We’ve all heard of stenographers — those dedicated professionals that preserve what’s said in court, legal proceedings, or help caption for classrooms and TV.
The New York State Court Reporters Association hosted a Bagels, Lox & Camaraderie event at the Jewish Children’s Museum on February 17, 2019 to celebrate Court Reporting & Captioning week.
There was a social hour where guests filtered in and a kosher buffet of food was offered from 5 to 6. Vendors lined the room from various reporting agencies and court reporting schools, such as Plaza College and TTI. The event then began with a call from NYSCRA’s president, Nancy Silberger, for all nonmember court reporters to seriously consider membership, and all non reporters in attendance to seriously consider a career in this lucrative and growing profession.
Soon the stage was taken by one of the court reporting community’s accomplished career women, Eastern District Court Reporter Rivka Teich. Ms. Teich urged the audience to identify the rock star within themselves and reaffirmed the importance of setting goals and sticking to them. Rivka reminded us all that stenography and court reporting is a wonderful field with a lot of opportunity and important responsibility. The audience erupted into applause as she ended the speech with a note about how important it was to surround ourselves with intelligent people and always keep learning.
Next up, Court Reporting Company Owner Deb Levinson, the owner DALCO Reporting, talked about the incredible merit behind court reporters’ certification. Ms. Levinson gave us some ideas about her rich history in the field and the need for bright and motivated people to join the court reporting field and seek out certifications. Court reporters in the audience were reminded that holding a prestigious NYSCRA certification would allow jobseekers to obtain employment with the New York Court Unified Court System provisionally without taking a test, and encouraged all of the audience members considering a career in court reporting to distinguish themselves through testing.
Finally, as the introductory period came to a close, CART provider Joshua Edwards reminded the audience that it was important to step out of our comfort zone and stay fearless. He shared some pretty shaky times in his life, like his initial move to New York, and challenged the audience to be fearless in their court reporting work and professional development.
Jane Sackheim of Diamond Reporting, one of the major sponsors of the event, then commented on the importance of court reporters to fulfilling the needs of lawyers and other clients. Ms. Sackheim commented that there was a constant balancing act to running an agency and that court reporters will always be needed.
The night broke off into three sessions. Two sessions were dedicated to the stenographer softwares CaseCAT and Eclipse. The CaseCAT session was headed up by Certified Training Agent Anthony Frisolone, who gave valuable insight into CaseCAT version 20, set to launch later this month. Another session was headed by Certified Trainer Vera Monaco, who taught the audience “Things You Should Know About Eclipse But Don’t”. These sessions were important to continuing the education and sharpening the skills of stenographers in the field, and served as important reminders that we can always learn more.
Concurrently there was a Q&A panel with representatives from all over the community and reporting field. Questions were asked by the audience and answered by Ricky Woonteiler, CART provider; Nicole Kochy, a captioner; Nancy Silberger, an official court reporter with the New York State Courts; and Sharon Pearce, a freelance court reporter. The session was moderated by Reid Goldsmith, a retired court reporter and working educator. The audience asked important questions: How long does it take to get out of school? Two to three years. But one panelist noted it could be done in as little as 18 months! One participant asked: How do we find a niche in the field? Panelists noted that in reporting education there is an internship to prepare reporters for the working world and that everyone should feel comfortable experimenting and finding their place in the world. Some love to travel, some love a steady job at court, and some love providing a valuable service to the deaf through captioning. There were a lot of options all centered around taking down words on a stenotype!
The night ended with a large cash prize being won by Rochel Wolvovsky. Overall, the NYSCRA event at the Jewish Children’s Museum was a massive reminder that there’s a lucrative and important career out there for anyone that seeks training to become a stenographer. There are resources available for people to learn about stenography, such as the National Court Reporters Association’s (NCRA) A to Z program, and resources developed by community members at OpenSteno.org. From the court reporters and freelancers that serve the legal field, to the captioners and CART providers that use stenography to assist the deaf and hard of hearing, everyone got a chance to share important perspectives and experiences. It was a night to remember, and a beautiful showcase of the work that stenographers do.