For many years, I have been an active participant in the California Deposition Reporters Association (DRA). Even though it requires an investment of time and money, continuing career development is essential to the profession.
Attending conferences as well as engaging with other members online allows me to keep up on new technology, pending legislation, and to be in the company of other accomplished independent court reporters. I often reconnect with colleagues that I have gone to school with, worked with, or gotten to know by repeatedly attending DRA functions. The quality of the programs, educational experience, introduction to new products, and valuable information about pertinent legislation alone is enough to keep me going, irrespective of continuing education points.
Earlier this month, I was reminded of the value of these professional relationships when I experienced a personal dilemma. I received an emergency call from my elderly mother at 5:20 on a Thursday afternoon informing me that my father was very ill. As I knew it would take me at least an hour to drive from my office in the East Bay to San Francisco, where my parents live, during the height of rush hour, I suggested to my mother to ask her neighbor to take my dad to the emergency room, and I said would meet them there as soon as I could. Along with wanting to be present at the hospital to consult with the doctors and be my father’s advocate, I wanted to ensure my mother was all right.
After I arrived at the emergency room and was told that my father was going to be admitted and I realized that I would be needed to help my mother during the evening, I remembered that I was scheduled to report a realtime medical expert deposition the next day.
I called a DRA colleague, Diane Freeman, whose first words, after checking in on my parents’ status, were, “Don’t worry. You are covered.” Whew!
A bit later Diane called and told me that she had an equipment malfunction with her realtime gear. Before my heart could skip a beat, she said, “Don’t worry. I called Mary Ann, and she is going to take the job. She will call you in a few minutes to get the particulars of the case.”
Although the gravity of this situation may not be immediately recognizable, finding a realtime reporter who can competently report medical expert testimony at 9:00 p.m. the night before a deposition is a Herculean task. My wonderful colleagues and, yes, friends came – rather, ran – to the rescue and picked up the pieces, knowing that I was in a very tight place. I barely had to ask for help – they were on it.
Although I know that Diane and Mary Ann are exceptional court reporters, their concern for their colleague and willingness to quickly, without even the hint of a complaint, solve a difficult situation for their fellow reporter shows that they are also kind human beings.
I feel fortunate to be a member of the fellowship of court reporters in the San Francisco Bay Area!