On the eve of its 30th anniversary, Orange Legal president and owner, Roberta “Bobbie” Barrett, sat down with Attorney at Law Magazine to discuss her career path and the brand she has worked to build over the last few decades.
AALM: Tell us what first drew you to the legal industry and to court reporting, specifically.
Barrett: The main reason I became interested in the legal industry was because my uncle suggested it. My original career choice was to become a nurse anesthetist. I was in a program locally to pursue that career, but in order to obtain the degree I would need to transfer to Mississippi State, which was the closest school at the time. Since my mother had become ill, I wanted to remain in Orlando. At the time, my cousin was enrolling in a college for court reporting and my uncle suggested that I look into it. I decided to give it a try and the program actually came naturally to me, even though there is a high dropout rate. Once I graduated and started my career in reporting, I really enjoyed the broad range of subject matter that you are involved with, from taking the deposition of an eyewitness to an accident to the inventor of the laser.
AALM: Tell us about the founding of Orange Legal.
Barrett: I started Orange Legal because I liked the idea of watching something grow. Maybe that’s why I had so many children and love to garden as well! After working in other agencies, I felt like – as a yes person – I could serve the client better on my own. Customer service and quality are top priorities for Orange Legal.
AALM: How would you describe the culture or the brand of the company?
Barrett: I believe in a family atmosphere and giving back to the community. What is important to me is that each person who works at Orange is better for working here and has been able to develop themselves. My hope is that we have assisted them in reaching goals that are significant to them.
AALM: How has the company evolved since its founding?
Barrett: Originally, Orange Legal had a staff of three with eight reporters. We are now at around 80 staff and have hundreds of reporters, videographers, process servers and interpreters around the world. Orange Legal originally focused only on court reporting and now has evolved to performing many different legal-related services.
AALM: How do you balance your time between aiding clients and running a business?
Barrett: Honestly, our great executive and management team handles the daily running and management of the business wonderfully. This allows me to divide my time between working in the business and interacting with our clients.
AALM: What do you think are the most pressing concerns for lawyers when it comes to litigation support?
Barrett: I believe trust is the most important consideration for lawyers. They want to know that we will show up when we are scheduled, have the skillset that is necessary to accomplish the service they are requesting, and deliver a timely highquality product.
AALM: What changes do you see developing in the industry? How are you preparing your company to stay ahead of the curve?
Barrett: I see a lot of technological advancements, including digital court reporting, voice-to-text conversion, and the growth of trial technology. We are constantly looking ahead at products and services – and actually have been in the forefront of supplying new digital solutions.
AALM: What do you enjoy most about working with attorneys?
Barrett: I enjoy meeting new people involved in the legal community and learning from them. I am very social, so this is really the fun part for me. Seeing what new cases are out there, or how the person’s family is doing, this is what I really enjoy.
AALM: What is the biggest challenge you face in your industry? How do you overcome it?
Barrett: The biggest challenge facing our industry is a lack of talented professionals to support our industry, especially court reporters. The enrollment in court reporting schools has dropped and those that graduate the schools are highly sought-after.
AALM: How is Orange Legal involved in the community?
Barrett: Here at Orange, we decided it’s important to pay it forward. We have started giving PTO hours to employees who volunteer for some of our local community services. We support Give Kids the World, Coalition for the Homeless, Pet Alliance, and hope to soon work with Girls, Inc. We also raise money for issues close to my heart like Walk for Wishes, Wounded Warriors and a local women’s shelter.
AALM: Are there any changes coming in the future that you’re excited about?
Barrett: We have recently opened a new office space in Atlanta and are expanding our client base in the region. I am very excited to see how that grows. I am also excited about the continued growth of our global presence. We have covered cases in six out of the seven continents.
AALM: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Barrett: This year, we’re celebrating 30 years of business. We have a lot to be proud of, including our recent awards – Brighthouse Regional Business Award Finalist, Orlando Business Journal’s Coolest Office Space Award, Fast Fifty Award and Best Places to Work! We also have the designation of a 100% Woman Owned Business and are proud of our involvement in all the communities we have offices, including Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and now Atlanta.