A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
|Greetings, Friends & Colleagues!
As WCRA’s 2020-2021 president, I’m writing to let you know that now, on the heels of NCRA’s 2021 Court Reporting & Captioning Week, is an excellent time for you to get involved in WCRA! We have exciting things planned for the year ahead, which makes it more important than ever to renew your membership, if you’ve not already done so, and support court reporting and captioning here in your very own home state.
Your WCRA Board of Directors has been hard at work and setting high goals and objectives to protect the integrity of the record and remind all of the consumers of our services of the important role court reporters play in the process of capturing the record in in the months ahead. We hope we can count on you to make all of the goals outlined below happen this year.
Important Objectives for 2021
•We received word from the Washington State Supreme Court that the court voted to adopt WCRA’s proposed court rule amendment to 30(c) seeking to add language allowing for reporting telephonically or via videoconference for remote location depositions. This rule amendment became effective February 1, 2021.
AMENDED RULE WA CR 30 (c): The officer before whom the deposition is to be taken shall under rule 28(A) put the witness on oath and shall personally, or by someone acting under the officer’s direction and in the officer’s presence, record the testimony of the witness. However, such oath and recording may be administered by an officer from a location remote from the deponent.
•We have renewed WCRA’s contract with our lobbyist to continue to monitor legislation that may be important for court reporters here in Washington through 2021. We recently provided testimony in support of a SB 5027, which seeks to provide captioning on televisions in places of public accommodation; adding a new section to chapter 49.60 RCW; and prescribing penalties.
•Our legal counsel is continuously reviewing court rule submissions to ensure no proposed new rules and/or rule amendments slip by unnoticed that could impact court reporters.
•We are currently in the process of drafting formal written complaints with the Department of Licensing and the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Attorney General relating to uncertified “digital court reporters” appearing for depositions in Washington.
•We worked with WSBA to coordinate and help craft Zoom guidelines for attorneys and court reporters.
•We have a newly formed student outreach committee seeking to bring more people into our wonderful profession. They are conducting outreach to bring awareness to court reporting.
•We worked diligently with DOL to make it possible for court reporting students (and others) to pass NCRA’s Registered Skilled Reporter (RSR) in order to receive their WA CCR. We have had our first student successfully complete that process. Since COVID-19 restrictions have come into effect in WA, there have been no WA CCR tests administered. This has provided a much-needed solution.
•We are conducting an outreach to all judges across Washington to promote the benefits of stenographic reporting, utilizing a recent comparative analysis of digital vs. stenographic court reporting conducted by Pierce County that concludes: “Based on our research, actual costs savings would be minimal at best, with the court performance suffering greatly from the lack of real time reporting. There is no court recording equipment which has the performance level of a court reporter.” We will provide assistance in promoting stenographic reporters in YOUR courtroom based on this study and many other materials we have gathered.
•We have brought our seminars and conventions online to quickly adapt to provide members access to continuing education from the safety of their homes during COVID-19. If you missed the seminars, you may still participate in taking them online.
In the days and weeks ahead, you will hear from WCRA board and committee members personally contacting you to encourage you to join WCRA or renew your expired membership (psssst… there will be membership renewal prize opportunities, including a vacation trip that’s been donated). You won’t want to miss your phone call with details!
WCRA has a wonderful Spring Webinar planned this year, including advanced Zoom training being provided by Zoom guru Jessie Gorry. We will also have a presentation by one of the judges in Pierce Country who affirmed that live stenographic or certified court reporters are the best means of capturing the record in court. Plus MORE! Watch for upcoming Zoom socials.
Get involved in WCRA! You’ll be glad to be a member of our team!
Phyllis Craver Lykken, RPR, CCR No. 2423
WCRA President 2020-2021
WCRA Co-Legislative Chair
NCRA STRONG Co-Committee C
Guidance on Video and Other Electronic Depositions During the COVID-19 Crisis
In March of this year, when it became clear that alternative means for conducting depositions would need to be considered, the Washington Court Reporters Association (WCRA) contacted the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) to together contact the Washington Supreme Court to request an emergency order allowing for the remote administration of oaths to alleviate the need for in-person depositions. Since that time, many questions have arisen as to the best way to conduct remote depositions, arbitrations, etc.
In May of this year, I contacted WSBA to inquire as to whether there were any established guidelines for conducting remote depositions that WSBA had drafted for its members. As of that that time, there were not, so WSBA President Rajeev Majumdar thought it would be helpful to establish some recommended guidelines that were based on local court rules, to the extent they could be.
After a few weeks of effort, Dan Bridges, Past WSBA Treasurer and Governor Chair, Civil Litigation Rules Revision Work Group, put together some guidelines. The link is provided below.
Your WCRA Board of Directors has set high goals and objectives to accomplish in 2020 and we need your support to make them happen. Some of the important objectives include:
We have hired a lobbyist to fight upcoming legislation which could break the long-established independent contractor status for court reporters in Washington. This is happening across the country and YOU can make a difference. Please join WCRA or renew your dues today.
We are fighting companies attempting to introduce digital reporting in Washington. We are anticipating they may attempt to take action in the 2020 legislative session that could greatly impact your livelihood. There are a number of formal complaints pending with DOL right now relating to digital reporters. We need your support to enable WCRA to continue to fight to keep the Court Reporting Practice Act (our CCR law) sound.
We have filed a proposed court rule amendment with the Supreme Court seeking to add language allowing for reporting telephonically for last-minute and remote location depositions.
We have a newly formed student outreach task force seeking to bring more people into our wonderful profession. They will be conducting job career days at area high schools to bring awareness to court reporting.
We are conducting an outreach to all judges across Washington to promote the benefits of stenographic reporting.
We met with the WSBA Board of Governors earlier this year to promote stenographic reporting, inform attorneys of the practice of contracting being undertaken by some agencies, relayed there is new language and rules relating to notaries in Washington, and educated them on how to protect and secure their record by including language in Notices of Deposition stating they will be taken before a certified court reporter. Please join WCRA or renew your dues today.
It’s hard to fight for you when you’re sitting on the sidelines. Get your game on. Help WCRA fight the good fight!
We need all y’all!
Phyllis and Val
Phyllis Craver Lykken and Valerie Seaton
and your entire WCRA Board of Directors