About Gradillas => Success Story
Gradillas Court Reporter Chronicles Own 8(a) Success Story
“It’s important work,” said Josephine Gradillas, principal and founder of
Gradillas Court Reporters, a licensed California court reporting and
litigation support business. “Especially when witnesses are under oath…the
transcripts are extremely important and are used to come to legal
decisions and conclusions.”
Gradillas Court Reporters was founded in 2001 but more recently in 2010
the growing firm entered into the U.S. Small Business Administration’s
8(a) Business Development Program, which helps socially and economically
disadvantaged individuals gain a foothold in government contracting. The
program is divided into two phases over nine years: a four-year
development stage and a five-year transition stage.
Although Gradillas was steadily growing and maintained non-governmental
work prior to becoming an 8(a) certified company, Gradillas would receive
only occasional request from government agencies requiring court reporting
assignments. That would all change after she met David Sutton, director of
small business utilization for the Department of Justice, at a SBA
seminar. Sutton advised that Gradillas should seriously consider becoming
a certified 8(a) firm. “Well, I wasted no time and pursued, and received
my 8(a) certification,” said Gradillas. “Very shortly after becoming
certified…I called the regional director of a large government agency and
explained I was a court reporter and a certified 8(a) firm. The response
was, ‘You’re a court reporter and you’re an 8(a) – I have been looking for
someone like you!’”
That phone call would begin long-lasting relationships with a number of
government agencies including the Department of Treasury, Internal Revenue
Service, Department of Labor, Department of Homeland Security, the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Gradillas said, a large part of her work is through the 8(a) Program. “My
only regret is that I did not become 8(a) certified sooner,” said
“That phone call resulted in immediate job settings for us….which have
been increasing in quantity and quality ever since. This may not happen
each and every time but it reflects that with serious research and follow
up effort, you may find the right person to talk to that needs your
services,” said Gradillas.
Speaking about her growing company and contracted court reporters,
Gradillas said, she enjoys working with the U.S. Government and finds it
especially rewarding to provide job opportunities for people.
Gradillas’ firm has also earned a positive reputation as a, “go-to” firm
when agencies need a court reporter the next day due to any number of
circumstances. She has gained this ability from 30 years of experience
within the legal community and from her relationships with court reporters
all over the country.
“I’ve been a businesswoman for a long time, but I still feel the thrill of
grasping new ideas and new tools,” said Gradillas. The leading edge
technologies they employ are: real-time transcription that uses software
plus the court reporter’s electronic dictionary that transforms machine
stenotype into plain English so attorneys can have direct access and ask
questions; and the real-time transcript synched with the video of the
witness to allow instant word searches that display the video linked to
any word or phrase. Gradillas mentioned that technology is making court
reporters’ work more accessible for government agencies and international
clients, and also provides opportunities for court reporters who like to
do this type of work.
“It’s a rewarding experience to help companies like Gradillas take
advantage of all the opportunities afforded by the 8(a) Program and
strongly encourage other small business owners to contact their local SBA
office for more details,” said Sandra Vasquez, business opportunity
specialist, and Gradillas liaison within the 8(a) Program in the Los
Angeles District Office.
Referring to the 8(a) Program, “It’s been a good fit for our
business…because there are many government agencies that use court
reporting services,” said Gradillas. “I’ve made it a priority to go after
8(a) opportunities…to those small business owners out there who are good
candidates, I would certainly endorse and recommend that they consider the
8(a) Program…it will be a new marketplace for them.”
Gradillas and her court reporting business has also empowered her to give
back to the community as well. She was recognized as a “Women in Business
Advocate of the Year” by the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce and she
also received the “Woodbury University Heritage Award.” We look forward to
hearing more about Josephine Gradillas in the years to come.