In the Spotlight

 Kimberley Neeson Neeson & Associates


Kimberley Neeson
Neeson & Associates

Kimberley A. Neeson, RPR-CRR-CSR-CCP-CBC
PresidentNeeson & Associates
Court Reporting and Captioning Inc.

Why did you decide to enter the court reporting profession? Close to completing my high school education, I was looking into various careers in law.  Unfortunately newly-called lawyers at that time (1980) were not being employed.  My aunt knew someone who was a court reporter, and I met her and thought that this might be a great career for me…and it certainly has been!

 

What is your favorite thing about being a court reporter? I love the fact that I am constantly learning new things – not only from a technology perspective as a still-working court reporter and firm owner, but also with regard to the type of cases I provide services to.  Additionally, I get to work with a lot of smart people – lawyers, judges, and business leaders – and a continual flow of learning is the result.

Were there any hurdles you had to overcome in your career? I think my biggest challenge is trying to do everything – be a top-rate court reporter, business owner, mother of two – and continue to look after myself.  Court reporting is a demanding job, and it can easily overtake your life in many ways, most especially time.  So I’ve found ways to conserve my time – but writing better, writing smarter, investing in good quality tools of our trade, always using a scopist/proofreader, and hiring people to help me do things around the house so that the time I do have outside of actual reporting can be devoted to other interests and people.

What advice would you give to new court reporters? Never close any doors.  Network as much as you can, because you never know where this profession can take you.  Be open to new opportunities, to meeting others in your profession, and to continually keeping abreast of what’s happening in our profession.

What was the strangest case you have worked on? Not really a strange case, but I’d say the most important case I’ve ever done is an inquiry into a wrongful conviction case that stemmed back to the late 1950s.  The name of the case is Stephen Truscott.  At the end of the process I participated in, he was found to be innocent.  He spent about half a century trying to prove his innocence, and one of the pivotal points of the inquiry was based on looking at the old trial transcripts.  They were of excellent quality and it again brought home to me how important our role is as guardian of the record!

What do you like to do outside of court reporting? I love to work out with my trainer, ski, snowshoe, golf, ride my bike, walk along the beach with my Great Dane, Tank, and to cook and entertain.

In the Spotlight

Johnson

Stenograph’s featured court reporter this month is Micheal A. Johnson, CSR (TX), CCR (LA), CRR, CLR Johnson Reporting Services.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO ENTER THE COURT REPORTING PROFESSION?
Upon my release from active duty in the Army, I decided I needed something to fill the time.  My wife was in reporting school at the time and so I gave it a shot.  Here I am 20+ years later.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT BEING A COURT REPORTER?  
The challenge of every job to be better than the last time.  And the travel.
WERE THERE ANY HURDLES YOU HAD TO OVERCOME IN YOUR CAREER? 
Professionally, yes.  After tort reform in Texas killed the med-mal business, I had to redirect my career in another direction.  We actually ended up moving out of the small town I grew up in and headed for the big city.  There I realized I was just one of many reporters and had to find a way to set myself apart from the masses.  At that point I began making as many conferences as possible and also obtaining as many certifications as I could.  Those two things alone have made the difference in my career between just being an overflow reporter and THE overflow reporter.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO NEW COURT REPORTERS?  
Be willing to say yes, even if you don’t feel comfortable doing so.  You never know what opportunities it may bring.
WHAT WAS THE STRANGEST CASE YOU HAVE WORKED ON? 
I don’t know about “strangest,” but definitely the most interesting are the trials being held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which I am on the team of reporters.  Certainly the most challenging job/case I’ve ever been a part of.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF COURT REPORTING? 
My life outside of reporting is consumed by two kids that are actively involved in sports.  It’s rare that I don’t have a weekend filled with either cheerleading competitions or baseball and football games.

In the Spotlight

MeanieWhy did you decide to enter the court reporting profession? 
As a high school junior, I was lucky enough to attend a presentation from a student at a nearby reporting school.  It sounded clerical and interesting.  My high school then offered machine shorthand as an option when I was a senior, I saw my aptitude, and pursued full-time reporting school immediately after high school graduation.

What is your favorite thing about being a court reporter?   
It’s hard to think of a favorite thing.  I like the variety of subjects I learn, the variety of people I work with, the variety of places I report, the variety of scenarios that benefit from a verbatim record.  I like the way my machine feels – when it’s behaving correctly! – and I love the many, many friendships I’ve made in the reporting community and NCRA over the years.  I like the income, I like the flexibility, I like the importance of our contributions to history.

Were there any hurdles you had to overcome in your career? 
Life is full of disappointments and challenges, and our reactions to them test our mettle.  I’ve been disappointed in failed exams, lost jobs, equipment failures … but I’m glad to report that the hurdles are few and far between, thankfully.

What advice would you give to new court reporters? 
Keep practicing and improve your skills.  There’s always another level to achieve, another certification to hang on your wall, always a way to be better, faster, more accurate.  The constant-learning aspect of our profession is SO rewarding!  The easier it is for us to mechanically do our jobs, the more career satisfaction we have and the more we want to tell people about it.  If you love reporting, tell others; if you don’t, improve your skills or find a better calling.  It’s a fabulous profession and SO worth all the effort you put in on the constant improvement spectrum.

What was the strangest case you have worked on? 
Hmmm.  I haven’t really had strange ones.  I find the amount of litigation generated by the potential patent intricacies of a mechanical belt or light switch amazing.  Criminal work, although sometimes strange, is also very rewarding, knowing that people’s lives literally hang in the balance based on the quality of my work.  I always enjoy accident reconstruction and arson investigation – maybe I was a frustrated detective in a prior life.

What do you like to do outside of court reporting?  
I love all things reporter related and am inextricably bound.  Beyond that, I like road trips and doing anything outside in beautiful scenery, hiking, wineries, or an impromptu picnic.  My favorite place in the world is the Black Hills, and there are MANY trails I’ve yet to explore.

In the Spotlight

starkman

Stenograph’s featured court reporter this month is Irving L. Starkman, RPR, FAPR, DSA from Starkman Reporting and Videoconferencing.

Why did you decide to enter the court reporting profession?
I decided to enter the court reporting profession after visiting our City Hall on a senior high school trip.  We attended a trial and I was totally amazed by the court reporter. I couldn’t take my eyes off him the whole time we were there. After that day, I looked into attending CR school. The CR I saw in City Hall later became my mentor.  He then went on to become a lawyer and then a Judge.
What is your favorite thing about being a court reporter?
My favorite thing about being a CR is meeting new, interesting and educated people.  Every day you have a new witness with different skills. The education you receive could not be obtained by attending numerous colleges. I like working with the attorneys. As I say, you learn something new every day.
Were there any hurdles you had to overcome in your career?
When I attended CR school, I was learning typing and CR skills at the same time.  When I was in typing class, I was doing stenotype.  When I was in stenotype class, I was doing typing. It took me quite awile to get over this, but, thank God, I did.
What advice would you give to new court reporters?
The main objective is to practice, practice, practice. They should be avid readers, including newspapers, books, journals.  Know your local, national and international events. There is no substitute for knowledge.
What was the strangest case you have worked on?
I don’t know if this is strange, but it’s interesting. I took the deposition of then Cassius Clay, later Muhummad Ali. It involved a sparing partner that left his camp and went to another boxer, namely Joe Frazier.  After a few hours of questioning, one of the attorneys said to Clay, ” How come you hate Joe Frazier so much?”  His answer was, ” Would you hate someone that made you two million dollars?”  It was all an act, and he did it very well.
What do you like to do outside of court reporting?
I love to travel, do bartending, and car detailing.