Beyond the Record with Adrienne Ortiz-Mignano

LiveLitigation Certified Reporter Spotlight

Name:  Adrienne Ortiz-Mignano

Title:  Court Reporter

Certifications:  RPR

What is your background?  I am a graduate of St. John’s University and I am currently a freelance court reporter working in New York City and Long Island. I take most of my work from Esquire Deposition Solutions in New York; however I do cover work for some of the other great agencies in New York, like TSG, TransPerfect and Magna Legal Solutions. I am a former Official Court Reporter for the Southern District of New York, where I believe I gained my greatest experience and worked with the best of the best!

When did you begin your court reporting career?  I began my court reporting career in April of 1989.

What sparked your interest in choosing court reporting as a profession?
I believe court reporting was my destiny. My mother typed for court reporters when I was a child, and I would help her by separating the originals from the copies after she typed the Q and A. That was when copies were done with carbon paper. Then as a Criminal Justice major at St. John’s University, one of my professors planned a trip to the Supreme Court in Brooklyn, New York, for the class to view arraignments and various court proceedings. It was there I saw the steno machine for the first time, and I fell in love with it. I was fascinated with the machine. And to solidify my fate, while working retail during my college years, a co-worker walks into work with steno notes, as she was studying to be a court reporter! Besides becoming one of my greatest friends, she was my greatest mentor in this field. Thank you, Barbara Nigro Prieto.

What advice would you give to students or those just entering the field of court reporting?
This is a very important job. My advice to students (of which my daughter is now one) or those just entering the field would be to maintain professionalism at all times, NEVER arrive late to a job, keep up with newest technology in order better aid the attorneys in their jobs, and keep enhancing your skills. A record is only as good as the court reporter that transcribes it.

What is your favorite thing about being a court reporter?
My favorite thing about being a court reporter is that I truly learn something new every day.

As a Court Reporter, what is your worst nightmare or biggest pet peeve?
My worst nightmare as a court reporter is for the equipment to fail. Luckily, I arrive to every job one hour beforehand, so if something should go wrong, I have time to call support so that I’m up and running by the time the attorneys are ready to work.

Where is the strangest place you have taken a deposition?
I have actually taken a deposition in an old-fashioned phone booth. We were pressed for time and the wait for an examination room was long at the courthouse, and so I sat on the little stool in the phone booth and set up my machine, and the attorneys stood around me and the witness right in front of me, and we conducted the deposition.

What is the funniest thing you have heard during a deposition or in the courtroom?
I have had so many laugh out loud moments in depositions and in the courtroom. The cutest one though, was “Coach” a seeing eye dog for one of our judges fell asleep during a trial and began snoring so loud that you could not help but crack up laughing. The Judge did instruct the jury though that Coach’s snoring should not be given any weight in their deliberations.

What has been your greatest achievement professionally, and why?
My greatest achievement professionally was obtaining employment as an Official Court Reporter for the Southern District of New York. I worked with so many amazing court reporters and legal talent, and I learned something from each of them, and I was able to use that knowledge and experience to work on some very interesting and complex litigation as a freelancer.

When not court reporting, how do you spend your free time?
I spend most of my free time with my family. I am a mother of two amazing kids. They are both competitive swimmers and I am their biggest fan. I’ve enjoyed watching and cheering them on over the years up through college. My daughter, Marissa, just graduated from college last May and is now in court reporting school and my son, Dominick will be graduating this spring with a finance degree. My husband and I are, indeed, proud parents.

What do you like most about LiveLitigation?
LiveLitigation is a great tool for court reporters and attorneys. On the court reporter side, it is small and compact and enables you to connect iPads in a proceeding via its own router. I have had zero issues in using it. It works every time, all the time. Customer service is extremely helpful in setting it up, and I would recommend it to any RealTime court reporter who wants a stress free work environment. Attorneys enjoy a true real time experience, with no lag time in the transcript. They are able to scroll through the transcript with a touch screen and highlight testimony they want to come back to with ease. I have a fantastic scopist (my Mom) that edits simultaneous to my writing via Wi-Fi, and her corrections appear within seconds on the iPads. So when attorneys scroll back in LiveLitigation, they are really seeing a very clean transcription.

Anything else you would like to share?
I’ve enjoyed 28 years and counting of court reporting. I’ve seen many changes. As court reporters, we are in the service business and attorneys always let you know when they are happy with your service by requesting you on their jobs. I’m happy when I can deliver a service to my attorneys that helps make their job easier. I enjoy providing a clean real time screen for them. At the end of the day, I feel a sense of accomplishment and they just think it’s magic. A lot goes into being a good court reporter. Having a great support team and great equipment is key.