Having been a court reporter for many years now, I have realized the importance of giving back and helping others pursue their dreams, as well as educating others about the court reporting profession. Through the years I have mentored many young court reporters, teaching them the skills necessary to produce an accurate transcript. Not only do reporters need to understand how to make the record, but attorneys are not taught the art of taking a deposition and how to work with a court reporter to ensure the best transcript is produced.
As far back as 1999 I was requested to speak before the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association during their Law Office Management & Technology seminar. It was a wonderful experience and it was extremely well-received. (You can read reviews of the court reporting presentation here and here.)
I found it amazing that so many of the intricacies of taking a deposition were not known by the young associates who had only taken a few depositions. Something as simple as refraining from speaking while the court reporter is marking an exhibit makes a tremendous difference in the accuracy of a deposition transcript.
Another privilege I had was speaking before a group of court reporting students who were enrolled at the Reporting Academy of Virginia. Although most of these students looked at me like deer in headlights, by the end of the presentation they were well-informed and ready to head out and report their first deposition. There are many scenarios that can and do occur while taking a deposition and the presentation was designed to help the court reporting students understand what to do when there is an interpreted deposition, when people speak at the same time, how to properly swear in a witness, etc.
Probably the best experience I have had giving back to the court reporting community was organizing in 2014, as the Vice President of the Greater Washington Shorthand Reporters Association, their annual convention. Although the work was tedious and extremely time-consuming, the event was a true success. The speakers I engaged for each seminar were thorough and informative and designed their presentations to cater to the court reporting industry.
Why do I write this, seemingly touting myself? I think it’s important that others do the same thing. In order for the court reporting profession to thrive, seasoned court reporters need to get out there and mentor young reporters and educate attorneys on what we do. Everyone can learn something new about how to make their job easier and how to achieve the most accurate deposition or trial transcript possible.