December Featured Court Reporter: Chris Brown

Start Date: 5/1/1997 How did you begin...


Start Date: 5/1/1997

How did you begin your career in court reporting?

I began my  reporting career when I felt like I needed a new direction in my life, and I wanted to learn a skill that I could take with me anywhere.  I had a friend who was a court reporter in NC, but they had no schools there.  So I found out that Richmond, Virginia did, and it was where my mother actually lived, so I moved here and have never looked back.

What brought you to Cook and Wiley?

While in school, I decided that I needed a mentor, someone to help keep me on track and to keep me motivated when things got really tough.  I called up Jeanne Wiley and asked her to lunch and for a chat.  We hit it off, and soon I was the new delivery person in the office.  From there I became the receptionist and scheduling/production person until I finished school.

The things that I learned while working in the office were invaluable to me, and it really gave me a head-start when I finally started my career in reporting.

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

I’ll never forget my first trial.  Jeanne sent me to King William County, where I had no idea what was going to happen.  It turned out to be a very acrimonious family feud over lumber rights, power, and money.  I was so over my head but had no choice but to hang in there.  Most of the terminology was foreign to me.  It ended up going over 14 hours, and by the end I had written 550 pages; still a record to this day.

What advice would you give a new court reporter?

I would tell them to try to master the art of time management.  That has been the most difficult thing for me.  If you can treat your at-home work time just like any other job, do your six to eight hours of work every day, then you’ll be ahead of the game and ready for whatever comes your way, like an expedite at the last minute.  It’s inevitable!

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

My real therapy happens in the garden.  I love working in the dirt and planting things and watching them grow.  I’ve been told I have a green thumb, and I know I enjoy it, so maybe the plants know that too.  I also love to cook and entertain friends; I’m a bit of a homebody.  But that’s not to say that I don’t love to travel, which I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to go overseas a few times and have loved every minute of it.


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