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Member profile: Jo Anne Horn Leger

Name: Jo Anne Horn Leger

Currently resides in: Liberty County, Texas

Position: Official court reporter – 253rd District Court

Member since: 1988

Graduated from: Professional Court Reporting School, Richardson, Texas

Theory: Digitext

How did you learn about the career?

I participated in a cooperative education program in high school that allowed me to earn educational credit while gaining valuable job skills. I had a clerical job at an attorney’s office and realized at that time that I wanted to pursue something in the legal field. A deposition was being held at the attorney’s office one day, and a lady walked in carrying a gray Samsonite case. She had arrived early and asked to set up, at which time the legal assistant showed her to the conference room. When the assistant returned, I asked if the woman was an attorney for the deposition. The assistant then explained that the woman was the court reporter and takes the record using a stenograph machine. That piqued my curiosity, and I began searching for court reporting schools immediately. Although there were a couple of court reporting schools closer to home, I chose the Professional Court Reporting School in Richardson because they offered a free 30-day class to see if you would like the program before investing funds associated with the equipment.

What has been your best work experience so far?

It is hard to choose my best work experience. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of my work experience as a freelance reporter, broadcast captioner, and currently as an official reporter.

Think back to when you were a new reporter. What was your biggest hurdle to overcome and how did you do so?

I began my career as a freelance reporter. My biggest hurdle was the unknown. I remember being berated by attorneys when I walked in the door because they thought I am late, although his/her assistant had just phoned the firm because they forgot to schedule a court reporter for the deposition. A smile and politeness will help you overcome the unknown.

What surprised you about your career and why?

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that court reporters are like a close-knit family. When I first began reporting, I knew a number of reporters. I then started attending local association meetings and then state association conferences and then national conferences, and that is when I realized that this is a close-knit profession. No one truly understands what we do, unless you are one of us.

As a new reporter, the conferences are somewhat intimidating, but then you start meeting all of these gifted souls that inspire you and touch your life continuously through the years.

Do you have a favorite gadget? 

I do not really have a favorite gadget, but I do have a lot of favorite mobile apps. My favorites are

  • a scanner app, which allows me to scan any document with my phone;
  • my legislature online app, which allows me to keep up with my state’s legislative activity; and
  • Around Me, which figures out where I am located and gives me a list of everything local that I may need.

Favorite book or movie?

Favorite book: Any book written by Ann Rule.

Favorite movie: Sergeant York, a biographical film about a highly decorated soldier from World War I.

What are you most proud of in your career? Can you tell us what that experience was like?

I am very proud of the fact that after 27 years of reporting, I still love what I do! I have received numerous awards throughout my years of reporting, but the reward is the knowledge that I have gained over the years that I can share with others that might help them in some small way.

What advice or tips would you offer to new reporters?

My advice to new reporters: Never be afraid to ask your peers for help. Every single one of us was a new reporter at one time, and we are here to help. No matter how ridiculous you think a question may be, just ask! To this day, I still rely on the knowledge and wisdom of fellow reporters.

Favorite briefs

plea bargain = PHRAO-EB

plea agreement = PHRAO-EPLT

plea bargain agreement = PHRAO-EBT

Tip: Use the asterisk with an acronym and stroke it twice to spell out the acronym, i.e., TK*PS stroked twice is Department of Public Safety.