President's Message

Recently, after the conclusion of a deposition, the witness stated, “Wow, you still write on that little machine? That certainly is antiquated technology.” 

The Virginia Court Reporters Association continues to explore other ways we can promote court reporting, but we need the assistance of more reporters.


I must admit, I was shocked at her comments. I thought to myself I should explain to this person all about how our little machine works, how many words a minute I can write and how our shorthand system is based on a combination of brief forms and phonetics. Does this person realize court reporters use this little machine in order to make it possible for others to follow along in realtime on a computer screen or television, and it could be legal proceedings, captioning, church program, college class or many other various types of matters? I should have said all these things and much more, but I simply said, “Well, that was insulting.” End of conversation.

I have thought about how I could have handled this encounter differently many times over the past month. What is the definition of antiquated? According to the dictionary of Merriam- Webster, the adjective antiquated means outmoded or discredited by reason of age. My first thought was how dare anyone think such a thing about my profession?

There is a scene in the movie Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, which is set in the year 2293, and there is an announcement over the ship’s intercom system. The page begins “Now hear this. Now hear this. Court reporter to sick bay. Code Blue. Urgent. Statements to be taken at once. ”

How exciting to think 275 years from now, there will still be court reporters and we will still be called upon to report the spoken word. But this is a movie, and none of us have a crystal ball to see what the future of court reporting will look like in the future. VCRA is a nonprofit Virginia corporation dedicated to promoting the profession of court reporting and the general welfare and mutual professional interests of Virginia's freelance and official court reporters.

While VCRA continues to ask for your membership, you might be asking yourself what is VCRA doing to promote the profession of court reporting? Well, I have the answer for you.

During the months of January and February, members of VCRA appeared before and met with members of the General Assembly to request passage of the new anti-contracting law, which went into effect on July 1, 2018. There are several helpful references in our newsletter to help you better understand this law.

In February, we celebrated Court Reporting & Captioning Week by hosting two socials, one in Virginia Beach and one in Arlington.

At the beginning of March, VCRA traveled to Reston, Virginia, along with leaders from several state associations, in order to give our position statement on why NCRA should reverse their neutral stance regarding the issue of third-party contracting. VCRA also participated in a meeting two days later with the CEO of NCRA. In April, NCRA clarified their position and returned to their 1997 Policy in Support of Enactment of Anti-Contracting Laws or Regulations with the amendment to add language stating that NCRA will refrain from providing public testimony.

At the end of March, VCRA had our board meeting on Friday afternoon and then a court reporter social that evening in Richmond. Education Day was the next day at the Jepson Center at the University of Richmond. Our Education Day is a one-day conference where we offer continuing education credits.

In April, the newly-elected Board of Directors met for our first meeting in Richmond. We formed committees and planned events for the coming year. Certification is now moving to the forefront. We also have most of our speakers lined up for our next Education Day planned for March 23, 2019, again at the Jepson Center.

In June, the board met again in Richmond. In June and July, VCRA hosted more court reporter socials in the locations of Charlottesville, Roanoke and Manassas. Did I also mention there have been three A to Z classes, with four students having committed to a court reporting program, and more classes planned for the fall?

Now, as we are heading into August, members from VCRA will be attending the meeting of the National Committee of State Associations held in New Orleans the day before NCRA’s annual convention.

On September 22, VCRA will be attending the Career and Trade Fair at the Rust Library in Leesburg, Virginia.

From October 17 – 19, VCRA will appear as an exhibitor in Hampton at the 2018 Virginia School Counselor Association Conference. Are you a reporter who lives in the Hampton area and you would be willing to commit to a 2-hour shift during this conference? If the answer is yes, please send a message to Liz Phillips, our Executive Director.

The Virginia Court Reporters Association continues to explore other ways we can promote court reporting, but we need the assistance of more reporters. Every member on your Board of Directors is a volunteer and working court reporter. We are only as strong as our membership, and we can do great things when we all are working together. We are here because we love this profession and want to see it continue far, far into the future.

Warm Regards,
Leslie Etheredge, RMR, CCR
VCRA President

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