Below is our recent interview with Joseph DiMonte, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Planet Depos:
Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to Planet Depos?
A: Founded in 2009 by my brothers and I, we are a family owned and operated court reporting firm, led by industry veterans with over 200 years of combined experience in court reporting.
Planet Depos provides court reporting and litigation technology services to law firms and corporations around the world. While our headquarters are in Washington, D.C., we have highly skilled teams of court reporters, videographers, interpreters, and trial support technicians located on-the-ground across the globe.
Q: What is a court reporter?
A: A court reporter, sometimes known as a stenographer or shorthand reporter, transcribes the spoken word/testimony at court hearings, depositions, trials, or any official legal proceeding. Court reporters are an integral part of the legal process. They are responsible for recording, preparing, and certifying a verbatim transcript of the proceeding that can later be used by attorneys, judges, and litigants.
Court reporters also often work outside the courtroom, providing captioning services at events, for broadcast TV, or even radio broadcasts for the hearing-impaired.
There are many different methods that court reporters use to capture the record, including stenographic (using stenotype machines like you’d see on TV), as well as voice-writing (using a mask to speak a recording), and digital (using high-tech audio recording equipment and specialized software).
Q: You’ve recently celebrated your 10th anniversary; could you tell us something more?
A: In 2009, my brothers and I founded Planet Depos. We started with two employees in a 400SF space in Washington, D.C. Since we started in the middle of the recession, no bank would talk to us. When we applied for a loan, the first question they asked was, “do you own a home?” By living together for the first three years, we were able to fund our small operation through savings, peer-to-peer loans (Lending Club), and even running our own credit cards through our business machine.
Looking back, it is one big blur. We now occupy 15,000 square feet at HQ and have over 150 employees. Over the years, we have been fortunate to collaborate and work side-by-side with leading industry experts to create positive outcomes for our clients, contractors, and employees.
Q: What types of services do you provide to your clients?
A: We like to say that we offer “the full court reporting experience” to our clients, and it’s true. While our primary service is court reporting, providing the court reporter for their deposition, we offer a wide array of other services that complement court reporting.
We can take any video or audio file you have and provide a certified transcription. We have offices around the world with videoconferencing equipment, both traditional and mobile, to allow clients to have face-to-face depositions without the hassle of travel.
We also provide legal videography for video depositions, interpreters and translators for work internationally, and secure online storage for case files such as transcripts and digital exhibits.
Q: What makes you stand out from your competition?
A: Our biggest differentiator is our customer service. We operate a 24/7 shop because our client base is spread out across the world. We try to foster an environment where there are no barriers to entry to use our services. Whether a client needs a deposition covered in New York or Japan, we make it happen.
Our leadership and management team spend a lot of time coaching our employees to ensure that excellent customer service is delivered on a consistent basis. Additionally, Planet Depos uses advanced technology to ensure that our clients have access to their deliverables 24/7, in a secure and efficient manner. Beginning with their first contact with our office, all processes are streamlined to save our clients time so they can focus on other tasks more core to their specialties.
Q: What are the company’s plans and goals for the future?
A: Continue to grow by embracing technology! This is a great time to be in the court reporting industry. It will change more quickly in the next 5 years than it has over the last 100. We are very bullish on the future of court reporting for several reasons:
• Our industry is consolidating quickly. Many of the court reporting firm owners are baby boomers and looking for an exit strategy. Whether Planet Depos acquires a company directly, or someone else does, our share of the market will continue to grow. Because my partners and I are in our 30’s, our view is very long term. We can weather the ups and downs of the industry, while providing excellent and consistent service to our clients.
• While there is an extreme shortage of stenographers, advancements in technology have allowed court reporting firms to fill these gaps with alternative methods of reporting. Planet Depos is at the forefront of this change.
• Continue our international expansion. Planet Depos is the only court reporting firm that has offices on multiple continents. We have employees living throughout Asia and Europe and have committed to expanding these teams in the coming months and years. As such, we are able to offer our clients seamless, cross-border coverage of their legal proceedings.