Hiring a Certified Legal Videographer

The production of legal deposition video is best entrusted to a professional certified legal videographer who is knowledgeable in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Federal Rules of Evidence as the rules apply to visual evidence to be introduced at trial. The certified legal videographer who has passed the regimen of instruction, tests and evaluations and has been vetted by the National Court Reporters Association (CLVS program) and/or the American Guild of Court Videographers (CCVS program) are most qualified to produce unimpeachable legal video evidence.

Anyone can take a video camera and record a deponent under oath, however, unless you know what you’re doing and following the compliant steps that video will surely be thrown out of court. Ask yourself the following questions before hiring a legal videographer in New York, New Jersey or wherever you may need to hire a legal videographer:

Did the videographer provide a proper read-in introduction on the record? Did the videographer have a proper shot of the deponent that would not prejudice the jury? Did the videographer have a properly positioned date/time stamp on the video? Did the videographer properly manage and maintain the chain of evidence? Did the videographer properly record a log of the deposition? Did the videographer certify the recording? If more than one device was used to record the deposition, was the date/time stamp properly down-streamed? Was the deponent properly recorded taking the oath? Was the audio record clear throughout the on-record testimony? Did the videographer properly prepare the format of the recording in compliance with the deposing counsel’s request for the deliverable? Is the original recording preserved and certified? Did the videographer conduct himself or herself impartially? Did the videographer conduct himself or herself befitting an officer of the court? The list goes on but the answer to all of the above should be yes.

Some states, but not all, require the legal videographer to be a duly certified notary public. California is one such state. It is important, if the legal videographer travels that he or she understands the local rules and whether there is reciprocal recognition of the credentials they bear from their home state. Similarly, the legal videographer must recognize any orders of the court or stipulations regarding the governance of the deposition.

It is important that the legal videographer, be it in New York, New Jersey, California, or elsewhere be aware that the intended destination of the video is presentation at trial and therefore the video product must not only be of the highest visual quality but the audio quality must be equally outstanding. The legal videographer must be properly equipped to ensure that the subject deponent is well illuminated and that any exhibits – especially diagrams, x-rays, CT-scans, MRI’s, transparencies, photographs, charts or objects – are clearly displayed.

Extra effort should be taken to ensure that the audio is clear for all parties making an appearance on the record in a legal deposition. This means that everyone who will be on the record is individually lavaliered. If omni-directional lavalieres are used audio filtration may be necessary to reduce unwanted ambient noise and hiss from air conditioners and ventilators. The legal videographer should be prepared for all contingencies.

The Notice of Deposition provides the first basis for understanding what should be involved technically. The location, time, venue, case caption, deposing attorney and counsel who are noticed will all appear thereon. The next step is for the legal videographer to ask questions that will further advise him or her on proper preparation for the deposition. As my mentor, Dr. Gayle Marquette, Founder of the AGCV, often taught me: “We know not because we ask not.” It is the best rule of thumb that a legal videographer can observe. I have found that it is an equally good rule to apply in every other area of life. You really have to know what you’re preparing for. This is true no matter where the deposition is held: locally, regionally, nationally or internationally.

Organize Legal Documents With Flags

It can be difficult to keep up in such a fast paced society that also has a lot of red tape and bureaucratic paperwork. As a professional in the legal, medical, or commercial world, it is more important than ever to streamline processes that are inefficient. When it comes to legal papers, flags and labels are a great tool for organizing and simplifying redundant signature lines.

Reading page after page of unfamiliar legal paperwork and excessive clarifications is enough to put anyone to sleep. However, you can make the process less painful for yourself and clients by including the use of flags and labels:

Flags are an affordable an efficient way to highlight important parts of a document without leaving a mark. They are good to use for signature lines, date lines, notary lines, and more. Attach them and then dispose of them when finished to maintain a professional legal document.

Labels are also an inexpensive way to stay organized for many different types of documents. They are great for medical, legal, and business documents to notify readers of important references, confidential information, allergies, and much more.

Sign, Date, and Notarize with Flags

Flags come in many different sizes, shapes, colors, and purposes. Alternatives such as highlighting, circling, or putting an X beside the desired line get the job done but do not maintain the professional integrity of the document. Below are a few different types of flags that can be used on legal paperwork:

Post-It Sign Here – Post-it Printed Message Flags make it simple to request action. Ideal for marking documents without writing on them. Each flag sticks, repositions easily and removes cleanly. Bold arrow points precisely where you need a document signed, and the preprinted “Sign Here” message designates the action needed. Dispenses one at a time.

Redi-Tag Please Initial Arrow – Use removable flags anywhere you need to attract attention. Simply apply “Please Initial” flag where needed and remove the flag when the task is finished or the reference is no longer needed. Can be written on. Dispenser can be refilled.

Sparco Flags in Dispenser “Sign and Date” – Printed self-stick flags with the preprinted message, “Sign & Date,” come in pop-up dispensers. Easily remove and reapply. Preprinted arrow points to where signatures are needed.
Labels for Medical and Legal Documents

Labels are also a great way to stay organized and reduce the mental anguish caused by dry medical and legal documents. They are an effective way of communicating simple but important aspects of any file. Since time is money, it is crucial to have important information stand out in order to save time and effort. Below are a few different types of Labels that can benefit legal and medical documents:

Tobbies Legal Exhibit – In offices, courtrooms or judges’ chambers, these handy 1-5/8″ x 1″ labels will save time referencing exhibits. Apply color-coded labels directly to legal documents, case reports, letters, photos and depositions, for fast and easy identification. Each label features a blank area for writing exhibit letters or numbers.

Tobbies No Known Allergies – These labels have the message “No Known Allergies” printed on them to alert staff of patient allergies to avoid medication mishaps. Fluorescent, easy-to-read labels stand out on patient files and charts.

Tobbies Confidential Authorized Personnel Only – These labels have the message “Confidential For Authorized Personnel Only” printed on them to help staff maintain confidentiality of sensitive files and materials.

Chart Navigation Secrets – Seven Steps to Super Simple Sailing Navigation

What is flat, doesn’t operate off of a battery, sits in a corner or sleeps beneath a bunk cushion most of the time, and often gets treated like a disowned, black sheep-of-the-family?

Master mariner Sid Stapleton says they are “…the most valuable and essential tools we have aboard our vessels”. Sailing guru Nigel Calder calls them “…the starting and ending points of navigation”. And Caribbean cruising master sailor Donald Street states “It is seldom possible to have too many…”

Now, you may disagree with some of these master mariners about priorities, but in my mind, your nautical chart ranks right up there with the boat anchor and sail as the most important tools aboard.

One single spark and you can lose your black box navigation That’s all it takes to fry the electronics. So, let’s take a minute to get back to the dead simple basics that you should use every moment you are sailing along the coast or offshore.

This isn’t the textbook version, but the realistic version of sailing navigation made dead simple. Which means, no chart table, heeling, taking spray over the bow, and feeling a bit green all at the same time. It all begins long before you cast off that first docking line.

These seven super simple steps will work on any boat any size anywhere in the world. Here’s how to complete 90% of your chart navigation for safer nautical navigation wherever you choose to go sailing:

1. Plan Your Sailing Route

Use the largest scale navigation chart for the sailboat cruising area. Larger scales show greater detail for entering harbors, anchorages, passing near dangers, and using aids to navigation. Look beneath the title of the chart at the ratio. The smaller the second number, the larger the scale.

For instance, in US waters, the best charts for coastal navigation are scaled at 1:80,000. This means that one inch on the chart equals 80,000 inches on the earth’s surface. Once you get inside the coastline and enter harbors, you will want an even larger scale, such as 1:40,000 for much better detail.

Use the “what if” factor when choosing the proper scale chart to use. What if the weather turns rotten, or you have an injury aboard and need to enter a harbor at night, or you need to find an anchorage for the night. Your navigational chart needs to offer the best detail for the safest navigation day or night, in any marine weather.

2. Draw Your Tracklines (TR)

Plot your sailing courses–called “tracklines”–onto your chart with a pencil. Use the outer ring of the compass rose to plot in true direction. Many folks like to use the magnetic (second ring) compass ring, but not all charts have a magnetic ring. Those used offshore show only true direction. Convert the true direction to a magnetic course with the variation shown in the center of the compass rose.

Add westerly variation and subtract easterly variation. For example, if you plotted a true course of 038 true, and the center of the compass rose showed a variation of 3E, you subtract variation from true course to find the magnetic course (035M).

Some charts lack compass roses altogether. Instead they show magenta (purplish) dashed, diagonal lines ever so often that span the real estate of the chart. These are called isogonic lines. Look along the line to find the variation. Use the same rules above to convert your true course to a magnetic course.

3. Label Your Magnetic Steering Course

Write the magnetic course on the top of each of your tracklines. Label the course with three digits and a capital M (for magnetic). For example, for a magnetic course of 35 degrees magnetic, you would write 035M onto the top of the line. For a magnetic course of 8 degrees magnetic, you would write 008M onto the top of the trackline.

To make your labels clearer, draw a small arrow that breaks between the magnetic label, with the arrowhead directed in the direction of travel. For example -035M-> or -008M->

4. Scan for Dangers and Annotate

Take time to scan with great care to the right, left, and ahead of your trackline. Look for any dangers such as hazardous wrecks, shoals (shallow spots), rip current notations, or other areas that could place your vessel in harm’s way.

Mark these with colored pencils so that they stand out day or night, in any type of weather. Do not use red for annotating, as this will become invisible if you use red lights to maintain night vision. Instead, stick with blues, greens, magenta (nautical purple), or black.

5. Tape Over Your Tracklines

Purchase removable Scotch tape or any similar brand that can be removed and written on. Tape over the penciled tracks and add a strip above and below (for labeling or plotting positions). That way, you can reuse the chart over and over and the tape provides a protective barrier against the ravages of pencil lead, erasers, and the needle points of your navigation dividers.

6. Make It Black and Bold

Use a black fine-tip felt tip pen to trace your penciled sailing tracks onto the top of the tape. Write in your course labels on the top of each trackline with the felt tip marker.

7. Lash it to a Board

Make your chart ready to use in the cockpit. Fold the chart to show the area of navigation. Lash it to a legal size clipboard or use an artist sketch-board with rubber bands. In rainy weather, slide the board into a super-size plastic ziplock-type bag.

Use these seven super simple sailing tips to make your cockpit chart navigation fun, safe, and easier than ever before. You will become a more confident sailing navigator, always prepared to get your boat home safe and sound!

Some Ways to Maintain the Legal Integrity of Your Electronic Medical Records

When a practice makes the switch from paper records to EMR, some legal concerns will arise. Decisions must be made to be sure the digital records maintain legal integrity. There may also be some surprises regarding issues of privacy, security, and compliance. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Documentation: When you write an exam onto a piece of paper and add your signature, you create a legal document. You probably are aware of the necessity for documentation and the problems which can occur when alterations are made to medical records. Paper charts’ integrity are normally easy to determine. An electronic chart may be more complicated. The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society says that electronic records need to be stored in a legal manner; otherwise the records can be considered hearsay and legally challenged.

What makes this so important? If your electronic records do not satisfy the requirements for a legal medical record, a payor can sometimes deny claims. Even worse, you could expose your practice to increased risks of adverse litigation outcomes. Not only do you have to make sure your electronic records aren’t altered – you must also be able to demonstrate your procedure.

So how can you be sure your electronic medical records aren’t able to be changed? Ideally your system will allow users to make changes and correct errors while keeping the integrity of the record intact.

* Does your system have a strict security protocol which isn’t too time-intensive? Alphanumeric passwords that must be changed periodically? Automatic time-out for inactivity?

* Does it restrict access to certain features? You wouldn’t want a front desk employee changing patients’ intraocular pressures.

* Does it timestamp each entry and show an audit trail? This could be achieved by writing an unalterable record of every entry and event to prove the record’s validity.

* Does it use a secure lock-out feature? One might allow a doctor to make changes at day’s end, but after twenty-four hours a record would lock. This may seem a harsh measure, but it may serve you well by protecting you from unauthorized changes.

* Does the system keep track of who documented what? You don’t want your name associated with another user’s entries, or anonymous changes made.

If you keep these considerations in mind you’ll be able to maintain a proper archive without compromising the records’ legal authenticity.