STATE ASSOCIATIONS: Wisconsin court reporters rally to keep officials’ funding in budget

Wisconsin court reporters rally to keep officials’ funding in budget

In July, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker approved the state’s 2015-2017 budget, and, thanks in part to the efforts of the Wisconsin Court Reporters Association, help from NCRA’s legislative team, and Wisconsin Rep. John Nygren and Sen. Alberta Darling, who are part of the state’s Joint Finance Committee, changes that would have adversely affected court reporters were corrected.

“While I had attended NCRA’s Legislative Boot Camp twice and had learned about how to get a bill passed and through the legislation process, I did not know much about the budget process itself,” said Karla Sommer, RMR, CRR, CBC, of Wausau, Wis., president of the Wisconsin Court Reporters Association, who spearheaded the efforts in Wisconsin. “With the help of NCRA’s Government Relations team and our WCRA lobbyist, I was able to communicate the necessary information to our members. I learned the importance of having a strong and active board of directors, as well as the importance of employing a lobbyist in your own state who is familiar with the makeup of your own state legislators and can guide you based on that information. I learned that communication with your members is key. They want to help out and do what they can, but it is imperative to have a well-organized plan.”

The plan was for Sommer to keep the state’s reporters informed of the plans as the legislation moved through the House and Senate committees. The first draft of the budget did not include a way to pay court reporters. Although the governor’s office assured constituents that this was an oversight and would be fixed in the final budget, the Wisconsin court system and individual reporters worked to ensure that this would happen. Even the state’s Supreme Court Chief Justice, Shirley Abrahamson, spoke to the committee about the oversight, as well as other recommended changes to the budget.

The Wisconsin Court Reporters Association had representatives speak about the issues affecting the court reporters at the public budget meetings held throughout the state. Sheri Piontek and Karla Sommer presented testimony in Brillion, Wis. Milwaukee County Chief Judge Kremers spoke on court reporters’ behalf during the meeting in Milwaukee. Mary Burzysnki and District 10 Court Administrator Kristina Aschenbrenner offered their thoughts on the budget during the Rice Lake, Wis., meeting and Lindsay DeWaide, Patrick Weishan, and Dane County Judge David Flanagan supported the changes in the meeting at Reedsburg, Wis.

“We worked with our lobbyist, Bob Jentz, our attorney, Jordan Lamb, as well as Adam Finkel and Dave Wenhold from the NCRA Government Relations team to develop a plan,” said Sommer. “It was important that we band together and coordinate our efforts as well as rally support from judges, attorneys, and local bar associations.”

The association also worked with its members to contact Wisconsin legislators about the issues, engaging in grassroots efforts lobbying on behalf of official court reporters. However, as Sommer pointed out, “This issue affects all court reporters in the state because if officials’ positions are not maintained, they would likely seek freelance work, which would then affect the business of freelance reporters. That’s why we worked hard to get everyone’s help.”

In April, the Joint Finance Committee voted to delete the original provision and maintain funding and position authority for court reporters under the Circuit Court’s general program operations sum sufficient appropriation. Knowing that this was just one stop on the journey to a final budget, Sommer stayed in contact with Wisconsin court reporters to keep the resolution intact through the rest of the process. Many reporters, attorneys, and judges were asked to write letters to support keeping official court reporters’ positions funding in the budget.
Representative John Nygren from Marinette, co-chair of the Joint Committee on Finance, was instrumental in the success of the budget’s final form, says Sommer. But she also said: “I believe the letters by the judges and attorneys in support of court reporters, as well their verbal support at Joint Finance Committee meetings, reinforced the importance of the role that court reporters play in the judicial system.”


PROFILE: Donna L. Linton, RMR

Currently resides in: Ashburn, Va.

Position: Freelance Court Reporter/Agency Owner

Member since: 1984

Graduated from: Herkimer County Community College, Herkimer, N.Y.

Theory: Stenograph

How did you learn about the career?

While in high school, I wanted to go to nursing school for half the day in what they called BOCES, like a trade school, but my guidance counselor encouraged me to find a career utilizing typing, Gregg shorthand, and English skills, which were my strong points. And then here is the unique part of the story. Let’s just say a close relative was wrongfully accused of committing a crime, thought about what my guidance counselor was pointing out, had observed some of those court reporting invoices, and suggested I might look into being a court reporter. I had no idea what it was. I thought I’d be writing newspaper reports and drawing caricature drawings for press releases. So I was quite surprised to be handed a weird-looking machine and a pad of paper.

What has been your best work experience so far in your career?

There have been so many. Just getting asked back to any case I worked on makes me feel like that was my best work experience. I would say being able to report The White House Preservation Committee Meetings in which the First Lady is always chair was a highlight, circa Hillary Rodham Clinton.

What was your biggest hurdle to overcome as a new reporter, and how did you do so?

Traveling all over to the little municipal courts on Long Island. At night, lawyers would become judges, and we would be working on that docket until 2 a.m. sometimes. The bottom of my old Gremlin literally fell out of the car on my way to one assignment, so I had to call a taxi to take me the rest of the way and have someone pick me up at midnight. So getting a new car was how I overcame that hurdle.

What are you most proud of in your career?

Actually, providing CART. Writing for hearing-impaired or deaf recipients is the most rewarding thing I have done. They are so over-the-top appreciative. Even if a word doesn’t translate properly, they tell me it’s more than they ever get with even lip reading or sign language. I am very proud to be volunteering in church to help parishioners, and I was a bit nervous to do it because it is so different from litigation writing. Now I can’t imagine not being there for them.

What advice or tips would you offer to new reporters?

I have so much advice. Keep your poker face on. No emotions. Another is to attend your state annual convention and NCRA annual convention. The boost of confidence and networking that being with your fellow reporters gives you, as well as gaining advice on ‘how-to’ or venting, is more valuable than you can imagine and worth every dime. If you are going to take any certification test or your RPR, for example, don’t take a break! Life happens. Just keep practicing. If you really want it, you will get it.

Did you overcome a challenge in your career?

Can you believe I resisted the computer? I would dictate into a reel-to-reel Stenorette machine, and a typist would type multiple copy transcripts with carbon paper. Even though five years prior I learned the first computer-compatible theory and even changed some of the writing to avoid conflicts on my own, I still resisted change. Embracing change was the hardest thing to overcome. It’s much easier to embrace it.

Have you accomplished something not related to your career that you would like to relate?

I recently watched all the Harry Potter movies with my daughter before she left for college. I also took an 8-mile-long hike up my first very difficult mountain – it’s called Old Rag in the Shenandoah Valley. I’m not a big fan of heights, but I did it!

Favorite tip:

I always seemed to be better writing everything out if a brief didn’t stick with me in school. As technology progressed to realtime translation, there were too many risks of writing it all out and having untranslates. When briefing on the fly, I just use the first syllable of the word or name, and hit it twice, then define it as soon as I can.

The last page: On-the-job laughing


One at a time
Q. Now, on the big screen in the room, there is another column displayed.
MS. JONES: And, Your Honor, just for the record, are you able to see the screen well?
THE WITNESS: Yes, I can.
MS. JONES: No. Judge Doe.
THE COURT: I can see it.
MS. JONES: Okay.
Q. And Witness, you can also see that as well?
A. Yes. And sorry for answering for the judge.
Elsa Jorgensen
Birmingham, Mich.

Context prevails
A. Can I go back up and explain my answer now on line 7?
On top of page 94, as we were having this discussion, we were talking about a group. And when I answered on line when you asked on line 1 of page 94, you said: “Okay. You weren’t looking at the work progress schedule?” And I said: “Correct.”
I answered that in the context that you and you were using “you” and “y’all” interchangeably and
Q. But today
A. Hold on.
Q. you clearly testified that you did look at the work progress schedule.
A. Yeah, and I said that here that I looked at the work progress schedule.
MR. SMITH: In Texas, “you” is you. And if you mean everybody, you say “y’all.” But if you really want to include everybody, it’s “all y’all.”
THE WITNESS: Okay. Somebody bought me a book of Texas lingo, so I should bring that next time.
Denyce Sanders, RDR, CRR
Houston, Texas

Adjective or adverb
A. If I saw the evidence and it said that, it would not absolutely surprise me.
Q. Well, would it partially surprise you? You said it would not absolutely surprise you.
A. I’ll delete the adjective.
Q. Okay, adverb.
A. Adverb, sorry. I’m not an English major.
Laurie Collins, RPR
Brooklyn, N.Y.
Unique identifiers
The following exchange happened in court during a criminal trial of a drug dealer:
Q. Do you see Mr. Brown in the courtroom today?
A. Yes.
Q. Can you tell us where he’s sitting and what he’s wearing?
MR. JOHNSON: We’ll stipulate.
THE COURT: Stipulated.
THE WITNESS: He’s wearing a blue tie.
MR. MITCHELL: Thank you. Now —
THE COURT: So am I, by the way.
Q. Would you agree that the gentleman on your right with the black robe on is not Mr. Charles Brown?
A. Yes, he’s not Charles Brown.
Q. Okay. Fair enough.
Judy Walsh, RDR, CRR, CCP
Chicago, Ill.

Answer or do not answer
Q. And who are the people in the business that you’ve talked to about this business?
A. Lots of other business owners.
Q. For instance?
A. That have been in the business for longer than I have.
Q. Okay. For instance?
A. I’m not going to name names.
Q. Why not?
A. ‘Cause I — I don’t feel comfortable doing that.
Q. Well, I’m trying to find out what your basis of your training is. So you’ve mentioned other people in the business as part of a basis of your training and experience, so I’m inquiring as to who.
A. Lots of different people.
Q. Okay. Who would be the most influential?
A. Again, I don’t feel comfortable stating who it is.
Q. I’m not here for your comfort. I’m here to ask questions.
MR. JONES: Let’s take a break.
Jeni Bartel, RPR
La Mesa, Calif.
Smart alecks are all alike
MR. ADAMS: Nothing further. Thank you.
THE WITNESS: All right.
MS. SMITH: Thank you, Doctor.
MR. ADAMS: Doctor, I’ve paid you for two hours. What I would like you to do, since we still have 45 minutes —
THE WITNESS: Shine your shoes?
MR. ADAMS: — is when you get the deposition, I would like you to read it and sign it, so I can use that as your report, if you would do that for me.

Terri L. Huseth, RPR
Overland Park, Kan.

Premeditated accidents
This is from a deposition about a car accident where there were eight people in a seven-passenger van.
Q. Did you know if she had her seatbelt on?
A. No, but she told me later, “If I know accident will happen, then I would wear the seatbelt.”
Rosemary MacDonald, RPR
Calgary, Alberta

Preparation guide for flawless realtime output

As a realtime writer, how important is preparing for a job to your routine. The JCR asked several reporters.

Reporting a deposition or other event in realtime doesn’t need to add stress to your day. Knowing your software and its shortcuts, having a plan, and being prepared for the topics you hear will go a long way to helping you provide flawless realtime on the job.

Know your software

Several reporters interviewed by the JCR said the first step to being prepared is to know your software.

“Our CAT vendors have provided us with a large number of tools to not only prepare for realtime jobs but, more importantly, on-the-fly correct your realtime feed from your writer using macros, realtime commands, speaker fields, etc.,” said Sandy VanderPol, RMR, CRR, a freelancer from Lotus, Calif. VanderPol, who also holds NCRA’s Realtime Systems Administrator credential, noted that this is the single most important piece of advice she could share.

“Be familiar with your CAT software capabilities and let your software work for you. My software has options to power define entries from the writer. Whenever you can keep your hands on the writer and add entries, it gives you just that extra bit of time to do things quickly and make your feed even more clean on the fly,” said Lynette L. Mueller, RDR, CRR, a court reporter in Johns Creek, Ga. “My software also has AccelerWriters dictionary entries to J-define words, delete last untranslate, define the last untranslate, delete an extra Q and A, fix a translated word, and much more!”

Many of the software companies offer specific training on these features. They also work through various associations to help court reporters better use their products. And it pays off for reporters. Many of the CAT products can now offer users the ability to define a stroke after the fact, suggest strokes, or fix or delete untranslates – all of which create a smoother product for your clients.

“I always learn as much about my software as I can,” said Marjorie Peters, RMR, CRR, also credentialed as a Realtime Systems Administrator, a reporter from Pittsburgh, Pa. She noted that the CAT software features are like “very powerful tools that can ease my work (and mind) as I write to help me provide the cleanest translation. Even if I do receive a Complaint or find information about the witness, unanticipated phrases, terms, and number sequences will crop up in a deposition, only to be repeated multiple times. [Case CATalyst’s] Brief It and Live Suggestion come to my aid every single time.”

Know your system 

The reporters also said that knowing your system inside and out will save you valuable time if you do encounter problems. For Peters, prepping for a realtime job “involves two distinct elements: the tools and the writing. When I know the realtime equipment setup that I will be using inside and out, I can walk into a deposition suite calmly and confidently. That removes stress. If there is any troubleshooting that has to be done, I can be more focused on finding the resolution and will do so quickly because I am already confident that my realtime equipment is set up properly.”

Peters explained that her need to get problems fixed quickly comes from her days working as a broadcast and CART captioner. “In broadcast captioning, we have to record the actual time spent resolving a technical issue and then file a written report,” said Peters. But, she noted, the same kind of knowledge can help in court, depositions, or any other situation you find yourself in.

“I practice setting up using different schemes: Internet-delivered realtime streaming or local wireless stream; netbooks vs. iPads, or both; and then all of the above, wirelessly streaming locally and over the Internet at the same time,” said Peters. “I want to always be ready to send a stream to someone who is not in the room. Many times an attorney taking a deposition will ask whether realtime can be sent to his colleague back at the law firm. It’s an excellent tool in that scenario as well as for someone participating by conference call to view the realtime stream. It reinforces the value that I can bring to the client as a proficient realtime writer.

“When I practice and prepare both my hardware/software and writing, I am more relaxed and write at peak performance,” said Peters.

VanderPol feels that preparation is constant, referring to a job she took recently: “Just today, I spent about two hours preparing for a LiveDeposition realtime, audio, and video feed. I have a new computer and haven’t worked with LiveDeposition streaming for several months, so testing the technology on my end and with the client was a necessity to ensure client satisfaction and for my peace of mind.”

Update your dictionary

Reporters still rely on word lists and the notice or prior transcript to get a sense of the vocabulary, although many of them also said they would go a search for the deponent on Google.

“I am always adding in dictionary entries,” said Lesia Mervin, RMR, CRR, of Visalia, Calif. “Recently, I had a realtime criminal proceeding with 30 defendants and 30 attorneys and their Hmong and Laotian interpreters. I got the docket ahead of time and then I made briefs for every defendant using the first syllable of their names written twice and each attorney with the first syllable of their first or last name.

“I also do a lot of international conference captioning that requires speaker ID for 125 countries in case they speak,” Mervin continued. “I spend a great deal of time perusing the conference website, looking for documents and prior sessions, inputting names and possible terms, making sure I have all the country names with brief forms and also written out.”

Most of the reporters said that dictionary building is a continuous process. “It’s not just the individual job you’re prepping for, but general knowledge and dictionary entries of words in case they come up,” said Mervin.

As a federal official reporter, Cathy Pepper, RMR, CRR, of New Orleans, La., looks at whatever information is available. “If it is criminal matters and I am just handed a cover sheet with names and numbers of cases, I hurriedly make briefs for the defendants’ names and their attorney’s names,” she said. “If it is a civil oral argument, I look at the relevant briefs and skim through them looking for words or phrases of what they will be discussing and make briefs for that, along with making briefs for the plaintiff’s and defendant’s name as well as the attorneys’ names. If it is a civil trial, I will get a copy of the Pretrial Memorandum and make briefs for commonly occurring words and phrases concerning the case, the parties’ and witnesses’ names, and the attorneys’ names.

“I skim through documents in the case and pick out what I think they will be discussing and make briefs ahead of time so that I can write shorter and faster,” Pepper explained.

“Realtime has become such a constant for me personally in that I connect to my iPad with every job,” said Debra A. Levinson, RMR, CRR, CMRS, CRI, CEO of DALCO Reporting, Inc., based in New York and White Plains, N.Y. “The day-before prep has really become nonexistent for me. Others on our staff who do not follow this routine will run through a set-up the day before: I always Google search a deponent for a realtime deposition regardless of being provided with a word list or notice or prior transcript. I read a few URLs and jot down some words on a Microsoft Sticky Note the night before. At the job, I stroke out any case specific names or words available. Invariably, the parties will talk about topics other than what I’ve prepared for, so I’m ready to make appropriate briefs for words or phrases that are used repetitively.”

Even so, Levinson doesn’t skimp on the basics: She said she makes sure to arrive early, properly fed, and with a positive mindset. “And a supply of snacks!” she said. “I never lunch out and am prepared to work through every single recess short of comfort breaks.”

Final words of advice

“My realtime goal is to always strive for 99.8 percent translation rate on every job,” said Mueller. “The prep work is essential to maintain or exceed that goal. My writing is constantly evolving. Writing short is paramount to the success of my translation rate, for keeping up with the fast talkers and, also, being kind to my body — specifically my back and hands.”

“Do realtime every time so stress does not become the underlying component of a job. There are always variables to factor in, so go easy on yourself and accept that realtime is transparent and not picture-perfect,” said Levinson. Making realtime the norm instead of the exception will mean that you are always (mostly) prepared, no matter what is thrown at you on the job.

“I love when they say a name and it comes out spelled correctly,” said Pepper. “I love the time and stress it saves me by knowing that names will come out every time I write them. I think it really makes me look absolutely marvelous.”

When asked what the pay-off was for prepping, Mervin said, “Good, clean realtime. Spend the time. It pays off in a big way.”

“We all prepare in different ways, that’s for sure,” said VanderPol. “But the bottom line is: Prepare until you feel comfortable and relaxed about reporting your assignment.”

A few pro realtime preparation tips

By Sandy VanderPol

·       Always arrive at least 45 minutes prior to the deposition.

·       If you can, ask for a caption (if you don’t already have it), and create dictionary entries of proper names, unfamiliar terms, and phrases.

·       If providing a realtime feed, set up equipment immediately and test your realtime feed. Always do this first. Your client expects to have a successful hookup to their reporter.

·       If you are working for a firm, request the caption ahead of time and a case word list. Read over these prior to the deposition to gain familiarity with the terminology.

·       If, for instance, the deposition is centered on a specific topic, such as groundwater contamination, use your favorite Internet search to learn more about that topic. You will be amazed at what you will find. (You don’t have to enter every word into your dictionary – familiarization is usually sufficient.)

·       If you are working on a case reporting multiple depositions, maintaining your case dictionary and speaker identification saves time in preparation going forward. I’ve got my “CAT scratch” global entries available and review them before each deposition, along with my case dictionary.

·       Oh, and I never forget to have a cup or two of coffee! Get plenty of sleep and smile. Seriously, being relaxed, alert, and full of energy, after appropriate realtime preparation, is the recipe to success on your realtime job.

Sandy VanderPol, RMR, CRR, a freelancer from Lotus, Calif. VanderPol also holds NCRA’s Realtime Systems Administrator credential.

How to troubleshoot your system

By Marjorie Peters

Never troubleshoot haphazardly. Remember that our realtime feed is an electronic one-way street that starts at the writer, through the realtime laptop, where the router or other sending device is located, and then finally out to the attorney iPads and netbooks. Start troubleshooting at the source, and move outward in an organized way. Does the realtime feed leave the steno machine and reach the reporter’s laptop? Is the router still connected? Does one iPad have a feed, but another does not? Are the iPads connected and receiving, but the netbooks are not?

When I am testing, I try to anticipate what kind of problems could occur that may interrupt my realtime feed and then, of course, what I will do to resolve that as quickly as possible. Professional athletes, concert musicians, and Oscar-winning actors practice technique to hone their craft. They perform drills over and over. Their practice creates muscle memory. Because of this, their performance seems effortless as well as flawless. Their bodies automatically know what they are going to do under pressure and will evade the tackle, hit the high note, and convince us as we watch. As court reporters, we do this when we practice writing, make entries, learn terms and names, and commit to know our troubleshooting plans.

Create a plan for your troubleshooting ahead of time, and your clients will see your confidence on the day when you do have to troubleshoot, and you will again demonstrate your value and gain a loyal customer. They depend on us for this.

Marjorie Peters, RMR, CRR, is a reporter from Pittsburgh, Pa. She is also credentialed as a Realtime Systems Administrator.

New Professionals: Tips from the pros

By Annemarie Roketenetz

It’s not uncommon for new professionals in any field to face anxieties when starting out in their chosen career. This is especially true for those entering the court reporting and captioning professions, whether it’s a new internship or a new job.

But take heed, newbies. According to the pros, the three major concerns when starting a new position typically involve first impressions, working with others, and making a lasting, positive impression. And there are numerous ways to deal each of them.

According to Kevin Hunt, a freelance reporter and owner of Jack W. Hunt & Associates in Buffalo, N.Y., a first impression can make the difference between landing a job or being shown the door, regardless of how well someone writes. “When a reporter goes to a job, they’re representing the reporting firm as a whole, and if their clothes are inappropriate or they are not well-groomed, that’s probably not the image the firm wishes to present. That goes for not just the visual impression, but the auditory and olfactory impressions as well.”

NCRF Chair Jan Ballman, RMR, CMRS, owner of Paradigm Reporting & Captioning in Minneapolis, Minn., agrees that first impressions are instant. “Whether it’s fair or unfair, we are judged based on how we appear and whether we have our act together. You should be mistaken for counsel, not the witness,” she said. “If you come screeching through the conference room door for a deposition stressed out, in a huff, in a sweat, or otherwise agitated — whether because of traffic, or your GPS sent you on a wild goose chase, or your infant spit up on your shoulder just as you were leaving, or you had to turn back for your power cords — be assured of two things: First, counsel won’t care why you’re late; and, you’ve just started the day in a deficit when it comes to making a good impression.”

Ballman also stresses that the best and easiest way to create a good first impression is to look great, not average and not just good. “Look like you made an effort and that you belong in a room filled with highly educated professionals,” she advises.

In addition to looking professional, acting professional is also important in making a first positive impression. “I feel the most important part of making a good impression is arriving early, being friendly, having a good attitude, and being organized,” says Shelly Hunter, RPR, CRR, owner of Hunter & Geist, Denver, Colo. “As we all know, depositions are often stressful environments. Having someone in the room that is neutral to all parties and that can remain friendly in the midst of chaos can be a game changer. If a deposition is not going so well for a client, the last thing they want is a court reporter with a bad attitude.”

Don’t let your good impression down once you have established it. According to the pros, be sure to take the time to know the firm you plan to work with and understand its culture both in terms of employment and services offered.

In addition, be sure the work you produce is of high quality in terms of accuracy, readability, and usability. Hunt advises having a conversation with the transcript when proofreading. “The ultimate consumer of your service will not know how beautifully you wrote when they were speaking at 300 words per minute, they won’t know how skillfully you navigated the software used to translate, edit, and print the transcript; they will only make a determination of your skill as a reporter through the final presentation of the transcript. What are the attorneys and witness trying to verbally describe? If you don’t understand something, ask. In brief, if you want to know how your clients will judge you, remember this phrase: ‘It’s the transcript, dummy!’”

To help ensure an accurate transcript, new reporters should also not be afraid to interrupt the person who is speaking if they cannot understand what is being said. “I stress to my reporters that you must interrupt and you cannot rely on your audio sync,” says Hunter. “I stress that it is the reporter’s job to interrupt and get a good record.”

Ballman agrees. “As with anything else in life, it’s all about phraseology, phraseology, phraseology. If you can’t hear, you have no choice but to interrupt. It’s all about how you interrupt,” she says. “Think about how you would like to be interrupted if you were deep in thought and delivering a very important point in front of an audience, then practice doing that so it comes naturally when you have to interrupt attorneys in mid-sentence or mid-thought.”

According to the pros, maintaining lasting good impressions also takes work, and new reporters should make it a habit to keep positive attitudes both on and off the job, be helpful to others, and learn to be unflappable in the face of all things in the world of court reporting. “It’s not just a matter of doing a great job once and then being recognized for it; it’s a matter of doing an impeccable job consistently, over and over and over again,” says Ballman. “That’s how you set yourself apart.”

Hunter also advises that new reporters make it a habit to arrive early at jobs to ensure enough time to address any issues that might arise. “You may have forgotten something in your car. You may have trouble with your equipment. You may have gone to the wrong location. Being early allows you extra time to deal with situations that happen to all of us. You have extra time to add entries to your dictionary from the notice or the caption. Arriving early also allows you time to get acquainted with counsels who might have arrived early, as well. And most importantly, as a new reporter, arriving early will give you time to calm your nerves. There is a confidence attorneys have when they know the court reporter is set up ready to go and it is still 20 or 25 minutes before the deposition is to begin,” she says.

“New situations constantly arise, and as a professional court reporter, it is necessary for each of us to be aware of the guidelines that NCRA provides to assist us in acting ethically and professionally,” Friend continues. “While these guidelines from the Committee on Professional Ethics cannot envision every possible situation, they give a framework for all reporters – whether new or seasoned – on how to act appropriately, professionally, and without favoritism to any party in a case,” Friend advises.New professionals also need to ready for any situation that might arise and remain calm. One way is to be prepared, says Doug Friend, RDR, CRR, with Beouvich, Walter & Friend, Portland, Ore.: “Working as a new reporter can be stressful! Here you are on a deposition or in court, and there is no one to hold your hand, so it’s important to be prepared.

NCRA’s Code of Professional Ethics can be found at

Annemarie Roketenetz is NCRA’s Assistant Director of Communications. She can be reached at


Developed in coordination with the Corrinne Clark Professionalism Institute

The Corrinne Clark Professionalism Institute, NCRF’s newest initiative, officially launched at the 2015 NCRA Convention & Expo. It was developed to educate court reporting students and new professionals about professionalism, branding, and building a successful career. NCRF will be developing materials, such as seminars and articles, for dissemination for court reporting students and new professionals throughout their careers.

The Corrinne Clark Professionalism Institute was created to honor Clark’s lifelong passion for journalism and education, as well as her love of the court reporting profession. Corrinne Clark is the wife of Robert H. Clark, for whom the NCRF library is named.