NCRA’s Firm Owners Conference draws record attendance and praise

The 2018 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference drew a record number of attendees as well as high praise for the speakers and overall program by those who attended. The event was held Jan. 28-30 in St. Petersburg Beach, Fla.

Among the biggest takeaways were the “7 C’s to Build a Winning Team” offered by keynote speaker John Spence: coaching, character, communication, commitment, contagious energy, caring, and consistency. He also presented his most intensive business improvement workshop, specifically created to help management teams take a hard, honest look at their businesses to determine exactly where their strengths and weaknesses are. Participants then created a focused plan for how to succeed at a higher level in the marketplace.

Other speakers who motivated attendees with their presentations included Chris Hearing and Greg Laubach, who presented an interactive session entitled “Managing to Maximize Business Value.” This session focused on creating short-term profits and business value. Another speaker, Steve Scott, lead a session dedicated to business marketing on the Web. Scott is a SEO strategist, internet marketing educator, and the owner of the Tampa SEO Training Academy.

“This year was the best Firm Owners convention I have been to yet,” said Christine Phipps, RPR, a firm owner from West Palm Beach, Fla., and a member of NCRA’s Board of Directors.

“The opening reception with team building of tiki huts, music, custom drink, and dance really set the tone for the whole conference,” she said.

The scheduled also provided numerous networking opportunities, including receptions, dinners, dedicated networking time between sessions, free time during lunch, and a closing reception.

Even though Phipps said the event was the largest attended, she was able to talk to more people and make more friends than she has at past events. She attributes this to the schedule with its many networking opportunities.

“John Spence was an excellent speaker; he related the conversation to not only our industry specifically but our businesses specifically — more like a coaching session with an overall individual business analysis. Spending time with these firm owners makes me even more proud to be part of this great profession,” said Phillips. “I cannot wait for next year!”

NCRA gets you more than you think

NCRA offers members many different ways to invest in their futures, support the profession, and thrive in their careers. According to NCRA’s 2017 Member Needs Survey, members join NCRA for many reasons, including gaining access to national credentials, supporting the profession, and connecting with a national organization.

If you want to get the most out of your membership, consider how NCRA benefits you.

Respect from your clients, employers, and peers

Clients, employers, and peers know that people connected to a professional organization are more likely to know about and adhere to industry standards, ethical codes, and current policies — and NCRA members are the same in this regard. By being a part of the NCRA community of professionals, your clients, employers, and professional colleagues understand that you have made a commitment to your career and have a stake in maintaining the standards of the profession. Be proud of your commitment.

Showcase your NCRA membership with the NCRA member logo

Maximize your professional investment by marketing your achievements and membership. Did you know that NCRA offers a distinct NCRA member logo for use by NCRA members? You can include the NCRA member logo on your advertising, business, and other similar promotional materials as a way to denote your membership in the Association.

The NCRA member logo can only be used to designate individual membership, as only individuals can be members, and should not be used by companies or firms or in a way that implies a company is a member.

The NCRA member logo is not the same as the NCRA logo. If you are currently using the NCRA logo, please seek permission to use it, remove it from your materials, or consider whether the NCRA member logo would serve your purposes. More information about how members can use the NCRA member logo is part of NCRA’s Procedures & Policy Manual, which is available on To access the most current version of the NCRA member logo, visit

How to show off your NCRA credentials correctly

NCRA members who have earned an NCRA certification may use the certification or its abbreviation in their marketing materials as long as they maintain CEUs and pay annual dues. Be sure to enhance your marketing materials and website with your NCRA member and credential logos.

Discounts on office supplies, payroll services, movie tickets, and more

According to Chase Cost Management, workers in the legal professions spend an average of $1,000 per person per year on office supplies. That is a lot of folders, pens, and sticky notes. If those figures hold true for the professions of court reporting and captioning, NCRA members can easily recoup their annual NCRA membership dues just by taking advantage of the discounts available from Office Depot through the NCRA Saving Center.

NCRA Saving Center discounts at Office Depot provide members with savings up to 80 percent off office essentials. Some recent deals include expanding file folders that cost only 70 cents each. That’s a savings of $2.80 cents each. If you bought 100 file folders, you could recoup the cost of your NCRA membership in file-folder savings alone. Of course, other types of office supplies are available at discounted rates. To sign up for this benefit that is included in your NCRA membership, visit

Other discounts available to NCRA members through the NCRA Saving Center include accounting and payroll services, access to a collection agency, credit card processing services, and discounts on entertainment deals, car rental fees, and access to telemedicine, health, and prescription drugs.

Connected to colleagues

Through NCRA social media pages, through NCRA events, and through JCR stories about members across the country and around the world, you learn more about what is going on in the profession and how your colleagues take on problems. NCRA members take to NCRA’s official Facebook groups to pose questions and offer solutions on day-to-day challenges, offer support for bad days and congratulations for milestones, and share the latest news affecting the professions. NCRA events offer informative presentations and inspiring speakers to break you out of the everyday grind and help you take the next step for you. NCRA’s publications give you nuggets of wisdom from other professionals that can help you build your career.

On your way to certification

No matter how you learn, we’ve got you covered. NCRA, in conjunction with Realtime Coach, offers a series of both videos and articles on the ins and outs of online testing. These videos and articles aid in preparing candidates for successful online skills testing. Your NCRA certification identifies you as a person interested in self-improvement, a career-minded individual, and a member of the professional community.

Year-round education opportunities

NCRA offers several ways to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) that offer the information you can use in your career, whether you are an official, freelancer, business owner, captioner, or legal videographer. From the inclusive and collaborative NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference for independent contractors, small agency owners, and large firm executives to the annual NCRA Convention & Expo for everyone; and from live webinars to series of e-seminars that you can access whenever and wherever you choose, NCRA’s extensive library has you covered.

Get the most from your membership

Your NCRA membership offers so much more than you might think — from member-exclusive discounts to networking opportunities to career-enhancing certifications. Is your membership up-to-date? Check your membership and profile information, including your email address, so you don’t miss announcements and news from NCRA. Visit to update your profile by April 15 and be listed in the printed 2018-2019 Sourcebook. Contact with questions.

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.

Bailey & Associates court reporting offers luxury deposition suites in Florida

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting,, 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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New online automated booking platform gains popularity

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting,, 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,, 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 member celebrates three decades in the court reporting business

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting,, JCR WeeklyThe Jacksonville Daily Record posted a story on Feb. 12 about the 30th anniversary of Riley Reporting & Associates, owned by NCRA member Susan Riley of Jacksonville, Fla.

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Giving back to the community: An interview with Penny Wile


Penny Wile and Cora, her therapy dog

Penny Wile, RMR, CRR, owner of Penny Wile Court Reporting in Norfolk, Va., has been a court reporter for more than 30 years. She gives back to the community by volunteering for the Sentara Norfolk General Hospital therapy dog program and her local SPCA. She has also been featured with her therapy dog on her local news station. In January, she hosted her second Woofstock fundraiser event, which collected donations to support the Norfolk SPCA.

What prompted you to become involved with the local SPCA?

My enormous love of animals. There are so many animals in need of loving homes and families in need of affordable veterinary care. The Norfolk SPCA provides education to the community and a trap/release program for spay/neuter, just to name a few of their valuable services.

How long have you been involved in this work?

Woofstock II, held Jan. 13, 2018, was my second Norfolk SPCA fundraiser. We held Woofstock I on April 15, 2016, and raised $2,600 in donations. Woofstock II donations amounted to $4,000. I hire a band for the event, and we have a fun time while collecting donations for the SPCA. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

Advertisement for Woofstock II

What other community service activities do you support?

I am also involved in the Sentara Norfolk General Hospital therapy dog program. My English golden retriever, Cora, and I visit staff and patients at the hospital. We both enjoy bringing happiness to others. When I put Cora’s red scarf on, it’s time to “go to work,” and she is eager to go to the hospital and make her rounds. We have been part of the therapy dog program going on two years now. I have also recently been appointed as a member of the City of Norfolk Animal Welfare Board of Review.

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

The greatest benefit to my therapy dog program activities is that I am able to bring happiness to patients and family members at the hospital in a variety of settings. Some families receive comfort from Cora while a family member is gravely ill. Staff working in an extremely stressful environment can relax for a moment while visiting with Cora. It makes me happy to see smiles on the faces of staff, patients, and family members when we come through the hospital.

The greatest benefit to my Woofstock events is that through my business I am able to help the animals and the programs of the Norfolk SPCA by creating a fun evening, filled with great music and friends, all the while collecting much-needed funds for this worthy cause.

Penny Wile and Rob Blizard, executive director of the Norfolk SPCA, on 13News Now – WVEC

Why is giving back to the community important?

Giving back to my community is important to me. I am fortunate that through my success in my court reporting endeavors I am able to donate resources to programs that are important to me. Freelance reporting affords me the flexibility to be able to donate my time to participate in these programs.

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

Anyone can become involved in their community. Find something that is important to you, that you are passionate about, and seek out programs in your area; start small and work toward more programs as time permits. As for me, animals are my passion, and helping people and animals through the programs I support humbles me.


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.

Missouri public defender’s office honors Alaris Litigation and CEO

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting,, JCR WeeklyAlaris Litigation, St. Louis, Mo., and its CEO, Debbie Weaver, have been honored by the Missouri State Public Defender’s Office for their Dollars for Depositions program. This initiative supports the efforts of the Missouri Coalition for the Right to Counsel through an ongoing contribution of in-kind deposition services.

Read more.

Alderson Court Reporting included in National Journal’s Best of 2018 Awards

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting,, JCR WeeklyIn a press release issued Feb. 6, Special Counsel announced that its subsidiary, Alderson Court Reporting, was recognized in the Best of 2018 Awards from The National Law Journal.

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