Griffin & Associates announces name change to Griffin Group International

Griffin & Associates, Arizona’s largest court reporting firm, announced in a press release issued Nov. 1 that the firm has changed its name to Griffin Group International and has introduced a new captioning service.

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NCRA’s New Professionals Advisory Committee meshes with the new Veteran Liaison Committee

The New Professionals Advisory Committee (NPAC) is a committee comprised of new professionals in the court reporting profession. Members partner with a Veteran Liaison Committee (VLC) as a resource to draw guidance and expertise from as they work to blaze a path forward for new reporters.

“To those reporters who are new in the field, or to those who are making a change from one discipline to another, we are your voice,” said Mike Hensley, RPR, who chairs the NPAC. “We are here to make sure that your needs are met by NCRA. We also strive to provide helpful information that will build a strong foundation for your future career.”

Hensley is a freelance deposition reporter from Dublin, Calif., who works in the Bay Area. He has been reporting for three years and is a strong proponent of earning certifications and using technology at every opportunity. He also serves on the board of directors for the California Court Reporters Association and has a strong passion for contributing to court reporting by educating and empowering others to achieve their highest potential.

Other NCRA members include:

New Professionals Advisory Committee

Mike Hensley

Mike Hensley, RDR (Committee Chair)

Mike Hensley is a freelance deposition reporter working in the Bay Area of California. He has been reporting for 3 years and is a strong proponent of earning certifications and using technology at every opportunity. He also serves on the board of directors for the California Court Reporters Association and has a strong passion for contributing to court reporting by educating and empowering others to achieve their highest potential.

Rachel Barkume

Rachel Barkume, RPR

Rachel Barkume is a freelance reporter in Northern California and the current president of the California Court Reporters Association. She has been reporting since 2011 and has her California CSR and her RPR. She is currently working on obtaining her CRR and Nevada CSR. She was the New Professionals Advisory Committee chair for the first three years of its existence. She has been a freelance reporter, an official, and a CART captioner in her seven years of reporting. She is passionate about the future of our profession and empowering new leaders to embrace their potential.

Whitney Berndt

Whitney Berndt

Whitney Berndt is a newly hired freelance reporter working with Brown & Jones Reporting out of Milwaukee, Wis. She recently graduated with honors from Lakeshore Technical College in Cleveland, Wis. In 2017, Whitney served on the NCRA Student/Teacher Committee. She is a proud member of the Wisconsin Court Reporters Association, where she was awarded a student scholarship in 2017. She loves her job and wants to give back to the associations that have already given her so much.

Jordan Groves

Jordan Groves

Jordan Groves has been a certified court reporter in Montgomery, Ala., for 3.5 years. In addition to being a full-time mother of two and wife to a wonderful husband, Jordan works full-time with Eagle Court Reporting based out of Mobile and serves Montgomery and the surrounding area. She is an active member of the Alabama Court Reporters Association and the National Court Reporters Association.

Debrina Jones

Debrina Jones

Debrina Jones graduated from the College of Court Reporting in 2015. After working in freelance for a few years, she became an official with the state of South Carolina. She is currently back to being a freelance reporter with A. William Roberts, Jr. & Associates in the North and South Carolina area. She is currently working on her RPR. She loves to travel, being active, and enjoys spending time with her 10-year-old daughter.

Shelby Neifeld

Shelby Neifeld

Shelby Neifeld is one of the newer reporters and has been freelancing for Phipps Reporting in the Fort Lauderdale/Miami area since June 2018. Having obtained her Florida court reporting certification in 2015 while still a student, she has always been eager to learn new ideas, tips, and tricks of the trade. Her next goal is to obtain her RPR and, eventually, her CRR.

Callie Sajdera

Callie Sajdera

Callie Sajdera is a new reporter for the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse in Denver, Colo. She is a very proud graduate from Anoka Technical College in Anoka, Minn. In 2017, Callie was presented with the student-of-the-year award from the Minnesota Association of Verbatim Reporters and Captioners, and in 2018, she was also awarded the Paradigm Scholarship presented by Jan Ballman. While she is currently working on her RPR, Callie loves her job and cannot wait to see where this career can take her.

Selana Scott

Selana Scott

Selana Scott is the Program Director for the Court Reporting Program at MacCormac College in Chicago, Ill. She received her B.S. degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in management with a concentration in marketing. She received her J.D. from North Carolina Central University’s School of Law. She previously taught at the Art Institute of Charlotte and Johnson C. Smith University. She also spent ten years at Allstate Insurance Company, where she created a series of state by state communications initiatives and taught within their Education Department.

Ashley Stahl

Ashley Stahl

Ashley Stahl is a new reporter in the Phoenix, Ariz., area. She graduated from court reporting school at Gateway Community College in 2018. That same year, Ashley won first place in the CASE student scholarship competition hosted by the NCRA. Ashley is also a musician, and she holds degrees in music from Florida State University and Arizona State University.


Veterans Liaison Committee (VLC)

Lisa Conley Yungblut

Lisa Conley Yungblut, RMR, CRR, CRC (Committee Chair)

Lisa Conley Yungblut is a proud graduate of Clark State in Springfield, Ohio. She is currently a freelance reporter at Mike Mobley Reporting in Dayton, Ohio, and she spent 23 years freelancing with Spangler Reporting in Cincinnati, Ohio. Lisa spent many years on the OCRA Board of Directors, including serving as president, 2002-2003. She has been honored with OCRA’s Glenn W. Stiles, Jr., Distinguished Service Award and the Diplomat Award. In 2005 and 2018, she won Ohio’s Realtime Contest, and she has placed several times in both the Ohio Realtime and Speed Contests.

Adam Alweis

Adam H. Alweis, RPR, CRR, CRC

Adam H. Alweis has been in the court reporting profession in one form or another his whole life. His family has a long history in the court reporting profession going all the way back to the 1940s, with two uncles, his father and oldest brother also in the profession. Adam started working as a court reporter in 1988 after spending two years at Alfred State College and has continued working in the field for now over 30 years. He has experience in both the freelance and official arenas.

Jan Ballman

Jan Ballman, RPR, CMRS

Jan Ballman began her reporting career in 1981 in St. Paul, Minn., as a freelance reporter. Nine years later she opened her own firm, which became Paradigm Reporting & Captioning in 1998. After 23 years of reporting, Jan retired her steno machine in favor of full-time management and business development for Paradigm. Jan is a Past President of the Minnesota Freelance Court Reporters Association and Past Chair of the National Court Reporters Foundation. She currently serves several local/national court reporting, bar association, and women’s leadership organizations in various capacities and has for many years.

Phyllis Craver-Lykken, RPR

Phyllis Craver-Lykken has been a freelance court reporter in Washington state since 1980 and a principal of Central Court Reporting & Video since 1985. She has enjoyed being involved with the Washington Court Reporters Association (WCRA) and NCRA for the duration of her career. She has served in most every board and/or committee chair position within WCRA, including twice as president.  She is currently serving as the legislative co-chair, where she continues to passionately pursue changes in local court rules and laws relating to court reporting.  She filled a regional representative position for NCRA a few years ago and has served on various other committees.

Michelle Kirkpatrick

Michelle M. Kirkpatrick, RDR, CRR, CRC

Michelle Kirkpatrick grew up and went to reporting school in Iowa and started her freelance career with a firm in Colorado Springs, Colo., in 1986. After moving back to Iowa and owning her own solo freelance business from 1997 to 2008, she then moved to Boulder, Colo., and worked for the state of Colorado as an official from the fall of 2008 till the spring of 2014. She obtained then ventured back out into the freelance world, this time as a realtimer. Her business has evolved into exclusively focusing on providing technical realtime, immediate rough drafts, and same-day or next-day expedites around the country. She is currently based out of Breckenridge, Colo.

Rick Levy

Rick Levy, RPR,Rick Levy is an owner and managing partner of First Choice Reporting & Video Services in Florida. He is an RPR and a Florida Professional Reporter. Rick has served as a director of the NCRA board and as president of FCRA. He was the 2016 recipient of FCRA’s Emily Mann Distinguished Service Award, and in the summer of 2018, he was awarded the Arlene P. Sommers Award for his contribution to students and new professionals in the reporting field.

Become an expert advocate and leader for your profession

The 2019 NCRA Leadership and Legislative Boot Camp promises to provide attendees with an experience like no other when it comes to learning firsthand the power of advocacy and the influence good leadership can achieve.

The 2019 event is being held May 5-7 and will include two full days of training, exploration, and hands-on activities designed to give everyone who attends the takeaways necessary to become successful advocates and leaders in the profession at the local, state, and national level. Training will end with role-playing and mock interviews to help prepare attendees for the final day of the event, which culminates with visits with Washington, D.C., lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

The site of the 2019 event is the Embassy Suites by Hilton, in historic Alexandria Old Town, Va., just outside of Washington, D.C. Anyone in the court reporting, captioning, or legal videography professions wanting to grow and hone their advocacy and leadership skills should make plans to attend the 2019 NCRA Leadership and Legislative Boot Camp.

Watch the JCR Weekly and JCR magazine for more details and information about registration for this one-of-a-kind event.

Last chance to pass an NCRA skills test at 2018 prices  

With NCRA’s new certification fees set to go into effect in January 2019, now is the time to take advantage of your chance to pass one of NCRA’s skills tests at 2018 prices.

NCRA certifications are highly rated by members. Not only do certifications help maintain standards of practice within the professions, but surveys show that those who have earned NCRA’s certifications are highly valued in the marketplace. The exams that require passing a skills test — the RPR, RMR, CRR, and CRC — are nationally recognized in the professional marketplace.

NCRA strives to keep fees low for all members, especially for certification, which, for some people, can be a requirement to get work. Online skills test fees have had no increase since the inception of online testing in August 2015. Effective January 2019, all online Skills Test registration fees will increase by $5 in all categories.

Don’t let this opportunity escape you. Register for the skills tests today and ring in the new year with a new certification!

Make technology work for you with live webinars on apps and Windows 10

Technology shapes our lives each and every day. NCRA’s Technology Committee is sponsoring two live webinars to help you get a better grip on the tech that can save you time and make you more productive.

More about Windows 10
Pam Szczencinski, who has been a software trainer for more than 30 years, will offer a special session focused on how court reporters can get the most out of Windows 10. The 90-minute webinar (1.5 CEUs) will cover updates, including which ones are helpful and which ones to steer away from; lesser-known features of the operating system; and ways to customize your PC to work the best for you. This Nov. 29 session is filling up fast, so register right away!

Register for November 29 webinar: More about Windows 10


Apps for Court Reporters
Known technophile, court reporter, and chair of NCRA’s Technology Committee, Lynette Mueller, FAPR, RDR, CRR, will present a live webinar of her favorite apps and tech gadgets. “The smartphone has become an essential tool for every court reporter and eliminates the need for other gadgets one relies on,” says Mueller. “As our world and work environment is becoming more and more mobile, it’s important to be able to keep up with your calendar, billing, transcripts, and much more at the tips of your fingers. I’m excited to host this discussion about the most important apps I utilize every day to keep me productive and efficient.” The one-hour (1.0 CEU) live webinar will be offered on Dec. 3 and will include a plethora of ways to make you more productive each and every day.

Register for December 3 webinar: Apps for Court Reporters


Earn Professional Development Credits by offering pro bono CART services

NCRA members have the opportunity to earn Professional Development Credits (PDCs) by providing pro bono CART services under a collaborative program agreement with the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) that began in February. The program is intended to help HLAA chapters across the country provide quality CART for their monthly meetings in a more affordable way. The agreement will also help increase the awareness of CART captioning and its benefit for people with hearing loss.

Under the agreement, NCRA-certified captioners can earn 1.0 PDC as part of the 3.0 Continuing Education Credits required every three years. NCRA members who participate in the collaborative agreement program will be reimbursed the fee assessment by the HLAA chapter to register the PDCs.

“This partnership is another step that NCRA is taking to help people with hearing disabilities have their accessibility needs met. Captioning services provided by a certified captioner are the best and only product for people with hearing loss to be able to fully participate in HLAA chapter meetings,” said Matthew R. Barusch, NCRA’s State Government Relations Manager.

“By partnering with HLAA and offering NCRA-certified captioners this additional member benefit, we not only continue our support of our captioner membership, we can help provide this amazing community with a service they need and help one of our long-standing organizational allies grow and prosper,” Barusch added. “I would encourage all of our certified captioner members to reach out to HLAA and find a local chapter near you.”

Under the agreement, the HLAA national chapter coordinator will connect NCRA captioners to local chapters.

For more information about the collaborative agreement program or to sign up, contact Matthew Barusch at


Pengad gift card winner says NCRA membership lets her connect

Nicole Bresnick

Nicole Bresnick, a captioner with the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program, is the winner of a $100 Pengad gift card for renewing her NCRA membership early.

Bresnick, a longtime member, was entered into the special drawing along with others who renewed their NCRA memberships in September and October.

“I became a member of NCRA as a student to get connected with my fellow students and the industry, and I have stayed a member, really, for the same reasons; but also, because it’s the right thing to do for my court reporting and captioning community,” said Bresnick, who resides in Madison, Wis.

“What I love most about being a CART captioner is that, working in an academic setting, I’m able to support the amazing students I work with to achieve great things in their education and then beyond. It’s also been great to learn how to be a better ally for deaf and hard-of-hearing people and to help pass that information on to other people in the hearing world,” she added.

Member benefits continue to include:

  • A listing* in both the print and online versions of the NCRA Sourcebook
  • A subscription to the JCR Magazine and the JCR Weekly
  • Multiple certification programs with online skills tests designed to make you more money
  • Access to discounted group insurance programs through Mercer for personal liability and errors and omissions
  • Member pricing to can’t-miss networking and educational events at the NCRA Convention & Expo (Aug. 15-18, 2019) and NCRA Business Summit (Feb. 1-3, 2019), formerly known as the Firm Owners Executive Conference
  • First-class online educational opportunities

Renewing is easy and available online at or by calling 800-272-6272. Members can expect to receive their membership card via email within approximately two weeks of renewing if they have a valid email address and have not previously opted out of Constant Contact email messaging.

For more information, contact Brenda Gill, NCRA’s Membership Manager, at

* Registered, Participating, and Associate members are eligible for this benefit.


NCRF accepting nominations for Frank Sarli Memorial and Student Intern scholarships

2017 Sarli and Intern recipients

The National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) is now accepting nominations for the Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship and the Student Intern Scholarship. The deadline for both these scholarships is Dec. 10. Beginning this year, both scholarship opportunities are open to NCRA student members enrolled in any court reporting program, not just NCRA approved programs.

Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship

NCRF’s Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship of $2,000 has benefited court reporting students nearing graduation for 20 years. The award honors the late Frank Sarli, a court reporter who was committed to supporting students at the highest level of their education. Sarli, who was studying to become a professional pianist, turned to court reporting when he could no longer afford the tuition to music school. During his career, he opened Accurate Court Reporters in Orlando, Fla., Orange County’s first independent court reporting firm, and was a founding member of the Florida Shorthand Reporters Association. Sarli also served in numerous roles at the national level, including as a director for NCRA. He was the first Floridian to earn NCRA’s Distinguished Service Award.

“I chose to be a court reporter because I wanted a job that has a relatively flexible schedule to permit me to do volunteer work and dedicate time to being a minister,” said Jared Orozco, a student from Sheridan Technical College in Hollywood, Fla., and recipient of the 2017 Frank Sarli Scholarship.

“After I finish school, my ultimate goal would be to work in transcribing sermons to expedite their translation so it can be of benefit to people all over the world,” he added.

Court reporting students must be nominated by an instructor or advisor and meet a number of specific criteria to be eligible, including:

  • enrollment in a court reporting program
  • passing at least one of the court reporting program’s Q&A tests at a minimum of 200 words per minute
  • having a GPA of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale,
  • demonstrating the need for financial assistance
  • possessing the qualities exemplified by a professional court reporter, including attitude, demeanor, dress, and motivation

Submit a nomination for the Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship.

Student Intern Scholarship

Each year, NCRF awards two $1,000 scholarships to students who have completed or are currently performing the required internship portion of their court reporting program. They must also meet other specific criteria, including:

  • enrollment in a court reporting program
  • current membership in NCRA
  • having a grade point average of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale

A generous annual donation from the Reis Family Foundation helps fund these scholarships.

“Court reporting has always been the one job that has stuck out in my mind as my ‘dream job.’ I was always discouraged from going into this career because people are very misinformed about the opportunities available for a court reporter,” said Summer Vaughan, a student from College of Court Reporting in Valparaiso, Ind., one of two recipients of the 2017 Student Intern Scholarships. “Once I began my court reporting internship, I knew I was right where I had always wanted to be,” she added.

Submit a nomination for the Student Intern Scholarship.

NCRF’s scholarships and grant are supported by donations to the NCRF Angels Drive and other fundraisers. To learn more about these scholarships, and to find the nomination forms, please visit

Upcoming live webinar tackles uses of Dropbox for reporters

Kim Greiner

Kimberly R. Greiner, RDR, CRR, CRC, will offer a live webinar Dropbox: Getting Started, Sharing, and Making the Most of It through NCRA’s Continuing Education Program. The live webinar, which is sponsored by NCRA’s Technology Committee, occurs on Nov. 12 from 8-9 p.m. ET. Register here.

Greiner shared the following about what attendees can expect from this session.

“Dropbox is an important tool I use to ensure I have everything I need at my fingertips,” Greiner explained. “My desire is for attendees to walk away with a complete understanding of how it really works, where your files are, what should be synced, and how this cloud storage can best function for you.”

Dropbox can be an important tool for managing your files, whether you like to share with your scopist as you are working on the files or you need a place to upload your backup before you leave your workplace.

In addition, Greiner explained: “I will walk through this cloud storage from the beginning, show you how to share files, manage your storage, backup or retrieve files, and how to collaborate with a scopist using a shared folder. I will also cover Case CATalyst Work Units using Dropbox so you can see and understand, before you need to use it, what you and your scopist can expect, and setting suggestions.”

Register now for this live webinar to earn 0.10 CEU.

New prices set to go into effect for NCRA certifications program

One of the NCRA benefits most highly rated by members is its certifications program, which test members on reaching certain standards of practice in the profession. NCRA’s certifications, which include the RPR, RMR, RDR, CRR, CRC, and CLVS, are nationally recognized in the professional court reporting, captioning, and legal video professions, and, in some states, are required for a court reporter to work.

Effective January 2019, all Written Knowledge Test registration fees will increase by $10 in all categories. The new prices will be:

  • $160 (student member)
  • $195 (member)
  • $220 (non-member)

Effective January 2019, all online Skills Test registration fees will increase by $5 in all categories. The new prices will be:

Each RPR/RMR skills test leg(s):

  • $77 (student member)
  • $95 (member)
  • $120 (non-member)

CRR skills test: $200

CRC skills test:

  • $170 (student member)
  • $200 (member)
  • $220 (non-member)

NCRA strives to keep fees low for all members, especially regarding certification, which can be required for some people to work in certain states. Online skills test fees have had no increase since the inception of online testing in August 2015. The last time Written Knowledge Test fees were increased was in 2012. The increase of 4 percent is far lower than the change in the standard of living over the same period.