Carolyn Bodley - Legal Verbatim Transcriptionist of Audio, Video & Digital Files

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blog entries are strictly the opinion of Carolyn Bodley and may not reflect the opinion of others

(to see archived blog entries, click on the links to the right of the top blog)

Some photos are compressed or removed in archived blog postings, leaving only a description of the photo. The blog postings remain complete and unchanged.

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Friday, November 30, 2007

BLOG - Those that can, do -- those that can't, write a book

I admit it -- I'm guilty of googling and checking out various web sites.  In my Internet "research," it has come to my attention how many individuals have written "how-to" books.

Now don't get me wrong -- I'm all for free enterprise -- although the same questions keep rolling around in my head:

If these individuals are so successful in their self-employment and entrepreneurial endeavors, and their business is so profitable -- when did they find the time to write a book?--and,
Why many no longer personally "service" their clients in the business they write about, have shut down the business, or have taken a J-O-B working for someone else? 

Before buying these how-to books, give some thought as to why, if all the success and profits are there, their company may no longer be in existence.  Googling is a powerful tool, and much of the "how-to" is readily available on the Internet for just the cost of the Internet connection.
[end of blog]

9:13 am mst 

Monday, November 26, 2007

BLOG - Manners or Lack Thereof -- or Things Your Momma Should Have Taught You!
Although I grew up in a family without much money, we were taught probably what is, in my opinion, the most important aspect of common courtesy and respect rolled up into a ball -- M-A-N-N-E-R-S.  You don't see a lot of manners today -- which is sad.  Thank you, You're welcome, Please, Excuse me, . . .

Go to any event where a group of people are grouped together in some sort of grand stand sitting arrangement -- up and down, up and down, up and down with people leaving their seat and then coming back to their seat numerous times throughout the event.  Very few, and I mean VERY FEW people will even acknowledge the fact that you must stand, juggle your beverage and/or food, squeeze yourself to the back of your seat and allow their passage.  It is rare if kids and teenagers even look at you -- to them, it is THEIR right of passage.  However, if the kids were never taught manners, courtesy and respect, they have no idea what it is -- and that is where the parents failed.  I am only one person of thousands at these events, however, people, especially the kids and teens, know one or all of the phrases  "excuse me" "I'm sorry" "thank you" by the end of the evening, because I literally refuse to accommodate "being put out" with their comings and goings until they acknowledge that they are disturbing me.

Common courtesy, respect and manners don't stop at the stadium -- if a client or perspective client calls and schedules my time -- even if it is only tentatively, I am owed the courtesy of a call or email canceling the time/project.  Yeah, we get busy and time gets away from us and we simply forget -- not acceptable excuses!

I don't block out any time for client work (whether a new client or age-old client) until I actually have the work-in-hand -- because of too many encounters with people where time got away from them and they forgot to advise me of the fact that their plans had changed. 

All my work is performed "first-come/first-served" and cancellation calls are a necessity -- the value of my time is just as important as Doctors or Lawyers charging cancellation fees if not received within 24 hours of appointment. 
[end of blog]
9:26 am mst 

Monday, November 19, 2007

BLOG - Identity Theft Running Rampant

I take identity theft seriously.  Too bad the majority of the population are only ho-hum with it. 

I shred ALL personal and client material.  I don't keep any personal information on my computer hard drives -- again either personal or client.

When I accept a loan signing, in my initial call, I advise Borrower(s) that they will need to make a copy of their driver's license, in advance of our signing appointment. 

In over 1,500 loan signings I've completed, I have NEVER had Borrower(s) forget or simply not had time to make a copy of their license in advance.  With that said, why is it that apparently I'm the exception?  When reading the forums, someone is always posing the question of what they are supposed to do because Borrower(s) didn't make a copy of their license?  Suggestions range from carrying a portable scanner/photocopier in their vehicle to whipping out the digital camera from their brief case or pocket, or using their palm pilot or camera phone. 

First of all, if the Borrower(s) is/are serious about refinancing, then they are adults.  I am neither their spouse, mother or care giver.  My one request of making a copy of their license before I arrive is not out-of-reason or a "not-doable request."

A driver's license has name, address, signature, birth date, driver's license number and some even have social security numbers -- all the information needed to steal an identity.  It is not my responsibility to lug a copier/scanner around in my vehicle.  Furthermore, a digital camera can be stolen before downloading the pictures, printing and/or e-mailing the driver's license as an attachment -- or, once downloaded to the computer hard drive, it becomes even more vulnerable to identity thieves that can access computer hard drives and Internet traffic.

Please stop the practice of photocopying/scanning or taking digital photos of someone else's identity!
[end of blog]

1:08 pm mst 

Monday, November 12, 2007

BLOG - The Importance of Case Law and Citations

Even with the little bit of workers' comp experience I've had, I know that I'm not experienced to take on medical transcription.  I don't find it interesting, however, the reason I don't accept MT is because I don't know, and am not comfortable with medical terminology. 

Because an MT made a one word mistake (which wasn't even a medical term) on a medical report of mine,  I'm entitled to free mammograms for life -- but because this MT "literally" didn't know the difference between typing left and right, there is absolutely no way I will ever step foot in that imaging center again.

Both medical reports and legal briefs have huge impacts on life.

How odd that case law and proper citation formatting are such an integral part of the legal profession that an Independent Contractor, not experienced or familiar with the correct way to type cites, would even consider taking on legal transcription.

I came across the following dialog a few weeks back --

"I'm transcribing a citation, I think, and there's a word I can't get -- on instance is Trading and Marine, Inc., 925(f), 2nd Cameron (????) 572 Second Circuit, 1991.

Is that cameron -- dicameron -- or is cameron a symbol that I should be inserting?"

"... No idea what they're saying because the actual cite is this: Star Trading & Marine, Inc., 925 F.2d 566, 572 (2d Cir. 1991) (Trans-Orient Marine). ..."

"Thank you -- I have not learned how to format citations and know that that is a huge part of the problem that I'm having -- the person I am doing this for may not realize how many citations there are -- she said just to go ahead and type them out and she will format them -- It might be easier for her if I got a really really short course in citations."

"No problem. ... It always bugged me about the 2d and then sometimes there's no spaces where you think there should be logically. ..."

I suppose it would be to much to ask if they've ever heard of the blue book "A Uniform System of Citation."

Kind of makes the difference between my left and right breast pale in comparison.
[end of blog]

12:07 pm mst 

BLOG - Why Some Attorneys Disgust Me
Last night there was a broadcast on the news:

"Lawyer Dumps Clients' Documents in Dumpster"

"Police collected 17 boxes filled with Social Security numbers and other personal information from a trash dumpster behind an office building ..."

Apparently, a construction worker threw some trash into the dumpster and noticed all the files inside -- thinking it awkward, he pulled the files out and saw that they were all legal cases from an attorney that worked in the building.

The attorney admitted to throwing them in the trash.

"I apologize to my clients whose files I discarded in the private dumpster ... I did not anticipate someone trespassing through the dumpster before it was to be dumped Monday morning."

W-H-A-T ??? He throws personal and confidential information into an unsecured dumpster and calls it trespassing when the docs are found? -- and an apology makes it fine and dandy?? Not in my book buddy, and I have personally made a note of your name and, because of your so-called professional conduct and lack of ethics,  I will never ever accept work from you, even if I become destitute !!!!!

The attorney said he'll shred the information in the future and normally does.  He was cleaning out old files before moving.

I'm having a problem with "normally shreds the information" -- meaning THERE IS OTHER PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION THAT HE HAS NOT SHRED IN THE PAST !!!

A retired FBI agent says "If there was a chain of evidence that would show who did it, I think there could be a good possibility of litigation." -- and well should be, in my own (Carolyn Bodley) personal opinion.

Absolutely disgusting and I think this guy should be permanently disbarred from the legal profession.
[end of blog]
8:15 am mst 

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

BLOG - Is it better not to pay, or to knowingly pay with a NSF check?
All in all, since 1992, I've been pretty lucky with my accounts receivables.  Until yesterday, I've only received one client check back from my bank for NOT-SUFFICIENT FUNDS. 

Yesterday's check was from a mortgage company for a one-page notarization plus travel fees -- it wasn't for hundreds of dollars.  In fact, my bank charges on the NSF check exceed the amount of the check.

I suppose it's not a big thing to some people who write NSF checks.  However, to me it is -- I would much rather be told that money is tight and can I hold off, than to be paid with rubber.
[end of blog]
9:21 am mst 

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

BLOG -- The proper mind set

Working as an "employee" in a J-0-B setting means that you have a different mind set than that of a self-employed/independent contractor, business owner.

Unfortunately, some self-employed/independent contractors haven't done their homework to know there is a difference, or have failed to adjust their way of thinking.  As a business owner, you make the rules -- rules which define your business practices including charge rates and how and when you perform the duties.

If I have a plumber come out and snake my pipes, he informs me what it will cost -- if I go to the dentist, he tells me what each procedure costs.  Both the plumber and dentist would have a good laugh if I told them upfront what "I" am willing to pay -- my plumbing would continue to be clogged, and my tooth pain would continue worsening.

So why is it that self-employed/independent contractors allow clients to treat them as though it is an employer/employee J-O-B environment?  Recently I was reading a forum post with the following excerpt:

"It is extremely important this person be reachable days, nights, and weekends. The more time you're on the computer checking emails, the better."

E-X-C-U-S-E  M-E ???--while I lower my blood pressure several points.

The irony of this excerpt is that it is from a Manhattan attorney, where, no doubt, there are plenty of legal secretaries/legal assistants -- this attorney willing to pay a whopping $10/hr. is "hiring" outside the state of New York.  Why?  Because no legal secretary/legal assistant in New York (or most anyplace else for that matter) will work as either an employee or self-employed/independent contractor for $10/hr.   I guess that Manhattan lease must be eating all of his billables.

He wants someone at his beck and call  -- days, nights and weekends -- which the IRS defines as an EMPLOYEE (some would define this a spouse, I suppose).  However, he is not claiming this as an Employer/Employee situation because then he would have to pay benefits, matching taxes, etc.   He is calling the shots -- again, spelled out as an EMPLOYER/EMPLOYEE.  If you are self-employed, you don't allow someone to control your time, or tell you when to be available -- you tell "them" your availability.

It is bad enough that this attorney has the audacity to make the $10/hr. offer, but it is uncalled for and shameful that a self-employed/independent contractor accept the offer.  Is the IC planning on working "under the table" and not report the income?--because otherwise that $10/hr. will end up amounting to less than $6/hr. after paying her own SE taxes, equipment, supplies and costs.  Open your eyes and smell the coffee because $10/hr. is "not better than nothing," and this guy is simply evading ALL the responsibilities that come with being an employer.

Clients don't pay self-employed, independent contractors paychecks according to time sheets -- clients pay from invoices.  If you want the stability of a regular paycheck, get your mind set right and get a real J-O-B, or move to India--leaving self-employment to those of us with the right business mind set, who know what it costs to work for ourselves.
[end of blog]
11:02 am mst 

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With a typing speed of 120 wpm, Carolyn Bodley began offering independent contractor/secretarial and transcription services to the Denver metro legal community in 1992.

I am not a court reporter or medical transcriptionist and I don't videotape depositions -- I'm strictly a legal transcriptionist which means putting spoken words on paper. All my transcripts contain a certification stating that to the best of my knowledge, belief and ability, the audio/video I received has not been altered in any way, and the transcript is true, accurate and complete. I have never been advised that a court rejected one of my audio or video transcripts. If my transcript is rejected by the court, you will be reimbursed in full for my services. Because I certify that the transcript is true and complete, the entire audio/video must be transcribed--I am unable to transcribe "just a portion" that you need. 

I guarantee that your transcripts will be typed confidentially, accurately and with attention to detail at a fair price.

  • Discovery is often turned over in a format other than hard copy. This discovery includes, but is not limited to, recorded telephone conversations, police interviews, depositions, investigations, witness statements, and more. The audio and video "words" need to be put to paper, and your already overworked legal staff often don't have the skills, equipment, the inclination or the time.
  • Discovery is often the deciding factor of whether a case goes to trial. Most of us hear, but do we listen? Recently I transcribed a video that had been viewed and listened to several times and by several people before I transcribed it. There was a one sentence statement that not one person caught -- this one sentence was not the only reason the case was dismissed one day before trial--however, it carried quite a bit of weight -- and I'm the only one that "heard" it. Had the video never been transcribed, how many other words would never have been heard?

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