Hello, Fellow Court Reporters

Fall time – I seriously love this time of year more and more. The magic of the season is everywhere. Colors of the changing leaves, back-to-school excitement, pumpkin spice EVERYTHING, and it’s almost Thanksgiving! So much splendor during this season. Make a fall bucket list so you don’t miss a thing. Jump in and enjoy.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with a new schedule, look for ways to reduce stress. BREATHE…. so simple. So helpful. Choose a phrase or visualization that you can focus on while you breathe in for five seconds. Then breathe out for five seconds. Keep your message positive. Use words like “will” rather than “won’t.” For example, “I will succeed today” rather than “I won’t mess up.”

Remember to drink plenty of water and get plenty of sleep. Best wishes to all. Keep in touch!

Holli Goldman
Court Reporter and Court
Reporter Liaison

Being Prepared

One of the very different aspects of our job as reporters is we find ourselves in different places from day to day, often with people we have never met before, taking testimony on so many different subject matters. Some days are a walk in the park, the witness is slow, the subject is a motor vehicle accident similar to others we have heard so many times before. But then there is that deposition with an expert witness who is talking about a subject we are not at all familiar with and using words that we have never heard of.

The best way to deal with the unexpected day in the life of a court reporter is to be prepared. Plan to be at your job a minimum of 45 minutes to a half hour before the start of the deposition. Being early not only allows you to set up your equipment and be ready, but it also affords you the opportunity to prepare a case dictionary before the start of the deposition. Sometimes the attorney may be in the room and you can get a sense for what the subject matter is going to be and create some brief forms that will help throughout the deposition. Case dictionaries make read-backs easier and can save lots of time editing later.

Unlike years ago, we all have laptop computers with us at our jobs which give us the ability to do work from any location, even from a conference room waiting for a deposition to start.

Additionally, I have attended quite a few depositions lately where everyone was in the room, ready to start 15 minutes early

Debbie Brazukas
RPR, CCR, and
Court Reporter Liaison

Magna Has Pledged to Support Project Steno

When my dad, Bob Ackerman, and I attended the NCRA Convention this past August, we had the pleasure of meeting with the founders of Project Steno. What these individuals have created with this program is truly commendable. They are helping to enroll and support court reporting students through graduation. And Magna Legal Services wants to help. They have pledged to be a Platinum Level Contributor! I am so proud of Magna’s pledge to this program. And you can help, too. (Read below)

As we all know, there has been a decline in graduating court reporting students as well as court reporting schools closing all over the country. The Project Steno team is working towards getting the “right” students in the appropriate court reporting schools. They are working at reducing their tuition by offering tuition assistance. Then they will monitor and mentor the students to ensure they graduate in two years.

Read more about Project Steno here: ProjectSteno.org

I’m sure you all agree that court reporting is an amazing career with many benefits. What has court reporting done for you? What do you love about it?

Working as a freelance reporter, I have been a part of so many interesting proceedings — depositions, arbitrations, hearings. I’ve met and worked with so many interesting people. I’ve learned so much about things I never knew existed by being a “fly on the wall.” It’s never boring — well, not entirely true, but that never lasts too long. It’s been an amazing 20-year career, and I’m still excited by it. As a freelance reporter, I enjoy the flexibility of setting my own schedule and working at my own pace. I feel blessed and empowered by the flexibility this profession has offered to me.

What can YOU do to help?

Project Steno needs steno machines for their students. Do you have any old writers cluttering your office? Let’s send them to Project Steno. And Magna will reimburse you for your shipping charge! Here’s what to do:

  1. Package up your old writer. Even manual ones are needed.
    Include whatever you have — charger, paper tray.
  2. Ship it directly to Nancy Varallo:
    Project Steno
    ATTN: Nancy Varallo
    9 Hammond Street, Worcester, MA 01610
    Additional contact information for Nancy: (508) 438-0314
    [email protected]
  3. Send a copy of your receipt for the shipping charge to me! [email protected]
  4. We will reimburse you.

Let’s do our part to help make a difference!

Holli Goldman
Court Reporter and Court
Reporter Liaison

NCRA Conference 2018

We loved meeting you at the NCRA Conference! Thank you to everyone who attended Magna’s cocktail reception in New Orleans. We had a wonderful time hosting this event. It was so nice to finally meet some of you that we communicate with every day. And of course, it was a pleasure to see many new faces and form new relationships! We are delighted to have you all as a part of the Magna family and we look forward to seeing you at the convention next year!

Proofreading Corner

How many times have you come across a group of words while scoping and stared at them wondering if they should be hyphenated or not? Or even second-guessed yourself while proofreading? I’m sure a lot! One of the types of corrections I make the most on an errata sheet are hyphen corrections, whether something is missing a hyphen or one has been added that wasn’t needed. So, I thought I’d take a moment to talk about hyphens in this article.

According to Morson’s English Guide for Court Reporters, it states that when a number plus a noun come before a noun (but not after), they’re hyphenated.

Examples: A four-year college/a college of four years; a 15-year-old student/a student who is 15 years old; a 5-foot-6-inch-tall woman/a woman 5 feet 6 inches tall; a one-and-a-half- foot opening/an opening of one and a half feet.

When “well” plus a participle come after the noun, the hyphen is dropped because the participle becomes part of the verb phrase. If it comes before, it’s hyphenated.

Examples: They are politicians who are well known/they are well-known politicians; that secret has been well kept until now/that is a well-kept secret. Of course there are a few exceptions that you can check your dictionary for (ex: “wellbeing”). The same can be said for “up to date”; for example: An up-to-date report/a report that is up to date. It also says that “full-time” and “part-time” are always hyphenated (adjective + noun before the noun or as an adverb) but I know some reporters prefer to only hyphenate “full-time” and “part-time” when they are used as adjectives. Personal preference on that one? Maybe!

I find that I sometimes need to look up those “self,” “quasi,” “pre,” “post,” “half,” and “non” rules… they can be tricky! Morson’s says to use a hyphen with “self” and “quasi.” Use a hyphen with the prefixes “ex” and “then” when they mean “former.” Examples: We suggest that Rule 8 is self-explanatory. Are you suggesting that he is using quasi-legal techniques? I had not seen my ex-wife for three years. I spoke to his then-wife about the insurance. My exercise routine is self-directed.

Though in the Note section to that rule it states that “selfsame,” “selfhood,” and “unselfconscious” are not hyphenated. Dictionaries show that the prefixes “pre” and “post” words are solid without a hyphen, although Black’s Law Dictionary uses the hyphens in expressions like “posttrial discovery,” and “post-mortem.” Though if the prefix is added before a compound noun, you can add the hyphen. Examples: She brought her post-high school records with her. He spoke often of those pre-tax-exempt days. I lost money because it’s a non-income-producing property.

Words that end in -ly (where the -ly is not part of the root word, as in “family”) are not to be hyphenated. Examples: The newly completed house burned before the insurance was purchased. His viciously planned deed backfired. We are conducting a professionally oriented survey. We were at a family-oriented amusement park. If you can remove the word after the -ly word and the phrase still makes sense, then you can use a hyphen. Examples: He is a worldly-minded man. She told me I had a homely-faced child.

Lastly, I find there is some confusion on when and when not to hyphenate “follow up.” If it is being used as a verb, it is two words; if it is being used as a noun or an adjective, it’s hyphenated. Examples: We have to follow up on that direct examination (verb). We have to do a follow-up on that direct examination (noun). I have to ask follow-up questions on that direct examination (adjective).

Having good reference materials is very important when scoping/proofreading your work. I hope the rules I’ve referenced from Morson’s English Guide for Court Reporters has helped you – happy scoping and proofreading! 🙂

Danielle Klaiss


Magna’s staff had a nationwide Halloween costume contest. The winners were from our Chicago scheduling team. Mary Woolsey and Angela LoCoco handmade a Magna pen! That’s true Magna love and dedication!

We hope you had a wonderful Halloween with your friends and family as well!

Best wishes

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