If you use RB8 and RB Web in your business, congratulations. We think you have the best tools in the business to run an efficient, profitable enterprise.
To help you get the most out of your tools, we’ve asked some of your fellow RB users about how they use RB to attract clients, increase efficiency and be more profitable. Maybe you have seen our ads in the JCR (Journal of Court Reporting) describing their stories. In this article, we compiled some of their tips for using online case repositories, RB-PDF transcripts, and paperless archives.
Online case repositories
According to Jim Colville of Colville & Associates, setting up a repository doesn’t require special skills, any average RB user can do it. He considers himself firmly in that camp and encourages other RB users to do what he did.
When he got a call from a lawyer looking for an in-town records repository, he “immediately and without hesitation” said he could do it and set up an appointment to demonstrate — although he had never done a repository before.
All he needed was a quick review of how to create a repository in RB8 and grant access to clients in RB Web (instructions in the RB8 User Guide). He created the demo and won the job.
Then came the hard work of scanning and verifying files. Jim recommends outsourcing scanning to a copy service. Or if you want to do it in-house instead, get a quality scanner, learn how to use your scanner software, and set up an efficient work space for scanning.
For verifying and correcting scans, such as sorting transposed pages and rotating upside-down pages, he recommends Adobe Acrobat Pro software. He said it was easier to use than his scanner software for verifying and correcting scans, and has other business uses as well.
Another repository tip of Jim’s is to develop a consistent, easily understood file-naming system early on. For example, he uses documents’ Bates numbering with a 3-letter case name prefix.
To further help clients locate files, he copies information from their document indexes into the file description field of documents he uploads into the case repository. Case repositories are by nature large and complex, and you want your clients to be able to find any document quickly and easily on their own — for both your sakes.
To Gloria Perry of Associated Reporters, switching from e-Transcript to RB-PDF transcripts was a win-win-win situation: It saved production time, reduced errors and gave clients a superior product. And because it’s so easy to use, she believes other RB8 users can convert their production “overnight, if they already use e-Tran and RB8.”
RB-PDF Transcript Creator is included free in RB8 and is tied to your RB database, so it eliminates switching between applications and re-keying job info. Shortly after the production staff started using it, someone said, “I don’t want to go back to e-Tran. Please don’t make me.”
The biggest challenge in implementing RB-PDF transcripts was getting clients to switch. Gloria recommends setting your RB-PDF transcripts to look like the e-Transcripts your clients are used to.
She also has her reporters give lawyers a list of PDF advantages, such as the ability to load PDF transcripts into trial presentation software without using 3rd-party software. Her points are included in our promotional flyer to share with your clients, which registered Team RB members can download from the members area of this site.
As an early adopter, Gloria had to deal with a version 1.0 PDF creator, which required developing her own work-arounds to get a product her clients would prefer to e-Tran. At the same time, she also had a lot of input into product updates, and now she is “thrilled to report RB has incorporated my procedures for a PDF condensed transcript into the software! It’s all done automatically now. We can now send the entire bundle through RB: the full size with a word index and exhibits, the condensed (with readable-size font) and the ASCII.”
The latest version of RB-PDF transcripts includes:
- The ability to keep some pages full-sized in a condensed transcript, such as the cover page;
- A no-border option because you use a pre-printed form for transcripts;
- Separate border options for the transcript, condensed version, word list and word index;
- Margin control so you can use a 3-hole punch for placing transcripts in binders;
- Automated digital signatures;
- And more.
For Irene Rennillo of Rennillo Court Reporting, Records & Media, RB8’s paperless archiving is central to running their business and providing services to clients. With everything archived in RB8’s central repository , both staff and clients have quick access to needed information.
“When paper comes in, and staff asks what to do with it, I say, ‘Shred it.’ We scan everything now, and it’s much easier,” Irene said. “Paper documents don’t go through the office anymore. Everyone has access to the files they need in the central repository.”
In addition to reducing the time spent in-house dealing with files, the repository is also a major part of their marketing.
In addition to reducing the time spent in-house dealing with files, the repository is also part of their marketing strategy. In client presentations, Irene explains, “As good stewards of our business, we are required to be organized, to keep transcripts organized, to keep exhibits, videos, your calendar organized. It’s one step to go from organized to granting you access. It’s your information anyway.”
Some firms go beyond conventional file access and rely on Rennillo to keep them organized. “We give some firms blanket passwords and have all of their transcripts centrally deposited. A firm might have 20 attorneys and ten secretaries, and they might not all have the best protocols for handling their documents, so firms use us as their back-up archive.”
And when a client needed to give opposing counsel quick access to case files, Rennillo was ready. Everything was already uploaded into the archive as it was readied for trial presentation, so “We only had to give the opposing side their own user IDs and passwords, and they had instant access to all of the case exhibits.”
To attract new clients, Irene has her reporters compile a record of all the attorneys who appear on a case. Then when a transcript is ready, Rennillo uses RB8’s automatic notification to email all of the attorneys — even those who haven’t ordered. “Maybe they didn’t think they needed it at the time, but if later the transcript becomes important to them, the email reminds them.”
For those of you involved in charity events, your RB8 database can come in handy, as Irene can attest:
While preparing for an event to raise money for the Ohio Women’s Bar Association Scholarship Fund, “We were able to cull out all female litigators in our geographical region to target them on the invitation list,” Irene said. “Our list was a more complete database.”
As a result, the event, co-sponsored by local law schools and Saks Fifth Avenue, was attended by 300 attorneys, accountants, and financial planners.
Irene said, “The database part was easy. That took fifteen minutes.”
Fitting 300 people into their offices — well, sorry, RB can’t help with that.
For more Tips/Best Practices from fellow RB users, read the related News article.