Important reminders for your remote deposition

A blog posted Sept. 10 by JD Supra offers up a checklist to keep in mind when scheduling virtual depositions.

Read more.

Office setups and remote preparation part of downtime

Some NCRA members are using their downtime to be prepared to work at home, by organizing home workspaces and by working on the skills they need to work remotely.

Joyce Shinault, RPR, a freelancer in Anderson, Ind., said she has always maintained an office work area at home, but she has used this time to add a second laptop for doing Zoom and some table space for extra files.

Joyce Shinault, RPR

“Since I had to furlough my office manager, I brought home essential files, etc. ,for doing my own production for the time being,” Shinault said. “What has been most important, yet difficult, is to keep my office area uncluttered. Storage space is a shortage for me.”

She said her office is in her extra bedroom, which also serves as her office/craft/sewing room.

“You get the picture now, right?” she said. “Cluttered and not enough storage!”

Valerie Lawrence, RPR

Valerie Lawrence, RPR, is an official in St. Croix, Virgin Islands. She said she has brought a laptop home before to work on transcripts, but she now realized she needed to set up a better workspace at home.

“I found it necessary to get organized and carve out space to work effectively,” Lawrence said. “I had to change furniture (chairs, desk, file holders) to accommodate working for extended periods (rather than sitting on my bed or living room couch).”

While Lawrence still has a work area set up in the coolest room in the house, a bedroom, she has also now set up a quieter space in another room where she has a steno machine for practicing.

Cheree Murpy-Carlson, RPR

Cheree Murphy-Carlson, RPR, a freelancer in Minneapolis, Minn., had done depos and court hearings remotely via Zoom and teleconference. She bought a refurbished Polycom speakerphone she is using on a landline for the audio feed for both teleconferences and Zoom depos.

“This has provided the best quality of audio compared to the computer or using a phone over VoIP,” Murphy-Carlson said. “I trust the reliability of the landline over the reliability of my cell phone.”

Murphy-Carlson said she is as ready to work remotely as anyone can be.

“There will be situations that arise, but I have confidence in my ability to troubleshoot any issues that will arise. This is a new adventure for us and the attorneys and the witnesses/defendants. If everyone is willing to be reasonable, we can navigate this together and find ways to improve the situation as we move forward.”  

She is currently seeking additional training on “sharing hurdles we are facing as we navigate this new way of working and how others are resolving/handling the issues as they come up.” She said it’s important to think about establishing best practices.

“Some reporters are setting up breakout rooms, some are not. Are there privacy concerns regarding attorney-client communications by doing this?” Murphy-Carlson said. “Does that put the onus of protecting that privacy on the court reporter by providing that breakout room for the attorney and their client to communicate? How are you handling technology-challenged witnesses? Do you have someone monitoring the connection/deposition/hearing besides yourself as the court reporter and uploading the exhibits? What happens if you lose the connection, and the participants are not aware that you lost the connection? Do you have a secondary line of communication set up with the taking attorney?”

Allison Knutson, RPR, an official in Faribault, Minn., had not done remote work previously, but after watching training videos and talking to other court reporters, she now feels confident.

“I feel ‘up to speed’ at this time,” Knutson said. “I will continue with Zoom Q&A sessions with other court reporters.”

Murphy-Carlson said the support of fellow court reporters has been important.

“I am so impressed with how so many court reporters came together through FB groups and helped each other,” she said. “If we don’t lead our clients to this new way of handling depositions/hearings, someone else will and that may not be someone whose first concern is the integrity of the record. Do we want to be Blockbuster or do we want to be Netflix? Someone mentioned that it’s not our job to teach the attorneys how to do this. Well, if we don’t teach the attorneys how to do this, we won’t have a job at all. We need to stay on top of the technology and the best way to use current technology for our clients, whether we are doing depositions/hearings via Zoom or in person. And to continue to do that, we need to work together as a community and share information just as we did on Facebook during the beginning days of COVID-19 using the current technology to get the information to each other as quickly as possible.”

NCRA State Leadership Training registration open

NCRA is presenting a special one-day State Leadership Training via the InReach platform on May 3 from 10 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Eastern time. The event is open to NCRA members and nonmembers who currently hold state leadership positions and those who aspire to do so.

Sessions will be led by experts in their respective areas. Topics on the schedule that will be discussed include meetings and conventions, financial issues, effective governance, membership recruitment and retainment, the nuts and bolts of association leadership, and successful grassroots advocacy. Attendees can earn up to 0.6 CEUs depending on how many sessions they attend.

“The NCRA State Leadership Training is a great opportunity to hone and improve your state association leadership skills from the comfort of your own home,” said Jocelynn A. Moore, NCRA Director, State Government Relations. “We look forward to you joining us for a day of informative fun and learning.”

The member cost for the full day of offerings is $99, while the nonmember rate is $129. Attendees can also register for individual sessions at $20 for NCRA members and $25 for nonmembers.

To learn more about what’s on tap for this event or to register, click here.

Stay in the know: NCRA event updates, webinars, and more

The webinar is full!

As NCRA, like the rest of the world, continues to adjust to how daily life and the ability to conduct business is being impacted by the constant efforts to halt the spread of the coronavirus, we encourage all members to be patient as your Board and staff reassess the status of scheduled and future planned events.

In light of the most recent recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and other federal health agencies that the public avoid large gatherings and practice social distancing, NCRA has opted to postpone and possibly reschedule all events that were planned through May, including the 2020 Leadership & Legislative Boot Camp that was scheduled for May 17-19 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in Alexandria, Va. NCRA will be contacting those who have already registered for the event with information about the reimbursement of registration fees. Information about new dates for this event will be announced in the JCR Weekly and by emails to members at a future date.

NCRA has also canceled the spring CLVS hands-on training and production exam that was scheduled to take place March 27 and 28 at headquarters in Reston, Va. NCRA will hold the training and testing again in the fall with dates to be announced at a later date.

Members who have already booked flights to these and other events are advised to contact their airlines directly to find out more about cancellation and rescheduling procedures.

Staff liaisons will also be contacting members of NCRA committees who planned to attend meetings scheduled to take place at NCRA’s headquarters in Reston, Va. Options could include conducting those meetings via online conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Skype.

To learn more about these online conferencing platforms, NCRA Immediate Past President Sue Terry, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, and Director Keith Lemons, FAPR, RPR, CRR, are leading a special webinar Thursday, March 19.

The webinar is now full!

If you purchased the webinar, please check your email confirmation. Because of demand, there are now two sessions, one at 7 p.m. and one at 8:30 p.m. Eastern. Once members or non-members register, they will be emailed a link to Zoom with information about how to sign into the meeting. We are trying to schedule additional sessions, and we will send out the information when we can. Thank you for your patience.

NCRA members are also encouraged to tune into the next NCRA Town Hall happening March 21 at 10 a.m. Eastern. Conversation will address the coronavirus and how reporters,  captioners, videographers, and associate members can empower and sustain themselves and their families through these rough waters we face as an industry, along with the rest of the world. The NCRA virtual Town Hall meetings also offer members the opportunity to ask questions via the Q&A feature. Questions can also be submitted in advance to lbutler@ncra.org. Register here.

Finally, NCRA members are encouraged to begin checking the Association’s website where the latest developments regarding the status of events, helpful webinars, and links to ensure the most current information is available and accessible about the constantly changing health landscape, will be posted. Watch for updates on the homepage of NCRA.org.

Stenograph blogs about work tools

Stenograph posted a blog on March 13 about “Tools for Working During COVID-19.”

Read more.

Did you know you can print your NCRA membership card?

NCRA is no longer sending membership cards via snail mail. Instead, members can now access and print their own membership cards by logging onto the NCRA portal. For best results, NCRA recommends accessing the portal through the Chrome web platform. To access and print your NCRA membership card, follow the instructions below:

Just log in to your NCRA profile and, under the “My NCRA” dropdown, click on “My Membership Card.” It will show you your membership card.

Once your membership card is displayed, click on the “print” icon to make as many copies as you would like. This is available to you at any time.

For information, contact membership@ncra.org.

NCRA 2020 Business Summit regular rates end Jan. 31

If you haven’t registered yet, hurry and do it now! Don’t miss the chance to join other attendees at the NCRA 2020 Business Summit when they kick off the event with a friendly round of Lost Pines Olympics. The 2020 event is taking place Feb. 9-11 at the beautiful Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa in Austin, Texas. Regular registration rates end Jan. 31.

The Lost Pines Olympics is a team-building challenge that pits two teams against one another in a friendly go at a relay-type race that features seven stations with various tasks. Stations include:

  • Dizzy bat
  • Soccer dribble
  • Corn hole toss
  • Archery target
  • Giant cup stacking
  • Inflatable horse relay
  • Teambuilding skits

Be a part of the fun and camaraderie this activity will generate and take advantage of the numerous networking opportunities that the Business Summit will offer. And don’t forget the amazing speakers scheduled this year who will share insights about the latest in using social media to build your business, the best financial planning tips, a firsthand look at the NCRA 2019 Firm Owners Benchmark Survey, and more.

This year’s Business Summit line-up 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. Click here to hear from Williams herself about what she has to share.

Keynote speaker is 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.

Ron Comers, a former FBI agent and current advisor on corporate security risks through Charted Risk, LLC, who 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, who will lead a session on financial planning and managing personal wealth.

In addition, attendees will enjoy many opportunities throughout the three-day event 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.

  • 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.

How court reporters and their team can work better together

JD Supra posted a blog on Jan. 15 that offers some thoughts on strategies that can help lessen stress from feeling overwhelmed by a heavy workload.

Read more.

International depositions and the videoconference benefit

A blog posted Dec. 18 by JD Supra discusses the benefits of using video conferencing when taking international depositions.

Read more.

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.