Should Auld Acquaintance …

On this eve of a special day for many and as the year rolls slowly to a close, many will reflect on what we have left behind. Sadly, thanks to this terrible pandemic this may be extremely painful for many. However, here at Reportex, 2021 did bring about many exciting developments and news, and thanks to that we now can look toward a new year with enthusiasm for what these developments will bring for us and for court reporting across Canada.

In this light, we asked some of our leadership team to look into their crystal balls and share their feelings on what 2022 will bring us.

Leanne Kowalyk, Director of Court Reporting

My thoughts are that as we glide into 2022, we will learn to collaborate across the country as one team, work through interprovincial designations and build communication structures between offices. I’m excited to integrate our teams of staff, reporters and editors and see those new relationships bud and grow into a strong nationwide team. I also hope that by the end of next year we will have streamlined some of our platforms and services across the country.

Kim Neeson, Regional VP, Eastern Canada

My 2022 crystal ball says more Zooming ahead! While we start to creep back into “normalcy,” the pandemic seems to have other plans for us, now with the Omicron variant. While we wait for people to get their booster shots on board — or maybe their first shots! — we’ll continue to provide services remotely for at least the winter months. The pandemic has had its silver linings for us — getting lawyers on the tech track much faster than any of us could have done trying to move them one at a time and having the ability to demonstrate that remote litigating does work, and works well! And that’s good news for all of us in the reporting world, where our reporters can spread their wings and provide services to a number of our clients in various regions. 

Look for more opportunities, especially in realtime as more clients become exposed to this technology and appreciate its value. If you’re a reporter who hasn’t made the realtime plunge yet, now’s the time! 2022 is your year!

Megan Ejack, Director of Marketing & Communications

My hope for 2022 is that we continue to align as a community, sharing our expertise, finding ways to provide mentorship and opportunities and especially helping to sustain this incredible industry for years to come. We continue to face challenges both in our legal system and in our world, but we’re also on the cusp of some exciting and innovative developments across the board. So in my opinion, now is the time to come together to work to create a better and more hopeful future for everyone.   

And from all of us to all of you, we wish you happy holidays and a safe and wonderful new year.

Meet Jenn Kendall, Director of Human Resources

Jenn is the Director of HR, responsible for the hiring, onboarding, performance management and training of our teams across Canada. Our director of human resources has had diverse experience applying HR programs in a lawful, fair and consistent manner in many industries across four provinces. She has specialized in change management, organizational structure, business development, start-ups and expansions. She also has training and experience in Nonviolent Crisis Intervention, suicide intervention and conflict resolution. Outside of the corporate world she has been teaching yoga and meditation for nearly 15 years.

At Reportex our core values of team, mentorship, equality, community and industry are central to what we do. Veritext’s mission and corporate values dovetail nicely with our already solid foundation. Together we aim to be respectful, ethical, collaborative, accountable and professional. Can you tell us which of these values resonates most strongly with you and why?

It’s pretty challenging to pick just one as I think they are all essential components to building healthy, cohesive teams and an environment where all feel welcomed, valued and appreciated.

For today I will focus on respectful. A workplace, regardless of size and service, provides employment to people of varying backgrounds, belief systems, perspectives, ethnicities, etc. Each one of those individuals will have a different role and level of responsibility within the organization. Each one also has an equal right to be there and to have an important contribution to make in the overall success of the organization. While we aren’t required to like everyone we work with, there is an expectation that each individual can come to work and be treated respectfully. Without a basic level of respect for our co-workers, the ability to complete the requirements of each of our positions and our overall job satisfaction become significantly impacted, having a long-term and lasting impact on the individual and the business itself.

Based on your experience and knowledge what is the key element to maintaining a strong team during stressful times like COVID-19 and corporate transitions?

I would say there are two things that are essential: 

The first is empathy — an understanding and appreciation that everyone navigates and copes with change and unknowns in a very different way. The way we might do it isn’t how someone else would do it. That doesn’t make it wrong. When everything is going well, we have a tendency to appreciate the characteristics that make us different and unique. When faced with challenges, it becomes easier to lose sight of those same qualities and harder to appreciate them. 

The second is giving our co-workers the benefit of the doubt. Each and every one of us is doing the best we can. While I would say this is true all the time, in difficult times it becomes vitally important to bring this front of mind. 

We talk quite a bit about wellness and self-care on our blog and internally through our Teams channels. Do you have a favourite way to recharge or any tips for staying healthy mentally and physically?

As a trained yoga and meditation teacher those are my initial go-tos and have been for the past 15 or so years. If I’m not on the mat, I can be found wandering somewhere out in nature.

Lessons from the Past

by Kerry Sauriol, Marketing Coordinator

When my youngest was about seven years old, she asked if we could attend the Remembrance Day ceremonies in person down at the Cenotaph. Given that my grandfather as well as many other family members of mine served in WWII, I was happy that she was taking so much interest in this somber event, and off we went to pay our respects.

But as the years have gone by since the end of that war, so has the disconnect, especially for those of us who have been fortunate to live lives uninterrupted by strife.  

It is hard to reflect on the horrors of the past when conflict still plagues much of this planet. It feels as though the lessons that should have been learned have been forgotten. 

It is hard to reflect on wars that are fading into history when we are all so wrapped up in our daily lives — especially these last couple of years as we have navigated the pandemic. 

But as Terry Kelly says:

Take two minutes, would you mind?
It’s a pittance of time
For the boys and the girls who went over
In peace may they rest, may we never forget why they died
It’s a pittance of time

Meet Lana Allen (again)

We love seeing the worlds of Veritext and Reportex connecting and getting to know each other better.  Recently Jan Ballman of Veritext Minneapolis took the time to interview our very own Lana Allen, RPR, RCR, CCP. Lana is a realtime court reporter. Realtime reporting is the instantaneous translation of oral proceedings into English text. Counsel’s laptop or iPad is connected to the reporter’s secure realtime network, enabling counsel to read and annotate the text on their screen in real time during the proceedings.

Lana has over 20 years’ experience in both criminal and civil cases, with experience and an extensive knowledge base of Aboriginal, medical, marine, environmental, construction and engineering-related terminology. She also does communication access realtime translation (CART), also known as realtime captioning, for the deaf and hard of hearing.  

You can read and learn about Lana’s globetrotting ways here. 


Connect Series: Meet Zinnie Breitkreutz

Zinnie is our documents specialist and copy editor. In addition to editing written content for Reportex, she is involved in quality control and the preparation of various documents and appeal products. Zinnie was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, and has loved the written word for as long as she can remember (as a child she could never understand why finding errors in books, menus and signs exhilarated her!). She currently lives in Beaumont, Alberta, with her husband and three school-aged kids.

While editing and proofreading are indeed skills that can be learned, what innate personality type do you think it takes to be an expert QC collaborator and copy editor?

While I’m not sure there is a specific personality type, I know there are definitely certain traits that anyone in this line of work needs to have. When you spend your days happily hunting for errors and inconsistencies, conscientiousness is crucial in order to stay focused and finish tasks meticulously. Perfectionism is a blessing and a curse — editors have to strive for perfection but not obsess over it and risk getting bogged down. It’s also important to be able to look at documents with curiosity and a critical eye, not being afraid to research things, point out weaknesses and make suggestions. Humility is also a beneficial trait since editors don’t generally feel the need for recognition; we tend to enjoy staying behind the scenes.

At Reportex our core values of team, mentorship, equality, community and industry are central to what we do. Veritext’s mission and corporate values dovetail nicely to our already solid foundation. Together we aim to be respectful, ethical, collaborative, accountable and professional. Can you tell us which of these values resonates most strongly with you and why?

Team and collaborative are at the top of my list, without a doubt. I am so grateful for the people I get to work with. Many people I know dread meetings, but I get to look forward to them! Drama with co‑workers? Pressure from superiors? Nope! I have a tremendous sense of gratitude for the fact that I have such a positive work environment. The most challenging projects and tight deadlines can be experienced in a completely different way when you’re working alongside the most amazing team.

Sometimes I pause and think about just how much effort goes into producing a single transcript or appeal product, and it’s incredible. I’ve always been impressed at how much we value quality at Reportex — enough to invest whatever is needed to ensure that we are delivering top-notch products every single time. This simply couldn’t happen if each member of our team didn’t have a pivotal role to play in the collaborative process.

We talk quite a bit about wellness and self-care on our blog and internally through our Teams channels. Do you have a favourite way to recharge or any tips for staying healthy mentally and physically?

Although I’ve always viewed wellness as incredibly important, I had a very disordered way of approaching it until I entered my 30s. One of the most valuable things I’ve learned over the years is that I don’t have to be perfect or live up to societal standards. I do try to incorporate intentional movement into each day, and that’s always a great choice for both my mental and physical health — but I certainly don’t do it because someone else says I should! The most important thing to me is being my best self and doing what feels good to me on any given day or in a given season of life. For instance, I might run and do strength training most days one week, and the next week I might decide that long walks and yoga feel best. One day I’ll crave and enjoy salad for lunch, but the next day might be pizza or a couple of chocolate chip cookies. I’ve found it extremely freeing to give myself permission to take up space in the world, learn how to listen to my body, find balance and avoid comparison. This, for me, is true wellness and self-care.

My faith keeps me grounded, especially in the tumultuous time we’re living in. I’m a very early riser since I love the stillness of mornings, and that’s when I’m most productive and energized. I also love a lot of random things that keep me feeling great mentally and physically (even though my husband likes to tease me for the array of comfort items and routines that I have). These are a few of my favourite things (and yes, whiskers on kittens would be on the expansive list if I had an unlimited word count!): essential oils, lots of water, my body pillow, Netflix, daily chocolate, intuitive-ish eating, kombucha, good books, buttery popcorn, coffee/tea and lingering hugs from my kids.

Connect Series: Meet Abby Morssy

Abby is the virtual proceedings technician for Reportex, responsible for managing and facilitating virtual proceedings for clients and assisting with technical setup and support. Abby lived in a few different places growing up, including Egypt (where she was born), the UK and even Saudi Arabia. She moved to Canada in early 2017 and was particularly fond of cloudy and rainy Vancouver as her first Canadian city as it was a nostalgic reminder of the London weather that she had grown accustomed to.

As someone who is in the thick of it, what do you see as being the growing needs or trends when it comes to virtual proceedings?

I believe virtual proceedings are here to stay, even as things slowly get back to normal, with a hybrid model being the more likely outcome. As the virtual sector continues to experience growth, connectivity technologies such as 5G and improved wifi will be essential in providing and maintaining high-speed connections. Consumer-grade devices with enhanced hardware that can manage virtual communications will become more widespread and cheaper. Software companies will continue improving their apps to improve accessibility for consumers, especially those who are less technically able. We’ve seen that with Webex and Teams at the start of the pandemic as they looked to simplify their user interfaces to compete with Zoom.

At Reportex our core values of team, mentorship, equality, community and industry are central to what we do. Veritext’s mission and corporate values dovetail nicely to our already solid foundation. Together we aim to be respectful, ethical, collaborative, accountable and professional. Can you tell us which of these values resonates most strongly with you and why?

I would say collaboration, particularly when it comes to a work environment. Impactful collaboration fosters a strong sense of community. Actively listening to fellow team members and supporting them to reach common goals leads to close-knit relationships and stronger bonds. It also makes it easier for them to reciprocate when others need help and support. This contributes to a healthier work mindset — that we all have a part to play, and we learn, succeed and fail together.

We talk quite a bit about wellness and self-care on our blog and internally through our Teams channels. Do you have a favourite way to recharge or any tips for staying healthy mentally and physically?

I am grateful to have discovered and have gotten into meditation during the pandemic, and I credit it with reducing a great deal of stress in my day-to-day life. Doing a 10- to 20-minute session in the morning before starting my day and another session in the evening to unwind has helped me greatly in decluttering my mind and getting me to focus on things that truly matter. I have become calmer, less reactive, less stressed and more grateful since building this daily habit, and now I can’t imagine my days without it.

Are you still fond of cloudy and rainy Vancouver weather? 

It’s almost customary to complain about rain when it’s wet and cold and to wish for its return when temperatures are soaring. However, after experiencing one of the hottest summers this year, I’m so glad to see the city gradually returning to cloud and rain. Plus this also means it’s pumpkin spice latte time!

You can learn more about Abby’s virtual world and our other e-Solutions services here.

Connect Series: Meet Jenni Reed

Meet Jenni Reed. As our legal training assistant, Jenni helps manage the onboarding process for the talented people who create and edit Reportex’s quality transcripts. She is involved in editing and writing new wiki material as part of the wiki reboot team as well as helping to keep our training and reference resources up to date. She is also part of our busy QC team, preparing our transcripts for printing.

Jenni grew up in the United States and moved to England after she graduated, where she lived for many years. After making a return to the US, she moved up to Alberta.

Jenni has always been interested in proofreading and editing, so once she finished homeschooling her three children in 2017, she decided to use her eye for detail and love of structure and coherence to pursue a career in transcript proofreading. She has been with Reportex for two years.

At Reportex our core values of team, mentorship, equality, community and industry are central to what we do. Veritext’s mission and corporate values dovetail nicely to our already solid foundation. Together we aim to be respectful, ethical, collaborative, accountable and professional. Can you tell us which of these values resonates most strongly with you and why?

I would have to go with collaborative. One of the things I love most about Reportex is the strong sense of teamwork and of all of us being part of an amazing bigger picture. Over time I learn more and more about what different people do here, and I think it’s great that although there are so many of us, no one is just a name or a role, but everyone is valued as an individual.

I am so thankful for the people I work with on various teams. I love our meetings and how we have formed very functional as well as fun relationships with one another. When there’s a huge learning curve, we tackle it together. When there’s a challenge or a huge workload to work our way through, everyone pours themselves into it. There is definitely strength in numbers! Considering that so many of us work from home, I think it’s a real testimony to what Christy has put together here at Reportex that we can feel like such a close-knit group.

We talk quite a bit about wellness and self-care on our blog and internally through our Teams channels. Do you have a favourite way to recharge or any tips for staying healthy mentally and physically?

I’m not as good as I’d like to be at fitting proper workouts in, but I do love to get up from my desk and move throughout the day. If you were a fly on my kitchen wall, you’d see me doing funny things like jumping jacks or toe-touches while I heat my coffee in the microwave! I’m finding that doing some yoga during my lunch breaks is both relaxing and invigorating. And if I can get out for a hike on a weekend, then life is good. I’m working on being more deliberate about what I eat and drink, not just grabbing whatever but trying to make healthy choices, and I definitely feel better when I have that focus.

For mental health I find that getting out and gardening, going for a walk or sitting on the porch with all my cats (we have eight of them!) feels like good “me time.” I like to start my morning early so that I have time to just be myself for a little while before work, whether that means gardening, reading, praying or even just playing a game on my tablet. By the time 8 o’clock rolls around, I’m ready to go!

What’s easier: managing a group of editors and proofers or homeschooling three children?

Haha! Hands down, it’s got to be number one! Homeschooling was such a joy, but I came to it from a place of thinking I’d never do that. My daughter begged for years, so finally I looked into it, and I was amazed to find that it was just what we needed. With different ages and personalities it was a real juggling act, for sure, but we loved that we weren’t confined to what was taught in the schools. We got to do English and world history, learn about botany and animals and read lots of good books together. With all of that of course comes having to motivate everyone to do their schoolwork.

I enjoy being able to interact with each of the editors as I help with job assignments and answering proofreaders’ questions, and I do hope that I’m able to be a help to them where they need it. Like I said before, we’re all valuable parts of the team, and being a part of that with them is such a privilege.

Shaping the Future of E-Trials With Christy Pratt

Attention BC paralegals: Reportex’s own Christy Pratt, RCR, RPR, CLR, will be sharing her insights and knowledge about the growing need for e-trials and what you need to know to make them part of your firm’s future. No more bankers boxes filled with unwieldy documents for you!

While e-trials have been around in various shapes and forms for the past few years, the demand and interest have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The team at Reportex has been there since the very beginning, and we pride ourselves in our expertise in managing all the aspects of an e‑trial, including document management, digital security, courtroom technology and much more.  This presentation will not only cover the essentials of an e-trial but provide insight into how Reportex managed a totally virtual e-trial that lasted 189 days with no downtime due to technical failures. You can learn more about our e-trial services here and what we can do for you.

The Essential Ingredient: the BC Paralegal Association’s first-ever members’ conference. This one-day event takes place on September 17, 2021 and gives members the opportunity to learn the essential ingredients for every paralegal practice. You can learn more and register here.

Community Over Competition – a vision for the future of court reporting

As you will have seen, the Reportex Group has recently made some very big and very exciting announcements. Notably, the court reporters from United Reporting Service have joined our family and by extension, we have all made the leap into a major national expansion with Veritext Legal Solutions, the global leader in litigation solutions.

What this means for our clients is that they will now have access to a more streamlined integration of technologies, efficiencies and boardrooms across the country, while still working with the teams that they know and love. It also means that we will be able to carry the Reportex vision across North America as we partner with Neesons, Ace, Amicus, and Royal and engage in leading the charge of shaping the future of legal solutions in Canada.

What it means for our team is that we get to engage in an extraordinary stage of growth as we explore new territory, build new relationships and carry our values and “thoughtful extras” into a broader arena.

At Reportex, we have established five core values that drive all of the decisions we make from new product development to community engagement and industry support. They are: Team, Community, Industry, Mentorship and Equality. We talk about them a lot – on social media, in team meetings… these values form the foundation for our focus as a team and as a company.

Our industry is facing many challenges. So over the past two years, we have been identifying partnerships with likeminded court reporting firms who have agreed with our philosophy that we are stronger together. We have joined forces (and resources) with All-Star, Island, Kamloops and now United with the mindset of protecting, preserving and continuing to build our vision for the future and fortifying our community.

Our alliance with Veritext was a natural fit in both a professional sense as well as in alignment with these values. Together, we adopt the mission which is “to be an integral part of our client’s legal process by providing relevant solutions, delivered with superb service and industry-leading technology.”

Veritext’s mission and corporate values dovetail quite nicely to add dimension to our already solid foundation. Together, we aim to be Respectful, Ethical, Collaborative, Accountable and Professional in all aspects of our business as we continue to grow, evolve and shape the future of court reporting and legal solutions across Canada.

As we delve into this new realm, I can see a profound opportunity – an opportunity to continue to grow and evolve. An opportunity to reimagine what’s in front of us. An opportunity to have a voice and lead the charge on the national stage. Most of all – an opportunity to create a strong future for this industry in a new and exciting way.”

Christy Pratt, Regional VP Canada West, Veritext

Shaping the Future of Legal Solutions in Canada

Today marks a critical step towards the advancement of legal solutions nationwide.

Reportex is joining forces with Veritext Legal Solutions, the global leader in litigation solutions, in a remarkable opportunity to expand our services from coast to coast!

The Reportex team – which includes All-Star by Reportex, Island by Reportex and Kamloops by Reportex –  joins Kim Neeson and the teams at Neesons, Amicus, Ace and Royal Reporting in this collaborative effort, building an influential presence as the Canadian arm of Veritext Legal Solutions.

Partnering with the Veritext team will allow us to continue to lead the charge in the development of innovative legal solutions – like e-trials, SIP courtroom conferencing, webcasting and other technical services – on a national scale.

As we shape the future of our industry, our clients will have access to new efficiencies and leading-edge legal services all across the country, along with a supportive and integrated network of court reporting, e-solutions and effective legal tech professionals at their fingertips.

Under the Veritext umbrella, we are now able to offer you reporting, transcription and integrated virtual services across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, and our cross-border clients will now have access to the same leading-edge services throughout the United States.

“As leaders in our industry, we must continue to evolve. There are many challenges that lie ahead and sustaining the future of our industry is at the forefront of my mind. The Reportex team is thrilled to join forces with Veritext in continuing to develop an innovative presence on the national stage. We are well-positioned to revolutionize the scope of legal solutions in Canada.”Christy Pratt, Regional Vice-President, Canada West

We look forward to this expansion of our team across Canada and we could not be more excited to build this future… together.

Click here for a personal message from Christy Pratt.

#ShapingTheFuture #VeritextCanada