LIBI, Plaza, and NYSCR are the key to lucrative court reporting careers

The Queens Daily Eagle posted an article on Aug. 6 about the growing need for court reporters and the court reporting program offered at the Long Island Business Institute Commack Campus.

Read more.

More industry leaders commit to advancing the court reporting and captioning professions

Markets Insider reported on July 30, that three more major industry leaders serving or representing stenographic court reporters, captioners, and legal videographers, have signed on to NCRA’s Corporate Partnership program.

Read more.

How to write super fast under stress

A blog posted on Aug. 2, by Kramm Court Reporting, addresses how the points made in a recent Wall Street Journal article, “The Uncomfortable Practice Habits of a Champion,” about Francesco Molinari’s win at the British Open Golf Championship, can be applied to court reporters and court reporting students.

Read more.

NCRA members interviewed by local news in New Orleans

Erminia Uviedo and Donna Karoscik

On Aug. 1, NCRA members Erminia Uviedo, RDR, CRR, CRC, an official court reporter from San Antonio, Texas, and Donna Karoscik, RDR, CRR, CRC, a freelance court reporter from Lancaster, Ohio, were interviewed by station WWLTV Channel 4 in New Orleans about the court reporting and captioning profession and what it’s like to compete in the national Realtime Contest.

Watch here.

Shortage of stenographers hits Queens, N.Y., courts

A July 26 article in the Queens [N.Y.] Daily Eagle focused on the shortage of court reporters and captioners. The article includes quote from NCRA members Michelle Houston, RPR, and Eric Allen.

Read more.

COPE: Guidelines for conduct as an officer of the court

Donna Cascio

By Donna Cascio

“A fair and independent court system is essential to the administration of justice.” That is the first sentence of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Code of Conduct for Employees of the Unified Judicial System.

How can official reporters, as officers of the court, convey the values of impartiality and fairness that promote the integrity of the judicial system with “the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct”?(1)

We, as officers of the court, have the obligation to promote justice and assist in the effective operation of the justice system.

Of course, we are aware that our own Code of Professional Ethics demands that we be fair and impartial toward each participant and that we be alert to situations that give the impression of a conflict of interest or that give the appearance of partiality or impropriety.

We must be careful to convey that impartiality not only while on the record, but before and after court is in session. Could our actions, innocent as they may seem to us, be construed as favoritism by a stranger? Do your best to keep conversation before court is convened work-related — spellings of witnesses’ names, clarification of representation, updating addresses of counsel, and so forth.

When we are in our familiar surroundings, perhaps working with the same attorneys and court staff year after year, many of whom have become our friends, are we careful to avoid giving the impression of favoritism? Be cognizant of the impression you are making upon strangers, whether counsel or perhaps the parties, by your conversation and actions with familiar attorneys or court personnel.

I advise that when you are whispering or chuckling with the clerk or court officer before the judge comes in the courtroom, think about whether that conduct could appear to be commentary about attorneys or parties in the courtroom.

Please refrain from making that impression on others. Do your utmost to project professionalism in the courtroom, as your behavior is a reflection not only upon the judicial officer for whom you are working, but the entire justice system.

Put yourself in the shoes of a newcomer to your courtroom. Perhaps that newcomer is an attorney, perhaps a litigant. Be aware that your overly friendly conduct toward that newcomer’s opposing counsel or litigant can plant a seed of doubt in the newcomer’s mind. Any conduct that calls into question the impartiality and accuracy of the record is to be avoided.

In one particular jury trial in my court system, members of the court staff were conversing and joking with the court reporter in the courtroom during a recess. The defendant’s girlfriend was in the courtroom at the time and overheard a comment from someone in the group huddled about the court reporter’s desk. The comment was misconstrued by the girlfriend as a racist remark. It definitely was not. It was an innocent comment made by a jury officer, not the court reporter, and not a racist remark; but, taken out of context, that conduct had repercussions.

Not only was that defense attorney successful in requesting a mistrial based on the impression made upon the defendant and his girlfriend and their loss of faith in the integrity of the court personnel and court record, but all court personnel involved were ineligible to be assigned to any future case involving that defendant.

The reminder memo issued by the Court thereafter read, in part, “Remember that your actions as a court employee reflect not only on you, but also on the court and the judge to whom you are assigned.”

The point is that commenting, gesturing, whispering, or giggling can be interpreted by observers as conversation about them and could make them feel apprehensive at the very least, if not downright indignant or disrespected. The best course of action is to conduct yourself in a professional way, courteous to all, and not overly warm and friendly to your acquaintances when strangers are in your midst.

People now, more than ever, need to keep faith in the part of our Pledge of Allegiance that reads “…and justice for all.”

Donna Cascio, FAPR, RDR, CMRS, is a retired official from Somerset, Pa., and a member of the NCRA Committee on Professional Ethics. Questions about ethics can be sent to msavino@ncra.org.

 

(1) See Pennsylvania Rule of Judicial Administration 4006(C). All court reporting personnel are officers of the court with a duty to comply with all court regulations and orders and to maintain the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct.

Court reporter shortage pushing back trial dates in Horry County

WBTW News, Conway, S.C., aired a story on July 23 about how the national court reporter shortage is having an impact on Horry County courts.

Watch news story.

NCRA member profiled in two articles

NCRA member Bobbi Fisher, RPR, an official court reporter from Myrtle Beach, S.C., was profiled in two articles posted July 19 by myhorrynews.com. The first article discusses her work as a court reporter and the second addresses the nationwide shortage of people entering the profession.

Read Article #1.

Read Article #2.

My secret to passing the RPR

by Celeste Poppe

Celeste Poppe

I started taking the legs of the RPR in November, 2016 and achieved my RPR in April, 2017. I started with the hardest leg first and worked my way down: 225 Testimony, followed by the 200 Jury Charge, then the 180 Literary, and finally the WKT, passing each leg on my first attempt. During this time period, I also took the California CSR, which is 200 wpm, four-voice. Taking some of the legs of the RPR before taking my state CSR was hands down the best decision I made in my testing journey for two reasons. One, I passed the 225 Testimony and the 200 Jury Charge legs before going into the January California CSR, which really boosted my confidence. I remember thinking during the test, “If I can pass a 225, I can pass this.” Two, it helped my nerves because then my state exam was “just another test.”

While practicing for my tests, I only used one method, which was created by my dear friend (and “big sister”) Monyeen Black, Past President of the Deposition Reporters Association of California. We call it Mo’s Speedbuilding Method, MSBM for short.

All you need is Windows Media Player and a desire to reach 200 wpm. Here’s how it works:

  • In Windows Media Player, you are going to adjust the play speed settings. When you open Windows Media Player, right click anywhere in the box, select “Enhancements,” then click “Play Speed Settings.” Adjust the play speed setting to 0.9 to make it 180 wpm.
  • Write the dictation for one minute. Analyze your steno for any briefs you might want to create or have but maybe have forgotten. Write those down in your notebook and work on those during each take.
  • Go back into “Play Speed Settings” and adjust the setting back to 1.0, making it a 200 wpm. Write that SAME 1-minute take again, only now at 200 wpm.
  • Now adjust the speed setting to 1.1 (220 wpm), write; adjust to 1.2 (240 wpm), write; adjust to 1.3 (260 wpm), write; adjust back down to 1.1 (220 wpm) and try to NAIL IT! You want to nail a 220 wpm if your goal speed is 200 wpm.
  • When you are going 240 and 260, drop the punctuation, write slop, and just get something down for everything.

To recap: Take EACH 1-minute increment of a five-minute dictation at 180, 200, 220, 240, 260, and 280. Once you have finished this five times, then do the entire five minutes at 220, a notch above your goal speed. Doing this entire method only takes 35 minutes to complete. The best part about this method is that you can do it with any five-minute dictation and be at any speed in school.

So there you have it! That’s how I passed the RPR. I wholeheartedly believe that this method is so beneficial to building speed and overall improving your writing. Now get out there and go pass some tests!

Celeste attended Bryan University online, and graduated in October, 2016. She received her RPR in April, 2017 and her California CSR in March, 2017. She is currently working for the Los Angeles Superior Court as a floater.

College of Court Reporting welcomes guest speaker Tammy McGhee

Tammy McGhee

One hundred and fifteen students and faculty from the College of Court Reporting, Valparaiso, Ind., welcomed Tammy McGhee, RMR, as their guest speaker in the I-Auditorium on Monday, May 21. Tammy took time out of her busy captioning schedule to speak to all in attendance. Tammy addressed many topics of interest including why she chose court reporting as her career, a day-in-the-life of a captioner and freelance reporter, the importance of understanding and using her software, the benefits of being involved in and volunteering for the profession, the qualities of a new reporter, and some great reporting stories. Her love and enthusiasm for the profession was inspiring!

The College of Court Reporting knows what a few inspiring words from our professionals can do for the spirit of the student body.  Ashleigh Wiesman, a transfer student, said it best: “I just wanted to say that last night’s presentation was just what I needed.  I feel like I’m really struggling lately, so I needed that!” Lois Schoenbeck, CCR instructor, summed it up on behalf of all in attendance: “I love your enthusiasm for the profession. Thank you for giving us your time and knowledge.”

Tammy is currently vice president of the Ohio Court Reporters Association. She has also held the position of district representative and secretary. Tammy was an official court reporter in both Common Pleas and Municipal Court in Ohio and has been a firm owner. She currently works for VITAC as a broadcast captioner and loves to caption sports.

The students and faculty at the College of Court Reporting would like to, once again, thank Tammy for enlightening all and sharing her knowledge, experience, passion, and love for the court reporter profession. Thank you so much for sharing your great tips, taking time away from your busy captioning schedule to be with us, and giving back to the profession.  Awesome presentation, Tammy!