President's Message

 
When I first became a VCRA board member almost 10 years ago, I could not have imagined the difficult issues facing us today in the court reporting field.

When I first became a VCRA board member almost 10 years ago, I could not have imagined the difficult issues facing us today in the court reporting field.

 

Over the past year, as President of VCRA, I have referred to our bylaws many times. I would like to share with you our foundation, our purpose.

“To be responsible for leadership and enlightenment of stenographic and stenomask reporters and the public within the Commonwealth of Virginia regarding the skilled competency, importance, and value of stenographic and stenomask reporters, and to promote these reporting technologies by the use of symbols, manually or by stenographic machine, over alternative reporting methods.”

What does this mean? It means exactly what it says. VCRA’s purpose and foundation is stenographic and stenomask reporters.

As per our bylaws’ purpose of leading us to be skilled and competent court reporters, VCRA is in the process of seeking licensure from our General Assembly. Our bill will be introduced in January 2020. The bill ensures a standard of competence of court reporters in order to protect the consumer.

If you want to present yourself as a court reporter, then you need to be the individual responsible for the transcript. Period. End of story.

When choosing to use a scopist or proofreader to assist in the preparation of transcripts, it is my name attached to the title page and certification page, and I am the one held responsible for the content in the transcript.

When I was recently in court and sworn in as the court reporter at the beginning of the hearing, I listened carefully to the words. The oath was as follows: “Do you swear or affirm that you will take down and accurately transcribe the proceedings faithfully and accurately to the best of your ability?” Without question, my response was yes.

How can an individual respond in the affirmative when they will never transcribe the proceedings or review the transcript? How can a transcriber certify a transcript? These are just a few of many things that could be answered through a licensure program.

We know many of you have questions about the proposed bill. Your board is here and wants to help everyone understand what licensure will and will not do.

VCRA is planning a series of town halls across the state where we can meet with our members and answer your questions.

Every single member on our board is a working full-time reporter, and we come from a variety of backgrounds and work in different areas of court reporting, and your entire board supports licensure, and we believe it is more important now than ever.

But, at the end of the day, your board of 14 people cannot do this alone. Reporters and attorneys are already sharing the importance of licensure within the legal community, and we receive more support every day.

As VCRA moves forward with advocating for licensure and protecting the record for all parties, we welcome your participation. I will close with an old African proverb. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

Warm Regards,
Leslie Etheredge, RMR, CCR
VCRA President
president@vcra.net

 
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