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

We’d love for YOU to vote for us!

We are honoured to once again be nominated by you, our amazing clients, for the Canadian Lawyer Readers Choice Awards for 2021.

We’ve had a big year, building partnerships that matter, to provide the best court reporting and legal solutions across the province. Now, we hope we can count on your vote. 

Our category is #25 Court Reporting and Deposition Services.

Our partners at United Reporting are also nominated in that category and congratulations to them!

You can find the link to the voting survey here.   You have until August 20th to submit your survey answers. 

Mask Policy (Update: July 9th, 2021)

As we now know the BC Government has moved us up to stage 3 of their Covid Recovery Plan.  For the workplace, this includes switching from a Covid-19 safety plan to a communicable disease plan and allowing for more staff to return to the workplace and more in-person meeting capacity.

We at Reportex have worked hard to safely accommodate our clients who required a safe and efficient space for in-person legal services throughout this pandemic.   And while the BC PHO has dropped the mask mandate to a recommended status, the BC Centre for Disease Control still encourages masks to be worn in indoor settings and especially for those not yet fully vaccinated.

Being that this includes a great many of our in-office staff, we ask that you continue to respect the safety of our staff, yourself, and your clients and wear a mask inside all common areas, and meeting rooms unless plexiglass barriers are present.

For in-person meetings, we are also going to continue to limit the number of people present to 6, including the court reporter.  We will review and revise this policy as new health & safety information presents itself. 

You can learn more about our safety protocols here.

We thank you for your patience and understanding.  Our goal is to always ensure the best service for our clients and this includes your health & safety.

How to Celebrate Canada Day

by Kerry Sauriol, Marketing Coordinator

Last year we all felt cheated out of our Canada Day fun thanks to COVID-19. This year feels even worse and for so many more reasons. The pandemic has dragged on for over a year now, despite advancements in vaccine distribution and slightly lower numbers here in BC. While we have not experienced the lockdown rules that many provinces and countries have endured, we are all still feeling a bit put out about the restrictions that have hampered many things that we all took for granted.

When my kids were small, one of my favourite places to take them to celebrate Canada Day was Queen’s Park in New Westminster. As an expat from the UK, it felt more British to my mom and myself. However, after living in Canada for over 40 years, I am fully aware of how loaded with a horrific history that feeling really is. 

If an immigrant like myself is feeling overwhelmed by the news about the children at the Kamloops Indian Residential School, and the many graves still to be found across Canada, imagine the feelings of the Indigenous people who are once again having to face the facts of the intergenerational trauma that has been placed upon them to this day.   

Over the last year and a bit COVID-19 has exposed the many inequities that the people of Canada face. This includes (but is certainly not limited to) access to healthcare, sick pay, work-at-home opportunities, lack of safe work environments, unemployment and the underhoused.  The news surrounding these issues has been one bad story after the next. For a country that prides itself on equal opportunity, it’s hard (and controversial) for many to find anything to celebrate in all of that.

Then we all got more bad news: 215 bodies of children found in a mass grave at a residential school in Kamloops. And the numbers keep growing with 715 unmarked graves in Saskatchewan being announced on June 24. If this news was shocking and upsetting to the non-indigenous citizens of Canada, imagine how it feels to the First Nations people? As Alison Tedford, diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant, recently said in a Facebook post:

“It’s hard to celebrate a country where people in power don’t care what happened to people like you, like your grandparents, like your parents, like your sisters and cousins.”

So what do we do?

We listen. We learn.

At Reportex we are looking at how we can make sure we are walking the talk, especially when it comes to living our core values: team, mentorship, equality, community and industry. This may take the form of sensitivity training as part of our onboarding and an audit of our current diversity and inclusivity mandates. We also want to make sure that we as a legal service are inclusive and sensitive to the needs of our First Nations clients.  

For the rest of us it means taking a long, hard look at what it means to be a Canadian and what we want it to mean moving forward. How do we make Canada a better place for all?

Part of it means becoming more aware of our own inherent biases and our blindspots when it comes to understanding what living in Canada is like for other people. We need to be able to have the uncomfortable conversations and make the effort to uncover the truths of how this country was built and the cost to those who were here already.

In an article for Alison said:

“I believe the key to reducing and, ideally, eliminating racism and race-based violence is increasing understanding of each other. It’s easy to lash out at groups of nameless, faceless people who are different from you. Familiarity can reduce the tendency to lump people in as ‘others.’ When we make room in our circle for people who are different from us, we expand our circle of responsibility for each other and leave less room for hate.”

So while we do have many reasons to celebrate being Canadian today, we can also spend some time getting to know more about the people whose land we now exist upon:

We need to own the discomfort that these new revelations and the many other atrocities put upon the First Nations people of Canada and sit with them so we can reconcile all the negative aspects of our Canada with the positives that have made this country great. We can then take that knowledge and move forward with the goal of making this place better for all who live here.

Chasing the Taillights

by Julia Chalifoux, Project Manager

The car is leaving whether you are ready or not.

Our experiences shape us in all kinds of ways. I find that the lessons we learn as we evolve as humans take on multiple meanings. After losing my father-in-law this past fall, I began to reflect on my relationship with my own dad and the lessons I learned from him. As a pouty child and sometimes sour teenager, my dad’s lessons weren’t always easy. Still, they instilled in me my abilities to work hard, navigate challenge and practise resilience — abilities I now value very much.

This past year our personal and professional lives have demanded these abilities like no other. And much like dad’s lessons, navigating these hasn’t been easy. Still, trusting the process and knowing the magic of time and perspective, I feel confident that one day we will all look back on this past year with an attitude of gratitude as this will be the year that we shaped our future like no other.

I want to share some lessons learned from my dad as a demonstration of the importance of perspective:

Growing up, my dad and I attended the same high school, the only high school in our small town located in the British Columbia Kootenays. He was a chemistry teacher, and I, his student. And while being 13 and having your dad teach you the periodic table was mildly mortifying (after all, what do you call your dad who is also your teacher?), it did come with its benefits, such as a free ride to school if you were ready on time. That was the household rule: if you were not in the car by the time he was, the car was leaving and you would be left to your own devices to get to school. Most of the time I made it, but there were still many mornings that I was forced to walk.

That household rule taught me a few important lessons:

  1. The importance of being on time.
  2. I was not the centre of the universe.
  3. Often in life the car is leaving whether you are ready or not.

While the first two lessons are obvious, it is the third that has stuck with me the most, as recently the landscape of how, where and what we do for work has changed dramatically.

In short, work has felt a bit like that car in the driveway, peeling out before I have had time to load my backpack and get out the door. I feel like I am chasing the taillights, hoping that my dad will see me waving frantically running behind the car and that he’ll stop. But inevitably the speed of the car overtakes my legs, the taillights fade and I am left to trudge.

While trudging is not the end of the world, it naturally comes with its own set of consequences (see lesson 1 above).

Looking back, I now recognize that those days my dad left me to my own devices to get to school were not meant to be cruel (although I am sure I cursed him at the time); they were simply fuelled by the fact that he had other priorities and responsibilities to fulfill that (gasp!) were more important than me (see lesson 2 above). His job is what put food on our table, and thus him getting to work on time (and therefore keeping his job) was simply more important than ensuring my comfortable transport.

When you are the one left standing in the cold driveway staring at the fading taillights, it is easy to think that the driver is a jerk. But over the years I have come to realize it is not the driver who is a jerk — it just is what it is. The driver is simply doing what they must do to fulfill their responsibilities and move forward.

Growing up, my car ride to school was a means to an end for me (one that I would need to navigate for five years). My dad, however, was driving the road of a lifetime. He was in constant pursuit of an ever‑fading sunset: post-secondary education for his children and retirement.

I remind myself of this lesson these days when sometimes at work I feel like I am back in the driveway chasing the taillights. I remember that not only am I chasing the taillights, but there is also someone else chasing the sunset — or in our case at Reportex, the sunrise.

Further, I remind myself of the importance of being on time and getting in the car. The car (like life) is moving forward whether you are ready or not. Best buckle in and get ready for the ride and sunrise.

Uncharted Waters: A COVID Update

Like everyone, we at Reportex are cautiously optimistic about the restart plan announcements on May 25. This new plan paves a way for a loosening of restrictions for both personal and work life. With that said, for the sake of our staff and clients we will still be following strict safety protocols when you visit our offices.

As per the guidelines, employers are required to continue operating under their COVID-19 safety plans, but there is a plan for a gradual loosening of restrictions. At Reportex this means the following:

  • We must ensure that all staff and clients maintain an appropriate physical distance, and extra care should be taken in small office spaces, meeting rooms and break rooms.
  • Masks will still be worn in all indoor areas unless there is a plexiglass barrier in place.
  • A daily health check is included in our COVID-19 protocol; clients and staff should check in with reception before proceeding to their boardroom or office.
  • Proper handwashing and sanitizing will be adhered to at all times, and regular touchpoints will be cleaned frequently.

You can review our full protocols here.

According to Dr. Henry and the BCCDC, after June 15 more restrictions will be lifted, but the government advises a controlled and gradual return to the workplace plan, so only small, in-person meetings will be allowed. For the moment this means that Reportex will still limit in-person meetings to six people, including the court reporter. It also means that access to available meeting space will be limited, and meeting spaces will be sanitized by our staff after each use.

sun shining through clouds

This has been a time of upheaval and change for all of us. Let’s not forget to reflect on all that we have learned about ourselves and what we have accomplished over the past year. It has been a time of reflection and transformation. We have learned a lot of valuable lessons over the past year about ourselves and about how we manage in adversity and difficulty. We have seen amazing acts of selflessness and compassion from all around the world, but we have also seen the ugly and the frightening, and we hope that from this COVID cloud we will embrace the silver linings that the eased restrictions bring us as we move forward in our battle against the virus.

As we all move ahead in our plans for reopening workplaces as well as recreational spaces, we need to make sure we only take the good we have learned into the new normal. We want a better future for us all, not just the same old, same old. 

Are your employees thriving working from home? Do you feel a more digital approach is expanding your opportunities beyond the bricks and mortar of your office address? This is a chance for us all to re‑evaluate what is important to us in our homes and our workplaces. In the meantime wear your mask and keep your distance.

One of the biggest silver linings for us has been the opportunity to dig into the personal and professional growth of our team. As you know, we have been focusing on evolving our office space and developing our services and solutions for our clients. We have also been working with our executive coach, Mary Crayston, who has been guiding us through the challenges and successes of continued development. This work has allowed us to prepare for the future of both our business and the industry as a whole, and we couldn’t be more excited to step into it.

Connect Series: Meet Bonnie Pigeon

Centrepoint Bonnie

In 2010 after a lengthy career as an advertising consultant in print media in Calgary, Bonnie and her husband made the move to Kamloops, where she took on the position of corporate and government sales manager for Hotel 540. During that time the Centrepoint mediation and arbitration centre was developed, and she took over its management. There she met Marina Hopkins, and in December of 2020 she accepted the role of scheduling/administrative coordinator for Kamloops Reporting Services.

When not busy scheduling discoveries or printing and binding transcripts from her home office, Bonnie takes advantage of the Kamloops climate with activities that include gardening and kayaking, and she also enjoys getting crafty with macramé and painting. She loves to spend time with her two granddaughters, Sofia and McKenzie, when she can too.

You have been doing the whole work-from-home routine for a while now. Do you have any tips or tricks on how you stay focused and organized?

Yes, I have worked from my home office in a previous position, so it is not new to me, and it does have its advantages. I manage to stay focused, and I find I accomplish more because there are fewer distractions than there would be in a busy work environment. I have no kids or pets at home to distract me, so it is just me. I do miss the face-to-face interaction with co-workers and clients, but I find that if I have all the required tools and technology to accomplish my work, I’m okay with that. I am not averse to talking to myself!

You may have noticed that we have been talking quite a bit about wellness on our blog and internally through our Slack channels. Do you have a favourite way to recharge or any tips for staying mentally and physically healthy?

I’m not as physically fit as I once was when running or going to the gym was part of my daily routine, but I do walk on a daily basis, and in the summer months I like riding my bike or kayaking — those activities recharge me. For a mental escape I enjoy cooking — getting into the kitchen and creating something yummy (and healthy) is my go-to when I need to relax. I also recently took up macramé, which I find not only mentally relaxing but also fun since I get to create something with my hands, and this has really helped me during the COVID shutdown. COVID made me rethink my leisure time and need for hobbies.

At Reportex our core values of team, mentorship, equality, community and industry are central to what we do. Which of these values resonates most strongly with you and why?

Although they are all important core values, I think “mentorship” resonates most with me. As we mature in our lives and careers, I think it is essential that we share our learnings and experiences with our younger co-workers, friends and family. There is so much knowledge to pass on that it would be a shame not to share with and guide those just starting out in their careers. I have had several mentors throughout my life, both professionally and personally, and I appreciate and value each one of them.

Thank you, Bonnie, for sharing a little bit about yourself. We are happy for you to be part of the Reportex family. And we also love your thoughts on mentorship and sharing our knowledge and experiences.  Fostering success for individuals and organizations through the advancement of literacy, education, and mentorship opportunities is indeed one of the core values that we strive to focus on every single day.

Connect Series: Meet Marina Hopkins!

We are very happy to introduce you to Marina Hopkins, a new member of the Reportex team!

Marina is a familiar and respected face in the legal community of the Interior of BC. She moved to Kamloops nine years ago and opened Kamloops Reporting Services after over ten years of reporting in the Lower Mainland. She has reported in many trials in the Supreme Court of British Columbia throughout her career as a certified realtime reporter. Marina is also an experienced CART provider for the hard of hearing and has provided this service in both Vancouver and Kamloops. Marina has always been deeply committed to providing a full-service experience for her clients and her community and has a strong connection with the lawyers and firms in the area.

Marina, community and industry are two of our core values here at Reportex and are central to what we do and how we do it. Can you tell us what these values mean to you and how they and this partnership will help you develop your services for your clients in Kamloops and the surrounding area?

Knowing I had been born and raised in the Lower Mainland, people wondered how I could make such a total lifestyle and career change. Court reporting in Kamloops and all the surrounding cities from Merritt to Fort St. John has allowed me to focus on excellent professional relationships and to help provide a sense of security for the industry in the Interior. This partnership with Reportex will allow my team to access more knowledge and resources to ensure that we are at the forefront of the industry with all the available tools needed to help my clients meet their own goals going into the future.

Is there a trial or experience that you feel made an impact on you and how you view the role of a court reporter?

Oh, yes! This is sure an easy question for me. I will never forget reporting at the Roundhouse in Kamloops for the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc panel hearing in May 2016 for the Ajax Mine environmental review. I reported outdoors for an entire week, and if you can believe it, we had torrential rain one afternoon and the entire following day. This is where I learned what kind of perseverance it takes to be a good court reporter and to carry on reporting no matter what! I was terrified my equipment would be ruined, but the organizers put a tent overtop of me (one with a leak, mind you), and away my fingers went! The testimony and presentations from all the different First Nations elders and chiefs were absolutely enlightening for me. Luckily for me, I had a team behind me at the office helping me with the transcripts and getting the job done!

To help maintain our mental and physical health, especially during COVID, we have been talking about wellness on our blog. Do you have a favourite way to recharge or any tips for staying well and healthy?

Find your passion outside of work and make it a priority. For me this is horses! Everyone in Kamloops knows that Marina loves horses — and what a great location for getting deeply involved in the equestrian world. From Morgans to Quarter Horses to Icelandics, I make sure I spend time with my horses, and this gives me a total break from the hectic world of litigation!

Lastly, while we can’t wait to work with you on building on our (R)evolution, what excites you the most about the possibilities of this new partnership?

Working with a team with a positive vision for the future and drawing on everyone’s individual areas of expertise really excites me. I have always loved the profession of court reporting, and it is time now to share resources and work together for our industry in a spirit of support and equality. The five core values of Reportex say it all, and I am looking forward to joining forces and being stronger together.

We are thrilled to have Marina and her team join Reportex. Welcome aboard!