"I started out taking depositions, worked for judges as a state court reporter. I worked for Judge George Scott on the state Supreme Court, for Lyne Ranson and Judge Stucky.
"Then my husband became a judge. I started doing trials and depositions again. It was just me for years and years.
"I love my job. It's like getting paid for watching Court TV all day. You have to keep a straight face. You're sitting there and you're thinking, 'Are you kidding?' I've cried twice. Court reporters have lots of stories."
She hired her first court reporter two years ago. Now, the business has 18 court reporters, four transcriptionists, four videographers, two paralegals, and office staff -- about 30 employees total.
"Our court reporters are all over the state, not just Charleston. That way we don't have to charge our clients mileage. It's the bulk of our business, but I need focus groups bad.
"We built this building around focus groups. We moved into [lawyer] Bill Tiano's building on Capitol Street. He's the one who got me out of my basement. But before we moved in we had already outgrown the space."
The Lee Street building has four large conference/focus group rooms, two on each floor, all interconnected by video.
Evans can stage mock trials, where lawyers try out tactics and then ask the mock jurors' reactions.
"We do informal focus groups, too -- marketing and for politicians and for [legal] cases."
Lawyers weighing their options might hire an informal focus group, she said. Suppose a hospital sent a baby home on oxygen support, and the oxygen failed.
"Who do you blame? People are so intelligent. There are a lot of odd cases come up where you might want to get an idea what jurors think.
"We have a database ... about 300 right now. We can look for a liberal, a conservative, a retiree, a student. We ask people all kinds of questions about themselves so we can tailor a very diverse group.
"Lawyers may want people from Logan County, or from Wayne County. We ask what their favorite TV shows are. The favorite show in Logan County is 'True Blood.' I'd never heard of it. So people from Logan County like vampire shows.
"With our focus groups, we have a 100 percent settlement rate. We're very proud of that."
Focus group participants earn $50 for a half day, $100 for a full day. "We can always use more, because lawyers don't like to use people they've used before. They can sign up on our website, www.realtimereporters.com.
Evans also built a full kitchen, multiple bathrooms, even a shower. She scattered bowls of candy throughout the building. Like the elevator, it's all about making lawyers and mock jurors comfortable, she said.
Evans checked out other buildings downtown, including a much-larger place on Quarrier Street, before settling on the modest Lee Street site.
"Even with the holes in the floor, I could see this was it. I didn't have to worry about renting out extra space. I truly believe I was meant to buy this building. We were praying: You build it they will come."
Reach Jim Balow at ba...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102