University’s exhibit includes vast collection of shorthand materials

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyThe Rider News posted an article on Feb. 14 about an exhibit at Rider University’s Moore Library in Lawrenceville, N. J., that includes a significant collection of shorthand material collected by Louis A. Leslie. Leslie was an American author whose work with Gregg shorthand influenced many academic institutions.

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NCRA member shares about her career and how she became a court reporter

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyNCRA member Jessica Sheldon, RPR, CRR, Charlotte, N.C., was interviewed on radio station WBT 1110 AM about her career as an official court reporter, how she became one, and how the steno machine works. Sheldon also talked about the need for more court reporters and the various venues they can work in.

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Giving back to the community: An interview with Deborah Weaver

Deborah Weaver receives recognition from the Missouri State Public Defender’s Office for Alaris Litigation’s Dollars for Depositions Program

Last June, NCRA member Deborah Weaver, a freelance court reporter and owner of Alaris Litigation Services in St. Louis, Mo., announced the launch of the Dollars for Depositions Program that pledged $21,000 in support of the Missouri Coalition for the Right to Counsel (MCRC). The MCRC is a nonprofit organization that facilitates and encourages law firms to volunteer their attorneys to represent clients of the Missouri public defender office to help ease the system’s difficult caseload. Through MCRC’s work, young attorneys are able to gain case and trial experiences.

What prompted you to become involved with the MCRC?

The Missouri Public Defender’s office is one of Alaris Litigation’s long-time clients, and we’ve seen firsthand their difficulties and frustrations of managing an overwhelming caseload. Because of tight funding and stretched resources, public defenders are currently only able to depose four percent of cases and take one percent of them to trial, meaning many individuals don’t receive the representation they need and deserve.

When the MCRC was proposed, Alaris was one of the first organizations to raise their hand and say, “Yes, we’ll help!” I was incredibly impressed by MCRC’s mission to bring swifter justice to the indigent defender as well as volunteer efforts of our partner law firms in providing pro bono counsel. Our philosophy at Alaris Litigation is all about providing needed support to our legal system, so this organization is a natural fit.

How long have you been involved in this work?

We’ve been involved with MCRC since the very beginning. We kicked off our involvement with the development of the Dollars for Depositions Program, which will provide up to $21,000 in funding for deposition services. This was something my team and I rallied behind, and we’re proud to be “charter partners” in leading this much-needed change in Missouri’s justice system.

What are some of the other community organizations you support?

For more than 23 years, Alaris has supported the Motion for Kids organization, which is a nonprofit that holds an annual holiday party for children in the foster care system or who have been severely impacted by the criminal justice system. Alaris distributes gifts for the kids at the Santa Stations and helps with visits from Santa.

We’ve supported the Let’s Start program for more than 12 years, packing lunches for children to take on the bus when they go to visit their mothers in prison. We also support the Center for Women in Transition, which provides resources and community support to women who have recently been released from prison.

What are the greatest benefits personally and professionally to being involved in community service activities?

I’m a firm believer in using our unique talents to serve the community in which we live. At Alaris, it’s our privilege to give back to the city that supports my company and my employees. On a personal level, it’s incredibly rewarding to bring hope, assistance, and joy to someone’s life.

Whether we’re helping a defendant finally go to trial with the representation they need, or simply giving kids a merry Christmas, we’re improving their lives for the better, and that’s truly a wonderful thing.

Why is giving back to the community important?

Volunteering is an integral part of me and always has been. I see it as “paying it forward,” using my talents to help make the world a better place one little effort at a time. It’s something everyone should do, no matter how large or small.

What advice would you give to someone who is seeking to become involved in community service activities?

Involvement isn’t something you just do. It’s something you are. You have to want to do it, not because you feel like you have to, but because it’s important to you as a person or an organization. Whether it’s helping break the cycle of incarceration or beautifying your neighborhood, find what inspires you and make it an active part of your life

 

The JCR Weekly will run a series of interviews featuring NCRA members who are giving back to their community in addition to an article in the April issue of the JCR.

NCRA member appreciates Valentine’s Day musical

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyNCRA member Gary Maharidge, RPR, an official court reporter from Strongsville, Ohio, was quoted in an article posted Feb. 14 by the Akron-Beacon Journal about a special live music performance held on Valentine’s Day at the Summit County Courthouse.

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Bailey & Associates court reporting offers luxury deposition suites in Florida

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyIn a press release issued Feb. 14, Bailey & Associates based in Boca Raton, Fla., announced that the firm is now offering luxury deposition suites throughout South Florida, including in Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, and other locations.

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Court Reporting & Captioning Week recognized

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyOn Feb. 12, Public reported that South Dakota’s Gov. Dennis Daugaard and Chief Justice David Gilbertson proclaimed the week of Feb. 10 as Court Reporting & Captioning Week. The proclamation recognizes the importance of court reporting and captioning professions and is intended to help raise awareness of the growing number of employment opportunities these careers provide.

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York County court reporter wants more people to have her job

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyThe York Dispatch posted an interview on Feb. 13 with NCRA member Christine Myers, RPR, an official court reporter from Abbottstown, Pa. Myers talks about her job, the technology behind it, and the employment opportunities available. She also offers tips on getting started in the field.

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New online automated booking platform gains popularity

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyIn a press release issued Feb. 13, eCourt Reporters announced that its automated online scheduling platform is growing in use. The software was launched seven months ago.

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Pohlman Reporting Company partners with Evans Reporting Service

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyPohlman Reporting Company announced the acquisition of Evans Reporting Service, a provider of court reporting and related services in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The announcement was made in a press release issued Feb. 12.

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NCRA welcomes Erik Robert Olson to government relations team

NCRA is pleased to announce that Erik Robert Olson, a principal with Venn Strategies, Washington, D.C., has joined the Association as legislative consultant. Olson’s experience includes 14 years of service as chief of staff and in a variety of policy and campaign roles for U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (Wis.), a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee and former chair of the moderate pro-business House New Democrat Coalition.

Olson will work directly with NCRA CEO and Executive Director Marcia Ferranto on developing a strong legislative strategy for future advancement of advocacy efforts in the federal arena. Olson holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse. He brings years of expertise in the areas of tax, trade, and health care to the clients of Venn Strategies.

“We are fortunate to have Erik joining our government relations team and representing our interests at the federal level. For the last several weeks, the Board has worked diligently to maintain the Association’s commitment to advocating and protecting our profession. With Erik’s support, that commitment has become even stronger,” Ferranto said.

“Erik understands the importance of a new vision for NCRA, and his knowledge of the legislative system without a doubt serves to complete our government relations efforts and to complement the hard work advocating for the profession at the state level already being spearheaded by our Government Relations Manager Matthew Barusch,” she added.

“After meeting Marcia and getting to know Matt, I am excited to help implement the direction the organization is going in. It seems like a new day and new opportunities are presenting themselves for NCRA, and I am excited to help carry out Marcia’s long-term vision,” Olson said.

Olson brings to NCRA a unique knowledge about the court reporting and captioning professions due to his work with Rep. Kind, a longtime supporter of the Association and a sponsor of multiple official proclamations recognizing the Association’s annual Court Reporting & Captioning Week. As Rep. Kind’s chief of staff, Olson was privy to the issues that matter most at the federal level to court reporting and captioning from the lawmaker’s wife, Tawni Kind, RMR, CRR, CRC, an official court reporter and a member of NCRA.

Olson, who is from Rep. Kind’s hometown of La Crosse, Wis., said that while working on the representative’s campaign for more than three years, he had the opportunity to work closely with Tawni Kind and was able to learn more about what she did as an official court reporter.

“My dad was an attorney and has known the Kinds for years. So I also had experience watching court reporters in the courtroom. I also learned more about the profession when Rep. Kind was working on the realtime writers grants as well as when he created the Veterans History Project and involved court reporters and captioners in it,” he added.

In 2016, Olson’s firm was instrumental in helping to schedule meetings with Rep. Kind and other lawmakers on behalf of NCRA members who were attending that year’s NCRA Legislative Boot Camp. The firm is assisting NCRA again this year with creating the event’s app and scheduling meetings for the 2018 event set for March 11-13.

Olson said that one thing he finds so interesting about the court reporting and captioning professions is the lack of knowledge most people have about reporters’ roles in the community.

“I think from a government relations perspective, it is interesting that the people on the Hill don’t understand everything court reporters do or the importance of having credentials or the education required to develop the level of skill needed to do the job,” Olson said. “I don’t think people understand the quality of work court reporters bring to the job, whether it is helping with disabilities, captioning live broadcasts, or working in the courtroom. It is an untapped thing. We have a blank slate to go up and educate members and staff on the Hill, and there are opportunities that come with that. There is a clear path to do some interesting things,” he added.

In addition to his work in the legislative arena, Olson also serves as chairman ex officio and a member of the board of directors of Horton’s Kids, a non-profit organization that offers social and educational services for children in Washington, D.C.

“I am super excited to be working with everyone and to be involved in NCRA. I think there is a lot of opportunity with new leadership and on the Hill to find new champions, to educate them about NCRA, and to look for new legislative avenues. I have a lot of ideas. Rep. Kind should be part of a chorus of champions for the Association, so we need to develop a slate of members to help carry the water into the future and make sure NCRA continues to be a successful organization,” Olson said.

Venn Strategies is a nationally recognized, full-service government relations and public affairs firm. The firm has been named as one of the fastest-growing private companies in America by Inc. magazine.