This is my first official blog entry.
I suppose a little of my background is in order, sort of an electronic resume.
Born January 4, 1947 in Queens, New York, my grade school and high school education were in schools on the south shore of Long Island, New York, Freeport and Merrick respectively, adjoining suburbs.
I graduated from Long Island University in 1969 and the University of Wisconsin Law School at Madison in 1974.
I have resided in Madison for four decades or so, but in 1986, I started a branch of TEXTNET in Chicago, and currently, our office there is at Marina Towers in two adjoining units, the first one acquired in 1999, the second in 2005.
The original name of TEXTNET was Magne-Script, derived from a combination of the words Magnetic Tapes and Written Transcripts.
The original idea and the first deposition using this idea came into effect on January 15, 1980. Prior to that, all VIDEO depositions were recorded by two human beings: a stenographer and a videographer. Only about 1 in 1000 depositions were videotaped, and typically, it was the evidence deposition of a doctor or physician where video was first used. The notion there was that it was more important for doctors to spend their time in the office treating patients rather than in a car driving to a courthouse to testify, where they might wait in the hall for half an hour for another witness to finish as well.
A very simple notion occurred to me then, and I tell all young entrepreneurs that the best ideas are SIMPLE. It occurred to me that BOTH PEOPLE WERE MAKING A RECORDING of the same event and that there were TWO INVOICES to the attorneys and thus inevitably, to the attorney’s clients.
So I thought to myself, why don’t we eliminate the stenographer? Then we can make the transcript from an audiotape using a foot pedal like any office dictation. We could then charge exactly the same for a video deposition as a steno deposition, as we only had to pay one person. And if truth be told, once the video equipment was purchased, the person running the video camera hits the red button ONCE, while the stenographer is hitting thousands of keys constantly, working quite hard.
Then if the COST was exactly the same, namely an hourly attendance fee and a page rate with no extra charge for the video, then lawyers could use video FOR EVERY DEPOSITION. That meant the OTHER 999 DISCOVERY DEPOSITIONS, not just the doctor deposition, could be videotaped.
There are several obvious advantages to the video that even a child could understand. There are also sophisticated advantages that will be discussed further at length, and intelligently we hope, on this blog in the future.
But how about the simple concept of a SPEED LIMIT. Stenographers have to slow fast talkers down. In fact, if you want to have some fun, go on YouTube and type in, “World’s fastest talker.” Some exceed 500 words per minute (wpm for us, like mph for vehicles)
What kind of reporting method in the year 2012 HAS A SPEED LIMIT? Anyway, that’s just a taste of some in depth analysis of this crucial litigation support function for lawyers. Much as doctors should know a little about nursing, lawyers should know a little more than they do about reporting, in my humble opinion.
So in 1999 when we became the first PAPERLESS court reporting agency on earth, there were no more magnets, and all of our recordings were on DVDs or hard drives. The magnets were gone and so was the name Magne-Script.
TEXT on the INTERNET became TEXTNET. TEXTNET WAS BORN 1999.
In 2005, we recognized that our video files, which were now all hard drive files, no tapes and no DVDS, could be accessed even more easily through the internet, and thus, we became the first reporting agency to put our videos online.
And also around that time, we learned the technology to put time stamps in the right margin of our transcripts, so that one could find various spots for impeachment on the video rather than using the transcript.
And jumping around a little bit, in 1994, I believe I was the first person to make a transcript WITHOUT THE USE OF THE HUMAN HAND IN ANY WAY, dictating from IBM Via Voice. I had seen a clever article in the Northwest Airline magazine entitled “Look ma, no hands,” and a month later, I had the technology to DICTATE a transcript. There’s even a Wisconsin State Journal newspaper article on it.
Lastly, having written the software for TEXTNET that allows the lawyers to download transcripts and exhibits, I also have a company for reporting agencies that has nothing to do with LAWYERS, called Courtpages. If you go to courtpages.com, you will see that the log on software is now in use in 40 states by 100 REPORTING agencies from Boston to Hawaii. So we’ve meandered a bit BEYOND CHICAGO and having presented at reporting conventions, we’re known pretty universally throughout the industry as a shaker, if not a mover.
Maybe a mover too.
Hope to see you back here soon!!