eCourt Reporters is honored to be awarded Wisconsin 2018 Legal Innovator by the State Bar of Wisconsin! The following article is found in the Wisconsin Lawyer:
Karen Renee often lamented the difficulties in finding certified, qualified court reporters to cover depositions. She has been a court reporter in the Milwaukee area for about a decade and has owned Milwaukee Court Reporters for the past five years. After learning to hail rides using the popular Uber app, she wistfully thought it would be nice to be able to find court reporters as easily.
That wistfulness quickly turned to a “light bulb moment,” Renee says. “Why can’t we find court reporters that easily?” she asked, then hired a web developer to build out a site, eCourtReporters.com, which launched in July 2017. The site provides a platform where attorneys and paralegals can choose court reporters and videographers based on their qualifications, certifications, years of experience, pricing, availability, and a Yelp-like five-star rating system from past customers.
“What used to be call, text, email and wait for a response is now, literally, the click of a few buttons,” Renee says. “Within less than a minute, I can have a job booked, which used to take days. If I have a client traveling to California for a deposition, the attorney calls me and says, ‘book this job,’ and I start the process of, ‘who do I trust in California?’ Within minutes, I can come up with who’s available. And then you can select by, do you want somebody who’s well-reviewed, or do I want the cheaper one?”
Court reporting agencies got wind of what Renee had set up and “wanted in,” which she has accommodated but at a price; the service remains free to attorneys and paralegals. “A lot of attorneys and paralegals don’t want a third party or an agency to be in the middle,” Renee says. “This allows that attorney or paralegal to book directly. They can see upfront pricing.”
The database for eCourtReporters now has nearly 7,000 entries, including court reporters, videographers, attorneys, paralegals, and agencies, in nearly all 50 states, with California, New York, Florida, and Texas the most common. “We have a good presence right here in Wisconsin,” Renee says. “Being in all 50 states, there are a lot of moving parts. Just about every state has different rules and different laws. As a court reporter, they know their own state rules.”
The project has posed a personal challenge for Renee that seems common to many of Wisconsin’s legal innovators. “I still run Milwaukee Court Reporters,” she says. “I’m double full-time. I still go out and do court reporting because I enjoy the job.” Her joys are also typical of innovators: “From a business standpoint, it’s exciting to see this grow as much as it has,” she says. “It’s been an incredible journey in the past year.”
Read more about the State Bar of Wisconsin’s 2018 Legal Innovators here.
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