Winner chosen from September renewals

Heather Suarez, RPR

Heather Suarez, RPR, an official in Orlando, Fla., is a winner for renewing her NCRA membership early. Her name was chosen from everyone who renewed in September to win a $300 Amazon gift card.

She said she became and stayed a member of NCRA to “keep up on court reporting news, to attend conventions and network, and for maintaining certification.”

In high school, Suarez said she didn’t know what she wanted to do. She only knew she didn’t want to continue waitressing.

“I started to think about my favorite classes throughout grade school, and I remembered a sixth-grade typing class that I took,” she said. “The teacher was a real stickler! She would walk around the room and place a box over our hands if she caught us looking at them, turn our monitors off if she caught us looking at the monitor, and all of our tests were taken in the dark on typewriters. I loved it! Half joking, I began searching the Internet for ‘typing jobs,’ and that’s when I discovered court reporting. Although my search started out as a bit of a joke, I knew immediately that is what I wanted to do. I eventually found out that my cousin Beth is a court reporter — small world — and she answered my questions and gave pointers when I first started court reporting school.”

Creating new briefs and always striving to write faster and cleaner are things Suarez likes about court reporting. She added that working for the U.S. District Court makes her feel like her own boss since she is in charge of her own transcript production and records.

“This year was my court reporting 10-year anniversary, and it has been the best decision of my life,” Suarez said.

NCRA’s membership department has more prizes for people who renew early. If you haven’t renewed yet, don’t wait! Renew today!

Roberts has prize-winning photo for NCRA contest

Maxine Roberts, RDR

Maxine Roberts, RDR, an official in Akron, Ohio, is the winner of the NCRA Marketing Photo Contest. She told the JCR Weekly a little about the photo and how she feels about winning.

JCR | What gave you the idea to have pictures taken with your steno machine? 

MR | I’ve been a court reporter for more than 30 years and have never captured or seen a photo of myself while on the job. Of course, I’ve seen very brief snippets of myself from coverage of different cases on the local news stations, but I wanted to do something fun with it to create a memory for myself as I near retirement.

JCR | Do you have plans on how you want to use the photos?

MR | I will probably print and frame it for myself.

JCR | Why did you decide to enter this profession?

MR | I knew nothing about the court reporting profession when I decided to embark upon it. At the time I was working at a local hospital on a part-time basis while attending the university. Knowing neither was what I wanted to do, I took to the ads in the local paper and ran across an advertisement for the Academy of Court Reporting and decided to try my hand, or hands should I say. I’ve now been at it 35 years, and here I am today.

JCR | What did you think when you heard you won our contest? 

MR | I was completely surprised. Who knew a last-minute decision would produce a winning photo?

JCR | Anything else you would like to add?  

MR | I want to thank NCRA for choosing my photo and thank my photographer, Lonnie Griffin Photography, for taking care of me at the last minute.

NOTE: Roberts will also be featured as the NCRA member profiled in the October JCR.

Renew early, and you could win big

Members who renew their NCRA membership by Sept. 30, 2020, will be entered into a drawing to win a $300 Amazon gift card. In addition, you’ll be in the running for any of the other smaller prizes offered in October. Renewing early and online helps NCRA save money by decreasing printing and mailing costs and keeps your Association functioning smoothly.

NCRA membership includes many great benefits:

  • Subscriptions to the JCR Magazine and the JCR Weekly
  • Access to multiple certification programs with discounts on online Written Knowledge  and online Skills Tests
  • A listing in the new NCRA Digital Sourcebook, the largest directory of court reporters, captioners, legal videographers, court reporting instructors, and proofreaders and scopists
  • Access to discounted group insurance programs through Mercer for business and personal insurance, including liability and errors and omissions
  • Access to NCRA members-only special offers
  • Significant savings on can’t-miss networking and educational events such as the NCRA Business Summit (Jan. 29-31, 2021) and the NCRA Conference & Expo (July 29 – Aug. 1, 2021) 
  • First-class online educational opportunities

Members who renew in September enjoy the following benefits:

  • It’s green; less mail to you.
  • It’s clutter-free; fewer reminder emails to your inbox.
  • It’s beneficial; your benefits are not interrupted.
  • It’s a more efficient use of Association funds, keeping your dues lower

Renewing is easy and available online at or by calling 800-272-6272.

Court reporter earns national certification

The San Diego Union-Tribune posted a press release on Sept. 10 issued by NCRA announcing that Erica Varquez of Carlsbad has earned her Registered Professional Reporter certification.

Read more.

Local court reporter elected vice president of national group

The Sun & Record/Wayne County Mail and The Daily Record, Western New York posted a press release issued by NCRA announcing that Meredith Bonn, RPR, CRR, has been elected as NCRA Vice President.

Read more.

Phipps Reporting ranked in 2020 Inc. magazine 5000 for seventh consecutive year

Christine Phipps, RPR

Inc. magazine has ranked Phipps Reporting, based in West Palm Beach, Fla., on its prestigious 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America, for the seventh consecutive year. For 2020, Phipps Reporting was ranked 4,035 on the 5000 list with an 86.61 percent growth rate this year.

NCRA 2020-2021 President Christine Phipps, RPR, is founder and CEO of Phipps Reporting. Phipps Reporting’s principals have been providing service to the legal community for more than 30 years. The firm delivers worldwide court reporting, videography, interpreting, and process services for clients that range from solo practitioners to Fortune 500 companies. The company has locations both internationally and across the United States and has an expansive network of more than 2,000 court reporters and 500 affiliate firms.

“On behalf of Phipps Reporting, I am honored to a part of this prestigious list for the seventh consecutive year,” Phipps said.

“To be included in the ranks with such companies as Microsoft, Timberland, Vizio, Intuit, and many others, is not just a huge achievement, but also a testament to the commitment of our entire team to provide the highest-quality stenographic court reporting and litigation support services to our clients. Inclusion in this group is certainly a privilege,” she added.

Since COVID-19 is preventing an in-person conference and gala, the magazine instead will host the Inc. 5000 Vision Conference, a special weeklong streaming event in tribute to this year’s recipients of the 2020 honor, beginning on Oct. 19. The event will feature special recognitions, seminars with the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, and education sessions and entertainment.

Not only have the companies on the 2020 Inc. magazine 5000 list been very competitive within their markets, but the list as a whole shows staggering growth compared with prior lists.

Read the entire list here.

Former NCRA member Shelia Lyons passes away

The Wichita Eagle reported on July 27 that NCRA member Shelia Lyons passed away on July 26 in Wichita, Kan.

Read more.

New member wins NCRA Connect Virtual 2020 registration

Pamela Sadler

Pamela Sadler is a new NCRA member who was selected as the winner of a free registration to NCRA Connect Virtual 2020.

Sadler is a freelancer in Gillsville, Ga., and she has been working for nine months.

“I want to start by saying thank you,” Sadler said. “I have always loved the law and courtroom procedure. I am very intrigued with the way the law works. I love court shows, any medical shows, and any shows dealing with forensics.”

About her decision to join NCRA, Sadler said: “I have to say what really got my attention about becoming a member of NCRA was the ability to test from home. Knowing I don’t have to travel or reserve a room for testing is great and all the wonderful benefits members are entitled to.”

Sadler attended Brown College of Court Reporting in Atlanta, Ga.

“Being a working court reporter is totally different than being in school,” she said. “Even though school prepares you for a lot of it, there is nothing like real life. If there is any advice I can tell new court reporters, it would be never give up and continue mastering your craft.”

Sadler said the upcoming virtual conference will be her first NCRA conference, and she is looking forward to everything about it.

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 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.

Caption Masters program offers new opportunity for experienced CRC candidates

NCRA has announced that the Caption Masters program is now a prequalified training course for the Certified Realtime Captioner (CRC). For certification candidates who are experienced in the field, the addition of the Caption Masters program as an alternative to NCRA’s mandatory CRC workshop offers a new learning opportunity in meeting the requirements to earn the nationally recognized professional certification. Candidates completing the Caption Masters Training program from 2018 forward are eligible to take advantage of this new opportunity.

“NCRA is happy to announce this new opportunity for aspiring captioners pursuing the CRC credential. We recognize that the Caption Masters program provides training that further expands a candidate’s captioning skills,” said Cynthia Bruce Andrews, NCRA Senior Director of Education & Certification.

“At a time when professionally trained captioners are in extremely high demand, I’m excited to help reporters transition into captioning with’s 16-week Caption Masters course. Taking and passing the CRC exam after the course will open doors to endless opportunities,” said Anissa Nierenberger, RPR, CRR, CRC, CRI, a captioner from Boise, Idaho, and owner of Caption Masters.

To earn the NCRA CRC certification, candidates must either complete the CRC Workshop or take the Caption Masters training program, as well as pass the NCRA Written Knowledge Test (WKT) and an online skills test for the CRC, which consists of literary matter at 180 words per minute.

The NCRA CRC Workshop is 10-and-a-half hours of online captioning education and is designed to prepare candidates relatively new to the captioning field for the CRC Written Knowledge Test, while the Caption Masters program provides a more intense curriculum of learning geared toward more experienced candidates.

Learn more information about the CRC certification and its requirements at