AAERT AAERT AAERT AAERT AAERT AAERT
- Your Association
AAERT AAERT AAERT AAERT AAERT AAERT
The Administrative Office of the United States Courts
— a long-awaited statement,
and an important reminder to AAERT-certified transcribers
A federal bankruptcy court clerk recently asked if an AAERT
member, who holds CET certification, was "on the list" of federally
For those unaware of "the list," federal court clerks have historically been
instructed to select outside transcription services from among those who
have submitted for review an exemplar of their work, a transcript prepared
from an assigned audio segment.
The clerk's question was posed to The Administrative Office of the
United States Courts, usually referred to as "the AO" or "the AOC."
The AO replied:
"In accordance with Volume 18.104.22.168, Guide, Preparation of Transcripts
from Electronic Sound Recordings, 'The court may have transcripts
prepared by professional transcription services. The Administrative Office
will assist courts in evaluating the qualifications of transcription
services for providing verbatim and timely transcripts in accordance with
the transcript format guidelines approved by the Judicial Conference.'
AAERT will meet those qualification requirements."
The transmittal reply's wording was more succinct:
"The AO recognizes AAERT, or equivalent testing, for professional credentials."
A caveat and a reminder to all CETs:
Because the AO views CETs as qualified to provide, ex officio,
transcription services for the federal courts in federal format,
it is critical to conform to all elements of the federal transcript
It may be you do not now engage in federal transcription, and / or have no
intention of ever doing so. If you are, however, making yourself
available to undertake federal work, be aware that non-conforming transcripts
may be rejected by the court.
AAERT's Certification Test Study Guide examines federal format
issues in detail.
gives an introduction and useful quick-reference examples of its
Federal format templates are available in the members area for both Word and
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Texas Senate Jurisprudence Committee
endorses judicial choice among reporting methods
In December, the Texas Senate Jurisprudence Committee reported the results of
its charge to
"Study and make recommendations relating to
the use and cost benefits of electronic recording as an alternative method
of preserving records of official court proceedings."
A hearing was held and, after further deliberation, the committee issued its
findings and recommendations: a strong Yes, that E-Reporting
should be available wherever and whenever judges wish to use it in capturing the record.
This would mark an important shift from the old prescriptive system, which made
it difficult for Texas courts to advance into electronic audio recording, and
basically could be described as Henry Ford's rule: You can get
it in any color you like, as long as it's black.
Read the relevant excerpt from the committee's report (in PDF format) at
Texas Committee Report.
After an overview of the court reporting methods now available
— and we all know what they are — the committee cited what other
states are now doing, and examined the cost benefits associated with
electronically capturing the record.
Two recommendations were voted upon: one, official transcripts
should be the property of the court, not the reporter; and
"The Legislature should enact legislation
to clearly provide that judges have the authority to choose the system of
record-keeping for their courts."
Only one senator dissented, Robert Duncan [R, District 28, Lubbock].
An encouraging start — but what now?
The state legislature and supreme court will need to act before the
current system can be as fully open in Texas as in other states.
There are, of course, no guarantees that the rules will, in fact, be expanded
so that it will become a simple, routine matter for E-Reporting
to take its proper place in Texas courtrooms.
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Profitable (or not?) freelancing
— Do you really know how you're doing financially?
Freelance: to provide independent services for multiple
clients, without an exclusive contract with any one — referring
to medieval knights who had not sworn to serve a single lord, but were
free to fight for whatever causes they chose.
(We thought this might grab your attention.)
If you are self-employed, profit questions are hardly new.
But do you have the answers? How can you find out with some reasonable
confidence? What should you tally and balance?
Assign a value to what you're doing:
Start with your rates, but now think of them in
hourly terms. (If you keep no such records, you
should start doing so, coming back to this article in a few
Value what you're NOT doing:
If you're an E-Transcriber and produce 12 pages an hour at
$1.50 per page, you make $18 an hour. That part is simple.
(Don't overestimate your production rate, because you know
you don't work at top speed all the time.)
E-Reporters, review how many hours you spent
garnering your fees. If you work under a page-rate system, recall
that speakers normally churn out about 40 or so pages an hour.
If you work entirely at home, you are not commuting. Realistically
calculate the average time you would travel each day to a downtown
work site. Americans typically spend an unpaid hour and a half
getting to and from work each day. At your hourly production rate,
how much is that time worth to you? Commuter mileage to and from a regular job site is
NOT tax deductible, but travel to, between, and from different engagements
IS. And are there parking costs once you get there?
If you work at home, you are probably also saving a bundle on the
public business attire required of professionals. Have you ever
added that up? It may not be an income tax deduction, but it surely
is a cost.
What other less frequent, fewer, or lower expenses do you have when compared
with an employee's daily physical self-presentation in the outside
business world? And how much preparation time is involved to get that package
together five days a week? Again, at your hourly rate, is that time
worth something to you?
Child care costs go without saying, but of course vary — and
do not apply to all. When something does apply, calculate and list it
as either a plus factor or a minus factor. If it has no effect in your
situation, cross it off the list.
What about intangibles?
Remember the old saw about knowing the cost of everything, but
the value of nothing? Well, here are some things you may want to
try assigning at least some value to:
Working at home, you don't have to
deal with a mean boss, do you? Nosy co-workers aren't wasting
your time with gossip and rumors, are they? There is no cranky
customer glaring at you across a counter, is there?
Does any of that ratchet up your estimation?
Now for the expense column on your list:
What do you buy for your business? This review can be spread
over time: keep a note pad handy, and as things come to mind,
jot them down. The list may well grow longer than you
Self-employed people bear the full brunt of the 15.3%
Social Security tax — but remember, half that amount is lopped
off your taxable income. (And you may be deducting at least a
portion of your out-of-pocket health care costs or health insurance.)
Whatever your tax burden is, prorate and add that to your
expenses column. And remember that business-related equipment /
software and other purchases are deductible — not exactly dollar for
dollar, but with valuable tax implications.
What about fringe benefits you do NOT receive?
While thinking about whether these should be in your calculation,
do realize that 40 percent of Americans working outside the home
do NOT receive all of "the fringes" — many receive none at all,
beyond simple sick leave or minimalist vacations. Full fringe
benefits can add an additional "hidden" 30 percent value to the
salary figure on one's pay stub — but be aware that plans and
benefits vary widely.
The question of job stability may be a wash, perhaps tilting
somewhat toward standard employment — at least wage income
produces predictably regular paychecks. But having a satisfied
clientele also contributes to work-related stability for
freelancers. Some people place value on having a fixed-hour work
schedule; others hate feeling they are "tied to a clock."
In any case, the economy is in flux for everyone, and "job
security" is becoming more and more illusory.
—William E. Wagner, CET (Washington)
Adding or subtracting the values obtained in this exercise will
bring you to a bottom line. Look at it afresh from time to time.
It may be a larger number than you thought.
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Continuing Education — an opening door
All groups which issue and maintain professional certifications eventually
must address questions about continuing education, or CE: Is it
important? Should we pursue it? Should it be required?
If so, when, what, how?
Some are easily answered:
- Yes, CE is important;
- Yes, it should be required.
Earning certification, in and of itself, is a badge of
accomplishment. If you think of it as a laurel wreath awarded for
running a race in a prescribed time, an old phrase will take on new
meaning here: remember that people who sit on their laurels are
wearing them in the wrong place.
If the certification is to retain its value, so it continues to be
recognized by others as a index of skills and knowledge, those holding it
must continue to explore, learn, and develop.
E-Reporting is an evolving field. We
either continue to grow with it, or we become outdated, stunted in yesterday's information.
Recall another well-known phrase: If not now . . . well,
We believe AAERT must begin its long-contemplated
CE program this year. Thus, CE will be inaugurated at 2007's Conference in
Miami Beach this June.
What will it initially consist of?
For this first outing, a sign-in sheet will be present at each substantive
Conference seminar / presentation. Our membership database is already
geared to register attendance and participation in these events. The
eventual number of CE credits to be assigned to each element will be weighed
and decided in due course. It goes without saying that other avenues
for earning CE credits will be made available as, together, we develop our
An invitation for dialogue:
Many decisions remain to be made, and your input is vital.
After all, you hold the certifications, and your
interests are best served when the program we share is held in high regard.
CE does not have to be an onerous set of chores, but its elements can be
very interesting, and even fun to engage in. That being understood,
we can proceed to develop our program.
What should we include? How many credits should be assigned, and over
what time period should we acquire them? With whom might we share
During the next weeks and months we can register our ideas, our
preferences, and even our specific suggestions. Send your comments
Please use Continuing Education or just CE in the subject
line, so we can keep the information together. We can then post these
remarks in our website's members area for mutual review.
This is a significant development for AAERT, but an undertaking which will
benefit us all for many years to come. We very much look forward to
hearing from each and every certified member — as well as those now
working in that direction, who will gain certification in the future.
Best wishes from your Board:
Gillian Lawrence, CERT, President
Kimberly McCright-Young, CET**D, Vice-President
Sherry Simmons, CER, Secretary
William E. Wagner, CET, Treasurer
Janet Harris, CERT, Director
Luis Gomez, CCV, Director
Margaret Morgan, CERT, Director
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Put one foot in front of the other . . .
If you fall down, get back up and put one foot in front of the
other. Once you've got that down, everything else falls into place.
And that's what a lot of people are doing in my neighborhood here in
Central Florida after the devastating tornados last week. Last Friday
when I looked out the bay window in my kitchen — the screen room
around the pool was being severely threatened by a storm and the trees
behind the fence were shaking with the fury we had seen during recent
hurricanes — I was reminded of the fear evoked by the warning sirens
when we lived in Tornado Alley. Of course, I thought we had left Texas
and the Midwest for Hurricane Territory — didn't know we would have
the privilege of both, living in Florida. We also lived in California
and have lived with the nagging fear of earthquakes that could hit at any
time. Can we prepare for all of these unmanageable forces? No. Can a
certain element of preparation make the aftermath more manageable? Yes.
It's a known fact, but an oft forgotten one, that we're not in complete
control of our circumstances. Always be prepared for circumstances
to change. Are you continually increasing your technical skills as a
court reporter? Are you constantly educating yourself? Are you investing
your knowledge in others and thereby assuring a professional posterity?
Do you have an organization ready to handle growth — whether you're
a transcription company with sudden growth because of a large contract or
whether you work for a court in a high-growth population where hundreds
of new families move into the area every day? If you're a contractor, do
you have a backup plan for work in new venues if you lose a contract?
Or if a government employee, what is your plan if suddenly the courts use
contractors instead of employees? AAERT's Board has been planning and
managing the growth in our association, but also considering the future
requirements of employers of AAERT-certified individuals.
Do you believe that at any given time we may be called upon to rebuild
or start something new? Has experience fooled you into thinking
things will always be the same? Margaret Morgan is the
Membership Committee Co-Chair. Her message to you is that we are a membership-driven
organization. Go out and build this association. Start new projects and
ideas to grow our membership. It is very important that we include people
from various positions and capacities within our industry — reporter,
monitor, transcriber, freelance, official, private, government, employee,
business owner, etc. The membership must be reflective of each geographic
section of the United States. If you follow some of Margaret's instructions,
you may become exposed to new thoughts and ideas foreign to your own:—
schedule a lunch or dinner meeting with local E-Reporters and E-Transcribers
in your area to talk about local issues. Include information about AAERT.
Send conference information to reporters and transcribers and court
Write letters to court administrators, telling them about
AAERT and our comprehensive certification tests. Many people are not aware
that our association exists. Write letters to ask to make a presentation to
a legal secretary or paralegal association. With AAERT certification, you
could inspire a legal assistant or paralegal to obtain AAERT certification
and join the E-Reporting world. In short, the more representation our
organization has of various e-reporting professionals, the better we can
provide help to our members. During my association with AAERT professionals
I have regularly come upon ideas foreign to my own. Some I have adopted,
some not, but it's always been a learning experience.
It's senseless to acquire knowledge and render opinions, and yet not be
prepared. How will AAERT be prepared for the future? We have a highly
successful certification testing program to certify those practicing in the
field of electronic court reporting and transcribing. Now, the vision of
Mary Ann Lutz, Past President, has turned into reality as she prepares
students in her training seminars provided by Lutz Corporation, Inc. Also,
the Board met for a mid-year meeting and has decided to implement the
long-anticipated continuing education program, beginning at Convention 2007. AAERT Certified Members will begin earning credits, and the Official CE Program will be unveiled. AAERT needs to be prepared to meet the needs and demands of the industry. You need to be prepared to be an active professional in tomorrow's world.
Are you assuming your current skill and knowledge level will let you slide
into retirement until you no longer need or want to work? Or are you
constantly staying on top of what is going on in the court reporting
profession and staying abreast of new technology to help guarantee your
future and the future of the profession? Are you going to acquire and perfect
skills in order to secure your future?
My 22-year-old son and I went to lunch the other day and he said, "Mom, I
always thought you transcribed so you could work at home and be with us, but
I never thought you'd still be doing this!" I was always the "typing mom"
in the corner of the room for the school children to stand around and say,
"Wow, she types so fast!" My boys' friends always were sure to let me know
when they had finally learned how to type or were typing "really fast now."
And my answer to Jesse? "Yeah, me too."
But you never know what happens when you put one foot in front of the other.
And when you fall down, get back up and put one foot in front of the other
Convention 2007 is in Miami Beach June 24 – 26. Come explore the tried, the
true, the trends, and the technologies for the Professional Reporter and
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The Nature of Words: unraveling
a medical mystery
A friend is diagnosed as having idiopathic thrombocytopenic
purpura, with reddish-purple spots appearing on her skin. What
in the world might this be?
Idiopathic is derived from the Greek idio-, meaning peculiar.
Peculiar comes to us by way of the Latin peculiaris, one's own property —
a derivation from pecu, flock. Similarly related are pecuniary
(of property or wealth), impecunious (flat broke, without flocks or herds),
and peculation (embezzling funds). An idiom is a generally
localized style of speaking or use of language; a peculiar use of language,
if you will. The suffix -pathic comes from the Greek pátheia:
suffering or feeling. (See also sympathy, empathy, apathy, pathology.)
Thus, an idiopathic disorder arises from within, actual cause unknown.
Thrombocytopenic also comes to us from the Greek thrombo- for
clot and cyte for cell (from kyto, a container). A thrombocyte is a
platelet, a cell which causes blood to clot — and, not surprisingly,
is shaped like a small plate (related to Greek platys, flat or broad).
The suffix -penic is from penia, poverty or lack; related is
penury, extreme poverty or destitution.
Purpura is the appearance of purple or reddish spots on skin due to
extravasation, blood escaping from vessels beneath the skin. It comes
from the Latin purpura, a tiny shellfish from which purple dye was
first extracted. The sheer volume of creatures needed to make the dye
restricted this color to royalty or the very wealthy — thus the
phrase "born to the purple."
The Greek word for this colorful shellfish is porphura, from which
come porphyry, a purplish stone, as well as porphyria, a disorder
involving the blood pigment heme (which caused the madness of King
George, our foe in the Revolution). Heme is from the Greek haima, blood.
Hematology is, thus, the study of blood — and now I understand
that my friend suffers from a disorder of unknown cause,
wherein her blood doesn't clot properly.
Laurel H. Stoddard, CET
On The Record Reporting & Transcription, Inc.
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A reminder: Pengad offers a significant
We receive their
lowest catalog pricing on most
court reporting supplies, regardless of quantity.
This means we do not have to buy in bulk to save.
Just identify yourself as an AAERT member when ordering, and you
automatically receive this consideration on your purchases of
- Transcript covers
- Laser supplies
- Data accessories
- Stock forms
- Mailing supplies
- Index tabs, and much more.
800 631-6989 — fax 800 631-2329
Note: Promotional items, billheads /
invoices, business cards, flat or raised print stationery, and printed
mailing envelopes are not included in this benefit.
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Travelers, lost in the boondocks, stop to ask directions from a farmer.
The man thinks awhile, scratches his head, and says,
"Well, you can't get there from here."
Vaguely familiar? Those of us who regularly — or even
occasionally — venture onto "the information highway" to transmit
audio files, transcripts, or exhibit images to and fro between various courts,
clients, and associates, often feel a bit lost, ourselves. Or perhaps
overwhelmed by the bells and whistles — not to mention roadblocks,
detours, one-way streets, dead ends, and bumpy stretches along the way.
Especially when you consider our important goals: getting materials
into the proper hands easily and safely.
is an Internet transfer system which puts many of these chores
almost on auto-pilot. (Clearly, a design goal was to keep things
simple, yet retain versatility.
) A nice point:
SendThisFile can host your transfer page for you, or you can put the transfer
page on your own company website. Then use any browser on
any computer anywhere, anytime, to send audio, video, documents, graphics
— no additional software needed.
So how does it work?
Transfer occurs when
you provide the recipient's e-mail address, list the files you wish sent
there, and click the SendThisFile
(Note: a lengthy list of audio files can be "zipped" for easier
The files are, of course, encrypted for safety, and
stored for as long as needed. Another nice point:
end to file management headaches by ordering auto-deletion after
days, or after Y
downloads have occurred.
The recipient gets an e-mail message with whatever information you
need to convey, plus a hot-link for downloading
— and you can choose to be notified when the download has occurred.
There's even a progress bar so people can see how things are going.
Couldn't be a simpler or a smoother ride, directly to your destination!
Sample customizable upload screen.
Contact Enterprise Sales
for further information, or call (316) 974-0123.
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Training seminars: filling a long-standing need
In February 2007, Mary Ann Lutz
, CERT, begins teaching seminars for
E-Reporters and E-Transcribers. The initial group is meeting in Monrovia,
California, where Lutz & Company has its office.
The seminars will cover principles of analog / digital audio capture,
retention, retrieval, and subsequent transcription. After the training,
those eligible to do so may take AAERT's certification tests.
A two-day seminar (June 22 and 23
) is scheduled immediately prior
to our 2007 Conference in Miami Beach, and subsequent certification testing
will occur on Sunday, June 24
For more specific information, or to arrange for a seminar in your area,
Mary Ann served as AAERT's president from 2000 to 2002.
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Certified Electronic Court Reporter
Certified Electronic Court Transcriber
Nomination period concludes March 9, 2007.
Award recipients will be notified prior to April 1, 2007, and each
A one-year general AAERT membership,
Hotel accommodation and registration during our 14th Annual Conference
in Miami Beach, June 24 - 26, 2007,
Award presentation at Conference Banquet,
and special recognition in The Court Reporter and on our website.
An award recipient must attend in person to accept the presentation.
A nominee must be a member in good standing,
hold a current AAERT certification in the field of nomination,
and cannot be a current member of AAERT's Board of Directors.
How to nominate: Write to submit the following information:
- Name, address, phone, and e-mail address for both yourself and the nominee;
- Indicate whether the nominee is an electronic reporter or transcriber;
- Nominee's certification number, years of experience in the industry, and primary work location;
- A statement why the nominee deserves the award, highlighting professional achievements.
Send nomination to:
23812 Rock Circle
Bothell, Washington 98021-8573
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Newly Certified Members, Fall 2007
The fall cycle of AAERT's ongoing certification program was held in
Bothell, Washington, Phoenix, Arizona,
and in three Florida cities: Gainesville, Orlando,
and West Palm Beach.
Congratulations and our very best wishes to these candidates who earned their
initial or upgraded certifications!
Margaret Frances Archibeque, CET**D — Avondale, Arizona
Shanna Barr, CET**D — Redmond, Washington
Beth V. Betker, CET**D — Seattle, Washington
Tammy Elaine Crawford, CER**D — Lawley, Florida
Nancy B. Draper, CET**D — Glendale, Arizona
Lawrence V. Evans, CER**D — Tarpon Springs, Florida
Jennifer A. Farrington, CER**D — Sanford, Florida
Matthew Ray Ginther, CET**D — Kirkland, Washington
Marion D. Griffin, CET**D — Tacoma, Washington
Carole Lynn Hildebrand, CET**D — Tucson, Arizona
Marjorie D. Jackson, CET**D — Seattle, Washington
Renee A. Johnally, CER**D — West Palm Beach, Florida
Debra Ann Kalgren, CET**D — Everett, Washington
Laura Michelle Lewis, CET**D — Starke, Florida
Lindsay A. Loomis, CER**D — Orlando, Florida
Jodi Lyn Marasia, CERT*D — Viera, Florida
Katny R. Mitton, CER**D — Orlando, Florida
Pamela Nancy Morales, CET**D — Chandler, Arizona
Patricia M. Noelle, CET**D — Buckeye, Arizona
Lisa Marie Ramey, CER**D — Orlando, Florida
Kelli Ray, CER**D — Sanford, Florida
Bonnie Reed, CET**D — Seattle, Washington
Vanessa Ileana Sagar, CERT*D — Alachua, Florida
Cherie L. Schierl, CET**D — Flagstaff, Arizona
Rebecca A. Stevens, CER**D — Viera, Florida
For test-related information, contact:
Steve Simon, CERT
A general discussion of the program is at
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Return to Table of Contents
A warm welcome to our new members
since the October 2006 issue of The Court Reporter
AAERT members can go to our on-line Directories by clicking
Jessica Balderas Cahill
Michigan Center, Michigan
Middle Village, New York
Claudia M. Dobson-Largie
Judy M. Fugate
Saint Cloud, Minnesota
Fort Myers, Florida
Donna Schenck Healy
Orange Park, Florida
Joan Laura Lynch
Elizabeth Marie Magana
Edward J. Meunier
Cynthia Lynette Mizell
Los Angeles, California
Rebecca Y. Natal
Rutherford, New Jersey
Martha Lee Nelson
South Pasadena, California
Troy Anthony Ray
Staten Island, New York
Victoria F. Shobe
Sheryl J. Smith
Providence, North Carolina
Rebecca A. Stevens
Donna J. Stewart
Betty S. Tate
Scot A. Votava
Carolyn P. Walker
Fort Worth, Texas
Angela Gray Weil
Teri Rae Welsh Gould
Contact the Editor
The Court Reporter is published by
The American Association of Electronic Reporters & Transcribers, Inc.
All rights reserved, whether electronically or in print. © 2007.
Gillian Lawrence, CERT, President
AAERT / 23812 Rock Circle / Bothell, WA 98021-8573.
AAERT AAERT AAERT AAERT AAERT AAERT