Vicki Hogue-Davies 2013-10-25 12:09:51
A Full-Service, Freelance Court Reporting Agency Some young people know exactly what they want to do with their lives, while others are introduced to a path by a mentor or other trusted adult. For Julie Ottmar, owner of the freelance court reporting agency Ottmar & Associates, it was a high school shorthand teacher who helped her discover her career passion. “The teacher said, ‘Julie, you are really good at shorthand, you should become a court reporter,’” Ottmar recounts. “Being 17 and not really focused on any other profession, I decided to do it, so I headed to college and became a court reporter. It really wasn’t pre-planned, but more ‘divine intervention’ than anything else. It was a great career choice for me.” Her achievements over the past 34 years exemplify the fact she made the right choice. Ottmar started her firm in 1989 aft er the breakup of the largest Phoenix reporting firm of Thacker & Greenfield. When Thacker & Greenfield dissolved, she moved to another firm, but soon felt she had reached the top of her earning capacity working for others, so she co-founded her firm with partner Zoe Ann Wambach. Initially named Hevern &Wambach, it changed to Ottmar & Wambach when Ottmar married in 1995, and finally Ottmar & Associates when Wambach retired in 2000. Today, six full-time court reporters, including Ottmar, work out of the agency’s high-tech office in downtown Phoenix. The agency works closely with several other choice reporters for extra busy days. As required, all Ottmar reporters are certified by the Arizona Supreme Court. Ottmar herself is certified in Arizona, Nevada and California. She is a past president of the Arizona Court Reporters Association and was a member of the board for several years prior to that. Subsequent to her presidency, she became a member of the “Keeping the Record” committee tasked with reviewing all state statutes, rules and code sections regarding court reporter utilization. “Being president made for a crazy-busy year, but it was so incredibly rewarding,” Ottmar says. “I’m a more well-rounded person because of it.” In 2011, Ottmar received the Distinguished Service Award from the association for her service over the years. WELL-ROUNDED AGENCY “At Ottmar & Associates, we believe our clients always come first,” Ottmar says. “That might sound cliché, but we truly want our clients to be 100 percent satisfied. That’s what earns us repeat business. When we’re in business relationships, it’s for the long haul, and we want our clients to be happy.” In addition to its primary court reporting capabilities, the agency offers a myriad other services. One of them is providing clients real-time testimony wirelessly via laptops and the new iPad app. Attorneys can mark and search testimony as it’s happening. The agency also arranges interpreters and videographers when clients need them and provides transcription services for all types of recorded proceedings. Clients can also reserve use of the agency’s high-definition videoconferencing capabilities and meeting rooms to conduct business around the globe. A major goal the agency has been pursuing is to become a paperless online office. “We have almost reached that goal,” Ottmar says. “The great thing about an online office is attorneys don’t have to wait for snail mail or be put in a situation where it’s midnight on the eve before trial and they can’t find a transcript or exhibit they desperately need. The transcripts, exhibits and other pertinent documents are securely available online. Attorneys and their staff can log in to their cases through our online repository from anywhere in the world 24/7 to download any of those items.” These services help ensure repeat business as does the firm’s attention to ethics. “I am also proud of the ethical stance our company takes,” Ottmar says. “I believe every litigant deserves to receive fair and impartial services from court reporters. I also believe in invoicing transparency—every one of our invoices is itemized and there are no hidden fees. In addition, my door is always open. If a mistake is made, we fix it; and if we’ve done a good job, we love to hear that from our clients as well.” What does Ottmar personally enjoy most about her work? “I love that my job is so mobile,” she says. “I work with a different attorney every day and the topic of discussion changes with every witness. Now, aft er working in the Phoenix market for more than 30 years, it’s very seldom that I attend a deposition where I’m not at least acquainted with all the attorneys in the room. It feels like I’m part of a community rather than a big city. I like that neighborhood feel and knowing the people I am working with.” ABOUT THE TEAM “Starting this business was fun,” she says. “It was so exciting and one of the best things I’ve done in my career.” Her typical day involves being out in the field writing depositions and working on transcripts back in the office. She is also busy each day assigning court reporters to depositions, overseeing transcript quality and all the functions that go with running an office. “I am very proud of each of the court reporters who represent my firm,” Ottmar says. “I just couldn’t ask for a more hardworking, conscientious and personable group. I never have any doubt that an accurate transcript will be in a client’s hands the day he requests it, if not sooner.” When making hiring decisions for court reporters, she first looks for the requisite education and certification and then considers their experience. “I usually want reporters who are already experienced,” she says. “And I want reporters with real-time skills; although over the years, I have hired brand new reporters and shown them the ropes. Everyone must be personable and willing to work hard.” The agency has three full-time staff members in addition to the court reporters. “They are extremely knowledgeable regarding transcript production and the rules associated with transcript security,” Ottmar says. “It’s wonderful to have a staff that wants every client to be as happy with our services as I do. I love listening to their friendly banter with clients over the phone. I think clients really enjoy my staff .” AWAY FROM WORK Being well-rounded extends outside the office for Ottmar. For 10 years she has taught Sunday school, with her favorite age being first graders, who she says are “too cute.” And when she isn’t immersed in work she enjoys “hanging out with my wonderful family,” which, in addition to her husband, Tom, includes two sons, a daughter-in-law and 19-month-old granddaughter. To unwind aft er a long day at work, she works on her garden. “My goal is to someday deliver a healthy serving of fruits and vegetables with every transcript,” she laughs. “Seriously, though, I am an avid fruit and vegetable gardener. I’ve grown a variety of lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, carrots, kale, onions, tomatoes and more. We have grapefruit, orange, lime and peach trees. Whatever will grow in Arizona, I’ve tried growing it. For me, working in the garden is a great way to put the day in perspective.”
Published by Target Market Media . View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://digitaleditions.walsworthprintgroup.com/article/Ottmar+%26+Associates/1544522/180914/article.html.