I’ve been working on the teaching side of court reporting for about 20 years now. I’ve only dabbled in the promotion side of things over the past few – my court reporting documentary, For the Record, for example. This new project, Mock Trial Reporters, is an attempt to reach a wider, more targeted audience. I believe this will be the largest outreach program ever attempted in the court reporting industry – and based on the response from just one week, I think it will be the most successful. It’s not enough to “create” new reporters – we need to make sure they have job opportunities. So with this project, my goals are to –
- Establish that court reporters are a needed part of the legal process
- Bring new people into this industry
Mock Trial Reporters is a program that provides free court reporters for mock trials at the middle school, high school, and college level (over 2,000 schools take part in these each year – over 20,000 students!). I see it as a win-win-win (yes, an extra win!) situation.
- 1 – It exposes court reporting to those at the most impressionable age in terms of career choices.
- It’s reaching a target audience that is already interested in the legal environment.
- It establishes that a court reporter belongs in the courtroom, a place where many of these students will be working in the future.
- It’s a way for court reporters to give back to their profession and community.
- It’s a GREAT way for court reporters to earn PDCs towards their NCRA certification (if needed).
I reached out to several mock trial state associations last week and already have a huge response – and our first agreement in South Carolina! The South Carolina Bar organizes regional and state mock trial competitions each year…and they’d love court reporters included. With this single, small step, we will reach about 350 students and over 30 schools.
Initially, my plan was to wait to hear back from all the state mock trial associations before recruiting court reporters. But now that I’ve heard back from one state and realize the scope of the endeavor, I know that NOW is the time to reach out. And NOW is the time for you to help promote your industry! I encourage you to sign up as a mock trial court reporter in your area. And you don’t have to be a courtroom reporter – you can be a deposition reporter, CART provider, captioner – all can apply! The details…
- You sign up here – Mock Trail Court Reporters – Sign Up
- Once we have a mock trial in your area, we will contact you with the details – you can take part or decline.
- Most mock trails take part on Saturdays – some on Fridays. Depending on the competition round, some may take all or part of a day. Although we prefer reporters to commit to the entire day in a single location, we do have the option of splitting days between more than one reporter.
- Details of your “work” that day will be confirmed by the organizer. In most cases, you’ll just be asked to sit and write. No interrupting. No reading back. No transcripts. For our first season, we just want to establish that a court reporter BELONGS in the room. Once that’s been established, I expect the interaction to grow over coming seasons to make the trial process more realistic.
- You will get the details of the case beforehand – proper names, subject matter, etc.
- If you need PDCs (like CEUs) for NCRA certifications, you will get a letter of approval from the organizer after you’ve completed your session. Please note that PDC credits for each NCRA reporter cannot exceed the 1.0 PDC (or 10 hours) maximum per certification cycle.
The goal is to work with only professional, working court reporters. That said, there are MANY mock trial requests coming in, so we will be turning to high-speed students to fill those slots if needed. We will need reporters in every part of the country – chances are there’s one near you. Mock Trail Reporters will organize everything – you just show up and show off our profession.
And thank you in advance to all the hard-working court reporters who take part in this huge endeavor. Together, we can show communities the value of our profession, bring in new students, and have a lot of fun in the process!
Mock Trial Reporters
PS – Please share this information with everyone you know within the court reporting community.