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President's Message March 2019
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President's Message
by Geoffrey L. Hunt, AAERT President


As I write this message, I can’t believe that we are three quarters through our Board year. June is just around the corner, and our conference in Louisville, Kentucky will be here before we know it. Make plans to join us. There are a million reasons to attend. I will cover some of them in my message.

The Executive Forum will be held March 29th and 30th in Orlando, Florida. We are appropriately calling it The Paradigm Shift. The Executive Forum Committee, chaired by Gillian Lawrence, CER, CET, has worked hard to create one of the best conferences ever. The Reciprocity Task Force, chaired by Jan Harris, CER, CET has been instrumental in providing suggestions and advice on the Forum content. Unfortunately, our registration is sold out for both attendees and vendors. The good news is that it is sold out. For those who can’t make the Executive Forum, we are considering several similar tracks for our June conference. Don’t miss out. Register early for Louisville.

AAERT’s Executive Forum is open to all AAERT Corporate Members and Vendor Members. This year we are welcoming firm owners and educators who are not members of AAERT to join us for this gathering of experts in our field and for networking opportunities.

One of our goals for the Executive Forum is to introduce AAERT to those who are not familiar with our association and our mission. Over a day and a half, we hope to answer questions about digital court reporting and transcription. We will demonstrate and discuss what the experts have to say about electronic reporting technology, education, training, best practices, and certification. This will be a one-stop shopping opportunity for court reporting firm owners, transcription firm owners, and educators to be part of this paradigm shift.

There is no secret as to why there is increased interest in AAERT and electronic court reporting. I have discussed in previous messages the shortage of stenotype court reporters across the country. Traditional stenotype court reporting agencies are recognizing electronic reporting technology and its benefits. This is increasing our membership and certifications.

At the committee level, a great deal has been accomplished since my last message. The Certification Committee will be using our newly contracted vendor for our remote testing for the spring testing cycle. A new feature that has been added to the Certified Electronic Transcriber Practical test is the ability to playback recordings remotely using a foot pedal. K.C. Corbin, CER, CET, Chairperson, along with a specially appointed task force, has reviewed our grading processes and looked for areas of improvement. Andrew Davidson and his team of experts have rewritten our Best Practices Guide. This was an essential and time-consuming process. It is now up to date and includes helpful information including the field of deposition court reporting.

The Education Committee has been in collaboration with BlueLedge and Horry Georgetown Technical College. Ben Jaffe, Manager and Director of Training and Development for BlueLedge, announced recently that HGTC will be including the BlueLedge curriculum in their newly-established digital court reporting curriculum. In addition, Betsy Ertel, Chairperson, has been coordinating our outreach to other schools encouraging them to consider bridging their current court reporting curriculums to include digital court reporting. This topic will be included in one of the panel discussions at our Executive Forum. The introduction of digital court reporting curriculums to schools will provide increasing numbers of trained and qualified digital court reporting graduates. This is one of the critical elements that will help eliminate the shortage of court reporters and help grow electronic court reporting.

The Communications Committee prepares our monthly newsletter Sound Bytes. AAERT has published 31 issues of our monthly newsletter, which formerly was a quarterly newsletter. You can always access prior issues of the quarterly newsletter through the archives. Editor Gail Malm Armstrong is always looking for authors who want to write for the newsletter. Contact her at or via Maria Tannen at If your article is used for publication, you earn CEUs!

We now have over 1,000 connected to our social media pages. On a daily basis, legal industry news, AAERT events, and tech questions are posted. You can get a snapshot view of what events and issues are currently pending in the digital reporting and transcribing fields and take your pick. Comments and opinions are welcome also. If you don't have access to AAERT's Facebook pages, email Mike Tannen at to be added.

The evolution of court reporting fueled by the transition to electronic court reporting methodology is contributing to increased state-level legislative activity. The Virginia Court Reporters Association proposed a bill with a certification requirement that we viewed as unfavorable to electronic reporters and transcribers. Chairman, Rick Russell, organized the opposition effort together with Neal Gross and associates. The bill was withdrawn before consideration. As of this writing, the California Court Reporters Association is proposing bill AB424. This bill would require a California licensed court reporter to transcribe any deposition recorded by audio or video means. This would create additional expense for the litigants as well as increasing the strain on the shortage of court reporters and their overburdened work load. Other states with legislative activity regarding court reporting include Nevada, Texas, and Illinois. Our sincere thanks and gratitude go to Rick and Neal Gross for their efforts in defending AAERT and our members’ interests. Opposing adverse legislation and educating state legislatures that have prejudicial regulation and laws prohibiting electronic court reporting are other critical elements to the growth of our profession.

It is that time of year when we nominate new leaders for our association. This is a serious task when you consider all of the issues that are affecting our profession. Our place as a leader in the evolution of court reporting will be tested. Strong leaders with experience, skill, and conviction to stand up for their beliefs will help AAERT advance electronic reporting and transcription through these challenging times. Consider running for a position or starting a conversation with someone to nominate.

As always, my appreciation and thanks to all the volunteers whose hard work has elevated AAERT to the vibrant and flourishing association it is today.

Geoffrey L. Hunt, AAERT President




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