The 12 gifts of court reporting tech

TechLinks_logoBy Christine Phipps

Here is a short list of cool tech gadgets that court reporters would love, including a few little stocking stuffers.

  1. iShowFast USB Flash Drive: Are you in need of an Apple USB? The iShowFast is billed as the world’s fastest USB flash drive.
  2. Glass Touch Smart Keyboard: It’s both an ultra-slim keyboard and a mouse. It uses a touch sensitive key controller and a gesture-controller as well, so you can choose between keyboard or gesture mode. I am in love with this glass keyboard.
  3. Magic Glass Touchpad: Compatible with Apple and Windows systems, this transparent smart screen, with a touch-sensitive control, lets your fingers swipe freely through all kinds of media.
  4. The Tile App: This was a favorite of mine last year. Connect a tile to whatever you lose most regularly for an easy way to find it again. Attach, stick, or place Tiles inside everyday items and keep track of them with an app.
  5. Tripod with Remote Shutter for iPhone: I love that this cute tripod comes with a remote shutter for iPhone.
  6. Kikkerland US005-W White Music Branch 3-Way Headphone Splitter: Ever wanted someone else to listen in to a file, whether a CAT .wav or sharing a movie on a plane? This three-way headphone splitter is the solution you’ve been looking for.
  7. The Quick Lock: I have always hated padlocks with keys and hated the combination locks. It reminds me of the horrors of middle school. So while this is a little pricier for a stocking stuffer, I am glad this Bluetooth-enabled padlock has finally come to market.
  8. Glowing Charge Cables: I chose this item because I bore easy and because I like a little bling and excitement. The charging cables glow in green or blue.
  9. Flight 001 4-in-1 Adapter: This item includes four color-coded plugs, using the JA/C READY adapter system, and it allows travelers to easily adapt to electrical systems in more than 150 countries. It’s genius for the world-traveling court reporters.
  10. The Airhook: This is another great gift for the frequent traveler. Have you ever had to gulp down your drink on a plane just to put the tray back up? Well, no more. The Airhook offers several different ways to attach, ensuring you can stay hydrated.
  11. Pocket Corkscrew: Truly, some workdays can lead you to drink. This pocket corkscrew makes sure you are always prepared.
  12. Awesome Foursome Golf Balls: While this is not exactly a tech gift, I love these trick golf balls. I have a partner who is just a bit too serious about his golf game, but I would volunteer to drive the cart around if I could pull off these four pranks.

Christine Phipps, RPR, of North Palm Beach, Fla., is co-chair of NCRA’s Technology Committee. She can be reached at

Leave a lasting legacy through NCRF’s Legacy Society

NCRF offers you an opportunity to leave a legacy for future generations of reporters through our planned giving program, the Legacy Society.  NCRF established the Legacy Society as a way for you to give back to your profession through your estate planning by naming NCRF as a beneficiary.  It can be a specific amount or a percentage, either through a will or an insurance policy.

Planning ahead not only gives you control where your assets will go; it also gives you and your family peace of mind.  They will know that you cared enough to plan ahead, relieving them of the tremendous stress of estate liquidation.

Charitable giving has many benefits which not only help you protect your assets but can include impressive tax reductions, avoidance of capital gains taxes, and reduced estate taxes. Plus, by becoming a Legacy Society member, you would be providing critical resources to the Foundation for the continuation of important programs.

Without prior planning, the government will determine the fate of your assets.  Be sure your will is up-to-date.   Don’t leave the responsibility for your legacy to chance or to others.

If you would like information on how to leave a lasting legacy and become a member of NCRF’s Legacy Society, contact B. J. Shorak, deputy executive director of NCRF, at 800-272-6272, ext. 126, or by email at

THANK YOU for considering NCRF in your estate planning.

NOTE:  NCRF strongly encourages you to consult with your personal financial planner, tax consultant, or legal counsel when considering a gift of this type, whether it’s to NCRF’s Legacy Society or to any other organization.

Honor someone special through NCRF’s Thoughtful Tributes program

NCRF’s program Thoughtful Tributes is a way to show respect, honor, and even love to the people who have made an impact on your life or profession:  a judge, teacher, or retiring colleague, or someone who has passed away.

You can donate any amount, and NCRF will send an acknowledgment to the family or individual.  For donations of $250 or more, an engraved brass plate will be added to the Thoughtful Tributes plaque, which is maintained in perpetuity at NCRA.  Your donations to this program are 100 percent tax deductible.  It’s a great gift, too!

For more information or to donate, contact B. J. Shorak, NCRF deputy executive director, by phone at 800-272-6272, ext. 126, or by email at

NCRF’s Legacy Society offers many benefits

The National Court Reporters Foundation offers NCRA members and other interested parties the opportunity to become part of its Legacy Society, a planned giving program. By including NCRF in their wills, many reporters have already taken this critical step to support the professions of court reporting and captioning.

Including charitable giving in a will offers many benefits, such as protecting assets, reducing estate taxes, and avoiding capital gains taxes. Becoming a part of NCRF’s Legacy Society may have important income or estate tax benefits. Here are a few of the ways to support NCRF through its Legacy Society.

  • Outright Gifts:   Outright gifts can be used immediately.  A gift of appreciated stock or mutual fund shares can be particularly advantageous from a tax standpoint since capital gains tax is avoided.
  • Bequests: A bequest to NCRF’s Legacy Society in a will allows a person to leave a particular asset, a percentage of an estate, or a portion of assets remaining after other specific bequests for family members have been made.  A bequest to NCRF’s Legacy Society is fully deductible for estate tax purposes.
  • Life Insurance:  Naming NCRF as the beneficiary of all or a portion of a life insurance policy is another option. Amounts left to NCRF are fully deductible for estate tax purposes.

Members of NCRF’s Legacy Society say there is a deep satisfaction of knowing that you’re returning something to a profession that has been good to you.

For more information, contact B.J. Shorak, NCRF’s Deputy Executive Director, at 800-272-6272, ext.126, or by email on

Wisconsin Association of Legal Professionals joins Ethics First

The Wisconsin Association of Legal Professionals has formally signed up as an Ethics First supporter, becoming the first association representing legal professionals to do so. NCRA’s Ethics First program was developed to recognize NCRA members who have made a commitment to abide by and promote the rules of the Code of Professional Ethics, particularly with regard to gift-giving.

Ethics First seeks to positively educate court reporters, firms, and clients that the impartiality and neutrality of the court reporter is of utmost importance in maintaining an unbiased legal system. Getting the word out to attorneys, legal staff, and other consumers of court reporting services about the perils of accepting free gifts from court reporting firms is also one of NCRA’s Ethics First task force’s charges.

At a meeting in April, WALP’s membership formally voted and unanimously agreed to support the precepts of Ethics First regarding incentive and excessive gift-giving. Even greater, the association proudly features the Ethics First logo on its website.

“We are extremely grateful and proud that an association representing so many individuals involved in the legal profession inside Wisconsin recognizes the potential ethical issues associated with incentive and excessive gift-giving,” says NCRA President Tami Smith Keenan, RPR, CPE. “I would like to personally thank the Wisconsin Association of Legal Professionals for making this commitment to promoting the Ethics First program and NCRA as a whole.”

“The Wisconsin Association for Legal Professionals is proud to be an Ethics First supporter,” says 2013-2014 WALP President Darla Stephenson, PP. “The members of WALP are bound by the same objectives and standards of conduct represented by the Ethics First program, and so the decision to become a supporter was an easy one.”

For more information on the Ethics First program, visit