I'm Back From Visiting The Board -CRB Trip #2 -Mission Complete

crb-court-reporters-badge.jpgI'm back from my trip to Sacramento consulting with the Court Reporters Board regarding the next CSR Exam.  Here is a quick itemization of what I experienced there: 

  • I helped with CSR Exam Construction. 
  • The weather was alternately horrible and wonderful. 
  • I took a cab and ate at the best restaurant in Downtown Sacramento. 
  • I met some incredible reporters. 
  • I actually did use the hotel's gym facility.
  • I discovered an important CCP section that might help me get paid on a particular outstanding invoice.
First, I took this photo of a very ominous looking Arnold. arnold-photo-lobby.jpg His square mug graced the lobby of the Office of Examination Resources.  If you strain your eyes and stare long enough, I think you'll agree that he's saying, Make it a guhd CSR Exaaahm.  We need court reporters out there.  You heard me.And with that rather simple directive, my fellow SME (Source Material Experts) and I entered into a process to create the next CSR Exam.

What Is An SME?
An SME is known as a Source Material Expert.  That's me.  That's also Linda, Sandra, and Pamela.  We are experts by due fact that we are licensed by California as Certified Shorthand Reporters having duly passed the very Exam that we endeavored to create.  It's a beautiful circular type of thing. 

Exam Construction 101
Exam Construction is simply about selecting pre-approved, pre-qualified questions from the various subject matters from the bank of available questions and voting on them as a group.  As I've written before, the purpose of the Exam is to produce safe court reporters.  Safe for the profession of court reporting but mostly safe for the consumer.  We don't want half-baked court reporters.  We don't want court reporters who do not know what they're doing. crb-signage-lobby.jpgBy the same token, we don't require a court reporter candidate to know everything there is to know about court reporting. 

Exam Construction is about creating a fair Exam that trys to validate a candidate's grasp of entry-level CSR knowledge.  Things that only a 30-year veteran would know are weeded out.  Things that are common knowledge are yanked as well.

I believe the Exam that our team put together meets all those criteria.  While the test is challenging, I do feel that it is fair and accurately tests those things that a first year court reporter must know in order to perform his/her job safely.

The Best Restaurant In Downtown Sacramento chops-logo.jpg
When in Sac, I always steal away and head to Chops.  My friend from Microquick and I discovered this place a while back -- I want to say two years ago? -- during one of our treks to this area for marketing.  In between stops to law firms, we pulled into Chops to get one of the best steaks in town.

The One Thing You Must Know About Chops
Chops is a great restaurant.  It's right across the street from the Capitol Building.  You are extremely likely to run into any number of political types.  In fact the night that I was there, Assemblyman Van Tran held a private reception for a Japanese dignitary.  Quite honestly I had never heard of Assemblyman Van Tran before.  So from my bar stool and during my lentil soup, I Googled his name and found out he's a Republican from my Southern California area.  He also gave quite a nice speech to a graduating class at UCI.  During my steak dinner -- prepared medium rare -- I alternately learned more about Mr. Tran and watched the Democratic debate.  I snapped this horribly grainy photo of Mr. Tran's cocktail party.  I only got their backs because, after all, I'm only a court reporter not some political bigwig.  LOL. assemblyman-tran-chops.jpg

Oops, I forgot to mention the one thing.  The one thing to know about Chops is that -- in my opinion -- the place should be rated R for language.  I've never been in a restaurant/bar where so much foul language is used. Ever.  The first time I went there I thought maybe it was an off night.  Nope.  I've been there many times and each time I'm astonished at the number of F Bombs I hear coming from the mouths of otherwise respectful and respectable folks.  It probably has nothing to do with Chops, per se.  Maybe politicians just cuss a lot? (I wasn't close enough to Mr. Tran's party to hear any bad words.  And yes, I did try to use my super powered court reporting ears to strain to hear something...  Nada.)

I Met Some Incredible Court Reporters Whilst In Sacramento

Linda Goddard - a seasoned vet of the court reporting world.  Linda is really an encyclopedia of codes and regulations regarding court reporting.  What a treasure she is to our profession.  I got to meet her husband Jerry as well.   Nice people.  When I got home to my January edition of the Journal of Court Reporting, Linda had been published.  Pick up a copy of the mag to read a very insightful column regarding court reporting agencies giving out incentives to gain clients.  I highly recommend it and I happen to agree 100%.  (I personally used to do that but stopped back in 2005 for some very interesting reasons which I will have to blog about someday.)sandra-janeece-pam-sacramento-court-reporters.jpg

Sandra von Haenel - a wonderful court reporter from the UK.  Her accent enchanted us all!  (Middle in photo.)

Pamela Peirson - another seasoned reporter formerly from my neck of the woods. She's an expert WCAB depo taker and I hope to use her on some work soon.  (Left in photo.)

In Conclusion
had a great trip.  I learned a lot and got to help out my Board which in turn helps out my profession.  Good luck to the students who will be taking this Exam.  I think you're going to like this one!Oh, one more thing -- the CCP code that will hopefully get me paid on a certain invoice.  Here's the situation:  We did a deposition for an attorney who is trying to wiggle out of paying us for the O+1.  She wants the opposing counsel to bear the cost.  However, the law says it loud and clear as follows:
2025.510. (b) The party noticing the deposition shall bear the cost of that transcription, unless the court, on motion and for good cause shown, orders that the cost be borne or shared by another party.

A Few Random Photos From My  Little Camera Phone:sacramento-capital-building-a-cold-blustery-night.jpg
The picture to the right was taken by me after eating at Chops.  The streets were slick and wet.  There was an Arctic chill that cut through three layers of my clothing.  The blurry lights are the Capitol. >>  





<< This little self-snapshot is me at the Sacramento airport.  Wow!  Exciting stuff here on this blog!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Todd Olivas

Todd Olivas is a court reporter and entrepreneur.
He founded TO&A in 2003.

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