Spoken depositions with a court reporter transcribing the spoken word verbatim have been the standard in court reporting for decades. However, with the ever-evolving world of technology, adding video is becoming the new norm. While the written word is a powerful tool in legal depositions, it’s not as impactful as when video is included. Having the ability to actually see a person testifying opens the door to a whole new world for a jury. Being able to watch a video deposition allows a judge or a jury to see things such as body language, gestures, and overall confidence of the witness. Our expert video team wants you to be prepared for video depositions. Here are some of their tips:

Regardless of your role in the deposition, it’s key to avoid wearing bright clothing and certain patterns. For example, polka dots, stripes and plaids can be distracting on camera. Solid, light or pastels are ideal for video depositions. If you’re an attorney, make sure to pass this information on to your clients and/or witnesses. It is also important for the witness to dress as if he or she would in court. It would be a shame for the jury to see a professional expert such as a doctor or police officer show up in court in a suit or uniform, but on the taped deposition, he or she looks like they just hit the gym.

When video is involved, it’s also a good idea to conduct mock depositions with witnesses. Videos don’t lie – witnesses can be caught with eye rolls or fidgeting. By prepping ahead of time, witnesses have the ability to practice and understand how their facial expressions, body language, and verbal responses can affect the deposition. They can practice answering questions clearly and fully, not saying “yep” or using any other forms of slang. Furthermore, seeing themselves on camera may help them get a better understanding of what a video deposition will actually be like.

Maintaining professionalism during any and every deposition is key. But since video depositions are becoming more common, you’ll want to make sure you are ready and prepared to the best of your ability. At PohlmanUSA, our experienced legal videographers can ensure that your video deposition is efficient and effective. Call us at 877-421-0099 to get started or visit http://pohlmanusa.com/our-services/videography/ to learn more about our legal videography services.

Nationwide court reporting and litigation service provider PohlmanUSA has been named for the fourth year in a row as one of the “Top Workplaces” in St. Louis, MO-IL Metro Area by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“The entire PohlmanUSA team is honored to receive this recognition from the Post-Dispatch for a fourth consecutive year,” said Deborah Walters, President and CEO of PohlmanUSA. “The award really speaks to the incredibly talented team that we have at PohlmanUSA. Their commitment to the organization and to providing exceptional customer service to our clients has made our company what it is today. I am very excited about what the future holds for PohlmanUSA.”

Winners were determined by survey results of those who know the companies best—the employees. The results are based on employee feedback via a confidential employee survey focused on organizational health conducted by WorkplaceDynamics, LLC, a leading research firm. Each of the winners share key qualities, including effective leadership, strong values, clear direction, and motivated workers.

To learn more about PohlmanUSA and its court reporting and trial services, call 877-421-0099 or visit www.pohlmanusa.com.


PohlmanUSA’s MyCase Recognized as “Top Ranked Case Management System” in Missouri Lawyers Weekly 2018 Reader Ranking Survey

Missouri Lawyers Weekly recognized PohlmanUSA’s MyCase system as the “Top Ranked Case Management System” in its 2018 reader ranking survey of top Missouri legal marketplace providers.

“The entire Pohlman team is thrilled to have been recognized for the efficiency of our MyCase system,” said Deborah Walters, President and CEO of Pohlman Reporting Company. “MyCase was specifically designed to simplify the case management process for attorneys, and the fact that our clients are utilizing this program and benefitting from its capabilities is so rewarding.”

MyCase is Pohlman’s online interactive case management system. This tool offers a wealth of features all designed to make scheduling, monitoring, attending, and ordering depositions effective and efficient.

The Pohlman team continues to invest in and improve their services and technologies based on client feedback and changes in the litigation industry. Later this summer, clients will experience a refreshed MyCase with added efficiencies and capabilities, including more dynamic search features providing access to our extensive, fully keyword indexed transcript repository for case research and evidentiary purposes. To receive more information on the upcoming MyCase refresh, please contact Pohlman’s marketing team at 877-421-0099 or marketing@PohlmanUSA.com

In last year’s survey, Pohlman’s MyRecordsRetrieval™ (MRR) was recognized as “#1 New Legal Service”. MRR is a custom records collection, management, and online distribution service. It is capable of supporting the needs of large document cases, as well as complex multi-party litigation.

To learn more about MyCase, MRR, or Pohlman’s other trial or court reporting services, call 877-421-0099 or visit www.pohlmanusa.com.

In order to reduce travel time and expenses, attorneys may choose to have depositions over the phone. Telephonic depositions not only save the attorney’s time, but they also reduce the costs to the client. While a deposition over the phone can be convenient for all parties, etiquette still needs to be followed.

Prior to the deposition, ensure that you are prepared. Everyone involved should have access to the correct call-in number. If attorneys are not going to be together during the call, it could be beneficial to exchange exhibits beforehand through the court reporting agency. Have your files organized prior to the call, so that you do not have to be flipping through papers looking for a particular document, as the noise can be picked up by the phone’s audio. It is best to join the line 10 minutes early. This way if there are any technical issues on your end, there is time to troubleshoot them and still start on time.

During the deposition, it is important that both the lawyer and witness speak loudly and clearly into the phone, so that the court reporter can accurately make record of every word. It also can be very helpful to the reporter if all participants identify themselves each time they begin speaking initially unless decided that response by any attorney represents a statement by that side. In certain instances when voices sound so similar that it is hard for the court reporter to distinguish them, the reporter may ask you to identify yourself before speaking.

Following these simple tips will not only make a telephonic deposition much more productive, but it also will result in an accurate, timely transcript. Did you know that PohlmanUSA offers Multi-platform Video Conferencing? It combines the convenience of telephonic deposition attendance with the benefits of appearing in person. Learn more about this reliable, secure, and cost-effective way to attend a deposition from your home or office, by calling 877-421-0099 or visiting: http://pohlmanusa.com/our-services/desktop-vc/.

By Deborah J. Walters

When parties share copies of transcripts, it eliminates the cost-share business model that court reporters enacted decades ago. This ultimately decreases the income of talented court reporters. How does this affect you? Should copy sales of transcripts diminish over time, the result will be an increased cost of the original transcript to adequately pay reporters and/or not enough court reporters available for each deposition or trial. Court reporters proudly serve as officers of the court. With this role comes many responsibilities, one of them being to fairly distribute the costs of services between all involved parties. When clients share copies of their paid transcripts with other parties (who have not paid for a transcript), this prevents the neutral party (the court reporter) from carrying out their designated duty.

Court reporters produce accurate, timely transcripts in an easy-to-use and printable format to make it easy and efficient for lawyers to collaborate with their client and others in the law firm. The downfall of this process is that it provides the opportunity for an individual to easily distribute the paid copy of the transcript to other parties in the case whom have not paid for the rights to view or utilize the copy.

It is common for a court reporter to choose what depositions to take based on the complexity including the number of parties involved. This is how the reporter forecasts their potential payout in the case and how they potentially allocate their professional time. When transcribing a deposition with many parties, the reporter may also choose to hire a scopist to assist in typing, proofing, or preparing the final transcript, including deciphering multiple voices. If the court reporter does not then get their expected compensation for this job, based on selling multiple copies, they may prefer to take a job for a different firm in the future and may actually be paying their scopist out of pocket, losing money on this job.

How can you prevent the costs of transcripts from rising and ensure you receive the high standard of court reporters you are accustomed to? It is simple. Once you receive the electronic version of your draft/final transcript, do not reproduce, copy, distribute, or publish the transcript (in whole or in part) without first compensating the court reporting agency the standard charges. Remind your team including all attorneys, paralegals, and expert witnesses to do the same and not share the transcript copy with other parties. If you find that you wish or need to share the transcript with others, please contact the agency directly or have the other party contact the agency to pay for the copy.

Maintaining the fairness of the court reporting profession is important to the legal profession, and in keeping clients’ long-term total costs to a minimum.

When it comes to selecting a Court Reporting agency, you can search high and low and ultimately choose anyone. But will you rest easy knowing you made the best choice? How did you research the agency you chose? What specifically did you look for? And did you find answers that exceeded the depth of your questions? If you are faced with any doubts, stop searching and simply pick PohlmanUSA. Here’s why:

Court Reporting:

Court Reporting is what we do best. Our national network of over 500 reporters provides the highest-quality reporting and litigation services from coast to coast. Our staff is unique in that we organize and attend thousands of depositions on a yearly basis. This type of experience gives us a one-up against other agencies by allowing us to create and perfect our services and products. Not to mention, our elite team of courts reporters work in a variety of specialty practices, such as asbestos, pharmaceutical, toxic tort and MDL’s.


Videography has become an essential element in successful litigation. That is why we employ and deploy the best of the best in video experts. These professionals know the ins and outs of how to service and capture everything you need at a deposition. Our video workforce can shoot video in multiple formats, using Picture-in-Picture, multiple cameras and equipment, synchronization and more. We can edit videos, reducing hours of footage into minutes of engaging highlights. When it comes to video for your litigation services, our staff is second to none.

Multi-platform Video Conferencing:

In our line of business, it’s imperative to keep up with the trends in technology. Our video conferencing services give us the capability of connecting you to unlimited locations around the world. Through our Multi-platform Video Conferencing, our clients receive a reliable, secure, and cost-effective way to attend a deposition from the convenience of his or her own home or office. Clients commend us on the fact that they are able to reduce their travel time and expenses and they don’t have to install any software. It truly is so simple.

Trial Support:

At PohlmanUSA, we believe in a commitment to our clients. We honor this through offering our innovative video presentation and exhibit enhancement services for your trial. Our clients rely on us to make their cases stand out from the other side. Our trial services team works with your team preparing for trial, and then attends trial as an extension of your team. By running the “hot seat” in trial, our trial services staff takes unnecessary pressure off of you during questioning of witnesses. Their experience also captures the jury’s attention.

If you are still asking yourself, “Why pick PohlmanUSA?” Another reason is our unwavering commitment. Our entire team is committed—committed to quality, innovation, and to you.


The term “glass ceiling” was first coined in 1978 by Marilyn Loden but became popular in the 1980s as a term to describe women getting stuck in middle management by an unseen barrier. Today the term is used frequently to describe the elite positions women and other minorities cannot reach through an unseen but perceived limitation.

Laying the Groundwork

It seems American women lawyers have been laying the groundwork to break the glass ceiling in law firms for decades, yet still have not been able to penetrate the barrier on a consistent basis. Why is it taking so long?

Recently thirty large law firms in the US pledged to try the new “Mansfield rule” which is a variation of the NFL’s “Rooney rule”. The Mansfield rule asks that law firms consider women and minorities at a rate of at least 30 percent of the candidates for leadership and governance roles, promotions to equity partner, and for lateral positions. However, it does not require a certain percentage receive those positions. This is one step towards ending gender bias, but it is not enough.

Law360’s ranking of top law firms for women say they have been laying the groundwork for years to help women thrive in their firms. Firms that have more than 40 percent female attorneys tend to look at a more diverse recruiting pool, encourage flexible schedules, and provide leadership and professional development programs such as mentorship, according to The 2017 Law360 Glass Ceiling Report. Yet, there is a concern that the groundwork has been slow and results minimal and this won’t change without education, commitment and action by many men and women attorneys.

Forward Movement for Women Lawyers

Looking back only 36 years to 1981, there were no women sitting as United States Supreme Court Justices, and today there are three. This is a huge step forward for women lawyers. However, it may actually be female counterparts working at in-house roles that lead to the law firm glass ceiling breaking. Going back to 2011, already 36% of top legal positions in corporate legal departments were held by women according to the 2011 Minority Corporate Counsel Association survey. Corporate clients have begun asking for diversity, including that of women partners, from their outside counsel. Starting back in 1999, the General Counsel at BellSouth Corp. led a group in-house counsel to sign a statement promising to consider law firm diversity when hiring outside counsel. Today, corporate legal departments don’t just ask firms to have diverse groups of attorneys. They are asking outside counsel to put diverse attorneys in leadership positions, and they’re asking for data to back it up according to author Stephanie Russell-Kraft in her article, “Companies Use Diversity Data to Hold Law Firms Accountable.”

Recently, The American Bar Association created a model diversity survey and supplied it to corporate counsel to use to collect data from outside counsel on the diversity of their firms. One large company that took a lead in making a change was Microsoft. Microsoft revamped their diversity program and added bonus payments to diverse outside counsel according to David Ruiz, in his article, “Legal Departments Ask Firms for Diversity, Make Efforts In-House,” Corporate Counsel, April 5, 2017.

It appears, little by little, the glass ceiling in law firms is cracking but at a much slower pace than other professions and it is going to take a lot of progress to be smashed. “We say we live in a modern society, but gender inequality is still evident in several professions, including the law,” says Joyce Smithey, “Women and Legal Professional: Four Common Obstacles Faced by Female Lawyers,” January 13, 2017.

Gender Bias in Law Firms: At What Cost?

There are many concerns, both short and long term, that firms need to be ready to face if either

conscious or implicit bias exists in their firms. Some of these “costs” are economic and others are the result of lacking progressive behavior including the lack of diverse employees, the loss of clientele, and time spent re-hiring and training positions. Not only does a firm risk litigation and the opportunity to strengthen their applicant pool, if potential female applicants do not see your firm as a place they can grow and be seen as an equal to their male counterparts, you could be losing top attorneys and paying clients to your competition.

In 2016 alone, three large firms were sued by current and former female partners for discrimination including in wages. As 2017 has begun, it appears this trend of discrimination lawsuits continues. According to The Board List: September 5, 5 Reasons Why Having Women in Leadership Benefits Your Entire Company,” women are better at problem solving, are more trusted as leaders, are more collaborative than men, and make terrific mentors.

Women also tend to excel at teamwork, do better than men when it comes to initiative, as well as have better follow-through and a better focus on results, according to Geri Stengel in a report, “Forget the Glass Ceiling: Build Your Business Without One.” They also have a positive impact on workplace policies according to The Rockefeller Foundation, “Women in Leadership: Why It Matters.”

Brad Smith, president and general counsel at Microsoft, says “You need to have diverse legal teams to understand the way the world works, because the world is diverse.” “Law Firms Risk Losing Corporate Work Unless They Promote Women,” by Laura Colby, December 9, 2016.

For these reasons and more, women at the top of law firms strengthen those firms as they are facing an enhanced competitive market. Now it is time for those female and male attorneys at law firms to ask themselves, “What can I do in the quest for diverse and equal standing in my firm?”

Read our first article published in our Women in Law series, here.

As a female attorney who transitioned out of the practice of law, I often wonder if my gender has, or would have, played a role in my career progression as it has for women lawyers in previous centuries. Even in 2017, landing a successful career as a law firm partner at a prestigious firm does not just take dedication and long hours. Female attorneys still find it to be an uphill, and often losing, battle.

The practice of law has changed dramatically since the first US law school opened in 1779. It was not until 90 years later, in 1869, that the first woman lawyer was admitted to any bar in the United States. And it wasn’t until 1995 that the American Bar Association saw its first female president.

A lot may have changed with the practice of law, but a lot has stayed the same since 1779 for female attorneys. In the 20th century, there are women bar associations, women-oriented CLE’s and conferences, and firm maternity leave programs for female attorneys. But, according to The 2017 Law360 Glass Ceiling Report from Law360, progress for women partners is incremental, at best. Even in 2017, men make up more than 65 percent of practicing attorneys in the US, nearly 70 percent of non- equity partners, and over 80 percent of equity partners.

Looking back just a decade, “In 2006, it was virtually unheard of for a woman to be recognized as a superior manager and trusted with the responsibility of leading one of the largest law firms in the country, if not the world.” (Tracking 10 Years Of Women’s Progress In The Legal
Profession, by Staci Zaretski, abovethelaw.com, September 14, 2016.)

Progress for Women Lawyers
While 85% of women lawyers surveyed for a recent study, What Lawyers Need to Know About Gender Bias in the Legal Profession, Lectric Law Library, August 14, 2017, still perceive a subtle gender bias in the legal profession, only 66% agree they are not accepted as equals by their male colleagues. And 2016 found more law firms than ever counting multiple women as their top rainmakers. “In 2016, women run the show at several of the prestigious big law firms in America, and while remarkably few women have ascended to such roles, it’s still a great improvement over the way things used to be,” according to Tracking 10 Years Of Women’s Progress In The Legal Profession, by Staci Zaretsky, Abovethelaw.com, September 14, 2016.

Bias: Conscious or Unconscious?
Yet with less than 20 percent of equity partners in US law firms being women, it seems that bias still exists. It may no longer be direct bias, yet unconscious bias hits just as hard for women lawyers. In the same survey, What Lawyers Need to Know About Gender Bias in the Legal Profession, Lectric Law Library, August 14, 2017, lack of awareness of the unconscious bias was attributed to the current state of gender bias in law firms. As biases are learned behaviors, there is hope that, as more women rise to the top and more men at the top retire, the learned behaviors of the new leaders will show more equality. However, there is just as much chance that the women at the top will find some value in the hardships and lessons they learned on their way up and expect women that follow them to endure the same as a way of proving themselves worthy.

Women Working Together
In the past several decades, women lawyers have teamed up to promote each other and educate others on the existing biases in law firm settings. The Women in Law Empowerment Forum was created in 2007 as a way to begin dialogue, create education opportunities and provide networking for women in law firms. Today they offer a certification that emphasizes leadership roles achieved by equity women partners. To receive the 2017 Gold Standard Certification, a firm must meet four or more criteria based on the role and number of women equity partners. As of June 1, 2017, seven law firms have met all seven criteria, including 20% of their equity partners, or alternatively, 33% or more of the attorneys becoming equity partner during the past twelve months are women.

Progress, But Is It Enough?
Is there as much progress as Ada Kepley would have wanted 147 years after she became the first female to graduate law school in the United States? Probably not, but it is a start. Hopefully the next 147 years will bring more parallel careers and quicker progress for male and female attorneys.
Stay tuned for future articles on law firms and gender bias.

Author Carrie Titus is Director of Sales & Marketing for PohlmanUSA. She joined the company in 2013, adding a rare blend of legal and client development experience to the firm. Carrie oversees all sales and marketing efforts, including existing and prospective client communications, sales presentations, strategic communications and advertising. She has been active in the legal profession since 2001 as an attorney practicing family law and as a legal recruiter.

We all know the famous saying “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Well, in today’s visually driven world, a video is worth a million. The legal profession has recognized the impactful power that videos have in both capturing interest and influencing opinions. It is because of this that videography is being used more and more in depositions.

Videotaped depositions can play a major role in the outcome of the litigation process for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons being that video depositions can serve as a substitute for live testimony. For example, if a witness cannot be present to testify in court, his or her videotaped deposition can be played during the trial. Also, in the rare, unfortunate instance that a witness becomes ill or passes away and can no longer testify in trial, a video deposition can preserve his or her important testimony.

Another key role of video deposition is that it can be more impactful to the jury than a mere reading of the deposition transcript. For example, if a witness would happen to alter his or her testimony in court, the videotaped deposition can prove the inconsistencies between the two testimonies. If the jury can actually physically watch the witness answer the same question differently, it could be much more effective than listening to the attorney read the transcript. When watching the video, the jury gets to watch the witness’s body language firsthand, which could be very telling if he or she is being truthful or dishonest.

Many attorneys and law firms are turning to video depositions because they can utilize the clips of video to create engaging, powerful presentations to play during trial. These video presentations bring cases to life, presenting key case facts, important testimony, background information, etc. These presentations can be much more compelling and stand out against the surplus of written transcripts and legal documents. At PohlmanUSA, our certified legal video specialists can create presentations that enhance and convey accurate and authentic details about your case. They can combine diagrams, exhibits, and videos to create a persuasive presentation that is sure to capture the attention of your audience.

At PohlmanUSA, we provide high quality, cost-effect videography services at depositions nationwide. However, we don’t stop there, we also offer trial support services, including: trial playback, video editing, exhibit services, and more. To learn more, call 877-421-0099 or visit: www.pohlmanusa.com.

Making business decisions can be significantly easier when you have the right information. Many organizations and businesses use focus groups to gather valuable information from specific market audiences. Focus groups can be beneficial in a wide variety of industries, including:

  • Advertising/Marketing Agencies
  • Automobile Designers
  • Cities and Counties
  • Entertainment Industry
  • Grocery Retailers
  • Hospitals/Doctors
  • Law Firms
  • Lobbyists
  • Restaurants
  • Schools

What is a focus group?

A focus group is a group of people recruited to participate in a guided discussion to provide feedback on specific topics. A moderator typically guides the group through different questions and discussions. Businesses and organizations use focus groups to gather different types of data. They can provide useful information in product development research, marketing and branding techniques, and many other situations.

What can you learn from a focus group?

By asking questions of the group, a business can measure reactions to new products or services. An organization can gauge public perception to specific initiatives. With a focus group, follow-up questions can be asked and a discussion can be held that may result in immediate suggestions for improvements that can be made to products, services, or marketing messaging. The key benefit to focus groups is that they can gather important information efficiently. When compared to the method of individual interviews, information is gathered more quickly in a group setting. An organization can use focus groups to:

  • Identify customer needs
  • Test new products
  • Identify how a particular product is used
  • Explore and identify issues of satisfaction for customers, staff or suppliers
  • Explore perceptions of brand and service elements associated with the brand

Tesla Improves Product to Appeal to Women

In 2015, Tesla utilized focus groups to discover how to properly market their product to women. Tesla asked women what features they found important to them when buying an SUV. The answers they received allowed the company to create the Tesla Model X, an SUV-minivan mix, with space for seven passengers, a third row of seating, and expansive trunk space. The attention to the underserved market of female buyers paid off. A large number of the pre-orders for the Tesla Model X were made by women.


Main Street Hagerstown Uses Focus Groups to Plan Community Events

When Main Street Hagerstown set about to plan community events in Hagerstown, Maryland, they used focus groups to discover the needs and desires of the community. In 2017, Main Street Hagerstown held focus groups with downtown business owners and groups of consumers. The answers they received to specific questions allowed them to plan events that the community cared about—events focused more on food, music, and the arts in Downtown Hagerstown.


Cedarburg School District Develops Solutions With the Assistance of Focus Groups

Recently in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, when tasked with creating a long-term plan for the school district, the school district leaders chose focus groups as one of the methods to gather more information to make competent decisions. The District conducted more than 20 focus groups to identify areas that needed attention, such as building capacity, large assembly spaces, security and infrastructure. Armed with the information received in the focus group, as well as data gathered from other methods, the District can now develop solutions in those areas of concern.


Preparing For a Focus Group

Conducting a focus group is not for the faint of heart. They take a lot of time, preparation, and energy. First, determine if you will conduct the process on your own or use an experienced expert in the field. If you are determined to run it on your own, remember that people you recruit as participants are important but so is the time you spend preparing.

Take care in deciding the kinds of audience members you want to recruit, their demographics such as age, gender, or product familiarity. Choose participants who have the background necessary to knowledgeably discuss the topics at hand.

If you feel utilizing an expert to assist you will provide you the best results with less stress, start by locating a reputable provider. Ask for referrals from other colleagues or call focus group agencies. Decide if you would like to hold the focus group at their facility or your own. Decide the number of participants you wish to have in the focus group. Your focus group provider can give guidance in making these preliminary decisions and walk you through the steps to set up the exercise.

With the right preparation and planning, conducting a successful focus group can give you insight into the feelings, needs and thought processes of your target audience.