Susan Riley, owner of Riley Reporting & Associates Inc., on Feb. 1 celebrated the 30th anniversary of her company.
Building a legal support services business with offices in Jacksonville, Orange Park and Orlando wasn’t her original intention.
After attending Florida State University, Riley planned to attend nursing school at Florida Junior College, now Florida State College at Jacksonville.
“But the waiting list was too long,” she said. “A friend of mine had just started court reporting school, and she said I should check it out.”
Riley did and enrolled at Jacksonville Business College, where she learned court reporting at the school above the old Center Theater at 32 W. Adams St.
In 1988, Riley and a fellow grad set up a small office in the Law Exchange Building at Forsyth and Market streets, near the former Duval County Courthouse.
The firm also has been at the Blackstone Building and at SunTrust Tower over the years.
It has grown into a suite of offices at 1660 Prudential Drive on the Southbank where Riley works with 10 court reporters and an administrative staff.
In addition to court reporting for civil hearings and trials, the firm provides deposition services, videography and videoconferencing, e-transcripts and an archive service.
“It has been a great 30 years,” she said.
The atmosphere around the office is like a family, Riley said, since some of the court reporters have worked for the firm for years.
The sense of family also extends to clients, who get a personalized mug that’s kept for them in the kitchen near the coffee maker after they schedule enough depositions at the office to be considered a “regular” visitor.
“We started with about 10 and now we have a couple of hundred,” Riley said.
She’ll be moving the business this summer to the AvMed Building a few blocks away on Prudential Drive. The former duPont Center was purchased by Baptist Health soon after Riley signed her most recent agreement and the owner isn’t renewing existing leases.
“I have no plans for retirement,” she said. “I’ll have another six years at it, at least.”