COPE: Working on updates – for you

By Holly Moose

Your Committee on Professional Ethics has been hard at work. It has completed its review and revision of Advisory Opinions 1 through 44, many of which were outdated and/or duplicative. This task was a major undertaking and spanned the terms of two consecutive COPE committees. Kudos to all who participated.

The goal was to combine opinions that were similar, update opinions that were outdated, and rescind opinions that were obsolete or where applicable state and local rules were too variable to allow for a generalized opinion. Given the pace at which technology advances, this process may have to be revisited again sooner than any of us care to reflect upon. But for now, such terms as “diskette” have been updated to reflect 21st century nomenclature and the hypotheticals updated to reflect current circumstances.

Here’s a synopsis of some of the changes:

Advisory Opinion 4 addresses altering the official record. A consensus was reached that it should not be the reporter’s responsibility to determine what constitutes a “material” change, but rather, that any change the Court wishes to make, even one of a grammatical nature, should be agreed upon by all parties before the reporter may alter the official record.

Advisory Opinions 19 and 37 addressed certification and confidentiality of transcripts. AO 37 was rescinded, and AO 19 was revised to apply the same standards regarding certification and confidentiality to electronic and paper transcripts.

Advisory Opinion 24 addresses a third party seeking to obtain transcripts, or the names and contact information of the attorneys involved, from a prior case in which the requesting party itself is not involved. A consensus was reached that the reporter should not provide transcripts, or any information contained therein, without the consent of all parties to the underlying case. It was further agreed that it should not be at the discretion of the reporter whether or not to seek such consent, but rather, that the reporter is obligated to do so, in fairness to all participants.

In addition to the revisions that were made, the Committee inserted cross-references wherever a similar opinion exists, in the event that one or the other is not quite what you’re looking for.

Your Board of Directors has been hard at work too! It dutifully reviewed each and every one of COPE’s suggested revisions and adopted them.

Consider browsing through the Advisory Opinions on NCRA’s website. You would be amazed at how many scenarios are described that you may have encountered yourself at some point in your career. It’s always interesting to see how others have handled it. Perhaps such a review will prepare you for a situation that may arise in the future and assist you in addressing it in the best possible way.

Never having studied these opinions before, but needing to do so in order to complete our task, I must say I find many of them as relevant today as the day they were adopted. Technology excepted, some things never change!

Holly Moose, RDR, CRR, of Sausalito, Calif, is an ex-officio member of NCRA’s Committee on Professional Ethics.

New book helps prepare candidates for RPR

RPR Study GuideNCRA launched a new RPR Study Guide, a comprehensive book that takes each knowledge area of the RPR and provides a manageable, straightforward tutorial of what candidates need to learn to be successful on exam day. Individual sections focus on the different topics of the Written Knowledge Test, tips and tricks for speedbuilding and avoiding test anxiety for the Skills Test, and hundreds of practice questions, including pinpointed subject tests and full practice tests that mimic the real thing.

“NCRA’s new RPR Study Guide is a one-of-a-kind resource for court reporters working to become certified. The benefits are priceless. This is the ultimate go-to tool for passing the RPR Written Knowledge Test,” says Doug Friend, RDR, CRR, a court reporter from Portland, Ore., and past president of the association. Friend was one of a number of court reporting members who were given an opportunity to review the text before publication.

The RPR Study Guide was supported by the National Court Reporters Foundation and written with the help of Brenda Fauber, RDR, CRR, CPE. In 2014, Fauber, an official from Omaha, Neb., served on both NCRA’s Item Writing Committee and the Test Advisory Committee. Throughout the RPR Study Guide, Fauber offers advice to prepare for the exam while also providing detailed explanations of sample study questions, allowing readers to go inside the head of a testing expert. Other contributors include past National Speed Contest participants and Marybeth Everhart, RPR, CRI, CPE, myRealtimeCoach’s national marketing manager.

A wide variety of test-takers will find value in the RPR Study Guide. Students who are finishing their court reporting program will be given a strong grasp on all relevant topics. Working reporters who need their RPR due to a move or new state legislation will be able to review specifically what they need to know for the Written Knowledge Test. And previous test-takers who are looking for that extra push to successfully earn their certification may find insider tips and tricks. In addition, the RPR Study Guide provides background information about NCRA and how the association functions, as well as logistical information about taking the exam itself, especially for the new online skills testing.

“The release of the RPR Study Guide is very exciting! As a mentor of court reporting students for many years, I look forward to recommending this guide to each student and anticipate purchasing some as gifts for RPR candidates,” says Doreen Stutton, RPR, NCRA’s Secretary-Treasurer.

“The guide is well-written and has valuable and relevant information. This is a ‘must read’ and will aid in garnering successful results for those taking the RPR,” adds Sutton, who is a freelancer from Scottsdale, Ariz.

The RPR Study Guide is available now in the NCRA Store at an introductory price of $124.95 for members and $162.44 for nonmembers. There are additional discounts for students.