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So much to see and hear at the NCRA Convention & Expo

networkingTime and time again, in addition to the high-quality speakers and sessions and the latest in new services and products showcased in the Expo Hall, networking continues to rank as one of the top reasons for attending the NCRA Convention & Expo. This year expects to be no different when the largest gathering of court reporters, captioners, students, educators, legal videographers, and other members of the legal field meet in Chicago, Ill., for the 2016 NCRA Convention & Expo being held Aug. 4-7 at the Chicago Hilton.

“I find speaking to reporters from around the country gives me a unique perspective on how the field is doing in various areas of the county,” said John Kolacinski, president of Bryan University, Tempe, Ariz. “As administrator for Bryan University online (court reporting program), it is essential that we stay in touch across the United States to help address regional needs,” he added.

“The networking and education provided by an NCRA convention can make you the most sought-after legal videographer in your area,” said Ross E. Colby, CLVS, Chicago, Ill. “Real face-to-face networking is invaluable. Getting to know my professional peers across the country helps me be the best videographer I can be.”

Among the many networking sessions on the schedule for this year’s Convention & Expo are the Only New Once and the Opening Receptions on Aug. 4, the CART and captioning and legal videographer receptions on Aug. 5, and a coffee break with vendors in the morning on Aug. 6. Other events include the Awards Luncheon on Aug. 6 followed by the President’s Party that evening.

This year’s event also promises an array of concurrent sessions sure to appeal to court reporters, captioners, legal videographers, students, and educators. In addition, attendees are encouraged to arrive early in Chicago and support their peers who will compete in the national Speed and Realtime Contests being held Aug. 3 and 4 respectively.

According to Kolacinski, in a sometimes solitary profession, attending the NCRA Convention & Expo allows attendees to cross paths with others in the field, creating a “tremendous re-grooving” exercise. “I have always felt a positive response from reporters who step up to help students, as they have been there themselves. Meeting new reporters allow us to network with many who volunteer to serve as mentors or participate in shadowing days with them,” he said.

Colby agrees. “NCRA is our certifying body, so it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse of the industry and the expectations of the CLVS world. We don’t get much face time with each other to compare notes, challenges, and successes, so this is a great opportunity to improve my skills through the experiences of others,” he added.

Other highlights include getting a firsthand look at the newest products and services in the field either by attending one or more of the many vendor workshops being offered on the schedule or by touring the Expo Hall floor.

Micheal A. Johnson, RDR, CRR, a freelance reporter from Austin, Texas said he is looking forward to networking and the opportunity to learn about new trends from colleagues at this year’s Convention & Expo, and advises anyone thinking of attending to “invest in your professional development, get outside your comfort zone, meet new friends, and enjoy yourself.”

For more information and to register for the 2016 NCRA Convention & Expo, visit