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The benefits to stenographers of integrating CLVS as participating members

By the CLVS Council

The Certified Legal Video Specialist (CLVS) program was started by NCRA more than 35 years ago and has since established itself as the leading industry authority on legal video. Its purpose is to set and enforce standards for competency in capture, utilization, and retention of legal video and promotes awareness of these standards within the legal marketplace. During the past three-and-a-half decades, the CLVS program has trained hundreds of legal videographers on the professional standards, ethics, and responsibilities of creating and maintaining the record.

A key component of CLVS training is educating candidates on who is responsible for the official record. The verbatim stenographic reporter is the most important person in the room. “If it isn’t on paper, it didn’t happen.” Legal video can enhance the play-back experience, but it cannot replace a verbatim transcript. CLVS members are complementary to verbatim stenographic reporters, not in lieu of.

Currently, CLVS participants train, test, and are held to Association standards, yet are only eligible to join as Associate members. Associate members are not allowed to vote on Association matters or NCRA Board and governing leadership. They may have knowledge and experience related to Association goals or a Board candidate and would either like to show their support or concern but are not allowed to do so because they do not possess the voting rights. The CLVS program has existed this way for 35 years. The CLVS membership would like to have a voice in the Association that governs their industry and are proposing that the people who have completed the CLVS program be advanced to Participating member status.

What does this mean for verbatim stenographic reporters and captioners? What benefits do they receive?

  • Advocacy and empowerment for CLVS will help to ensure that verbatim stenographic reporters are working with highly qualified legal videographers who are attendant to the reporters’ needs and see themselves as complementary to, rather than competitive with, reporters.
  • It brings in the video recording component of the industry to advocate for their reporting partners and against digital reporting, AI systems, and other alternative methods of keeping the record.
  • Internally, it would raise the confidence, dedication, and renewed enthusiasm for CLVS members, who currently feel diminished, to work with verbatim stenographic reporters on a mutually beneficial level.
  • Rather than paying a reduced rate as an Associate member, CLVS Participating Members would pay the same dues amount as other Participating members, a monetary show of support for the NCRA mission, as stated in the Constitution & Bylaws, to “advance the interests and general welfare of the verbatim stenographic reporting professions.”
  • These changes come without CLVS having a seat in governance — a voice, yes, but not a seat. Reporters and captioners would still be entirely in charge of NCRA.
  • Allowing constituents a voice in their own governance is a benefit to all and constitutes basic human decency.

Allowing CLVS Associate members to become Participating members does not hinder the goals of the organization. It would strengthen the 35+ year partnership and demonstrate the cooperative nature between verbatim stenographic reporters, captioners, and legal videographers. Participating members are not allowed to hold office, so the governing body of NCRA will continue to be entirely run by verbatim stenographic reporters and captioners. For these reasons, please consider voting yes for the CLVS Constitution & Bylaws changes.

The Certified Legal Video Specialist (CLVS) Council is the NCRA committee charged with maintaining the standards, ethics, and testing for NCRA’s CLVS program. Its volunteer members are: Chair Melinda Sindiong, CLVS; Vice Chair LaJuana Pruitt, CLVS; and members Robert Butcher, CLVS; Tim Janes, CLVS; David B. Jenkins, CLVS; Andrea M. Kreutz, CLVS; Jonathan Moretti, CLVS; and Rick Spector, CLVS.