April Featured Court Reporter: Lisa Blair RMR CCR

Start Date: 10/4/2004 How did you begin...

Start Date: 10/4/2004

How did you begin your career in court reporting?

My very first exposure to the court reporting field was a career day in high school.  I was mesmerized at the time, but it took a few years for me to realize this was the field for me.  My dad was the one who reminded me and urged me to look into it once again.  I attended Mater Dei College in Ogdensburg, New York and obtained an associate’s degree two years later with a court reporting major.

What brought you to Cook and Wiley?

After graduating from college, my husband and I decided the frigid upstate New York winters were not for us, and we migrated south to Charlottesville, Virginia, where some of my husband’s family lives.  I worked for a firm there for eight years before finding my way to Cook & Wiley.  I met with Jeanne Wiley in the fall of 2004 and knew without a doubt I had found a place I could call home.  I started working at Cook & Wiley in October of that year and haven’t looked back since.

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

Well, there was the time I was providing CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) for a hearing-impaired law student at the University of Virginia, and I somehow managed to launch my steno machine into the air and watch in horror as it skittered down several steps and across a broad expanse of flooring and crashed into the professor’s podium — in the middle of a lecture, I might add.  WHERE is that hole in the floor when you need it?  There was also the time a witness, during a lengthy Saturday deposition, became irate, leaned over the table and grabbed the attorney by the throat and told him he was going to punch him in the face.  The attorney was unfazed, so this was apparently not a new experience for him.  Thankfully there was no blood shed that day, but that same witness demanded that everything that had happened before that moment was to be deleted from the record and we were to start the deposition over again.  Amazingly, the attorneys acquiesced.  Then there was the lady in traffic court who was issued a routine speeding ticket.  She spent a solid 15 minutes explaining why she was not guilty.  The judge issued a guilty verdict.  She sighed and said loudly, “Why don’t you EVER believe me?”  The judge calmly replied, “Well, why are you always here?”

What advice would you give a new court reporter?

Be very patient with yourself.   The first few months will oftentimes be frustrating, but don’t give up!  Work hard to build a solid dictionary and constantly craft brief forms that work for you.  This will help improve your speed.  Writing fast and accurately will build your confidence like nothing else can, not to mention dramatically cut down your editing time.

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

You will find me enjoying every spare minute I can with my sweet little family.  My husband and I have two daughters and a very active Labradoodle.  Never a dull moment in our crazy home!  I’m also passionate about exercise, and find time every day to sweat.  I love playing the piano, knitting, and cooking.

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