Start Date: 12/1/2001
How did you begin your career in court reporting?
The field of court reporting had been suggested to me by a couple friends in the legal field. Initially I had no interest, but after some prodding I visited the Reporting Academy of Virginia to check it out (or perhaps in an effort to relieve the prodding). After a real-time demonstration, I was instantly amazed and knew this was the career for me.
What brought you to Cook & Wiley?
Beginning my reporting career in 1999, I worked with a very small firm which handled mostly criminal matters, and I was looking for a change from the “rocket docket”. A friend enjoyed working with Cook & Wiley at the time, so I decided to reach out. I was impressed at the technologically-advanced aspect Cook & Wiley had to offer both to their reporters as well as to their clients, and I was excited to join the Cook & Wiley family in 2001.
What interesting or memorable moment have you experienced while court reporting?
When a court reporter is asked what she does for a living, usually the first response is: I bet you hear some interesting stories! My favorite story to recount is a deposition taken a few years back wherein an ex-wife was suing her ex-husband for….wait for it…assault by potato chip shrapnel! I kid you not! So here I am taking down the deposition of this ex-wife, with videographer present, and the defense counsel asks this series of questions: So were they jalapeno-flavored? Did you have to go to the hospital? Did you have third-degree burns? I recall very vividly staring intently at the carpet, afraid to catch eye contact with Videographer Jim Attaway for fear I may crack up!
What advice would you give a new reporter?
Any time I have the opportunity to encourage a new reporter, the first thing I advise is not to be afraid to call on fellow reporters when you have a question! We are all in this together, and we frequently call each other for advice on how to handle a situation within a transcript. The other advice I always give came from the most incredibly talented reporter I have ever known, our Carolyn O’Connor: Build your dictionary! If you stroke a word incorrectly once, add it to your dictionary for you are likely to write it that way in the future! If only I had followed this advice from the beginning of my career!!
Where can we find you when you aren’t working?
My favorite pastime is bass fishing! In the spring, summer and fall, every chance I get I am checking out a local fishing hole and tend to lose all track of time when I have a line in the water! There is nothing like the sound of a bass smacking a buzz bait or the zing of the reel when a large catfish hits the line! Photography is also a hobby I enjoy, and I oftentimes combine the two; sometimes spending more time catching great shots of nature, like catching the perfect shot of a bream being consumed by a heron! Occasionally I enjoy a love/hate relationship with the art of sewing; and in the wintertime I enjoy the craft of crochet, which a very dear 96-year-young friend just exposed me to a couple of years ago!