Eight productivity tools and habits for court reporters

By Lauren N. Lawrence

When it comes to productivity, what is the one thing we all have in common?  Each of us only has 24 hours in a day.

While this is obvious, it makes you wonder: How are some people so much more productive than others?

There is no “magic bullet” to higher productivity. Instead, the world’s most productive people set up systems to manage their time and attention.

Additionally, they use techie tools and/or a series of habits and practices to keep them on track.

There are plenty of distractions in today’s world. Try out these eight tools to boost your productivity, get more done, and grow your income.

Pomodoro timer

Want to focus without distractions?  That has to be a choice, but a Pomodoro timer can be wildly helpful at helping you focus in “sprints” of work.  It’s based on the famed Pomodoro technique. The idea is that you spend 25 minutes working, followed by a five-minute break. After 50 minutes, you take a 10-minute break, then start the cycle over.

If Pomodoro isn’t your style, try the 52-17 technique instead. The 52-17 technique is similar, except you work for 52 minutes and rest for 17 (an oddly specific number; but, hey, whatever works!)

The principle behind these timers is the same. They keep you focused on work while the timer is running and ensure you take sufficient breaks to stay energized throughout the day.

Both iOS and Android have apps, but even a classic kitchen timer would work!

Simple Blocker Chrome Extension

We all need a little help fighting off distractions (especially when scoping)! That’s why the Simple Blocker Chrome Extension is so valuable. Use it to block your biggest time-sucking websites, such as Facebook, Amazon, or your go-to news site.

Simple Blocker lets you set up a site-blocking schedule.  Keep sites blocked during your working hours and unblock them later.

Simple Blocker is only available for the Google Chrome web browser. There are similar tools for Safari, Explorer, Firefox, and other popular browsers.

A time tracker (different than Pomodoro timer)

How do you spend your time? It’s a deceptively simple question. The truth is, most of us don’t know.

Focus Booster is a time-tracking app that will help you figure out exactly where your time goes. People who start using a time tracker are often shocked how long certain tasks take or how much time they waste.

Before I started using Focus Booster, I assumed that I was scoping about 40 pages an hour. Turns out, I was scoping closer to 25 pages an hour.

That’s when I decided to start sending all my work to a scopist.  I couldn’t believe how much time I was spending on the “homework” when I could be taking another depo or spending those hours doing anything else — with my family, gardening, reading, exercising, cooking, you name it!

I like Focus Booster specifically because it comes with a built-in Pomodoro timer!  Two for one!

Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix is not a piece of software, but rather a simple habit framework.

The matrix helps you prioritize your time by differentiating important activities from urgent ones. The idea, according to President Eisenhower himself, is that important tasks are seldom urgent, and “urgent” tasks are seldom important.  (You might have to read that twice and let it soak in.)

With the Eisenhower Matrix, you can split your activities into four categories:

  1. Important and urgent
  2. Important but not urgent
  3. Urgent but not important (at least for you to do)
  4. Not urgent and not important

We spend the majority of our time on urgent tasks (or ones that feel urgent) – even if they aren’t important. The more time we can spend on “important but not urgent” tasks, the more progress we’ll make towards our goals.

You can learn more about the Eisenhower Matrix here

Unroll.me

Email inbox feeling cluttered?  Unroll.me is a nifty tool that helps you clear out unwanted subscriptions. Clean up your inbox — for good! — in just a few clicks.

Before discovering this tool, I was subscribed to 204 email newsletters. 204! I was getting more than 100 emails a day – most of which I deleted immediately.

Signing up for Unroll.me was easy (and free). It took me just five minutes to cut down my subscriptions from 204 to just 27. Now I only get about 15 emails a day. When it comes to emails, less is definitely more.

Any calendar’s “repeat” function for time blocking

As a busy reporter, it’s hard to be productive, especially without a solid plan in place. 

Most digital calendars have a “repeat” function that allows us to schedule recurring events. It’s proven that people who follow a routine are far more productive because their good habits are like clockwork.  Wake up early, exercise, eat breakfast, get ready, etc.

“Time-blocking” is a method of scheduling your entire day, in advance, and sticking to that plan! It helps you ensure you have time for your most important tasks — including personal activities like relaxing and spending time with family.

Trust me, it’s not as difficult as it sounds. The key is to start with a time blocking template, which Stenovate explains in their free eCourse: Time Management for Court Reporters.

Court reporter productivity calculator

The ultimate productivity “tool” for court reporters is not a tool at all.  If you really want to be more productive, outsource your scoping and proofing work.  I can’t emphasize this enough, especially because we always want a NCRA certified stenographer in the reporter chair. 

Scopists and proofreaders can save you hours, which has a direct impact on your annual income. Just ask Cassandra Caldarella, productivity queen and CEO of Cover Crow, Inc.

“The day I started using a freelance scopist … is the day I started to double my income,” she said.

But don’t take my word for it. See for yourself with the court reporter productivity calculator.

This calculator will show you just how much more you could be earning by working with freelancers — even after paying them market rates.

Stenovate

Last, but certainly not least, there’s a new tech platform on the block designed specifically for reporter productivity with scopist and proofreaders.

Stenovate replaces a lot of current tools you might be using to track job details and transfer files and communicate with your scopist and proofreaders.  (Adios, Dropbox, Facebook Messenger, Excel, email and texting!)

It’s a simple one-stop shop for transcript collaboration, which includes optional email notifications when your teammates add files, request spellings, update progress, and more.


Making delegation easy, it can free up time most reporters spend scoping and proofing, making reporters — (ahem, certified stenographers!) — available to cover more jobs which translates to saved time and increased income.

The platform even includes scoping and proofing job boards if you need to find new teammates (who already know how to and enjoy using Stenovate).  Stenovate also offers team plans if you want to bring the scopoist and proofreaders you already love working with. 

My scopist and proofreader are big fans because I add new jobs as soon as I accept the work from an agency, so they always know what’s coming down the pipeline in advance, helping them plan their work week.  It keeps us in sync, and we’re loving it!

Stenovate offers plenty of time to explore and see if it’s a good fit with their 30-day free trial.

Get more out of each day

Whether your goal is to earn more money or spend more time with family, boosting your productivity can have a huge impact on your life. With these tools and practices, you can build a system that helps you get more out of each day!

Lauren Lawrence, RPR, is a freelance reporter in Kansas City, Mo., and a member of the NCRA Technology Committee. Her email is laurenlawrence@outlook.com.

Learn how to avoid being derailed when it comes to your retirement security

Attend the NCRA 2021 Business Summit and learn how you can avoid being derailed by rising health costs and more when it comes to securing your retirement. Randy Rust with Prudential will lead The Five Retirement Derailers, one of several insightful sessions on the schedule for the 2021 event themed ‘Rise to the Challenge! Winning Approaches on Adapting to Change,’ happening Jan. 29–31 at the Hyatt Regency Savannah in beautiful and historic Savannah, Ga. Register by Nov. 30 to take advantage of the early access savings $50 on all registration fees.

If you have safety concerns about your stay at the host hotel, rest assured that the Hyatt Regency Savannah is taking every precaution to keep its guests and its staff safe. Under the hotel’s global care and cleanliness commitment, the Hyatt Regency Savannah is working closely with the trusted medical and industry advisors of the Cleveland Clinic. The Hyatt also holds accreditation for cleanliness from the Global Bio-risk Advisory Council. In addition, each Hyatt has on staff dedicated hygiene and wellness leaders to reinforce cleanliness standards.

In his session, Rust will address how rising healthcare costs, longevity, changes in the interest rate environment, market volatility, and taxes all present challenges to one’s retirement. This presentation lays out what can go wrong and why – and how you can protect yourself. The presentation also touches on the risk of becoming chronically or terminally ill.

Attendees will also learn how to navigate government agencies to secure lucrative procurement contracts, and how to take advantage of the technology resources you already have access to — for instance, LinkedIn and other social media platforms — that can expand the reach of your business and help you stay connected to clients and potential new clients. Rosanna Catalano, founder and president of Rocket Ship Consultants, a company that works with clients looking to change their professional trajectory through business consulting, career coaching, and video podcasting, will lead Business: How to Leverage Government Resources and the Technology at your Fingertips to Grow your Business.

Catalano’s varied background as a lobbyist, trial attorney, television news producer, professor, university dean, career coach, and chief agency administrator allows her to provide her clients with a unique perspective and skill set for solving problems, storytelling, and creating successful strategies.

Other schedule highlights include keynote speaker Melanie S. Griffin, Esq., who will kick off a two-part session with Maximizing Your Personal & Professional Life: The Art of Focusing, Prioritizing, and Goal Crushing, where she will provide insights and strategies to help you stretch the 24 hours in each day. It will be followed by Rebrand 2021: Personal Branding & Networking Strategies to Shine Beyond Your Competition. 

The “Hot Seat” Peer-to-Peer Solution Storming is also on the schedule. In this session, participants will be broken into groups, and each person in each group will have the chance to be in the “hot seat” and benefit from the sage advice of their peers during this interactive session. Participants will share their own experiences, what-ifs, and those twisty turns that keep them up at night and go home with solutions they can put into effect in their business. As a bonus to all participants, one person from each group will be chosen to share what was learned with the entire group.

Other sessions on the schedule for the 2021 NCRA Business Summit will cover topics such as business law, successful social media strategies, and numerous networking sessions. Watch the JCR Weekly for more information about additional sessions and speakers.

During early access registration, which runs through Nov. 30, the cost to register is $695 for NCRA members, $795 for nonmembers, $595 for additional attendees from the same firm, and $175 for a spouse/guest attending social functions only. Fees will increase after Nov. 30 by $50 for members, nonmembers, and additional attendees. The cost for a spouse/guest will increase by $25.

Please note that the spouse/guest registration category is reserved for a spouse/guest of an attendee who is registered for the conference. Professional reporters and captioners may not register for this category as a guest. Guests are welcome at only the receptions through the spouse/guest package; attendance at the educational sessions requires a full registration.

A special rate of $225 per night is also available through Jan. 6, 2021; the rate does not include tax and other fees for single, double, or triple occupancy. The cost for quad occupancy is $250 per night plus tax and other fees. The cutoff date for the discounted rates will be Jan. 6, 2021, or until the room block is filled, whichever comes first.

Make plans now for one of NCRA’s most popular networking and learning events and take advantage of all Savannah has to offer, from waterfront views, delectable dining, unique shopping, historical offerings, and more. Register now and save.

Sponsorship information: Contact Jill Landsman, Development Relations Manager, at jlandsman@ncra.org.

The perfect prescription

By Jennifer Wielage

Jennifer Wielage, RPR, CRR

As a high-achieving, success-driven court reporter, I am certainly no stranger to stress and its effects on one’s mental and physical well-being.  

Many years ago, as a result of my harried lifestyle, I spent much time in the doctor’s office. Panic gripped me often in the middle of the night. My heart raced. I was short of breath. I remember many times being rushed to the ER with a crippling fear I was dying.

When test after test came back negative, my doctor wrote me a prescription. I looked down at the blue paper he pulled from his pad. On it, he wrote: Your Erroneous Zones by Dr. Wayne Dyer.  “You are prescribing a sex book?” I exclaimed.  He laughed and said, “No, ‘erroneous’ means error.” He explained that I had errors in my thinking. He promised that this book would help me look at my life differently, and if I heeded Dr. Dyer’s advice, my health issues would resolve. I left the office, head held low, feeling discouraged. I contemplated changing physicians.

The prescription sat on my desk for over a year; eventually getting buried and forgotten under a pile of papers.  My life had not changed nor gotten better. In fact, now I was suffering with even more health ailments, random body aches, horrible seasonal allergies, ovarian cysts, asthma, and an autoimmune thyroid disease called Grave’s disease.  

Deep down, I knew my workload was intense, my commute was exhausting, and I was flat-out beat from reading transcripts into the night, but I never imagined work could be the cause of my ailments.  

My story is a pretty common one. In America stress is the leading cause of premature deaths. Approximately 120,000 people die annually of work-related stress.  Chronic stress can affect your brain, suppress your thyroid, cause blood sugar imbalances, decrease bone density and muscle tissue, raise blood pressure, reduce your immunity and ability to heal, increase fat deposits around your abdomen that are associated with heart attacks, strokes, and elevated bad cholesterol.  

Thirty-three percent of Americans feel they live in extremely stressful conditions.

At that time, however, I believed that I was a victim of overworking and stress. I did not take any personal responsibility for any of it because I believed that life was happening to me.  Thus I felt powerless. It was as if I was in the third row of a minivan, being driven by fear, doubt, and insecurity; and I had no clue that I could actually decide to climb into the driver’s seat of my life and take the wheel.

There’s an old adage: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”  Many years later, I finally read the book.

My mind was blown. I knew immediately it was just what the doctor ordered. It was such an integral part of my healing journey because it taught me that I could choose the life I wanted instead of playing the victim to my circumstances. The book was my first step on my journey toward feeling more empowered in my life, taking charge, and understanding that I did have the ability to feel amazing.

Because of my experience overcoming fear, letting go of my limiting beliefs, and getting out of my own way, I was propelled to become a life-balance coach so that I could help others, particularly my fellow court reporters, who also struggled with stress, overwhelmed with a hefty workload, to find more peace and contentment in their lives. For me, living a life of balance was my key to calm and it became my passion to share my experience.

As we all know, in March of 2020, the world changed drastically due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In such a short period of time, work came to a screeching halt and food and supplies were harder to obtain. We were instructed to remain in our homes to prevent the spread. Many experienced the effects of the virus and/or mourned the loss of a loved one.

Many of us have found ourselves in fight-or-flight mode. The term “fight-or-flight” is a term that stems from our ancient ancestors’ choice when faced with danger. They could either fight the tiger or run away from it. In the 1920s American physiologist Walter Cannon was the first to describe this syndrome. He realized that a chain of rapidly occurring reactions inside the body helped to mobilize the body’s resources to deal with threatening circumstances.  

What often happens in today’s fast-paced world is our minds create situations where the fight-or-flight button is triggered from a perceived danger, even if we are not in actual danger, things such as traffic jams, work pressures, or family difficulties. Our bodies go through the same immobilization/fight-or-flight process. Chemicals course through our bodies, wreaking havoc on the state of our health.

This is what I was experiencing in the doctor’s office all those years ago, and this is what many of us are experiencing these days with the global pandemic.

There’s good news. We can learn to manage our minds around anything, even Covid-19.

I am going to offer three erroneous beliefs that are common today in the climate we are facing as court reporters.

Error #1: I have no control.

The truth is you actually do. Even though circumstances arise over which we have no control, we always have control over one very important thing: our thoughts about our circumstances.  

Our circumstances are completely neutral. Circumstances are events that occur in the world or in our life. A circumstance is not opinion. It is a fact that can be proven in a court of law. A circumstance is something that everyone in the world would agree on.

Our thoughts about our circumstance are what make all the difference.  The good news is: We are completely in control of our thoughts.  They’re ours to think and no one can change them without our permission.

Why do our thoughts matter? Because thoughts create our feelings. When we think negative thoughts, we experience negative feelings. When we think uplifting, positive, and empowering thoughts, we feel uplifted, positive and empowered. Our feelings drive our actions and our actions create our results. This is why our thoughts really matter. Our thoughts are the mainframes that keep everything functioning or not functioning. We can shift our thoughts from those that do not serve us to ones that will empower us.  

One thought that has helped me during the pandemic is: Life is happening for me. There are always blessings that come from hard times. Look for them, embrace them, and trust your ability to overcome whatever comes your way. This is empowering.

Error #2: Life is so uncertain now.  

If we are honest, life has always been uncertain. Each day is a gift. We have no idea what circumstances will come our way, nor should we worry about what may potentially happen.  Worry is one of those useless emotions. There is absolutely no upside to worrying.  It keeps us stuck, prevents us living our purpose and steals our present joy.  

Instead of worrying, we need to try to focus on things that will create positive results in our life.  We can use our energy instead to propel us in the direction of wellness, i.e., eating well, exercising, and taking time out to breathe. These actions will put us in the driver’s seat and will make us more resilient against whatever comes our way.

Error #3: I can’t make money because there is a global pandemic.

I lovingly want to assure you that, while there are those who will come up with reasons why they cannot work during the pandemic, many people are busy, making money, not just in spite of the pandemic, in many cases because of the pandemic.  We, as court reporters, have such an amazing skill, one that blows people’s minds. While it’s true we have to learn a new method of reporting for the time being, working from home has many benefits, e.g., the ability to be barefoot, wearing yoga pants to work, having our dog or cat lying next to us while we work, not to mention an extremely stress-free commute!

Just recently, I was lying on the beach, relaxing, when I spotted my doctor playing ball with his son on the sand. I smiled thinking about his prescription for me all those years ago and what a huge impact it had on my life.  In his wisdom, he knew I needed to journey inward in order to be healed and to become who I am today.  I believe it was all part of God’s divine plan for my life.

My friends, let us use our challenges as the fuel that ignites a fire within so that we can, ultimately, evolve and grow, not just as court reporters, but as the people we were created to be!  

Jennifer Wielage, RPR, CRR, is a freelance reporter in Edison, N.J. Her website is Rainbowbalance.org.

Last chance for early access savings for NCRA Connect 2020!

Last chance to catch the early access savings on full and half registration package fees for the NCRA Connect Virtual 2020 conference happening Aug. 7-9. These savings end tonight at midnight.

Full registration to the NCRA Connect Virtual 2020 includes access to all three days of activities, including all non-CEU activities and 16 CEU sessions of the registrant’s choice for a total of 1.6 CEU credits. The early access member cost for full registration is $300. The regular price is $325 for regular registration. A half registration package is also available that includes access to all three days for all non-CEU activities and seven CEU sessions of the registrant’s choice. The member cost for half registration is $180 for early access and $200 for regular registration. The special rates for students are $60 for members and $75 for nonmembers.

“In a field where we are constantly learning, continuing education is essential. Whether I’m presenting the seminar or attending the seminar, my hope is always that every attendant will take away at least one relevant concept when the seminar is finished,” said Allison Hall, RMR, CRR, an official court reporter from Tulsa, Okla., who is presenting a session called “Work Smarter, Not Harder,” at the NCRA Connect event.

“Continuing education isn’t about a requirement; it’s about learning and molding yourself into the professional you want to be, one seminar at a time,” Hall added. Her session will offer attendees ways to up their efficiency, increase their profitability, and reduce the amount of stress they often experience in this high-stress field.

Over the course of three days, attendees will have the opportunity to choose from sessions that address being audited by the Internal Revenue Service, teach best practices for marking exhibits electronically during remote proceedings, and more. In addition, there are sessions geared toward students, such as the one on understanding the profession after they graduate. There are even two yoga sessions being held on Saturday and Sunday to help attendees get their day off to a great start.

Attendees also will have the opportunity to participate in a number of fun networking parties, including specialty ones geared toward officials, freelancers, captioners, firm owners, new professionals, and students and teachers.

“Networking is essential in our profession. Attending an NCRA convention will put you in the right place at the right time to meet the right people that can help you advance in your career,” said Teresa Russ, CRI, a captioner and freelance court reporter from Bellflower, Calif.

“Oftentimes you never know what to expect when you accept a job, whether it’s captioning or covering a depo. The seminars are designed to meet the needs of the challenges court reporters, CART and broadcast captioners, and students will possibly encounter,”  she added.

Other learning session highlights include a presentation by Matthew Moss, RPR, an official court reporter from Denver, Colo., who will present “Motivation, Beating Obstacles, Achieving Goals, and Growth Mindset,” and “What Every Court Reporter Should Know About Punctuation to Transcribe Correctly,” being led by the renowned Dr. Santo “Joe” Aurelio, FAPR, RDR, (Ret.) from Arlington, Mass.

NCRA member Karen Peckham, RMR, CRR, an official court reporter from Westminster, Calif., said she is looking forward to NCRA Connect Virtual 2020 because the last time she was able to attend an NCRA Conference was when it was held in San Francisco, Calif., in 2014. She signed up for the virtual event, she said, because she wants to earn her CEUs.

See the complete schedule of sessions, including networking opportunities, exhibitor showcases, and the virtual vendor hall, at NCRA.org. For more information about registration and nonmember registration pricing, visit the NCRA website. Remember, sessions will be available to view through midnight, Aug. 25, after the event, so you won’t have to worry about missing a minute of this virtual experience.

Register now.

What states allow remote and/or online notarization?

This page is no longer being updated. For the most current information NCRA has available, NCRA members can visit the Remote Notarization section on NCRA.org/SONAR.

Please note that each state’s notarization laws are different and may only apply to specific proceedings. Please check with your State Notary, Secretary of State, or other regulatory agency for your state’s specific remote notarization or oath administration laws. Lastly, the information provided is not intended, nor should it be construed, to be legal advice. Members with particular needs concerning the specific issues mentioned should seek the guidance or retention of competent counsel. If you have any additional updates or changes to this information, please contact NCRA Director of State Government Relations Jocelynn Moore at jmoore@ncra.org.

Faced with both the need to practice safety in this health crisis and yet the need to allow justice to continue its work, many court reporters are attempting to make the remote office accessible for courtrooms and depositions. Keep in mind that for some states and for some officials, their ability to swear in a witness is embedded within their licenses or within their official duties as a court reporter.

According to the National Notary Association, “remote notarization” happens when a signer personally appears before the Notary at the time of the notarization using audio-visual technology over the internet instead of being physically present in the same room. Remote online notarization is also called webcam notarization, online notarization, or virtual notarization.

Congress is currently considering a bill, the “Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic Notarization Act of 2020,” that was introduced by U.S. Senators Mark Warner of Virginia and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota on March 18, 2020. If enacted, the bill will authorize remote online notarizations nationally. For information, please visit: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/3533/text.

Several states have implemented changes to laws in the past few months which allow for remote notarization, and we have attempted to gather that information for you here:

Alabama – Effective March 24, 2020, through April 16, 2020, official court reporters, special roving court reporters, special court reporters, supernumerary court reporters, and freelance court reporters qualified to administer an oath in the state of Alabama to a witness in a deposition or court proceeding or trial may swear a witness remotely by audio-video communication technology if the deposition or court proceeding or trial is conducted by audio-video communication equipment that allows the court reporter and the witness simultaneously to view and orally communicate with each other, provided that the court reporter can positively identify the witness.

Alaska – Can swear witnesses telephonically since the 1990s. 

California — Effective March 27, 2020, the following statute is suspended: Code of Civil Procedure section 2025.310, subdivision (b), to the extent that subdivision limits a court’s authority to provide that a party deponent may appear at a deposition by telephone.

Colorado — Effective March 27, 2020, until 30 days from March 27, 2020, unless extended further by Executive Order. The Executive Order temporarily suspends the requirement that the individual making a statement or executing a signature appear personally before a notarial officer, as set forth in C.R.S. § 24-21-506. This temporary suspension does not apply to any notarial act required by Title 1 of Colorado Revised Statutes. Governor Polis authorized the Colorado Secretary of State, consistent with the Secretary of State’s rulemaking authority under C.R.S. § 24-21-527(1)(a)-(f), to promulgate and issue temporary emergency rules to:

  1. Authorize notarial officers to perform notarizations where a person appears before a notarial officer remotely, by real-time audio-video communication; and
  2. Establish the standards and processes necessary to allow remote notarizations, including rules regarding authentication, verification of identity, and audio-video recording.

Connecticut – Effective March 24, 2020, through June 23, 2020, all relevant state laws and regulations are hereby modified to permit any notarial act that is required under Connecticut law to be performed using an electronic device or process that allows a notary public commissioned by the Connecticut Secretary of the State and a remotely located individual to communicate with each other simultaneously by sight and sound (“Communication Technology”), provided that certain conditions are met.

Florida 

Georgia – Currently, there is no clear legal authority expressly barring a court reporter from administering an oath remotely, nor is there authority expressly permitting it. Remote depositions, in general, are permitted by Georgia’s Civil Practice Act. “[A] deposition may be taken by telephone or other remote electronic means only upon the stipulation of the parties or by order of the court. For purposes of the requirements of this chapter, a deposition taken by telephone or other remote electronic means is taken in the state and at the place where the deponent is to answer questions.” OCGA § 9-11-30(b)(4). However, the Act does not address whether a court reporter must be physically present with a witness in order to swear the witness in. No appellate legal authority interpreting this code section to impose a live swearing-in requirement could be located; however, no legal authority interpreting it to bar remote swearing-in was located either.

Idaho 

Illinois — Effective March 26, 2020, Governor Pritzker ordered that during the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation related to the outbreak of COVID-19, the requirement that a person must “appear before” a Notary Public commissioned under the laws of Illinois pursuant to the Illinois Notary Act, 5 ILCS 312/6-102, is satisfied if the Notary Public performs a remote notarization via two-way audio video communication technology, provided that the Notary Public commissioned in Illinois is physically within the State while performing the notarial act and the transaction follows the guidance posted by the Illinois Secretary of State on its website. Additionally, it was ordered that during the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation related to the outbreak of COVID-19, any act of witnessing required by Illinois law may be completed remotely by via two-way audio-video communication technology, provided that certain conditions are met.

Indiana — Effective March 31, 2020, until further order by the Indiana Supreme Court. Notaries and other persons qualified to administer an oath in the State of Indiana may swear a witness remotely by audio-video communication technology, provided they can positively identify the witness. All rules of procedure, court orders, and opinions applicable to remote testimony, depositions, and other legal testimony, that can be read to limit or prohibit the use of audio-video communications equipment to administer oaths remotely, are suspended.

Iowa — Effective March 22, 2020, until 11:59 P.M. on April 16, 2020, unless sooner terminated or extended in writing by Governor Reynolds. The Governor, pursuant to Iowa Code § 29C.6(6) suspended the personal appearance requirement in Iowa Code § 9B.6, but only to the extent that the notarial act complies with the requirements of section 6 of 2019 Iowa Acts chapter 44 (Senate File 475) and communication technology. Additionally, the Governor, pursuant to Iowa Code § 29C.6(d) and Iowa Code § 135.144(3), and in conjunction with the Iowa Department of Public Health, temporarily suspended the regulatory provisions of Iowa Code §§ 144B.3, 633.279, and 633B.105, to the extent that they require the physical presence of a testator, settlor, principal, witness, or other person, if the person is present in a manner in which the witness or other person can see and hear the acts by electronic means, such as video conference, Skype, Facetime, Zoom, or other means, whether or not recorded.

Kentucky — pending legislation

Maine – Effective March 25, 2020 until further ordered by the State of Maine Supreme Judicial Court. An officer or other person before whom a deposition is to be taken is hereby authorized to administer oaths and take testimony remotely, so long as that officer or other person can both see and hear the deponent via audio-video communication equipment or technology for purposes of positively identifying the deponent. In addition, all parties are reminded that, “[u]nless the court orders otherwise, the parties may by written stipulation (1) provide that depositions may be taken before any person, at any time or place, upon any notice, and in any manner and when so taken may be used like other depositions, and (2) modify the procedures provided by these rules for other methods of discovery.” M.R. Civ. P. 29. If the parties so stipulate to the person before whom the deposition is to be taken, that person has the authority to administer oaths.

Maryland — Effective March 30, 2020, until the termination of the state of emergency and the proclamation of the catastrophic health emergency has been rescinded, except as may be rescinded, superseded, amended, or revised by additional orders. The order issues guidance to notaries public on the use of communications technologies that permit the notary to see and hear the person signing a document in realtime.

Michigan — pending implementation

Minnesota – Effective January 1, 2019, the Minnesota Legislature enacted remote online notarization pursuant to Minnesota Statutes 358 and 359, allowing a notary public who is physically located in this state to perform a remote online notarial act as defined in Minnesota Statutes 358.645.

Mississippi – All persons qualified to administer an oath in the State of Mississippi may swear a witness remotely by audio-video communications equipment for purposes of readily identifying the witness until otherwise ordered by the Supreme Court of Mississippi.

Missouri – Effective March 25, 2020, until otherwise further ordered by the Supreme Court of Missouri. The Court hereby suspends any local or Missouri Supreme Court rule that may be interpreted to require administering any oath or affirmation in-person when such oaths or affirmations can be administered remotely by available technologies, including videoconferencing or teleconferencing, and is not otherwise prohibited by any statutory or constitutional provision.

Montana – Effective October 1, 2019, Montana Notaries are permitted to perform remote notarizations for signers outside the state.

Nevada

New Hampshire — Effective March 23, 2020. Governor Sununu in Emergency Order #11, Pursuant to Executive Order 2020-4, has temporarily authorized the authority to perform secure online notarization.

New York – Effective March 7, 2020, through April 18, 2020, any notarial act that is required under New York State law is authorized to be performed utilizing audio-video technology provided that certain requirements are met. As of 2017, the New York Department of State, with regard to CPLR 3113(d), stated that “…with respect to civil depositions, a notary may under the specific provisions of Article 31 of the CPLR and in compliance therewith, swear in a remote witnesses. …” 

North Dakota – The webcam notarization law took effect August 1, 2019. The statute permits the Secretary of State to publish rules for remote notarization, but the Secretary of State is not required to do so.

Ohio – The Ohio Notary Public Modernization Act took effect September 2019. An online notarization is permitted by an Ohio notary public who has been authorized by the Ohio Secretary of State’s office to perform online notarizations. With regard to remote oath administration during depositions, the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure contemplates the use of remote depositions (See Ohio R. Civ. P. 30(b)(6)). However, the rules do not state that the oath has to be administered in person. The Ohio rules regarding notaries public (see Ohio Revised Code 147) do not address the in-person administration of oaths at a deposition.

Oklahoma 

Pennsylvania – Effective March 21, 2020, the requirement of physical presence of notaries who are court reporters/stenographers participating in criminal, civil, and administrative proceedings is suspended as pertaining to notarial acts and oaths of affirmations and will only last the duration of the declared disaster emergency.

South Dakota – The state’s remote notarizations are currently limited to paper documents only and signers for remote notarizations may only be identified through the Notary’s personal knowledge.

Tennessee

Texas – The Texas Supreme Court issued Emergency Order No. 1 allowing for all participants in a civil or criminal proceeding – including a Texas Certified Shorthand Reporter – to appear remotely until it expires on May 8 or is extended. 

Vermont – Notaries public holding a commission to perform notarial acts in Vermont may perform a Remote Notarial Act while physically located in Vermont and only under specified conditions.

Virginia

Washington — Effective March 24, 2020, until midnight on April 26, 2020, Senate Bill (SB) 5641, An Act Relating to Electronic Notarial Acts by Remotely Located Individuals — which was to initially take effect October 1, 2020 — is to take effect immediately, from March 27, 2020, until midnight on April 26, 2020.

West Virginia – Effective March 25, 2020. The statutory regulation with respect to the provisions of the Code applicable to court reporters and other notaries, the requirements of personal appearance for a notarial act that relates to a statement made in or a signature executed on record is suspended for the duration of the State of Emergency.

Wisconsin – Effective March 25, 2020 until April 30, 2020. Pursuant to the Supreme Court of Wisconsin’s administrative and superintending authority, court reporters qualified to administer an oath in the State of Wisconsin may administer an oath to a witness at a deposition remotely via audio-visual communications technology from a location within the State of Wisconsin, provided the person administering the oath can see and hear the person and can identify the witness. It is further ordered that if a witness is not located within the State of Wisconsin, the witness may consent to being put on oath remotely via audio-visual communication technology by a court reporter qualified to administer an oath in the State of Wisconsin pursuant to this order. It is further oredered that (1) this order does not alter the ability of parties, by written stipulation, to provide that depositions may be taken before any person, at any time or place, upon any notice, and in any manner pursuant to Wis. Stat. § (Rule) 804.04; and (2) the parties to an action or proceeding may, by written stipulation, modify the procedures provided by this order. It is further ordered that the remote administration of an oath at a deposition via audio-visual communications technology pursuant to this order shall constitute the administration of an oath “before” a court reporter under Wis. Stat. §§ (Rules) 804.03(1) and 887.01(1) or any court order authorizing a deposition upon oral examination; and any other rule of procedure, court order, or opinion applicable to remote depositions that can be read to limit or prohibit the use of audio-visual communication equipment to administer oaths at depositions remotely is hereby suspended.

Still to come

A few other states have enacted remote notarization laws, but these have not taken effect. If you work in one of the following states, be sure to check with your State Notary, Secretary of State, or other regulatory agency for your state’s specific remote notarization or oath administration laws.

Arizona, effective July 1, 2020.

Iowa, effective July 1, 2020.

Maryland, effective October 1, 2020.

Nebraska, effective July 1, 2020.

Washington, effective October 1, 2020.

As a final reminder, if any of your licenses are set to expire in the next few months, taking action early could help you keep working in case the situation worsens.

Please note that the information provided includes condensed summarizations, descriptions, and opinions regarding recently enacted statutes. The information is not intended, nor should it be construed, to be legal advice. Members with particular needs concerning the specific issues mentioned should seek the guidance or retention of competent counsel.

NCRA webinar free for Members: Doing business in today’s environment

The NCRA Board of Directors, staff, and I — like many of you — are troubled by the events of the last two weeks with the changing environment caused by the coronavirus. I assure you that we as NCRA leadership and staff are diligently and actively working our way through the issues as they affect our industry, and we will communicate with membership as solutions are put in place.
The most important thing is to stay calm; listen to the information that has been shared by the CDC, WHO, and other health organizations.  

NCRA Board and staff have already made a number of decisions to aid members:

UPDATE: THE WEBINAR IS FULL!

1)     NCRA Director Keith Lemons, FAPR, RPR, CRR, and Immediate Past President Sue Terry, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, will be hosting a webinar on using Zoom and other online videoconference/teleconference platforms, on Thursday, March 19, at 7 p.m. (Eastern). These two tech-savvy members will share how reporters and captioners can use videoconferencing tools to assist clients, courts, and consumers in conducting depositions, hearings, and other court proceedings, as well as provide captioning or realtime via streaming technology through the Internet or through platforms such as Zoom. Many of us already know how to utilize these platforms and have been doing so for years. For those of you who haven’t, we will help you get there together! The March 19 seminar regarding use of video conference platforms will be one hour in length and earn participants 0.1 CEU at no cost to NCRA members. NCRA member value is hard at work by providing empowering solutions. Non-members can pay a minimal fee of $30 for the webinar.

2)     The NCRA Board and staff plans additional in-depth webinars regarding online video conference platforms in the next few weeks. These webinars will deal with the more complicated issues of videoconferencing, such as exhibit scanning and document sharing, streaming of realtime over the Internet via video conference feed, etc. 

3)     On Saturday, March 21, at 10 a.m. (Eastern), please join me for the NCRA Town Hall. We will be addressing how reporters, captioners, videographers, and associate members can empower and sustain themselves and their families through this pandemic, which we must face with the rest of the world. Register here.

We are going to get through this together and be stronger for having weathered the storm. Stay safe and adhere to the medical advice offered by experts. My prayers and best wishes, as well as those of the NCRA Board and staff, are with each of you in the days and weeks to come.

Max Curry, RPR, CRI
NCRA President

Deadline Jan. 17 for special room rate for the 2020 NCRA Business Summit

Space is filling up and the special room block rate deadline is looming for accommodations at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa in Austin, Texas, site of the NCRA 2020 Business Summit. The deadline to take advantage of the special hotel room rate for single/double occupancy of $209 per night for attendees plus tax ($237.73) ends Jan. 17, and rooms are filling fast. There will be no extensions to hold these special prices; so don’t delay. Book now and you can also enjoy additional savings when the resort fee of $35 is reimbursed by the hotel upon check-in.

In addition to hearing from topic savvy experts on the latest in business trends proven to help increase business for firms of all sizes, attendees at the 2020 NCRA Business Summit will also receive a copy of the coveted 2019 Firm Owners Benchmark Survey. On hand to discuss the findings of this latest survey, supported by some 250 respondents, will be NCRA Executive Director Dave Wenhold, CAE, PLE.

Wenhold will share his insights into what the 2019 survey says about the business of court reporting and captioning, where markets are expected to go, and how they are changing to fit the times. The session is sure to spark insightful discussion about the trends firm owners can anticipate for the future.

This year’s Business Summit lineup of exciting and informative presenters will send attendees home armed with the latest and most innovative strategies for business success in 2020 and beyond, while networking opportunities will help firm owners expand their professional spheres of influence. Highlights include:

A two-part session that will be presented by Chris Williams, co-founder of Wide Awake Business. Since 2008, nearly 5,000 business owners have relied on her sales and marketing expertise to boost their sales by more than $538 million. Below is a description of what her presentations will cover.

Five steps to an easier, simpler, more profitable business – Part 1

Imagine this. Your business bursts with all the customers you want. They come more easily than in the past. You love working with them, and they love working with you. They pay … and on time! Your business isn’t overwhelming you or stressing you out. At least not most of the time. If this sounds too good to be true – it isn’t. In this workshop, Chris Williams will share the specific steps that have led more than 5,000 of her clients to generate more than $628 million in new revenue. Your business can be easier, simpler, and more profitable with the strategies you can start implementing before you leave the Business Summit.

Five steps to an easier, simpler, more profitable business – Part 2

In this session, Chris will provide templates and tools that you can use to set yourself apart from the competition so that you’re the first call people make when they’re looking for reporting services. You’ll also walk away with a simple, low-cost system for generating a steady stream of referrals for your business so the pipeline is never empty. Learn five ways to “overcome the overwhelm” and make your business easier, simpler, and more profitable. Williams will provide the roadmap to make sure that 2020 is your most successful year ever.

Click here to hear from Williams herself about what she has to share.

Other speakers include:

Keynote speaker, the energetic Karim R. Ellis, founder of Empowered Education, a company devoted to developing both organizations and individuals. Ellis is a dynamic motivational speaker with 10 years of experience in the arena of speaking, training, and coaching, He takes great pride in cultivating leaders and champions, and his sole desire is to unlock an atmosphere of greatness in the lives of the people he connects with on a daily basis. Ellis will share with attendees his insights into successful leadership creation and development.

Cathy O’Neal, communications director for Levitt Pavilion Arlington, an outdoor concert venue that presents more than 50 free concerts a year, has planned a fun and enlightening look at how social media can be changed from chore to tool in a firm’s business plan for success. O’Neal holds a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Arlington, where she also serves as an adjunct professor in the Communications Department teaching media writing, public relations management, and public relations case studies. She will share with attendees successful social media strategies to help build business.

According to O’Neal, social media can help you gain visibility, reputation, and clients. She will cover the who, what, when, where, and why of social media from the vantage point of a seasoned communications pro who just finished her year with a 3.2 million Facebook reach! O’Neal will help attendees learn how to weed out the stuff they don’t need, focus on the stuff they do need, analyze real-world examples, and help them walk away from the session with action items they can put in practice immediately to start building the social media presence they want. To learn more about what O’Neal has to share, watch her video here.

Ron Comers, a former FBI agent and current advisor on corporate security risks through Charted Risk, LLC, will present “Protecting Your Firm from Scams & Data Breaches,” and offer tips on how firms can keep their files and other information safe in today’s cyber-savvy world;

Chris Moyseos, a financial advisor and financial planning specialist with Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, will lead a session on financial planning and managing personal wealth.

Opportunities throughout the three-day event to provide attendees with the chance to expand their networks, engage with old friends, and build relationships with new ones.

Located on more than 400 acres along the banks of the Colorado River, the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa offers a variety of amenities and activities for attendees and their guests to enjoy during their stay. The recreational amenities attendees can enjoy include: A full-service spa, salon, and fitness center; two tennis courts; an 18-hole golf course; hiking, biking and jogging paths; horseback riding; a video arcade; a water park; a meet-and-greet with the facility’s mascots; and more.

Be a part of the NCRA 2020 Business Summit when it kicks off with a fun and exciting team-building activity followed by an opening reception.

  • Regular Registration ends Jan. 31, 2020
    Member: $1,075; Nonmember: $1,250; Additional Firm Employee: $950; Spouse/Guest: $250
  • Last-Minute Registration: Feb. 1–9, 2020
    Member: $1,125; Nonmember: $1,300; Additional Firm Employee: $1,000; Spouse/Guest: $300

For more information and to register for the 2020 NCRA Business Summit, visit NCRA.org/BusinessSummit.

Breaking news! Room block pricing for 2020 NCRA Business Summit extended

The special hotel room rate for NCRA’s 2020 Business Summit has been extended until Jan. 17. The single/double occupancy rate is $209 per night for attendees plus tax ($237.73).  There is no better rate for a stay at the beautiful Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa in Austin, Texas, host site of the 2020 Business Summit, Feb. 9-11. Plus, attendees who book now will also enjoy additional savings when the resort fee of $35 is reimbursed by the hotel upon check-in. This special room rate will not be extended again, so if you haven’t booked your stay yet, do it now.

Located on more than 400 acres along the banks of the Colorado River, the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa in Austin, Texas, offers a variety of amenities and activities for attendees and their guests to enjoy during their stay. The recreational amenities attendees can enjoy include: A full-service spa, salon, and fitness center; two tennis courts; an 18-hole golf course; hiking, biking and jogging paths; horseback riding; a video arcade; a water park; a meet-and-greet with the facility’s mascots; and more.

This year’s Business Summit lineup of exciting and informative presenters will send attendees home armed with the latest and most innovative strategies for business success in 2020 and beyond, while networking opportunities will help firm owners expand their professional spheres of influence. Highlights include:

A two-part session that will be presented by Chris Williams, co-founder of Wide Awake Business. Since 2008, nearly 5,000 business owners have relied on her sales and marketing expertise to boost their sales by more than $538 million. Below is a description of what her presentations will cover.

Five steps to an easier, simpler, more profitable business – Part 1

Imagine this. Your business bursts with all the customers you want. They come more easily than in the past. You love working with them, and they love working with you. They pay … and on time! Your business isn’t overwhelming you or stressing you out. At least not most of the time. If this sounds too good to be true –it isn’t. In this workshop, Chris Williams will share the specific steps that have led more than 5,000 of her clients to generate more than $628 million in new revenue. Your business can be easier, simpler, and more profitable with the strategies you can start implementing before you leave the Business Summit.

Five steps to an easier, simpler, more profitable business – Part 2

In this session, Williams will provide templates and tools that you can use to set yourself apart from the competition so that you’re the first call people make when they’re looking for reporting services. You’ll also walk away with a simple, low-cost system for generating a steady stream of referrals for your business, so the pipeline is never empty. Learn five ways to “overcome the overwhelm” and make your business easier, simpler, and more profitable. Williams will provide the roadmap to make sure that 2020 is your most successful year ever.

Click here to hear from Williams herself about what she has to share.

Other speakers include:

Keynote speaker, the energetic Karim R. Ellis, founder of Empowered Education, a company devoted to developing both organizations and individuals. Ellis is a dynamic motivational speaker with 10 years of experience in the arena of speaking, training, and coaching, He takes great pride in cultivating leaders and champions, and his sole desire is to unlock an atmosphere of greatness in the lives of the people he connects with on a daily basis. Ellis will share with attendees his insights into successful leadership creation and development.

Cathy O’Neal, communications director for Levitt Pavilion Arlington, an outdoor concert venue that presents more than 50 free concerts a year, has planned a fun and enlightening look at how social media can be changed from chore to tool in a firm’s business plan for success. O’Neal holds a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Arlington, where she also serves as an adjunct professor in the Communications Department teaching media writing, public relations management, and public relations case studies. She will share with attendees successful social media strategies to help build business.

According to O’Neal, social media can help you gain visibility, reputation, and clients. She will cover the who, what, when, where, and why of social media from the vantage point of a seasoned communications pro who just finished her year with a 3.2 million Facebook reach! O’Neal will help attendees learn how to weed out the stuff they don’t need, focus on the stuff they do need, analyze real-world examples, and help them walk away from the session with action items they can put in practice immediately to start building the social media presence they want. To learn more about what O’Neal has to share, watch her video here.

Ron Comers, a former FBI agent and current advisor on corporate security risks through Charted Risk, LLC, will present “Protecting Your Firm from Scams & Data Breaches,” and offer tips on how firms can keep their files and other information safe in today’s cyber-savvy world;

Chris Moyseos, a financial advisor and financial planning specialist with Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, will lead a session on financial planning and managing personal wealth.

Attendees of the 2020 NCRA Business Summit will also receive a copy of the 2019 Firm Owners Survey Report. More than 200 firm owners responded to this survey, sharing insights about their firms, including how the latest trends are impacting court reporting, captioning, and legal videography firms, and what the outlook for the future holds. NCRA Executive Director Dave Wenhold, CAE, will present the findings.

Be a part of the NCRA 2020 Business Summit when it kicks off with a fun and exciting team-building activity followed by an opening reception.

  • Regular Registration ends Jan. 31, 2020
    Member: $1,075; Nonmember: $1,250; Additional Firm Employee: $950; Spouse/Guest: $250
  • Last-Minute Registration: Feb. 1–9, 2020
    Member: $1,125; Nonmember: $1,300; Additional Firm Employee: $1,000; Spouse/Guest: $300

For more information and to register for the 2020 NCRA Business Summit, visit NCRA.org/BusinessSummit.

Make the resolution to boost your business in 2020

NCRA’s 2020 Business Summit, taking place Feb. 9-11 at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa in Austin, Texas, is the perfect event to kick off that resolution to boost your business in the New Year. No matter what size firm you own, operate, or manage, this event is NCRA’s premier gathering for anyone looking to grow their business, expand their markets, and boost their overall success.

The 2020 schedule is packed with engaging sessions and presentations sure to motivate and invigorate all attendees. Below is just a glimpse of what attendees can expect:

How to create massive success before you roll the dice

Presenter and Keynote Speaker: Karim R. Ellis

Ellis will share the five peak performance principles that the audience can use to create an identifiable vision that works. When you need clarity and direction to help fulfill mission and purpose, his presentation will be your GPS system and, ultimately, your roadmap to success! Learn about Ellis’s breakthrough that led him to master the core principles, which he will share with you and will give you the tools you need to set and master an achievable vision for success!

Sidenote: This two-part presentation is interactive, and Ellis will call on volunteers from the audience to participate. Prizes will be given.

Fight back and prepare! How to protect your company (and yourself) from common and unforeseen events

Presenter: Ron Comers

After this session, your view of your personal and company’s security will never be the same — and that’s a good thing. Right now, cybercriminals are trying to find ways to steal your data and hard-earned money. If you are not prepared, unforeseen events may threaten your ability to continue operations. Whether it is phishing, ransomware, spoofing of emails, credit card skimmers, hurricanes, or power outages, you can take steps to insulate yourself from the dangers of the digital world. Former police officer, FBI agent, and diplomat Ron Comers will talk about some of the sophisticated ways that criminals are targeting you and how to ensure continuity of operations for what matters to you. In addition, Comers will offer you tactical strategies to make you less of a target while traveling. Take plenty of notes; this seminar is worth its weight in gold.

Social media boot camp

Presenter: Cathy O’Neal

What social media should I use? When should I post? How often? What should I say? Do I have to answer every stupid comment? Can’t someone else just do it for me?

Social media can be just one more chore, or it can help you gain visibility, reputation, and clients. Learn the who, what, when, where, and why of social media from a seasoned communications pro who just finished her year with a 3.2-million Facebook reach! Weed out the stuff you don’t need, focus on the stuff you do need, analyze real-world examples, and walk away from the session with action items to start building the social media presence you want immediately. Click here to hear more about what O’Neal has to offer.

Attendees of the 2020 NCRA Business Summit will also receive a copy of the 2019 Firm Owners Economic Survey and hear firsthand what the findings mean during a session led by NCRA Executive Director Dave Wenhold, CAE. More than 200 firm owners responded to this latest survey, sharing insights about their firms including how the latest in trends are impacting court reporting, captioning, and legal videography firms and the outlook for the future.

Also on the program is Chris Williams, co-founder of Wide Awake Business, established in 2004 to help companies grow. She will lead a two-part presentation, which will focus on how to create an easier, simpler, more profitable business. The sessions will cover how to:

  • Spend less time second-guessing yourself and seize the right opportunities
  • Ooze authority and confidence when you speak with prospects
  • Feel fulfilled because your “Big Why” engages more people
  • Enjoy your bank account statements
  • Lead more, build your team, and personally do less of the “do”
  • Head out on your vacation without taking calls and putting out fires every day

Attendees also won’t want to miss the financial planning session lead by Chris Moyseos, a financial advisor and financial planning specialist with Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. Moyseos began his career more than 30 years ago in London in the banking/finance sector.

Still not convinced that attending NCRA’s 2020 Business Summit can help build your business? Just listen to NCRA President Max Curry, RPR, CRI, a freelance court reporter and firm owner from Franklin, Tenn., and find out why he has attended this event for the past 14 years.

According to Curry, “If building your business in 2020 and beyond is important to you, then attending the 2020 NCRA Business Summit should be a priority.”

Finally, the NCRA 2020 Business Summit offers an abundance of networking opportunities like no other, ranging from receptions to group activities sure to help you expand your professional and personal connections.

Hurry and register now to take advantage of the special hotel room rate for single/double occupancy of $209 per night plus tax ($237.73). These special hotel rates end on Jan. 8, 2020.

Located on more than 400 acres along the banks of the Colorado River, the beautiful Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa in Austin, Texas, offers a variety of amenities and activities for attendees and their guests to enjoy during their stay. The recreation amenities attendees can enjoy include: A full-service spa, salon, and fitness center, two tennis courts, an 18-hole golf course, hiking, biking and jogging paths, horseback riding, a video arcade, a water park, a meet-and-greet with the facility’s mascots, and more. Plus, if attendees book at the special NCRA room rate before Jan. 8, the activity fee of $35 is waived.

  • Regular Registration: Dec. 10, 2019 – Jan. 31, 2020
    Member: $1,075; Nonmember: $1,250; Additional Firm Employee: $950; Spouse/Guest: $250
  • Last-Minute Registration: Feb. 1 – 9, 2020
    Member: $1,125; Nonmember: $1,300; Additional Firm Employee: $1,000; Spouse/Guest: $300

For more information and to register for the 2020 NCRA Business Summit, visit NCRA.org/BusinessSummit.

Let the warmth and beauty of 2020 NCRA Business Summit venue inspire you

The NCRA 2020 Business Summit offers more than just networking and learning. Located on more than 400 acres along the banks of the Colorado River, the beautiful Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa in Austin, Texas, offers a variety of amenities and activities for attendees and their guests to enjoy during their stay.

Among the recreation amenities attendees can enjoy include: A full-service spa, salon, and fitness center, two tennis courts, an 18-hole golf course, hiking, biking and jogging paths, horseback riding, a video arcade, a water park, a meet-and-greet with the facility’s mascots, and more. Plus, if attendees book at the special NCRA room rate before Jan. 8, the activity fee of $35 is waived. And don’t forget, register for the event by Nov. 30 and save an additional $100.

Besides the beauty of the Austin countryside and warm temperatures typical of Texas, attendees at the 2020 NCRA Business Summit can also expect to enjoy a schedule that offers informative, inspiring, and insightful sessions led by leaders in the business industry.

Ron Comers, a former FBI agent and currently an advisor on corporate security risks through Charted Risk, LLC., will present “Protecting Your Firm from Scams & Data Breaches,” and offer tips on how firms can keep their files and other information safe in today’s cyber-savvy world.

Comers earned a bachelor’s degree in criminology from the University of South Florida and a master’s degree in business continuity, security, and risk management from Boston University. Prior to working for the FBI, Comers was a police officer with the Stratford Police Department in Connecticut. He entered duty as a special agent of the FBI in 1995 and was assigned to the Boston, Mass., division, where he worked bank fraud and drug investigations and also served as a member of the division’s SWAT team.

Over the course of his career, Comers has served in a variety of divisions as an FBI agent, overseeing a number of stateside and international investigations.

In 2010, he served as an acting ALAT in Afghanistan in 2010 and as a member of the Major Crimes Task Force charged with developing the investigative capabilities of Afghan law enforcement. For his service, he received the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence in Furthering the Interests of U.S. National Security.

Other speakers include Cathy O’Neal, communications director for Levitt Pavilion Arlington, who will lead a session about successful social media strategies to help build business; a financial planning session led by Chris Moyseos, a financial planner who will discuss succession and financial planning; and NCRA Interim Executive Director Dave Wenhold, CPE, who will present the findings of NCRA’s 2020 Firm Owners Economic Outlook Survey.