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  • 24 Oct 2019 9:55 AM | Christopher Reho (Administrator)

    “Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” I recently came across this quote by motivational speaker Les Brown. So why do we let our fears hold us back?

    For more years than I would care to admit, I knew I should focus more of my time towards improving my writing skills. While I would write realtime for myself every day, until recently I would become very anxious when sharing my screen with attorneys. At present, I dedicate a portion of every day towards learning new brief forms and adding them to my dictionary. It is astonishing how many words I continue to add to my CAT dictionary, but there is great satisfaction in setting a goal and getting closer and closer to reaching it.

    Perhaps your goal is to write at faster speeds with a higher translation rate? Our March 2020 convention keynote speaker will be Mark Kislingbury, who holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest court reporter by writing 360 words per minute with a 97.23 percent accuracy. Mark founded the Mark Kislingbury Academy of Court Reporting in Houston, Texas, in 2011; and, in addition to teaching, he also captions for a national political radio program. During his hands-on presentation, Mark will share his short-writing methods and speed-building techniques.

    Have you ever considered entering a speed contest or realtime contest? VCRA will be holding our first-ever speed contest during the convention and will be offering two separate tests, one consisting of a 280 WPM Q&A selection and a 225 WPM realtime selection.

    There is no better time than now to start planning your flapper dress or zoot suit from the Roaring ‘20s for our convention’s welcome reception extravaganza.

    But before we get to March and our next convention, VCRA has scheduled several software training events and town halls. The town halls will focus on the highlights of the bill for licensure, which includes a provision for apprenticeship licensure, and we are inviting the audience to ask questions and share your views. The Virginia General Assembly will begin their next legislative session on January 8, 2020. Times and locations of these events may be found on our VCRA website and Facebook page.

    Do you have an older steno machine sitting in your closet? Consider donating it to the VCRA loaner program. At present, there are two introduction to steno machine programs being offered, one by NCRA’s A to Z and one by Project Steno’s Basic Training. Over the past few months, numerous people have submitted applications to begin these programs, and there are waiting lists due to the shortage of available machines.

    Our strength remains in our numbers. The membership of VCRA has continued to grow over the past several years, and membership has almost doubled over the past five years. As your Board of Directors, we continue to explore the best ways we may serve you, our members, and we thank you for your continued support.

    VCRA offers programs such as mentorship and pro bono, and we encourage all members to become involved in your association. Don’t let you fears hold you back. The benefits of volunteering are enormous and very rewarding!

    With warm regards,

    Leslie Etheredge, RMR, CCR

    President, Virginia Court Reporters Association

  • 23 Sep 2019 5:11 PM | Christopher Reho (Administrator)

    Lynchburg, here we come! Our March 20-22, 2020, convention will be held at the beautiful location of The Virginian Hotel in Lynchburg, Virginia. The year will be 2020, and our convention’s theme is The Roaring ‘20s. This will be a wonderful time for us to reflect on the past and future of court reporting. VCRA is now in the process of securing speakers and planning events for our convention, and it is shaping up to be a convention with many new speakers mixed in with some old favorites.

    Recently, during a discussion with a potential speaker for our convention, I was asked to describe the certification requirements in Virginia for a practicing court reporter. As our members know, literally anyone can hold himself or herself out to be a court reporter. At present, our Code of Virginia is silent with regard to who may practice as a court reporter in our commonwealth. This particular convention presenter lives in a state where there is mandatory certification and was astounded to learn Virginia does not have any requirements in place for court reporters.

    On the same day, another conversation, I was asked the question, “Why do you even care about licensure?” I have given much thought to this question. Why should we care if court reporters are certified and licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia? The answer to why is state certification ensures a standard of competence to protect the consumer. Court reporters are responsible for protecting the record for all parties. The work of court reporters is of critical importance in the production of accurate and timely recording and transcriptions of proceedings. The public should be able to rely on the fact that their court reporter has attained the necessary skill levels of proficiency and competency.

    The Board of Directors of VCRA will be holding a series of town halls beginning in the fall so we may share the provisions of the proposed bill for licensure, and we will be available to answer questions.

    VCRA is planning on once again appearing as an exhibitor in Hampton at the 2019 Virginia School Counselor Association Conference. The dates are October 16-18, 2019. Many court reporters volunteered their time last year to promote our profession, and all who did so expressed this was a rewarding experience for them. Volunteers demonstrated their writing skills and shared information about court reporting with the school counselors.

    Stay tuned as we make announcements of the dates and locations of our planned town halls, meet-and-greet socials and fundraising events; and please let us know if you are able to participate in October in Hampton or perhaps teach an A-to-Z class.

    The Board of Directors of VCRA appreciates the support of our members and sponsors. We arededicated to promoting the profession of court reporting and the general welfare and mutual professional interests of Virginia's freelance and official court reporters.

    Warm Regards,

    Leslie Etheredge, RMR, CCR

    VCRA President


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