic story of a single mother from a wealthy household raising her teenage daughter in her picturesque hometown in Connecticut. 
  • Brooklyn 99, Hulu; A police procedural comedy series following the exploits of Detective Jake Peralta and his colleagues in NYPD’s 99th precinct. 

Leanna Michas, Court Reporter

  • The Crown, Netflix: A historical drama about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.  
  • The Morning Show, Apple TV: A drama set in the cutthroat world of early morning television.  

Rachel Szymanski Welling, Administrative Assistant

  • Westworld, HBO or HBOGo: A sci-fi drama set in a futuristic theme park where androids are providing entertainment for the visitors until a few of these androids start to become conscious of their situation.  
  • The Masked Singer, Fox: A reality singing show where the singers are celebrities dressed in elaborate costumes and the judges guess who is behind the masks.

Robyn Falasz, Administrative Assistant

  • Prodigal Son, Fox/Hulu: A drama about a criminal psychologist who helps the NYPD solve crimes while maintaining a relationship with his serial killer father.  

 

UBA Online Transcript Repository

Cindy SobolewskiBlog

The Who, What, Where, When, How and Why of Our Online Repository

What is an online repository? Why should you use it? How and where do you use it? Who has access to it? When do you have access to your files?  These questions and others will be answered for you from our perspective as keepers of the record.

As creatures of habit, we don’t really like when something is changed, especially when it’s something we’ve been comfortable doing for years that works just fine. That saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” comes to mind. Personally, I’m old school and technology scares me, mostly because it’s not static and as soon as I give in and purchase a device, a new one is released that’s bigger, better, and faster… and more expensive.

But technology isn’t always scary or intimidating. Take for instance, receiving a deposition transcript electronically. Email attachment, right? That’s the way it’s been done for years and it works just fine. But with technological advances, now there’s something called an online repository.

What is it? It’s a central location where electronic files are stored in a cloud, if you will, and those files are then accessible to be viewed, edited and downloaded. When can you access your files? Your files are available to you at any time – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – through our website from wherever you happen to be as long as you have an internet connection.

Hypothetically, let’s say you’re in hurry to leave your office on Friday afternoon because you’re going away for the weekend, but you’re also going to be prepping for that expert deposition you’re taking first thing Monday morning. In your haste, you forget to grab the Depositions folder which contains the hard copy transcripts and summaries of prior deps in the case. As you’re making your commute home, you realize it’s sitting on your desk and you don’t have time to go back to your office, but then you think, “Oh, that’s okay. I remember they were emailed to me. I can just download them. I’ll be fine.”

Continuing with the hypothetical, you’ve reached your weekend destination and have found some time to get a little work done. Oh, darn it, you have to find those emails with the PDFs. That could take a bit of time because you’ll have to first search the case name, then download each file attachment to your computer.

Why should you use it? With the repository, all those deposition transcripts would already be sitting in the cloud waiting for you in one location. And there’s no software you need to download or licenses to deal with unless you use the E-Transcript, then you’d download the RealLegal E-Transcript viewer. More importantly, the files are encrypted during the uploading process.

We all know there is personal and delicate information contained in deposition transcripts, so the encryption protects that information; whereas if a transcript is sent as an email attachment, it is not encrypted and then becomes susceptible to exposure in the event your email account is hacked. Our use of the cloud with its encryption capability is secure and therefore also HIPAA compliant.

How and where do you use it? With the repository, you log in to your account through the UBA website, and all of the cases are listed, then all of the depositions are in subfolders. They’ve all been uploaded as condensed and full .pdf, .ptx, .lef, .ptf, .mdb, .sbf, .txt, and .xmef files. And the exhibits are hyperlinked in the .pdf files. It’s just a matter of clicks to open a transcript, and then you’re able to copy and paste text directly into your computerized notes. Oh, and it’s no problem that you don’t have your desktop computer with you or even your laptop. You can access your account via iPads, iPhones and Androids as well.

Who has access to it? We can send the email containing the link to all of the attorneys at your office who are working on the same case, as well as your support staff. If someone doesn’t already have an account with YesLaw, a password will be provided in a separate email when the transcript link is sent to them. That password that is issued by YesLaw can then be changed once they log in for the first time.

So what are the benefits of using the online repository?

• Electronic files = no paper = Ecofriendly
Easy login and your account is password protected
24/7 online access to your files
Various file formats to choose from
• Encryption = secure = HIPAA compliant
Hyperlinked exhibits
Accessible via computer, iPad, Android, iPhone
• No special software to download to view most files
• Transcripts organized by case
No dealing with secondary file transfer accounts (30 days to download) because the files are too large to be sent via regular email

What are the cons of using the online repository?

• Personally, the only con that I can think of is having to remember your password.

While writing this, I’ve come to accept that change isn’t always bad if I keep an open mind. And when it comes to technology, changes are usually to make life easier. And as the keepers of the record, we hope, with the help of technology, that we can make your life a little easier.

What’s Their Story?

Cindy SobolewskiBlog

On Memorial Day I volunteered at a water station for a 5K/10K race. I became emotional when I saw a soldier in military fatigues carrying field gear walking the 5K in the 90-degree heat. The group I was with began to cheer him on and chant “USA, USA, USA.” It was later during the 10K that I became choked up when I saw him pass by me again. Neither time did he grab a water or walk through the sprinkler. Whether his purpose in wearing a uniform was to spread awareness of what our servicemen and women go through in the desert heat overseas or whether it was to show his pride in serving our country and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice, his message was not lost on me. I wondered what his story was. Had he served in the Middle East? How many tours had he done? Was he still enlisted and home on leave?

Maybe I won’t ever know his war stories, but I can learn about other veterans by reading their personal accounts through a program called The Veterans History Project. The VHP is part of the Library of Congress American Folklife Center that collects and preserves interviews of U.S. veterans dating back to World War I.

In 2014, I was given the opportunity to volunteer for the VHP in my capacity as a court reporter. On Veterans Day that year I made the trek from the south suburbs of Chicago to the Lake County, Illinois courthouse to stenographically record a Vietnam War veteran’s oral history. The experience was one I’ll never forget. There were over 30 veterans of all ages from all branches of service present who were anxious to tell us their stories.

The veteran I was assigned to had served in the Army. His account of two tours of duty in Vietnam left an impression on me similar to what I felt about the young man at the 5K. I admire both of them for their bravery, and I am humbled by their patriotism. I applaud the strength and dedication it must have taken to be away from home and to put their lives on the line each and every day to protect us and our country. I learned recently that “my veteran” passed away last year and that his funeral service was held with Military Honors. I’m glad he was able to give his VHP interview before he passed away so that his grandchildren and others can read about his time in the military in his exact words.

You can search the database of the VHP on the Library of Congress website https://www.loc.gov/vets/ and see photos and letters provided in addition to the oral interviews given by some of our nation’s heroes and recorded verbatim by court reporters like me and other reporters from UBA.

The VHP is always looking for veterans who want to have their stories documented, but volunteer interviewers and court reporters are also appreciated and welcome. If you have questions about the VHP, feel free to contact Deborah Cohen-Rojas, who for several years was the organizer of the Lake County, Illinois VHP. Her email address is dcohen-rojas@lakecountyil.gov. If you’re a court reporter and would like to volunteer at this year’s Veterans Day event in Lake County, please contact Arminda Badgerow, abadgerow@lakecountyil.gov. If you’re not in the Lake County area, there are other organizations that host events. For more information, go to https://www.loc.gov/vets/ or http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/library/public/veteransproject.html.

5 Things You May Not Know About UBA

Cindy SobolewskiBlog

I recently attended a continuing education seminar session that was presented by Todd Mobley of Mike Mobley Reporting and Rosalie Kramm of Kramm Court Reporting. The topic was: The Importance of Telling Your Story Through Blogging. One of the topics raised was: I don’t know what you don’t know. For example, when you meet someone new, after you form a first impression of them, the way to really get to know them is to ask questions. But what about the questions that go unasked? Blogging is a good way to relay information to people that they may not already have or remind them about a specific aspect of your business.

We don’t know what information you already have about us, so we’ve taken the guesswork out of it and compiled a list of five things we think you may not know about Urlaub Bowen & Associates, Inc.

5 Things:

1. We now offer in-house videography services. Brett Schatzle recently obtained the designation of Certified Legal Video Specialist and is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment to digitally record discovery and evidence depositions in high definition, sync the video and transcript for use in trial presentation, and deliver the video to you electronically, on CD, or as an upload directly to your case file in our 24/7 online repository.

2. Donna Urlaub, who since 1987 has competed in the Illinois speed contest, is the only person to hold the title of speed Champion and realtime Champion simultaneously not once, not twice, but THREE times. She is the current reigning champion of both contests put on by the Illinois Court Reporters Association. The realtime contest is comprised of two dictation parts: a 180 words-per-minute Literary and a 200 words-per-minute Testimony (two voice). It takes 95% accuracy to qualify in each contest. Donna’s 2017 Realtime scores were 99.22% and 99.5%, which averaged to 99.36%. The speed contest is made up of three dictation speeds: 220 words-per-minute Literary, 230 words-per-minute Legal Opinion, and 270 words-per-minute Testimony. Donna’s 2017 speed scores were 98.91%, 98.35% and 97.11%, bringing her average score to 98.12. She was awarded the Gary L. Sonntag Memorial Speed Contest trophy and the Sally Cochran Traveling Trophy.

3. Do you need to schedule a deposition outside of Chicago? We don’t strictly work in the Loop. Our in-house reporters can cover assignments anywhere throughout the Chicago Metropolitan Area and its collar counties, as well as DeKalb and Kankakee Counties. We also have affiliate offices in Lake and DuPage Counties. And if you have to schedule a deposition out of state, we can arrange that for you as well with one of the vetted firms that we use from our nationwide network.

4. We think it’s important to stand out and to better our business every day, which is why we have applied for and received the following certifications: WBE (Women’s Business Enterprise), DBE (Disadvantaged Business Enterprise), SBE (Small Business Enterprise). We also are members of the National Court Reporters Association, the Illinois Court Reporters Association, and NCRA’s Ethics First Program. We strive to maintain excellence in all codes and standards of ethics with all of our clients.

5. In 2019 Donna will have her 50th anniversary as a court reporter. She began court reporting in 1969 and hasn’t regretted it since. She’s been a business owner since 1985. Donna has contributed to the court reporting profession by being a board member of several organizations and by being a mentor to students and most recently by offering daily writing tips to a Facebook group of Chicago court reporters. But Donna’s not the only diehard court reporter. Co-founder Nick Bowen attained his certification 44 years ago. All combined, UBA reporters’ experience adds up to over 300 years!

Think about us the next time you need to hire a court reporter… now that you know more about us.

Are you paying 20 percent more for your transcripts?

Cindy SobolewskiBlog

Money saved when using local reporters provided by Urlaub Bowen & Associates.

Despite national firms claiming to have widespread coverage, they simply inflate costs by using local court reporters.

While acting as an unnecessary middleman, they push those extra fees on the clients.

Many law firms, especially large ones, now contract with national court reporting companies to handle their depositions and hearings.  These companies claim to offer nationwide, and even global, service.  But what is the real story?

The truth is that these national conglomerates utilize the court reporters in your LOCAL community.  So when you need a court reporter in Chicago, for example, they will call a court reporter or agency in Chicago to handle the case.  Then the conglomerate bumps up the charges on their end to make their profit.  So in the end, you are paying considerably more than had you just called your local court reporter directly.

Your local court reporter’s name will appear on the transcript, but their actual firm name or affiliation will not.  The national companies put their headers and footers on each page, so it is being assumed that our talented professionals are on the conglomerate’s in-house staff.  You may never know that the reporter who covered your deposition or hearing is in reality right across the street from your office, ready to cover your assignment for 20% less.

This is a conundrum your local court reporting firms are struggling with.  National conglomerates have infiltrated our industry as they have many others.  Avoid the middle man.  We urge you to hire your local, independently owned and operated court reporting firms.  As for Urlaub Bowen & Associates, Inc., we charge an honest page rate, do not pad transcripts, provide itemized bills, and there are no hidden administrative fees.  Not only will you receive the most timely and accurate transcripts available from the most talented and respected professionals in the industry, but you will be helping the local economy and saving your clients money too.

Thank you for your support.

Transcript Comparison

Cindy SobolewskiBlog

So you think you’re getting a deal?  Don’t pay more for less…

Their Transcript vs. Our Transcript

When we do referral work for other reporting agencies, we see transcript formats from all around the country and locally as well.  Transcripts are often sent to us as exhibits or to help us with word lists and formatting.

 

As we referred to these transcripts, especially those from national conglomerates, we noticed what looked like extra-wide margins, huge indentations for colloquy, and paragraphs when they were not needed. To validate our instincts, we took a cross-sampling of transcripts and recreated them using our format. What we found was enlightening.

One result was a transcript consisting of 349 pages. If we had covered the exact same deposition and used our formatting, the billable pages would have been 299 pages. That’s a 50-page difference. That means you’re paying for 17% more pages when you hire the other firm.

Choosing a court reporter should not be based on cost per page alone. With Urlaub Bowen & Associates, Inc., you will receive transcripts reported by certified professionals as well as litigation support products that give you the most value for your court reporting dollars.

Buyer beware.  Work with a reputable Ethics First, independently owned firm that follows National Court Reporters Association guidelines and produces a full page of transcript that’s worth paying for.

NCRA Ethics First Firm

 

A Thought For Today

Cindy SobolewskiBlog

A Thought For Today

This quote reminds us to say thank you to all of our clients, friends, and family who have gotten us to where we are today. We appreciate your support and loyalty.

Donna Urlaub Wins 2015 ILCRA Distinguished Service Award

Cindy SobolewskiBlog

Urlaub Bowen & Associates co-founder Donna Urlaub during a ceremony awarding her with the ILCRA Distinguished Service Award in the fall of 2015.

From the Fall 2015 ILCRA Distinguished Service Award presentation speech.

 

It is my distinct honor and privilege to make the presentation for this year’s Distinguished Service Award. I would like to thank my fellow committee members, Bonni Shuttleworth and Lyn Grooms, for their work on the committee. I have to say that, of all the duties I’ve had on the ILCRA Board and various committees, this one has by far been the most enjoyable. Gathering background information and talking with the recipient’s family members and even secreting them here in the hotel this morning has been such a fun experience.

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Website Redesign

Derek LetellierBlog

Website redesign optimized for mobile devices, released in April 2016 by Urlaub Bowen & Associates.

We’ve completed our website redesign project to create a better experience for current and prospective clients.

In April 2016, our team at Urlaub Bowen & Associates published our website redesign after months of work.

At Urlaub Bowen & Associates, we’ve always prided ourselves as being a client-first firm, and our website redesign is our way of doing exactly that. Our new website provides prospective clients with an easy way to locate and schedule all their court reporting, legal videography, video conferencing, and more.

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We’re 25 Years Old!

Cindy SobolewskiBlog

Urlaub Bowen & Associates achieved a big milestone this month: 25 years in business.
To celebrate, we are having a little get-together on Thursday, July 1st, beginning at 4:00 p.m.
Sidebar Grille, 221 North LaSalle Street. We tried to include EVERYONE on our guest list, but it’s entirely possible that we inadvertently missed someone. If you plan on attending, please call and put your name on the list; we’d love to see you.

Donna Urlaub Places 3rd at National, Wins Two Gold Medals

Cindy SobolewskiBlog

2011 National Speed Competition held July 27, 2011, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Donna Urlaub, RMR, CRR, of Chicago, Ill., placed third overall, with a score of 99.137 percent, earning gold medals in both the literary (99.727%) and legal (99.826%) components.

Contestants write and transcribe three five-minute legs—220 Literary, 230 Legal Opinion, and 280 Testimony—and qualify for each with an accuracy score of 95% or better. The best combined score wins the championship.

In Memorium – Robert Fields

Donna UrlaubBlog

Robert P. Fields, 87, passed away on March 2, 2011.

Bob taught court reporting at Chicago College of Commerce for 53 years, touching the lives and making a difference for all who had the good fortune of learning from him.

He was awarded the Illinois Court Reporters Association Award of Excellence in 2003, for outstanding educator.

Although Bob was never my teacher in the formal sense, he was my mentor and dear friend, my supporter and cheerleader, authority on all things English/grammar/punctuation; he was pivotal to my becoming the reporter that I am today.

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Donna Scores A Double!

Cindy SobolewskiBlog

Donna Urlaub, senior court reporter and co-founder of Urlaub Bowen & Associates.

This past weekend was exciting for Urlaub Bowen & Associates. Donna Urlaub swept the 2009 Illinois Court Reporters Association speed and realtime contests, which has never before been accomplished in the history of the competition.