NCRA attends CTC, keeps profession relevant

Set in a moderately busy vendor hall, two women in professional garb speak with a few men who are visiting the booth. One of the women is seated at a steno machine. On the table are flyers and propped up iPads.

NCRA President Christine J. Willette (seated) and NCRA Secretary-Treasurer Debra A. Dibble speak with attendees at the 2017 Court Technology Conference.

NCRA was proud to host a booth in the expo hall at the Court Technology Conference (CTC) held Sept. 12-14, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The National Center for State Courts holds the biennial conference, which is the world’s premier event showcasing the developments in court technology. The event draws more than 1,500 court professionals from around the nation.

Volunteers at the NCRA booth at this year’s CTC event included NCRA President Christine J. Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC; Secretary-Treasurer Debra A. Dibble, RDR, CRR, CRC; Director of Professional Development Programs Cynthia Bruce Andrews; and Government Relations Manager Matthew Barusch. Other volunteers included:

  • Rockie Dustin, RPR, a freelancer in Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Phoebe Moorhead, RPR, CRR, a freelancer in North Ogden, Utah
  • Laura Robinson, RPR, an official in Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Laurie Shingle, RPR, CMRS, a freelancer in Pleasant View, Utah
  • Pattie Walker, RPR, an official in Holladay, Utah

The NCRA representatives used the opportunity to demonstrate to attendees the professional advantage of using stenographic court reporters as well as display the latest technology in realtime reporting. They also had the opportunity to speak to judges, IT professionals, and other court professionals.

“We experienced great interactions with court IT attendees. The lack of certified stenographic reporters to cover courts was a common theme expressed by many visitors to our booth. They’re really feeling the shortage,” said Willette. “They all love realtime. Many of them who use realtime said they can’t live without it. One judge called her reporter right on the spot to make sure they knew about realtime to the cloud,” she added.

The CTC serves as the venue for unveiling the latest developments in court technology to the court-professionals community, giving NCRA a prime opportunity to promote the gold standard of court reporting.

“The potentially monumental contacts that can be made at CTC are innumerable and invaluable in view of the broad expanse of crucial decision-makers who attend,” said Dibble. “We met with judges, attorneys, IT personnel, court reporters, and vendors of litigation services and technologies to court systems — everyone is looking for ways to be more effective in their roles to more efficiently execute the judicial process,” she added.

Willette and Dibble both agree that having the opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities of stenographic court reporters to those charged with implementing court-technology services helps to open doors and inspire ideas to incorporate stenographic skills into the products they offer. Attending the CTC also helps to keep NCRA members relevant as technologies evolve.

“It is imperative that NCRA be a part of that solution-finding process and be visible to every facet of this field. We spent our time listening and learning about the interests and needs of attendees, then sharing with them how we can provide solutions to their needs and how our services create efficiencies to their processes,” Dibble said.

The next Court Technology Conference will be in September 2019 in New Orleans, La. For more information, visit

NCRA showcases realtime technology to legal community at CTC

CTC 2015_4NCRA partnered with YesLaw to showcase the latest in court reporter technology with demonstrations of realtime at the recent National Center for State Courts’ Court Technology Conference, held Sept. 22-24 in Minneapolis, Minn.

CTC 2015 is the most relevant and comprehensive court technology conference in the world. Its education program and exhibit hall attracts more than 1,500 judges, court administrators, court technologists, court managers, and other justice-system professionals from across the country and the world. CTC participants learn how to use the latest advances in technology in ways to help them improve court operations and better serve the public.

NCRA has participated in all 14 of the Center’s conferences, which provide court and legal experts the opportunity to see and hear about the latest technology. NCRA and YesLaw exhibited in a booth to explain to administrators, judges, and law experts the benefits of a court reporter providing a realtime record in court proceedings. In addition, Stenograph donated a Disco Diamante stenography machine for the occasion, which volunteer court reporters used for demonstrations for booth attendees.

NCRA’s exhibit at CTC, as well as a number of other venues throughout the year, is part of the efforts by its National Outreach Committee to increase the visibility of the court reporting profession and the high-quality services that NCRA members offer.

CTC 2015_1“NCRA’s presence at CTC is an opportunity to showcase realtime and the technological advances stenographic reporters bring to courtrooms every day. We were able to demonstrate how realtime, wireless technology, and litigation support tools benefit the court system and the public, and how court reporting excellence and high-tech innovations can merge to provide a low-cost, highly productive courtroom that benefits the judge, attorneys, court administrators, and other judicial participants,” said NCRA President-elect Tiva Wood, RDR, CMRS, a court reporter from Mechanicsburg, Pa.

“Attending CTC was a fantastic opportunity to show off realtime to court administrators and judges and let them see the best option for keeping the record in courtrooms across the country, mostly at a time when many state court administrators are looking for alternative methods,” said Sharon Steinbrecher, RPR, an official court reporter from Anoka, Minn. “The more exposure we can provide to the people who are making these decisions that affect so many reporters’ livelihoods, the better off we are,” she noted.

Jean M. Whalen, RDR, CRR, CCP, an official court reporter from St. Paul, Minn., who also volunteered at the NCRA booth doing realtime demonstrations, said she enjoyed showing the court administrators and especially the IT professionals in attendance that digital stenography is more relevant than ever.

“I enjoyed seeing the looks of wonderment on the faces of those new to realtime when they noticed that what they were saying was coming up on a screen in front of them. There were a lot of exhibitors at the event, and I think it was of utmost importance that NCRA was there to represent us,” she said.

CTC 2015_5Other NCRA members and volunteers who attended the event and assisted with realtime demonstrations and answering questions by visitors at the booth included: Jan Ballman, RPR, CMRS, Chair of the National Court Reporters Foundation, Minneapolis, Minn.; Adrienne Conzemius, RPR, Blaine, Minn.; Rachel Erickson, Bloomington, Minn.; Jill Garrison, RPR, St. Paul, Minn.; Janell Gruber, RMR, CRR, CBC, CCP, St. Cloud, Minn.; Mary Johnson, RPR, CRR, Shakopee, Minn.; Merilee Johnson, RMR, CRR, CBC, CCP, Eden Prairie, Minn.; Mary Krawiecki, RPR, CRR, CBC, CRI, Alexandria, Minn.; Lori Morrow, RMR, CRR, CCP, Eden Prairie, Minn.; Mike Nelson, CAE, NCRA CEO and Executive Director, Reston, Va.; Pat Nelson, Minnesota; Debbie Peterson, RPR, Prior Lake, Minn.; Jennifer Sati, RMR, CRR, CBC, CCP, CRI, Dayton, Minn.; Sharon Steinbrecher, RPR, Anoka, Minn.; Jean M. Whalen, RDR, CRR, CCP, St. Paul, Minn.; Sara Wood, CAE, NCRA Director of Membership, Reston, Va.; and NCRA President-elect Tiva Wood, RDR, CMRS, Mechanicsburg, Pa.

Promoting realtime at the Court Technology Conference

NCRA has participated in all 13 of the National Center for State Courts’ Court Technology Conferences. This year, the event, which gives court and legal experts the opportunity to see and hear about the latest technology, was held in October 2013, in Baltimore, Md. NCRA partnered with YesLaw in a booth that explained to administrators, judges, and law experts the benefits of a court reporter providing a realtime record in court proceedings.

Nativa Wood, RDR, CMRS, chaired NCRA’s CTC Planning Committee, and worked with members Sarah Nageotte, RDR, CRR, CBC, Chris Willette, RDR, CRR, CCP, Steve Zinone, RPR, and Bri­an Clune of YesLaw. They developed a brochure and other handouts about the benefits of realtime for CTC attendees to take and worked in the booth along with ­NCRA’s Executive Director and CEO Jim Cudahy, CAE, NCRF’s Deputy Executive Director B.J. Shorak, and NCRA’s Direc­tor of Membership and Marketing Sara L. Wood, CAE, to answer attendees’ ques­tions. Local reporters from Gore Brothers Reporting & Videoconferencing, Christine Gonzales, RPR, Linda Lindsey, and Susan Wootton, RPR, demonstrated realtime, and Stenograph donated a Disco Diaman­te for the occasion.

“The judges and administrators were in­credibly receptive and supportive of real­time reporting during CTC, and we were pleased to have a great team of reporters in Baltimore to speak about the benefits of realtime reporting,” says Wood.

NCRA plans on being at the next biannual Court Technology Conference event in 2015 to continue to showcase the value of the stenographic court reporter.

On the ground at CTC: Public support for courts is through technology

CTC2013A piece of good news for courts across the United States is that the judicial system is held in much higher regard than Congress and legislatures, this at a time when perception of government generally is at historic lows. The bad news is that the courts are not immune to such sentiment with public perception of them at a 25-year low, according to Karl Agne of GBA Strategies, whose company fielded a comprehensive survey of registered voters to gauge their perceptions of the courts and court technology. Agne shared the results of the survey at Court Technology Conference (CTC) during an educational session held this week in Baltimore, Md.

The number one attribute shaping public opinion of the courts is television programming, said Agne, who suggested that courts would have to launch a $100 million dollar advertising campaign in order to have the impact on public perception that is established through a single episode of the television show “Law & Order.”

The survey revealed that certain realities must be accepted in order for courts to find opportunity to gain public support for restoring funding to pre-recession numbers.. First, strengthening the court system lags far behind other voter priorities such as schools, public transportation, law enforcement, and healthcare. Further, voters believe strongly that restoring money to state courts on a general basis is akin to “pour(ing) money into a broken system,” Agne said.

The way forward for courts to reshape public opinion lies in technology, the speaker noted. The public believes money could best be spent within the courts on new technology to reduce paperwork and create efficiencies, Agne said, a sentiment that by far outpaces the lowest perceived solution, which is hiring more staff. People strongly believe that courts must operate more efficiently, saving them time in their interactions with the judicial process, he noted. Saving people’s time equates to offering them respect. Demonstrating such respect, said Agne, is “an impression that will last.”