Joe Grabowski, RMR
Principal – GORE BROTHERS, a Veritext Company
As I look back on my career in court reporting that started in June 1976, I see how dramatically so many things have changed, and yet realize that the basic premise remains the same…provide the best service possible for your clients. One of my favorite quotes is by Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart: “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”
Working as a court reporter from 1976 to 2000, I know first-hand how difficult the job can be based on the subject matter, the demeanor of counsel, how fast everyone talks, how long the job can go (especially at the most inconvenient times), and of course the last-minute expedited delivery they just asked for.
I think back to how our court reporters at Gore Brothers worked in the office from morning to evening, from the 70s into the mid-90s, whether you had a job or not, either dictating or just waiting for that last-minute job to go out. And God forbid you tell the firm owner or office manager that you don’t want to cover a job. You may have groused while packing up your steno machine in the Samsonite case, but you went anyway. We were all team players. But “being a team player” wasn’t a common term back then – you just did it.
Back then, on any desk you could always find the following reference books: Dorland’s Medical, Black’s Law, Physicians Desk Reference, Grey’s Anatomy, local, national street and world atlases, and of course good old Webster’s. I smile when I think about how my home office in the early 1980’s had all of these books propped up on shelves at 45-degree angles around my desk so I could easily reach up and finger through the pages to look for spellings. I thought I was the cat’s pajamas.
Then big changes came from the advent of the fax machine all the way up to the internet of today. The ability to work from anywhere at any time no longer required reporters to be in the office, and now you just need to misspell part of a word in a Google search and you get the spelling, definition and audio pronunciation.
As different technologies become the new norm, agencies need to figure out how to make it work with our valued court reporters. Calendar has to work much harder, scrutinizing the schedule with more reporters who are working fewer days and less hours to get the same result.
It never ceases to amaze me how it always works out – sometimes miraculously. None of this would be possible if we weren’t all team players; our staff and our court reporters. We communicate to find out what days, hours and locations our partners can work each week; and when we send out an SOS for the days we have far more jobs than available reporters, everyone takes a turn, stepping up as a team player to change their schedule or take a less desirable job in order to help us get the calendar covered.
A court reporting firm is only as good as its reporters, and Veritext works with the best of the best. These days, that’s what it takes to accomplish the one thing that has never changed: To provide the best service possible to our clients. And that means being a team player.