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What has the NCRA STRONG Committee done for the profession?

By Lillian M. Freiler

It’s been a little more than two years since the formation of the NCRA STRONG Task Force, now a full committee, that was the brainchild of past NCRA President Sue Terry, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, a freelance court reporter and captioner from Springfield, Ohio. Terry currently serves as chair of the NCRA STRONG Committee. I’m proud to share with you what the committee has accomplished since its inception.

Below is a list of articles and blogs authored by members of NCRA STRONG past and present that have been published:

  • The Stenographer’s Dilemma: The importance of a Valid Oath,” was published in the Summer 2020 Vermont Bar Journal. Authored by Dineen Squillante, RPR, a freelance court reporter from Arlington, Vt., and Merrill Bent, an attorney with a Manchester Center, Vt., law firm, the article expressed some of the challenges of taking depositions during the pandemic.
  • The Downside of Digital Court Reporters” was published in the April issue of the Wyoming Bar Association magazine. The article was authored by Phyllis Craven-Lykken, RPR, a freelance court reporter from Seattle, Wash.; Angie Starbuck, RDR, CRR, CRC, a freelance court reporter, captioner, and firm owner from Columbus, Ohio; Lisa Migliore Black, a freelance court reporter and firm owner from Louisville, Ky.; Liz Harvey, RPR, a freelance court reporter from Seattle, Wash.; Christopher Day, RPR, an official court reporter from Staten Island, N.Y.; Squillante; and the assistance of the  NCRA Board liaison, Jason Meadors, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, a freelance court reporter and captioner from Fort Collins, Colo.
  • When Statutes and Court Rules are Silenced,” written by Craver-Lykken, Starbuck, Squillante, Harvey, Migliore Black, and Day, to educate consumers about the risks associated with using digital recording, artificial intelligence, and automatic speech recognition in legal proceedings, was distributed to all state bar associations with the request they print the article in their membership publications.

The NCRA STRONG Committee has also collaborated with the National Congress of State Associations (NCSA) to appoint an NCRA STRONG liaison for each state and to host an NCRA STRONG Boot Camp at the 2021 NCRA Conference & Expo being held July 29-Aug. 1 in Las Vegas, Nev. The event will be similar to the NCRA Leadership & Legislative Boot Camp.

Members of the committee have also met with Judge Herbert B. Dixon, Jr., (Ret.) who served as senior judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and is a fierce advocate for stenographic court reporters. He has expressed an interest in possibly participating in a panel discussion or presenting a seminar. Judge Dixon has written a number of articles relevant to the work of the NCRA STRONG Committee, such as: “What are the Unknown Risks of Artificial Intelligence?”, “What Judges and Lawyers Should Understand About AI Technology”, and “Deepfakes: More Frightening Than Photoshop on Steroids!”

Members of the committee have also worked with Edward J. Primeau to better understand how malicious attacks are being done to audio and video recordings. Primeau is a nationally recognized audio forensic consultant based in Rochester Hills, Mich. Cases he has been involved in include the shooting of Trayvon Martin, Air Force One radio transmissions after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 crash.

In addition to the ongoing seminars and webinars NCRA STRONG members have presented and will continue to present, NCRA recently hired Ethan Walls to help the committee with its bar association project. This effort will allow the committee to expand the outreach of NCRA STRONG and help spread the message nationwide that a live stenographic court reporter cannot be replaced by any digital recording or artificial intelligence mode.

Finally, we urge everyone to visit the NCRA STRONG Resource Library. Each of these items in the toolbox were created by court stenographers and are outstanding visually and content-wise and reflect hundreds of hours of searching, researching, and sharing articles about the dangers of automatic speech recognition, artificial intelligence, AI, and digital recording.

Rest assured that the NCRA STRONG Committee is working continuously for the promotion of stenographic reporting.

Lillian M. Freiler, FAPR, RMR, CMRS, is a freelance court reporter from Orwigsburg, Pa., and a member of the NCRA STRONG Committee. She can be reached at crtrptr@aol.com.

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