We’re stronger together.

Reporter Advocacy

Welcome to the British Columbia Shorthand Reporters Association, a place that thrives on the combined actions of its members. Each person contributes their skills, ideas, and dedication, which collectively shape the BCSRA’s direction and impact. We believe in the power of coming together, pooling our efforts, and working as a team to achieve our goals. Collaboration is our cornerstone, and every member plays a crucial role. Your involvement, commitment, and contributions are what drive us forward. With each step we take together, we forge a path towards progress and growth. By working collectively, we overcome challenges, challenge norms, and create opportunities for innovation. Our association is a community where the sum of our efforts is greater than its individual parts.

Join us in embracing the power of collective action. Be a part of a community that values teamwork, mutual support, and shared achievements. At BCSRA, together, we shape our future and make a lasting impact.

The BCSRA is here to support and promote the interests of shorthand writers across British Columbia.

The association gets its strength from reporters like you.

We can accomplish more when we work together. Here’s what you can do to support your profession:

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Update your email signature

Include your OR designation, FPM number, and the gold standard sign-off. Try to avoid using out-of-date terms like OCR.

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Celebrate shorthand reporting and captioning week

Spotlight the diverse facets of court reporting and captioning.

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Be a BCSRA member

If you’re reading this, you’ve already completed the most important action in favour of reporter advocacy: supporting a pro-steno collective through your membership dues.

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Update your peers

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Ask a coworker to join

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Show your hands

Ensure your hands/writer are visible during discovery. (This is particularly important for remote proceedings.) You can attain this by angling your external webcam so it captures your face and hands or by split-screening your webcam with an overhead camera.

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Consider in-person discoveries

Ensure your hands/writer are visible during discovery. (This is particularly important for remote proceedings.) You can attain this by angling your external webcam so it captures your face and hands or by split-screening your webcam with an overhead camera.

Learn more >

Share your official reporter designation

Show counsel your OR designation before the start of discovery. If you don’t have your OR designation readily available, show them your name on the BCSRA’s official reporter list.

Check the list >

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Share the gold standard infographic

Share it on social media (particularly with lawyers and assistants) or request a hardcopy to leave on the table for in-person discoveries.

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Join the BCSRA

Share the “Join the BCSRA” infographic

Share it on social media, particularly with non-member coworkers.

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Display the interruptions note card

Display the digital version on your screen when you go on break or request a hardcopy from the registrar to leave on the table for counsel to review at their leisure.

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protect your record

Sign up for Protect Your Record

A free stenographer directory that takes just a few short minutes to sign up.

Learn more >

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Use an alternative to “court reporter”

When identifying yourself on the record, use “stenographer” or “official reporter” rather than “court reporter” to differentiate yourself from digital or speech-to-text.

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Don’t record via Zoom

When lawyers see Zoom is recording, it’s possible they assume the Zoom auto-transcription is taking it down or maybe that we’re recording it to send away for transcription later. The best way to mitigate this? One, don’t use Zoom to record your audio or, two, clarify in your intro blurb that Zoom is recording as an audio backup feature only but that the true evidence is being taken down via machine shorthand with your lovely, nimble hands.

Learn more >

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Use an intro blurb

Before beginning your discovery, clarify your role through an intro blurb.

Sample Zoom introduction >

Practice your elevator pitches

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Elevator Pitches

Stenography: the Gold Standard

This letter was written for submission to The Verdict.

The art of stenography is a critical element of the legal profession, and it has a long and distinguished history dating back to ancient Rome. While stenography has undergone significant modernization, some people question the value of stenography and argue that alternative capture methods may be just as effective. However, there are many compelling reasons why stenography remains the gold standard for court reporting.

It’s worth noting that the Court Rules Act in British Columbia requires all discoveries to take place in front of an official court reporter, who must be a stenographer. This means that all parties involved in the discovery process must have an official reporter present to take down a verbatim record of the proceedings. This requirement underscores the importance of stenography in the legal system and the critical role that stenographers play in ensuring the integrity of the record. Even as technology advances, the need for a skilled, professional stenographer remains paramount, particularly in settings where accuracy and attention to detail are essential, such as in legal proceedings.

One of the most significant advantages of stenography is the speed and accuracy with which stenographers can capture spoken words. By using a shorthand language that can convey entire words or phrases with a single stroke, stenographers are able to keep up with even the fastest speakers. This speed is essential for capturing a complete and accurate record of legal proceedings, which is critical for ensuring that justice is served.

In addition to their speed and accuracy, stenographers are also highly trained professionals who understand the legal system and the importance of the record. They are able to provide realtime transcription and ensure that every word is accurately captured, which is essential for preserving the integrity of the legal process.

Alternative methods of capturing spoken words, such as digital reporting and voicewriting, have limitations that can impact their accuracy and reliability. Technical issues and glitches can affect digital recordings, while the ability to accurately capture multiple speakers or strong accents can present challenges. Voicewriters may also struggle with these issues, as well as limitations in their ability to transcribe in realtime. As a result, traditional human stenographers remain the preferred choice for many applications.

Moreover, stenographers are essential for virtual and hybrid proceedings, which have become more common in recent years. By allowing reporters to work remotely, these proceedings have made it easier to access reporting services and ensure that the record is accurately preserved. Stenographers are uniquely positioned to provide this service, thanks to their specialized training and equipment.

Finally, stenography remains an essential component of the legal system, and it is critical that we continue to support and invest in this important profession. By working with contemporary industry leaders who are committed to preserving the importance of the record, we can ensure that stenography remains the gold standard for court reporting for
years to come.

In conclusion, stenography is a critical and time-tested profession that plays a vital role in the legal system. While alternative capture methods may have their place, there is no substitute for the speed, accuracy, and professionalism of a trained stenographer. By investing in this important profession and working with industry leaders who understand its importance, we can ensure that the record is preserved for future generations.

Best Foot Forward

It is imperative that reporters know what they’re signing.

Best Foot Forward (BFF) is a nonprofit whose mission is to inform and empower new court reporters by providing essential guidance on contractual agreements, ensuring they understand the clauses and what crucial information they should look out for.

New students in particular can request a FREE contract review through a lawyer whose sole purpose is to review a reporting firm’s contract with the court reporter’s best interests in mind.

Read More

The easiest way to support the profession? Be a member.

Join the BCSRA

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