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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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

BLOG - Are you a puppet on strings?
I've been talking a lot lately about the economy -- it has everyone's attention. I've noticed the past couple of months there are a lot more hits on my website -- and surmising from the  Google and Yahoo search words/phases that found me, I would guess that three-quarters of the hits are from "wannabes" wanting to work from their home.puppet.jpg

After seeing the increased number of hits on my site, I checked out a site where businesses in need of secretarial/transcription assistance post projects for individuals to bid. I rarely look at the site anymore because it has become overrun with offshore bidders, or from people having no idea of what it costs to be in business.

I don't post fees on my site for a number of reasons -- first, I feel that if someone is only interested in "how much is it going to cost me?" that quality is not a high priority for them; second, there are a lot of factors that must be considered in any project quote, and I think that verbal communication with the prospect and myself is a must before a quote can be given.

On the site I just mentioned, there is one individual needing four, one-hour tapes transcribed -- however, his budget only allows $50.00 TOTAL:

At a minimum, each one hour tape will take three hours -- again, a minimum of 12 hours for all four tapes. At $50.00, the transcriptionist is working for $4.17 an hour. Take 50% off the top for taxes, supplies, business licenses/registrations, marketing, equipment maintenance/purchases, that's a whole whopping $2.09 an hour -- far below the minimum wage. Heck, you would be better off flipping hamburgers.

Looking at the site from the bidders side, there are a several bids with quotes of anywhere from $25-$60 an audio hour (hint: an audio hour is the total length of the audio, and NOT $25-$60 for each hour it takes to transcribe!):
Again, let's just say an audio hour will take a minimum of three hours to transcribe -- which not having heard the audio, you don't have any idea of the sound quality, clarity, or background noise of the tape. You don't know if it is one person talking, three people, five people or more. That little bitty one-hour tape could take five, eight, 10 or 13 hours or more.

But let's begin with three hours - with a $25 bid, you are working for $8.33/hr. Take one-half off the top for operating expenses, and you are down to $4.17/hr. A $60 bid comes out to $20/hr. or $10 after taking off half for operating expenses.

For the same $25 bid, let's say that it takes five hours to complete. Breaking down the figures, that's $5/hr. or $2.50/hr. after taking 50% off the top for expenses. A $60 quote at five hours, equates to $12/hr. or $6.00/hr. after expenses. I'm going to stop there and not break it down by any more hours because it just makes my blood boil at these plucked out-of-the-air quotes.

The emphasis of this mathematical exercise is to get across the fact that you can't just pull figures out of the air. It's not free and clear money that you're bidding with. Being in business takes a lot of number crunching to see a clear picture of what you actually need to charge to stay in business.
[end of blog]
12:57 pm mst 

Monday, November 24, 2008

BLOG-Our own accountability ...
During yesterday's Broncos game, Denver's quarterback took it upon himself to play sandbox monitor. After two mis-kicks, Jay Cutler got in the kickers face and wafootball.jpgs talking vocally with rapid hand and arm movements. Although Cutler's back was to the camera, the slap he planted in the kicker's face was quite clear.

Although the slap was out of shear frustration, it would have been different if Cutler was without fault himself. In practically every game he throws at least one interception pass, and yesterday, I believe he threw three. Where was his slap to the face?

I'm not perfect -- I don't want to be perfect because then there is no place to go but down. I am my own worst critic and always put the accountability on my own shoulders. If something is not right, I will correct it on my end and make it right. I remember several years ago the statute of limitations ran out on this particular case at 5:00 p.m. that day. The secretary had not calendared it, and I still don't know how it came to be in mid-morning that an attorney caught it. By 1:30 in the afternoon, two attorneys in our office and three from New York were feverishly writing at the conference room table -- one would write his part and pass the page to the attorney sitting at his right who would write his part, and pass it on to the next attorney, and so on and so forth with each additional page. 

After the fifth attorney finished writing, I began typing that page and the process continued until the brief was completely written. The writing looked like hurried chicken scratch, and I was faced with handwriting unfamiliarity of three of the attorneys. No one had time to point fingers or slap anyone in the face. We each had our own job to do. After inputting everything, I printed it off and everyone began reading, editing and revising the pages and I corrected the pages in the same piece-meal manner as before.

It was before e-filing and the court was in Aspen. We had gotten permission from the court to fax it to a law office in Aspen and they would file the faxed copy. It was about twenty minutes til five and the attorneys told me that they would not be reading it or even looking at it again. I wasn't too concerned about the "misinterpreted" words I typed, however, if no one was going to even glance at it again before the court saw it, the brief was not going to have any misspellings! Call me anal. When one of the attorneys asked why it wasn't printing, I told him it was going through a machine spell-check -- I had already previously spell checked, so I knew that it wouldn't take long for the new revisions/corrections. It was at that point that he totally went over the edge going up and down the hall sputtering that if anyone had an emergency, not to give it to Carolyn because she would have to run a damn spell check! The spell check was complete and the brief was printed by the time he finished hyperventilating. The court time stamp was 4:59 p.m. -- we had PLENTY of time with a brief spelled PERFECTLY-- because the next day the spelling typos would have been glaring at each attorney -- which would not have been a reflection on them, but, at least in my eyes, a reflection on the quality of my work. Surprisingly, the brief was nearly perfect and later I was told that I was "chosen" to type the brief because of my calmness during the storm and my ability to hold it together, my "anal-ness" for perfection, my speed and knowing that I "would" perform a spell check.
[end of blog]

12:02 pm mst 

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

BLOG - Where does it end?
The big three auto makers are in Washington, DC making their plea for billions. Where is their accountability? Why did they allow their finances to get in such dire need, and why weren't they making organizational changes 2, 3, 5 years ago?

car.jpgThe CEO's and high-priced management need to go. If they don't resign themselves, they need to be fired. They say the repercussions of filing reorganization bankruptcy is that Americans will lose faith in the American car -- um, excuse me -- have you checked the highways or parking lots lately? Three Japanese-made cars to one American GM/Ford/Chrysler.

They've flown private corporate jets to Washington, DC with their tin cups -- I mean, holy shit, they make cars -- it is less than 525 miles from Detroit to DC -- why didn't they carpool, and each take their turn driving?

I'm really struggling with allowing them a piece of the pie the way the organizations are now set up. However, in the same breath, with organizational changes, why shouldn't they be given bailout help?--over the past four years, I've met many people and signed numerous loans for people buying/refinancing 1/2-and 3/4 million dollar houses that should never have qualified for the loan in the first place. People are crying that they owe more than their house is worth -- well, D-U-H with being given "cash" for up to 150% of the value of their "over-appraised" houses, this comes as a surprise? Predatory lenders and greed of individuals living beyond their means and corporate golden parachutes began this economic crisis. Um, AIG vs. GM, Ford, Chrysler -- is there really a difference?

Concessions need to be made -- if that means breaking the union and workers taking a cut in pay, isn't having A JOB better than no job -- except with the auto workers contract, by not working, they are getting 90% of what they got as an employee -- and Chrysler is still giving year-end bonuses to upper management. 

Make them do a house cleaning reorganization and write business plans -- give the money to an independent unbiased financial planner/consultant that will have complete control, and will dole out the money.
[end of blog]
4:07 pm mst 

BLOG-Casing the neighborhood?
Our residence, garage and vehicles all have security systems. Sitting at my desk working a little bit ago, the door bell rings and immediately rings two more times.question.jpg I assumed it was the little neighbor kids next door.

Instead, it was some man "hi-ya ma'am, how are you?" Why do people ask a question, if they don't expect an answer or even allow you to answer? He goes into his speech "I'm Joe Blow and I don't know if you remember me, but I did the wiring for your security system"--which is a down and out lie, because he didn't -- my husband did, and this man is certainly not the man I sleep with! He goes on and asks how we like the alarm, and just when was it that *he* installed the alarm and in the same breath, how much do you pay a month for the service ??

First of all, had he installed it and if he actually worked with an alarm company, he would have the paper work with the date he did the work, as well as knowing all of our pertinent account information, i.e., monthly bill -- and just why is our monthly bill so damn important to him and the urgency in seeing our keypad?

I'm skeptical of most everyone -- but do people really allow complete strangers that show up unannounced and unexpected into their homes?
[end of blog]
12:41 pm mst 

Monday, November 17, 2008

BLOG - Before giving me your laundry list ...
With the economy and sudden layoffs, I'm getting more and more requests along the line of "how much would it cost for a 30 minute audio" -- "45 minute audio" -- "how much for this and how much for that." The queries are not all that uncommon, however, when I receive an email with 2, 3, 5 or more different project price questions in one email, it becomes a little more than suspicious.

Fire works really shoot off when the email address is something like "janedoetypingservice" -- come on people, if you're going to be price snooping, at least get a hotmail account with an email address that's not so obviouj0227733.jpgs of what you're doing; ask one price question at a time -- or better yet, just tell me straight out what you're doing.

I'm willing to help anyone if they are willing to help themselves first -- do your homework in advance and be upfront and honest with me, but don't sleep through your startup research and expect me to jump/jump and hand it all over to you. I've been doing this for far too many years, and I can spot a slouch a mile away.
[end of blog]
1:40 pm mst 

BLOG - Cost is deceptive

checkbook.jpgIn a previous blog, I talked about attorneys who think it's cheaper for them to do evecheckbook.jpgrything themselves, i.e., typing. Now I'm going to talk about the pitfalls of cutting corners when it comes to office equipment.

All-in-one machines-- copier, scanner, fax, printer. Open up your check book and quit being such a cheapskate. If this is all you think you can afford, then do without and go to Kinkos. Along this same line, I suppose you are going to make people call you before they can send a fax, so you can flip a switch and not answer your incoming telephone! If one part goes kaput, then you are out FOUR machines.

Inkjet printers - Let me see, where do I begin?--YOU can buy a printer for a couple hundred dollars, while my commercial laser printer was $3,000. You have probably one paper tray that can hold *maybe* 50 pages, plus a manual feed tray. If you have different size pages in one document, then you have to manually print each page, changing paper sizes. I have three paper drawers plus the manual feeder. My printer automatically selects the correct paper size -- no babysitting the printer. Your "ink" cartridge costs around $25.00. My "toner" cartridge costs $150.00. You can print approximately 200 pages to one cartridge and I can print 10,000-11,000 pages to one cartridge. HOW CAN YOU POSSIBLY SAY THAT AN INKJET PRINTER IS SAVING YOU MONEY?

Copiers - Believe it or not, you are going to be doing A LOT of copying. A little desktop copier isn't going to do it for you.

Who am I to stop you from going the cheap route? However, before plunking your money down, read and study all the stats to calculate how much that "savings" purchase is going to end up  $$$$$ COSTING $$$$$ you in the end!
[end of blog]

11:11 am mst 

BLOG - It doesn't make economic sense

There is no doubt about it -- people are watching their money more closely. However, there is one side of attorneys that never ceases to amaze me -- even before the economic/financial crisis:moneycut.jpg

Why or how they can justify typing themselves -- with billing rates of $150, $200, and more than $300 an hour, how it is economically feasible for them to perform the clerical aspect of their practice themselves? -- or what's more, how, by doing their own typing,they can pass *their* billing rate for typing onto their clients. Doing their own typing takes them away from practicing law -- or building their clientele using time and money -- both that would be better spent on marketing.

It always makes me chuckle when they tell me they can't afford me -- when what they can't afford is the money being lost by doing it all on their own -- jack of all trades and master of none!
[end of blog]

7:20 am mst 

Saturday, November 15, 2008

BLOG - What's up with that?
Just a few months ago we were all paying over $4.00 a gallon for gasoline. I just got home from filling up my tank - $1.80/gallon and a total price of $25.00 -- compared to $60.00 plus this summer.

Now granted, I'm not complaining -- just curious -- it hasn't been below $2.00 for a couple of years -- what has changed?
[end of blog]
11:15 am mst 

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

BLOG - Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil ...
For two days I have been unable to access my web site in order to perform housekeeping, check my stats, etc. After entering my domain name and password, I would immediately get an "HTTP 501 Internal Error -- contact your web host."

Unable to sign onto my account and contact my web host, I had to backdoor through their own site and clicked the "contact us" link. Through an email I detailed my problem -- to which I received an email telling me that I needed to set up a troubleshooting ticket -- and to do so, after signing onto my account with my domain name and password, I go to Customer Service, technical problems and create a trouble ticket.

Well, D-U-H, why hadn't I thought of that?
Oh, yeah -- that's right -- had I been able to sign onto my site to begin with, I could have gone to Customer Service and created a trouble ticket -- but hey, had I been able to sign on to begin with, I wouldn't have needed Customer Service and a ticket detailing my problem -- WHICH HAD THEY READ MY EMAIL TO BEGIN WITH INSTEAD OF IMMEDIATELY SHOOTING ME OFF A CANNED MESSAGE ...
[end of blog]
11:19 am mst 

Friday, November 7, 2008

BLOG -Get on with your life -- or get a life ...
I really don't care which option you choose.

I was so disgusted with all the pre-election crap that I was looking forward to November 5 and having it all behind us. However, there are many people that still can't put it to sleep. Let's see, we have a new President elect that hasn't even been sworn into office, however, blame and fault for every wrong of the world is being credited to him -- when much of what is happening, stems from years of people living in glass houses who never learned not to throw stones.

Leave me out of your judgmental opinions because I DO HAVE A LIFE and don't have the inclination to be a part of your sorrow and gloom.
[end of blog]
10:23 am mst 

Sunday, November 2, 2008

BLOG - Name droppers
A relative, who will remain unnamed, received a jury summons recently. In an effort to get image001.gifout of his civic duty, he called and first explained that he would be fired from his job -- which by the way, an employer *CAN'T* fire an employee or keep an employee from reporting for jury duty.

After being assured that he could not be fired from his job, he then told them about *me* being a well-known legal secretary/paralegal and knowing many attorneys, and, therefore, could not sit on a jury -- this was a relative that I have seen maybe three-five times during his entire life.

Being involved in the legal field for more than 20 years, and knowing many attorneys has NOT kept ME from being called or reporting for jury duty, so in the future, I'd appreciate not having my name dropped by anyone trying to get out of their own jury duty commitment!

I can only hope that the jury commissioner will forget my name and not actually believe that I put this relative up to this STUPID scheme -- because jury duty is an excellent education of the judicial process for any individual -- especially for this unnamed relative!

Incidentally, hundreds of people are summoned to report to jury duty on any particular day -- the odds of actually being picked to sit on a jury are slim to none!image001.gif
[end of blog]
9:48 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?

Add-On Services:

  • laser color printing
  • laminating
  • spiral binding
  • proofreading/editing your work product

Your Documents are Your Reputation ...
Making Them Look Good is Mine!©1992-2016 Carolyn Bodley

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