November Featured Court Reporter: Linda Becraft CCR

Start Date: 5/1/1995 How did you begin...


Start Date: 5/1/1995

How did you begin your career in court reporting?

After a number of years as a development director for a large company and working with
volunteers, I decided I wanted to pursue a career where I didn’t have to rely on anyone else to
make it “happen.” I heard an ad on the radio talking about a Richmond court reporting
school, decided to take a serious look into the field of court reporting, found it to be
interesting and something I thought I would be good at, decided to make the commitment
and went back to school.

What brought you to Cook and Wiley?

After I started court reporting school, and simultaneous with my studies, I began
interviewing court reporters and court reporting firm owners. I wanted to find out all I could
about the profession and what was happening in the real world. I realized just taking classes
would not be enough to fully prepare me. I found a really great mentor, court reporter and
firm owner by the name of Jeanne Wiley. She gave me access to her reporters and their
infinite wisdom. All of them were very professional and interesting people, and I wanted to
be a part of that. Before I got out of school, Jeanne asked me to join the Cook & Wiley firm.
It was such a comfort knowing I had a great job waiting for me!

What interesting or memorable moment have you experienced while court reporting?

I cannot name any one thing that stands out, but I can honestly say that I have learned a lot of
things just from taking the depositions of professionals in different areas of expertise.

There is one event in the very-funny category that happened to me that still, to this day,
makes me chuckle. I was doing a jury trial several years ago with Judge Rockwell on the
bench. We had taken a break for lunch and I made a mad dash to what was then Ukrop’s. I
grabbed my lunch, ran back out to my car (a green Honda Element … and I knew, in life, that
Judge Rockwell had had one, too … ), and for some reason I could not get into my locked
vehicle. I kept punching my electronic key thingy thinking it had failed me somehow, tried
both doors repeatedly, hoped for an open window so I could ease my hand in there. Nope.
Then I went around to the back of the vehicle thinking maybe I could gain entry at the rear
door. And then there it was, the Grateful Dead sticker. I was trying to break into Judge
Rockwell’s car.

What advice would you give a new court reporter?

The best advice I would give a new reporter is to make sure you have a couple of things in
your armory that help you relieve stress. Picking an activity that makes you sweat (besides
taking a fast, verbose witness), and that takes your mind off your problems for a bit, will help
you manage. While court reporting is an interesting, busy and enjoyable career, it can and
will be stressful at times.

Where can we find you when you’re not working?

I can be found on a bicycle of some sort whether it be a road bike, mountain bike and/or touring bike. I have been an avid cyclist for about 30 years and still love every moment. (Well almost every moment…as long as the legs can turn over!) Riding is a great way to meet wonderful people, see the world and add lots of fun to your life. I enjoy different types of cycling, and have most recently begun to do a little loaded touring. Loaded touring is defined as: Self-contained (all your clothes, tent, food, etc.) cycling for pleasure, adventure and autonomy, not necessarily the consumption of alcohol during the ride. But, then, there’s always after …


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