Certification discussed at VCRA Education Day

NCRA’s Director of Government Relations, Adam Finkel, joined Philip C. Coulter, Esq., in a panel discussion on what mandatory certification would mean for court reporters practicing in Virginia. The panel was part of the Virginia Court Reporters Association Education Day held March 5 at the University of Richmond in Richmond, Va. The state is currently considering implementing requirements that would call for certification of court reporters working in Virginia.

During the panel discussion, Finkel provided an overview of the court reporting profession, as well as information about certification and licensure requirements in general. Currently, 26 states require mandatory certification or licensure for court reporters. Court reporters practicing in those states are typically required to pass the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) Exam, which is administered by NCRA, or a state-issued certified verbatim reporter test.

The discussion also addressed such myths about what is and isn’t required should certification in Virginia become a reality, including: certification does not require membership in NCRA or VCRA; court reporters who are not certified if the requirement takes effect will likely have a grace period to comply; and that the Board of Court Reporting that would be established under the change would be administered by the Commonwealth of Virginia, not NCRA or VCRA.

Finkel and Coulter also noted that some states have grandfathered in working reporters under newly implemented certification requirements and that many states offer reciprocity with certified reporters in neighboring states.

“Certification should not be viewed as a burden to working in the state but rather as a mark of higher professionalism for the person who holds it,” said Finkel. “Certification equates to someone having greater experience in their professional field in terms of skill, ethics, and the commitment to provide the highest-quality services possible for their employer.”

Coulter, who joined Finkel in the panel discussion, is an attorney with more than 37 years of experience. He serves as a member of the Boyd-Graves Conference, an invitation-only group of experienced civil trial lawyers and judges. Acting by consensus of its membership, the conference recommends needed changes to the Code of Virginia and the Rules of Court relating to state court civil litigation. The conference is supported administratively and legislatively by the Virginia Bar Association.