At AccuScript, Inc. Court Reporting & Video we are committed to ensuring the future of our profession. Never before in the history of court reporting has there been such a demand for court reporters, captioners and CART providers. The future is bright indeed for those who are prepared to take advantage of these new and rewarding opportunities.

     As a court reporting student, you know that preparing yourself to meet the challenges of your chosen career requires great effort and discipline. You also know that there is no substitute for hands-on experience when it comes to learning.

     The Pennsylvania Court Reporters Association, through its Education Committee, has created a statewide mentoring program in cooperation with official court reporters, captioners, freelance reporters and agency owners. Lisa V. Feissner, RDR, CRR is a member of the PCRA Education Committee and the coordinator of the PCRA Mentoring Program. We have therefore included information about the PCRA Mentoring Program on our web site in order to encourage participation in this popular program. In addition, we have established our own Student Internship Program. Information on both programs is set forth below.

     We hope that you will take advantage of these useful programs. Participation in the mentoring program, however, is limited by the number of mentors who generously volunteer to give up their valuable time to provide advice and encouragement to student reporters. Although we would like to offer an internship to everyone who applies, participation in this program is also limited. For more information, call us at (800) 596-0001 or e-mail Lisa V. Feissner directly at lisavf@accuscript.com.

    For more information on court reporting programs in Pennsylvania, click here.
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INTERNSHIPS

 

     At AccuScript, Inc. Court Reporting & Video, we offer two types of formal internships: student internships and working internships. We also offer informal internships or "shadowing." There is no charge to you or your school to participate in either a formal or informal internship. The only requirements are that you: (1) agree to maintain the confidentiality of the information you acquire during the course of your internship concerning the litigants and the subject matter of the litigation, and (2) wear appropriate attire and maintain a professional demeanor at all times, since you will be coming face to face with attorneys, doctors and other professionals.

     We recommend shadow days for court reporting students who would like to sit out with an experienced reporter in different working environments to get a feel for what freelance court reporting is all about. You need not be a court reporting student to participate in the shadow day program, however, as we also offer shadow days to high school students or other individuals interested in court reporting as a profession. Shadow days can be arranged at your convenience, such as while you are on a holiday break. We will accept as many students for shadowing as our schedule permits. Call (800) 596-0001 for more information or to schedule your own shadow day.

     Student internships are offered for court reporting students who have completed their course of study and are required by their school to intern with a freelance firm as a requirement for graduation. Since different court reporting schools have different internship requirements, if you choose to do an internship with us we will tailor the internship to meet your school's requirements. For example, we will ensure that you receive the requisite number of internship hours and that all student evaluation forms are completed and submitted to your school in a timely manner. Student internships are a great way to acclimate yourself to the world of court reporting. We will accept as many student interns as our schedule permits. Call (800) 596-0001 for more information or to schedule your own student internship.

     The purpose of the working internship is to make your transition from student to working reporter a more comfortable experience, build your confidence in your abilities and allow you an opportunity to sharpen your skills in a non-threatening environment. The length of a working internship varies according to the skill of the individual reporter, but is usually between six to nine months. If you're fresh out of school, you'll sit out with experienced reporters for about six weeks before actually taking on your first assignment. Afterwards, you'll only be given as much work as you can handle. Then as your speed and skills improve, you'll gradually be assigned more work. You are not given difficult assignments until you gain the experience you need to manage them with confidence. Every step of the way your work product is reviewed and you're given advice on how to become more proficient in using both your shorthand machine and your CAT system. You're also given practical and procedural training on such subjects as:

  • How to handle exhibits
  • Deposition procedures
  • AccuScript, Inc. office procedures
  • How to use the AccuScript, Inc. style manual
  • Grammar and punctuation of the spoken word
  • Brief forms, building a dictionary, and speedbuilding
  • How to manage your finances as an independent contractor
  • Auto-includes and how to get the most out of your CAT system
  • How to find your way around the Hazleton, Wilkes-Barre, Scranton area

     Working internships are only available to students who have made a commitment to join AccuScript, Inc. Court Reporting & Video after graduation. For more information on working internships, call us at (800) 596-0001.                       

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MENTORING

 

     The PCRA Education Committee is committed to increasing enrollment and retention rates at Pennsylvania's court reporting schools. To increase retention rates, PCRA has created a statewide mentoring program in cooperation with official court reporters, captioners, freelance reporters and agency owners. The mentoring program is designed to provide court reporting students with encouragement and practical advice on everything from speedbuilding to how to overcome test-taking anxieties.

     The PCRA mentoring program matches student reporters with freelance reporters, official reporters and captioners in the student's geographic region. Every effort is made to match students with the type of reporter they have chosen, but PCRA cannot guarantee that you will be matched with the type of mentor in which you have expressed an interest.The level of involvement is totally up to you and your mentor. It may be as simple as an occasional e-mail conversation, or you could actually spend time on the job with your mentor to observe what a court reporter's day actually entails.

     Participation in the PCRA Mentoring Program is limited by the number of mentors who generously volunteer to give up their valuable time to provide advice and encouragement to novice reporters. There is no cost to you to participate. Call Lisa V. Feissner at (800) 596-0001 for more information.

 

SUGGESTED TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION:

  • Brief forms
  • Technology
  • Breaking plateaus
  • Types of reporting
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Time management
  • Certification
  • Speedbuilding
  • Overcoming test-taking anxieties
  • Developing test-taking skills
  • Membership in professional organizations
  • Choosing a CAT system

 

GUIDELINES FOR STUDENTS:

  • Once you are matched with your mentor, please contact her/him immediately and maintain that contact on a regular basis. The student/mentor relationship will only work if you actively seek your mentor's guidance when you need it.

  • Please respect your mentor's work schedule. Remember that your mentor is engaged in a challenging profession which at times requires her or his complete attention to the job. Give your mentor a day or two to return your inquiries.

  • Ask specific questions of your mentor. If you are having difficulty with a particular word, phrase, fingering, speed, etc., ask your mentor specifically how you can overcome the problem.

  • Follow your mentor's lead as to what kind of relationship you will develop. If your mentor does not want to meet in person, do not take it personally. He or she may be very busy or may prefer to maintain phone and/or e-mail contact only.

  • If it suits both you and your mentor, meet in person. Spend time on the job writing (if appropriate) and observing what the rest of a court reporter's day entails. Remember to dress appropriately and have your machine in good working order and full of paper.

  • If a good rapport develops between you and your mentor, a working relationship may follow. Use this time to evaluate what type of court reporting career suits you best.

 

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HOW TO EVALUATE YOUR ABILITIES

Take this brief quiz to determine what areas you need to work on.

 

WRITING SKILLS

CONFLICTS:

I have:
  1. Fewer than 10 conflicts, and they are all low-frequency words.
  2. Fewer than 20 conflicts, and most are low-frequency words.
  3. More than 10 high-frequency conflicts.
  4. More than 25 high-frequency conflicts.
PUNCTUATION:

At the job, I generally get:
  1. All basic punctuation and most more advanced punctuation.
  2. All basic punctuation ans some advanced punctuation.
  3. Some basic punctuation.
  4. Little or no punctuation.
WORD BOUNDARIES:

I have:
  1. No word boundary problems.
  2. Some word boundary problems.
  3. Don't resolve any word boundary problems.
  4. What's a word boundary problem?

EDITING SKILLS

EDITING:

I can edit:
  1. 25 pages an hour or more.
  2. 15 to 20 pages an hour.
  3. 10 to 15 pages an hour.
  4.  5 to 10 pages an hour.

PROOFREADING SKILLS

ERRORS:

In general, I average:
  1. One to two errors every ten pages.
  2. Three to four errors every ten pages.
  3. Five to eight errors every ten pages.
  4. One error or more on every page.

READBACK SKILLS

NOTE READING:

When I am at a deposition, I:
  1. Generally read back without any problem.
  2. Mainly read back without problem.
  3. Often cannot read my outlines.
  4. Often stumble when reading back.

TAPE RECORDER OR VOICE RECORDER USAGE

RELIANCE ON RECORDING:

When I am at a deposition, I:
  1. Never record he proceedings.
  2. Sometimes record the proceedings, and when I do, I rarely utilize the recording.
  3. Sometimes record the proceedings, and when I do, I usually utilize the recording.
  4. Always record the proceedings, and I always utilize the recording.

PUNCTUALITY

TIMELINESS: (ON TIME = 10 MINUTES EARLY)

When attending a deposition, I am:
  1. Always on time.
  2. Usually on time.
  3. Sometimes late.
  4. Often late.

MEETING DEADLINES

TRANSCRIPT PRODUCTION TIME:

My work meets a two-week deadline:
  1. Almost always (90%).
  2. Mostly (75%).
  3. Sometimes (50%).
  4. Rarely (less than 50%).

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