Women with Cool Jobs

Court Reporter Provides Essential Services in Judicial Proceedings and Captioning, with Karen Santucci

March 22, 2023 Julie Berman
Women with Cool Jobs
Court Reporter Provides Essential Services in Judicial Proceedings and Captioning, with Karen Santucci
Show Notes Transcript

Karen Santucci is a veteran court reporter who is now the Director of the Court Reporting Program at Plaza College in Forest Hills, New York. Court reporters play an essential and required role in judicial proceedings, plus they do captioning work when requested in relation to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA.) It’s a cool way to get into the courtroom without being a lawyer or judge, or it allows you to learn about all sorts of things while doing captioning!

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Court reporters have a critical role in legal proceedings, which require an exact record of what occurred. These workers are responsible for producing a complete, accurate, and secure transcript of depositions, trials, and other legal proceedings." In regards to captioning work, this is closed captioning on televisions, and also with college students, business meetings, or anyone that requests to have a court reporter to take down the meeting, lesson, or event on the steno machine.

Karen Santucci began her court reporting career right after high school. After graduating Stenotype Institute in Manhattan , she started working at the Queens County Grand Jury where she eventually became the Assistant Supervisor of the Grand Jury Reporters. After many years, she left to raise her 3 children. In 2001, she returned to the field as a court reporting instructor and realized her true calling was teaching and encouraging people to enter this great profession. Now, she's helping the next generation of court reporters through her role as an educator.

We discuss how diverse and flexible this career path is (so it's awesome for moms looking for jobs with flexible schedules) and how they need more people now. Demand is high, and people just don't know about this job and how many opportunities there are in the courts, classrooms, or even at the Grammy's!

Resources


Contact Info:
Karen Santucci  - Guest
ksantucci@plazacollege.edu


Julie Berman - Host
www.womenwithcooljobs.com
@womencooljobs (Instagram)
Julie Berman (LinkedIn)

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Karen Santucci:

We used to get a lot of people before COVID Because they would be called on jury duty. And that's where a lot of people came to us because they see the court reporter they were more amazed and watching the court reporter this then times and watching the attorneys. So that that's and that that if not everybody goes to jury duty. But you know, so and then No, and it's funny because lately they're starting to portray court reporters a little more realistic on like law and order in some of these shows, because some of these other shows that have like a paper falling on the floor, like we don't do that anymore, you know? So yes, really getting the word out of that, you know, we have this little stick machine is no paper. It's really cool looking.

Julie Berman - Host:

Hey, everybody. I'm Julie, and welcome to Women with cool jobs. Each episode will feature women with unique trailblazing and innovative crews. We'll talk about how she got here, what life is like now, and actionable steps that you can take to go on a similar path, or one that's all your own. This podcast is about empowering you. It's about empowering you to dream big and to be inspired. You'll hear from incredible women in a wide variety of fields, and hopefully some that you've never heard of before. Women who filled robots and roadways, firefighters, C suite professionals surrounded by men, social media mavens, entrepreneurs, and more. I'm so glad we get to go on this journey together. Hello, everybody, this is Julie Berman, and welcome to another episode of limit with cool jobs. So I'm so excited for today's guest because this is one of those guests that I literally never thought of her job. Like I have, of course seen the scenario of you see on TV shows like you're looking at the courtroom and you see the lawyers, you see the judges, you see the jurors, or even my dad because he's a lawyer. So I've heard about him, you know, going into the courtroom, but you don't really ever think about the court reporter in the courtroom, and what is their job? What do they do? How is that important in the courtroom? And like, what role do they play. So today I am speaking with a veteran court reporter who's now the director of the court reporting program at Plaza College in New York. And she is talking to us all about the incredible opportunities that behold in the world of court reporters, because court reporters not only go into the judicial settings, they also have the opportunity to do closed captioning in a variety of settings that are oftentimes in educational, like in higher ed like so they're going into a classroom. And they're helping someone who may be hard of hearing or has another disability where they need this closed captioning service. And they're doing this in real time, it's possible to have the opportunity to do this work over zoom now even wishes like literally it just like so shocking, it blows my mind. But speak to the opportunities there. Because we talked about you know, not only the opportunity to be in the the judicial courtroom, the opportunity to do the closed captioning in a school setting and help people out there. But also, you can do this as a freelancer. And we talked about doing a deposition and doing that for a few hours. And then maybe if you're a stay at home mom, like you have the opportunity to be home with your kids for a few hours, do naptime, give them lunch, and then do another deposition later. Like it's really incredible. Just the flexibility and the opportunities that are involved in being a court reporter and having this education and these these jobs that are really plentiful. This is a career where they need more people like they are searching actively for people to fill these roles to fill these shoes. And there's really really awesome opportunities as far as the the money that you can make as well like you can go through school and get a job it sounds like right after wishes awesome and really cool, especially in today's environment and just the economy being a little bit shaky. So I am so excited to share this conversation with you. You know I learned so much from Karen and it was such a such an eye opener and I hope that if you enjoyed this conversation, I would absolutely love if you would take a moment do me a huge favor. Go onto Apple podcasts and to take some time to write a review will take you two minutes if you scroll all the way down. Once you're on the podcast page, you scroll all the way down, there's a tiny area where it says write a review, please click on that write me a review. And also, if you're loving it, please leave me five stars. It means so much it helps me share this with more people. And I'm just continued to do this work. So thank you as always, for being here. It's such a blast, and enjoy this conversation. All right, I am so excited to be here with you, Karen. So I'm going to introduce you fully you are Karen San Tucci. Very awesome profession that you have that one that really not that many people know about. You are a court reporter, who has done that for many years. And now you are the director of court reporting for their program at Plaza College in Forest Hills, New York. And you're like helping to create this next generation of court reporters, and educating us all on what it is to be a court reporter. And I'm just really excited to learn about what you do so, so glad to have you here.

Karen Santucci:

Oh, thank you for having me. I'm really excited to be here, too.

Julie Berman - Host:

So I when I first saw that email come through, but having you as a guest, I was super intrigued because my dad is a lawyer. But there's obviously so many pieces of what he does that I have no clue. But I never actually thought about this aspect, this element of other people who are part of the proceedings, like I always think of obviously, the lawyers are in the room. The people themselves, you know, who are part of the process are in the room, the judge the jurors, but you never often hear about this, this role. And I'm really excited for you to share what you do. And also we were talking a little bit beforehand, like how many opportunities there are for people to get into this role. Some changes post COVID. Now you can even do it like virtually, which is pretty magical to think about and not an obvious thing for sure. So in your own words, I would just love to hear you talk about how do you describe your job, like what is a court reporter? And what are your roles and responsibilities.

Karen Santucci:

So a court reporter happens to be the most important person in that courtroom, because the case cannot begin until the court reporter is ready. I know recently there was that Johnny Depp case. And if you followed it at all, there were there was a morning when they couldn't start the proceedings because the court reporter was stuck in traffic. So we really got the important person because we are recording the record. It is an exciting job. You have the front row seat to major trials, you hear everything that's going on, and you're taking it all down. And every day is a new experience. You know, I started this right out of high school. I went to court reporting school I heard about it, it was something I never knew about before. But I was just intrigued. It sounds so exciting. So I worked in the Queen's grand jury for many years. And that was criminal. And it was it was exciting. Because every day it was a new case. And when a crime happened, we would get it into the grand jury in then that's a secret proceeding. So we would hear it firsthand. I am right now in my career, I have been very lucky that I am involved with plasma college, and I am the director of the court reporting program. And I really feel blessed that I can share this wonderful career with so many people that people just don't know that it still exists. They thought that Siri took it over, they don't need the person anymore. You know, computers are going to take it over. I mean, back when I started, they used to say computers are going to take it over. But court reporters worked with the computers. So we enjoy we evolved with it. And it just made our job easier. So again, this is a career that most people don't know about. And the job opportunities are immense because of the fact that there are so many openings. Most people haven't been going into it. A lot of people are retiring. And therefore they're all these openings in the courts themselves. But also court reporters, you know, you work in the courts, you also work like in the freelance field where you take pre trial depositions, and that in that area, you're a private contractor. So this is a perfect job for moms, because you can take just a deposition in the morning, and then you could take a deposition in the afternoon. You could work one day a week, two days a week, five days a week, whatever you want to do working around your schedule. Wow. As far as when COVID happened. COVID even helped our career to increase because now we had zoom depositions. So now we didn't even have to travel. So court reporters, they can take a job in the morning then just log Add to that, take a lunch break and take a job in the afternoon. So you don't even have to leave the house. And again, if the children are home, you could just work around your schedule. So it is a perfect job for women. Back when I started, I started in the 80s. It used to be a male dominated field. When I first sat in court in in Queens, I went in and sat in on trials in Supreme Court, there was one female court reporter, and everyone else was male. Wow. As the 80s, as we ended the 80s, getting into the 90s, women started getting into the field. And it really is, as far as I'm concerned, a perfect job for a woman, I have three children, you know, I had worked for a while then I went back and taught. But I encourage students that I have because they can really work around home care and childcare. So it does make a lot of sense. And then they also can transition at once the kids get older, if they want to go into the courts and do a nine to five, they can always transition. And the other thing I had mentioned to you earlier that since the Disability Act was passed, any person with hearing impairment can request a court reporter. So we now not only do we work in the judicial field, but we work in what we call captioning work, which is closed captioning on televisions, also with college students or law students, business meetings, anyone that requests to have a court reporter that can take down the meeting or the lesson or you know, the the lecture on your steno machine. And it comes up in real time. This is how we write now we do as we write in steno, it immediately comes up in real time on a laptop. So it is amazing. You know, the money is the money is amazing. Right now, the courts are in desperate need of students, of people, my recent graduates of the school, they have walked right into lower court, lower court right now we're starting at 80,000 a year plus transcripts, you know, we get paid per page. So any of what we take down in court, it gets trans lated and transcribed into a transcript, and then we get paid by the page. So that is additional money. When you work as an official, or as a freelance reporter. That's how you get paid you get you get paid on an appearance fee, and then you get paid per page on that transcript.

Julie Berman - Host:

That's really interesting. Wow, well, thank you for I mean, giving us such an incredible overview. As a mom, I'm also a mom of three with minor little and I love that you mentioned is a really good career path for for moms in particular, because I know that after working full time and then staying home with my kids as they've grown up, you know and working part time, but it is hard to find those jobs that seem really fun and exciting. And you're like you do have a new day every day and you're learning and to find those those jobs that are able to fit in the component of if you want to be home with your kids like for for longer or shorter time. So whatever that looks like for you. So I love that you pointed that out I love also the ability to not only go and help with the judicial proceedings, but as you were talking about to help with the captioning I think is such a fascinating aspect and obviously also very rewarding in the fact that you're you're helping people learn and having an equal opportunity to learn in the same way as their colleagues might. So that's really really cool. I didn't realize that was part of your job and definitely not obvious so that was a fun surprise.

Karen Santucci:

But this just to add to that what's good you can get an education for free you know, I've had to I've had students that I'm working to take going with a pharmaceutical student you know you're just getting a free education or law school you go to law school without you know you have to take the test but you're getting all the knowledge is amazing. And just to piggyback what you said about being a working mom because I remember with my when I had my kids were little sometimes you have like that you feel like you got that mommy brain you know but to have that little you can skip out of that mommy brain and go back into the real world and have and hear you know something exciting and interesting and still feel like you're you're that you're pre Mommy you know always say my name changes you know, and you're not I wasn't caring I was mom but then you could still go back and be that fulfillment of having your career which is wonderful because we you know as women want to do it all of your want to be the perfect mom we want to work. We want to have it all and and you can and you can, which is nice. Yeah,

Julie Berman - Host:

I love that. And that's such a good point because that's exactly like what my work and what this podcast does for me is like that step away from being in the mom shoes to get to do the professional side of things and connect with adults, which is always fun. Yeah, I love that. And you touched on a little bit, but I kind of love to go back in time before we get more to your your present work and like the nitty gritty details of what you do. But you touched on the fact that, you know, you started out of high school, you went to school for this. And I know you also are in education now as as the director of the program. So I'm just wondering if you can talk like a little bit about what are the requirements to get into this? Is this something that I or someone else who's listening who isn't fresh out of high school could get into? What is that education sort of look like? And then what are the pathways that you can take after because you mentioned some different options. So I would just love to kind of get more insight on that.

Karen Santucci:

Okay, so as far as the pathway to go in, no, right now, we don't really get that many people right out of high school, because what happens with the high school is that kind of get everybody go to four year college, you know, you need a college education. This does have an associate's degree, it's a two year degree. But because again, not that many people know about it, a lot of our students come to us with bachelor's degrees. So they do we do take the transfer credits, you know, they can come in, we accept those credits, they can put that towards an Associate's degree. And they come in at a different level, of course, because they have more knowledge, which makes this easier, you know, and what we what we do now, because of the great need, you know, I'm also very involved with the National Court Reporters Association, where they put together a free introductory class, we call it A to Z. And what it is, is that we have people come in that no kind of interested don't know what court reporting is all about. And we give them a class just to show how that little steno machine works. Because it is different than a typewriter. No, all the keys go down simultaneously, we write phonetically. And it's not so much typing, we kind of write because we can do like a whole word as a stroke. So we give this reentry introductory class so they can see, do I like this? Is this something that would interest me before I sign up and get involved with going into school, and this has worked out really well, at Plaza, I really hold these classes about once a month. So we can have people come in, see if they like it, we do small groups. What we do now, since it's everything is online, we use it we can get an app on the iPad that simulates what what a steno machine looks like. So it gives you a good idea of what it's about. And that's how a lot of students come to us. And then how the program is, is that you know, you learn the theory of writing in steno, you know that, that takes two semesters. And after that, it's really building the speed. Because in order to graduate, you have to write 225 words a minute, we write verbatim. So you're writing the spoken word is sounds like a lot. But with steno, there's a lot of shortcuts. And like I said, you know that the way the keyboard works, you can really fly on that little keyboard, it's a very little easy touch back when I thought it used to be the paper that rolled out now everything is paperless, it's you know, comes up on on a screen, you see it in English, it translates we teach a real time theory. So it is really cool the way it works, you know, and that's really what's involved in the program itself. We give you other classes, you know, like legal terminology, we go over courtroom procedures. We also work very closely with the software, you know, we learn steno on the machine. But we use software that translated into English. So you learn how to work the software. And by the time you leave, no, we do an internship program, every one of our students is placed, because they get that on the job training. They're desperate for people, I get calls all the time anymore. Graduates, we need people, and they go right into the world right out into the work field.

Julie Berman - Host:

Wow, I love that. That's so cool. And but you still get to be in that environment and get to like, like you said, See all these different things every single day. And I mean, that sounds so fast paced to like the fact that you can take so many words a minute and then it translates like, automatically in real time is super cool. And it makes me think also about the tech aspect like for people who not only like that fast paced environment, but also have fun using tech and in you know, exploring that side of things. So that's really, really cool to hear. And so as far as the, the job itself, I know because you have like you said you started back when you were using like a machine and the papers coming out. And now there is some paper coming out and I imagine there's been a lot of changes in between. So like, if you could kind of explain what's a day in the life or like a week in the life if you will of of being a court reporter and using the machine like kind of if you can share that with us, we can imagine it for yourself.

Karen Santucci:

So for instance, if you if you're a court reporter working in a courtroom, right you sitting right there in front of the judge a case is presented, the way court reporters work. Now we lose, we have the steno machine, and you're really hooked up to your laptop, because sometimes what they're doing in between certain cases are real time cases. So what real time case means is, as everything is getting taken down on the steno machine, the judge the attorneys, they're seeing the real time feed on their iPad or their laptops, and they could follow along. That's, you know, that's a real time court room. If it's not real time, then just that court reporter has that, that up there, because sometimes in between, you might be editing, because what happens is part of the job is, of course, you're in there taking it down, but you have to transcribe it. So if you have in between time, you're going to start editing, a lot of it is really just kind of scoping through it kind of proofreading filling in if there's punctuation or something didn't come up in English, you're just going to edit that and make it perfect, because then that transcript goes out, and you get paid for that. That's an official life in freelance reporter, let's say, if you're working from home with the kids, you'll take down a deposition, you know, you'll go into a Zoom meeting, you'll be writing it on the steno machine, it might be a couple of hours, then it's over, you have turnaround is usually two weeks. So when the kids go to sleep, or when you have time, you'll go and you'll edit that transcript, and then you'll send it out, and you'll get paid for it. Life in a captioner. You know, if you're working, let's say your work following a student in Colombia, and they have a nine o'clock class. So what you're going to do is you're going to log into that class, either in person or remotely. And as the class is going on, you're writing it on the steno machine, that student is getting the translation simultaneously on the laptop, wow, when the class is over, your job is done. captioners get paid by the hour, they don't get it's not it's not anything that's transcribed, so you're not getting paid by the page. That's why a lot of court reporters, like to transition into that if they don't like the producing a transcript, that's a nice aspect, because it's just an hourly rate, which is a very nice hourly rate. And then your day is done. And a lot of I know, some of my students that went into captioning, they just liked the aspect where you really feel like you're helping someone you know, it's a different part of the job, you know, it's not the legal end, it's not, you know, you love hearing about the cases, it's kind of given back and really feeling like you help that person, get the degree, something that couldn't have been done otherwise, which is really nice. So, like I said, different ways to do it. But every one of them is great. And the other thing is also like for those I know, we talked about working moms, but if you want a nine to five, when you get into the court system, it's a nine to five, but you get all the benefits, you get a pension, sick days holidays, so is that very nice to you know, so which is another aspect i i usually Gear A lot of my younger students, you know, that way that need the benefits and coming off with their parents health insurance, they need that go into the courts, you can invest, you get your pension, you know, and then even if you're in there for a while you can invest in like the what I did, I invested my pension, then I left to raise the rest of my had two children. By the time my third was born, I didn't go back, but I still have my pension one day, I'm gonna cash it in, but it's there for me. You know, and again, you can always go back and forth. You can you know, go to federal court. There's so many courts. You know, we just recently, last week, they called corporate and Captioning Week, that's like all week to celebrate our profession. So my, my students, I had 40, we took 40 over to federal court and Brooklyn, District Court and then on, on that Friday, we went to Southern District in lower Manhattan, and they had got to see federal courts, which get the really high profile cases, you know, you always see the celebrities, you know, everything happens in federal court. So they get to experience that and every court so it's endless. It's really endless.

Julie Berman - Host:

That sounds so fun. If you have like a favorite case that you've worked on that was like either the most interesting or the most outrageous or just something that comes to mind.

Karen Santucci:

Well, you know, I had to date myself, because again, I was I worked a while ago. So back in the 80s. You know, when I was in grand jury and Queens. I don't, most people might not know, but that was like the big Howard Beach case. You know, it was a big one. Really, it was I think it was one of the first racially profiled cases. And they had to get bring in a special prosecutor and it was all over the news. It was so yeah, those types of things. Yeah, they're exciting. They're exciting. Yeah,

Julie Berman - Host:

well, it's just it's interesting because it's So yeah, I think it's just something that I've never thought about. But that sounds really cool that it's new also all the time. It's never obviously the same thing every single day. There's new people, new cases, or you're, you know, if you're working in a school, you're helping someone, and probably new classes all the time, which is really awesome to just see, I get to, like, simultaneously learn at the same time as you're working. Pretty cool. Yes,

Karen Santucci:

yes. Not boring. Definitely not boring.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah, I love that. So as far as for people who are thinking about, you know, like, oh, my gosh, I never considered this before. But it sounds really intriguing. What do you think are some of the maybe characteristics or skills that someone might want to have, or something that they're really good at doing in order to be successful in this type of a career?

Karen Santucci:

Well, they always say, if you played the piano, like a musical instrument, especially the piano, because it's chords, I didn't play the piano, I didn't play music. I mean, I'm just saying those that they say that. Also, it this requires a lot of practice. So people that usually like sports and practice and put a lot of time like repetition kind of practice, they do well in it, you know, but it's also how you're motivated. Like I said, I didn't have that kind of background, I just found it interesting. And then I just applied myself, because what it really takes, once you learn the theory is the amount of time you practice to build the speed on the machine. So it's also being a good listener. Again, you don't have to be the best speller in the world, because we write phonetically. But any knowledge, the more reading you do, the more you know, the more you know, you know, makes your job a little bit easier. But like I said, anyone could do it. It's just really a commitment. You know, and you have to love it. Like that's when we do these a latency classes, I always tell students, if you're so excited and want to figure out how this machine works, you're hooked because you really have to devote a lot of time to it, you know, because you have to master that skill. But it's worth it. You know, any students when they come back, and they speak to their graduates, they come back to speak to students, they said, school could be hard. But all once you get out the job is so much fun. It's so great, don't give up. So and that's really do at school, we encourage, and I guess that we really created my love for educating people about this, because this is something most people don't know about. And it's not an easy course. But to be like the cheerleader and make people don't give up the reward, it's all worth it, you know, you're going to be so happy when you get out of school. So it just it's very fulfilling for me is very fulfilling.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah, I could see that. And as far as the mix now, between men and women, is it more equal now? Or is it the one way or the other still?

Karen Santucci:

Well, look, we're starting to get more males back. You know, it was really went well, was pretty much female, you know, let's say, you know, I would say 7030 You know, kind of thing. Now we're getting a little more guys into it, because guys also, you also can caption sporting events. You know, a court reporter, you know, they have usually two there's like an in house like, say it when there's a Yankee game. Someone's captioning for the stadium people. Okay, no. And then there's someone broadcasting over the networks. So a lot of opportunities. A lot of guys like that. Because the basketball games all about the sports. Yeah. So it brings in a lot of men. And there are even when we have these are conventions, we have the speed contests. A lot of the winners are men. So we have a nice mix. We have a nice mix.

Julie Berman - Host:

Oh, I love I love the idea of a speed contest. Like that looks. That sounds really fun to watch actual. Yeah,

Karen Santucci:

yeah, it gets very competitive. And that's like 370 words a minute. Oh, yeah. 225 is nothing.

Julie Berman - Host:

Oh my gosh, that is so interesting. Okay, wow. Yeah, that sounds like a phenomenal amount of words per minute. I can't even imagine so cool. And so for you, in your experience, because I know you've you've had this time where you worked actually you're out in the field, gathering all the experience, you stayed home, you came back then sounds like you got like your degree another degree. And then now you're an educator. Right? And and you're helping all these other students learn about this field and then go into it. So do you have like a favorite aspects of this job? And like, Why? Why it means so much to like, just personally, I'm curious.

Karen Santucci:

Well, personally, what happened was when I when I started teaching, that's where I saw the great need, because a lot of schools had closed. You know, even when I went to school I had went to right after I graduated all of a sudden they closed and they would like these are like these little pop up schools, I would say and having the opportunity now to work with Plaza College which is a college and Plaza. has been in existence since 1916. And which, which is really cool about Plaza college when I got involved with it. Plaza was started in 1916 by the Callaghan's grandmother and grandfather. And it was started for women. Because that back then it was during the war and women needed a job. So we started as a shorthand for Pittman. And Greg, because women back then they went when they had to think about work, or they went into secretarial work. So it's just amazing how it came full circle, you know, that this school that was started back way back, when now we really have become one of the top schools for court reporting. So I'm so proud to be a part of it. And and just with that history, a lot of times a women, you know, we forget that I know, I think back to my mother's generation where most women didn't work, and they would just homemakers, and now it's different, you know, women, you know, we do it all. And I just think that this is a career that is really perfect for women, you know, especially like your podcast about cool jobs. This is, I think, one of the coolest jobs for women, because you can do this and have it all because you can just take work as much as you want, do it around your kids, and still have an exciting, fulfilling career. So I just think it's amazing. And like I said, it just gave me the opportunity to really create a program where we can get people out into the field, and give them everything we need and have the support of the college behind it, you know, you come out with with such a great degree and, and have all the support you need going forward. So I really feel like this is been like the best. Like I said, I know, I know, you saw my bio, I had gone back to get my bachelor's degree because I wanted to open my own school, because there wasn't that many schools. And I was like, You know what, I'm going to do it and I'm going to do it better. And then as I was, as I was at Plaza, just finishing, that's when they got the opportunity to take over the program, which made it a lot easier than starting from scratch and how you the support of this great college behind me. So I feel totally blessed. And I feel like we really are in such a good position to help people. And not only now, you know, we were just used to be a brick and mortar school, and we had just New York. Now since COVID. We went totally online and I have students all over the country. I even have one of my students right now she's from the Virgin Islands. So there's a great need on the islands, you know, Jamaica, Virgin Islands, we even had students trying to come in from the from Barbados. So this isn't just a United States thing. You know, this court report is everywhere. And being in the position now where we can have students you know, have Colorado, Nebraska, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, you know, so we're really branching out and we're able to help not just New York area, but all over the country, which is amazing, because the need is all over. And like you said, most people, you know, we used to get a lot of people before COVID, because they would be called on jury duty. And that's where a lot of people came to us because they'd see the court reporter, they were more amazed of watching the court reporter this then times and watching the attorneys, so that that's not that if not everybody goes to jury duty. Right, you know, so, and they know. And it's funny, because lately they're starting to portray court reporters a little more realistic, on like law and order and some of these shows, because some of these other shows that have like a paper falling on the floor, like we don't do that anymore, you know, getting the word out of that, you know, we have this little stick machine is no paper, it's really cool looking, you know, so it's just really getting the word out about it. So that's why I really appreciate you having me on here so that maybe we can reach people. And like I said, it's not just New York, it's all over the country. And we do have students from all over the country.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah, and I'm glad you mentioned that, because I think that's huge. It's amazing, the good and bad that has come with COVID. And along with the bad, it's like opened up also, I think so many opportunities and so many Silver Linings for people to do things that they've never been able to do, because we aren't tied to a specific location. And so yeah, that's really incredible that you have people worldwide. That's really awesome. And oh, go ahead.

Karen Santucci:

No, I was gonna say also also court reporters, they travel, so part of this job to you can go over to Europe to take a case. So sometimes the agencies will send you and you will travel also. So I mean, there's a lot of opportunities, a lot of opportunities. That's

Julie Berman - Host:

incredible. Yeah, it's I mean, it's really kind of mind blowing like I I'm really shocked because I don't think I've ever known a court reporter before but and it's just like it's not something and all the times that like my dad would have gone into the courtroom. I don't think that it would have ever been dawned on me to think about the person in that role. So that's really, really neat to hear. So I'm just curious, like, when they get into it, you know, and actually they're doing it, how they're they're feeling?

Karen Santucci:

Well, we know it's funny, because like I said, we just had a presentation two weeks ago, where I had my graduates come in to speak to the students. So I had graduates in every, every part of the field, you know, someone working in court, someone working Grand Jury work, someone doing captioning, and someone doing freelance, and every one of them was so excited and happy and just explained how they're loving the job. And it was good for the students to hear that, because they could see that, you know, everyone's different. But everyone that every every job, they all loved it, you know, and some of them did some freelance work. And then they transitioned into the courts. And they liked that, because they liked the stability. So they got to hear from graduates that just recently out for whether it's six months ahead from six months to about a year and a half. Okay, so they saw the different the different levels that they went to. And then we also do is we, we encourage we always have speakers come in, like I had a speaker come in also that week, who captioned the Grammys. Wow. So they got to hear from from a reporter that just did the Grammys, the Grammys result worth was on Sunday, and he spoke to my students on Wednesday night. So we always reach out to professionals to share, we've had reporters come in who worked overseas, and let them know how it was what it was like to work in England or China or wherever they went. So they get to hear from the professionals, and where they can relate. And like we also do is during internship, we encourage them, go sit in the different courts, they can sit in with a captioner. So they can really shadow the job before they really get out of school and see the direction that they want. And know that they if they start freelance and they want to transition to court, they can do that. And any openings that we hear about we oh, I always reach out to the graduates let them know what's going on. And this way they know the opportunities that they have before them, you know, yeah, very close. The thing what's also really nice about court reporters, it's it's a, like a little little family kind of thing. Because when you learn this little machine, you know, it's like not only think steno, you know, we write instead of we think instead of, well, we understand each other. And that's why everyone that teaches at the college, we've all been court reporters, you have to be a court reporter to teach this. Because you have to know what it's like, how to go through the whole process and what the job is. And that's how you really can educate and encourage the students in the program. And again, I always tell the students, this is one, one profession where you know, sometimes when you go for a job, they don't want the young people coming in, you're going to steal my job. They're like, Oh, my God, please come in, I have so much work, please help me. And that's really what it's about. And they're they just want to help and encourage and share the knowledge that they've had over the years with the new people coming into the field, which is really great. Great.

Julie Berman - Host:

Well, it sounds so collaborative and supportive. And it's also that's hysterical that you like think and steno and, you know, like I totally identify with that because I was an editor I used to I edit materials, instructional materials for higher education. But my husband said like his I've just editing all the time, like I edit in my sleep, because it's just natural to me. So I can totally imagine that. That's so funny. So and I love the example of the Grammys, like how cool. That's really neat. Awesome. And as far as talking about any myths or misconceptions, you know, like you mentioned, TV shows, they still sometimes have the papers, which is very old doesn't happen anymore. Are there any other things that like people may not know about or myths that aren't really true? Things like that?

Karen Santucci:

Well, I think the biggest myth that's not true is when they say that the computer is going to take us over voice recognition Siri, because they have tried it because of the shortage. They put tape recorders into the courts. And what they found is sometimes people forget to turn the tape recorder on when a tape recorder is on. If somebody walks in and shuts the door and then muffles the words a tape recorder can say excuse me, I didn't hear that. Could you repeat it? Where are you in Ken? So I think that we the big misconception is that this will never be taken over by any kind of digital or computer because you need the human need a human person that can say speak up. I didn't hear that. Also, there's all different slangs and dialects and accents and as a human you know, you can decipher it or if you didn't hear it you say can you repeat that? Can you spell that for me? We are recording, it's just going to record. And what happens is I've spoken to a lot of judges and lawyers that get transcripts from these kinds of things. And they just put in there in audible. So how, what kind of a transcript Are you going to get when you have an audible, a reporter would never do that report is going to say, Excuse me, please, I need that repeated. So that's the big misconception. And even back in my day, when I first started, we were the first agency in Queens, we had the first computers. So I started right away working, you know, translating my work into a computer, of course, it was like, this big, you know, it was crazy the size of it. But you know, and we just transitioned down smaller and smaller. But you know, we always learned to translate, you know, how that software would work, and just made our job easier. So we've grown with the technology. And also when COVID first happened, the reporters were the one that really helped the whole court system, because they had that tech savviness, to say, No, we could do this via zoom, we can work this way. And they helped the judges and a lot of attorneys transition and make the process a lot smoother. So I think that's the biggest misconception, this job is not going to go away. The only problem is we need people to fill the spots.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah. Yeah. I, I love that you clarify those points. I think that's super important. I mean, even just what I've done in a very different way, but just with podcasting, and dealing with the audio, like there have been times where things get muffled. And I get so frustrated, because I'm like, I want to hear that exact word or that exact phrase, you know, any I don't know, often, to your exact point until after when I'm listening back. And at that point, I can't do anything. I've just stuck with what it is. So that makes complete sense to me. And I like I think that's such an interesting point to have that especially because now there's like, tons of technologies coming out that are, you know, artificial intelligence related and what have you. So that's such an interesting point that that you spoke to, and that you guys will always be essential. And I think also, because especially in the judicial proceedings, of having those court records, and like how important all those words would actually be like those details matter of court proceeding. So I appreciate that clarifying that. So I want to as we're getting to the tail end, I want to talk about what are some actionable things that listeners can do like if they are really interested in this field. I know you mentioned first of all that free course that people can take. So I was just hoping you could kind of share where people can find that. And if there's any other really important resources, like your college, or associations or places that people can go to start just getting familiar with being in the world of court reporters, and where they could find out more if this is something they'd want to pursue.

Karen Santucci:

So we do have the National Court Reporters Association, it's, it's NCRA. So if you went to ncra.org, that they have a lot of information on that we do work very closely. That's where this A to Z class originated. They hold large ones. At Plaza College, we do small ones, I like to keep the group really small, so we can really get an idea of one on one help people are doing, again, with Plaza college, you would be info at Plaza college.edu. And you can now just reach out to the school, you can go on the school website and find out anything about court reporting. We do have a lot of admissions teams that are well trained to assist in any way. You can even if you want to just to observe an A to Z class, you know, you don't even have to download the iPad right away, you know, you could just come and sit in on one, we hold them on like a zoom meet. So you could just get an idea of what it's like. And if you just Google court reporting, you'll you'll come up with some sure a lot of things will come up about it. But there is a national corporate Association, Plaza College is an approved school. With the national organization, we work very closely with them. And that also to make sure that our program is going to give you everything you need to come out as a certified court reporter a lot even with the courts, they look for a degree they want to make sure you went through a course so they know that you're coming out qualified. And again, it is reaching a speed of 225 words a minute. And I you know, of course I'm gonna brag about my program, you know, because I know our faculty is really devoted and dedicated. You know, we do a lot of one on one and my husband laughs because my students call me all times all time of the day and especially when you're virtual. I said not only contact was not like I'm at my office and they can come in and see me at school. So you know, I'm here. And again, different time zones, you know, you'd have students in Colorado, they're a couple hours behind New York, call me Call me when you get out of work. So we're here as a support team. And that's because of our dedication and love for the field. And I just love when you go and I see my students come back, and they all I did this case, I had one of my students, I don't know, we just had it says last week, unfortunately, a cop was shot in Brooklyn. And she wants she certainly spoke to us, oh, I just did the arraignment. And my god, there was the television cameras all over the courtroom, because you know, you're in the middle of it. I know, anytime there's a big case, the media is there covering it. So a lot of excitement in the courthouse, which is nice, which is nice to be a part of it, you know?

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah, it's so interesting. Like, it's just such an interesting like facet to being in the courtroom, because it's funny, like, I knew very clearly, I never wanted to be a lawyer, because like, my dad was a lawyer. And it's like, either you definitely want to do what your parents do, or you definitely do not. And you don't, you know, like, there's no in between. And I was like, very clear, this did not sound like my jam. And so but I like it's like, you never think about those other aspects. So for people who love that environment, but don't want to be unnecessarily the the roles that we think of first and know about, like I love I so love that we're having this conversation, because it's exactly like that. It's like exactly the type of job that I was hoping to discover, you know, and share with people. So I love it. I'm so on that note, we are going to end with my last question. And will you please share a sentence that uses verbiage or jargon from your field, and then translate it so it's understandable to us?

Karen Santucci:

Well, the only thing I want to say about my field is that we've always been known as the guardians of the record. And that's when we say about digital and any kind of computers, because as the guardians, we certify the accuracy of the record. So we sometimes have to testify to that, you know, I mean, these cases go on to be appealed. We do hold an important job. And we do certify that yes, this is what was said, This is what I heard and this is what was said. So it is a very, very important job that we have.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah, thank you. That was a great sentence. Thank you for sharing that. And such a good point to to like what you guys do as a whole is not only really recording the information, doing it accurately, but then also Yeah, like that last step of saying like, Yes, I am like verifying, with my stamp of approval that this is accurate ad I was here to witness it. So I Yeah, super important. Thank you so much, Karen for being a guest. It was such a pleasure to chat with you and learn all about what you do.

Karen Santucci:

Thank you so much. I'm so happy you had me on.

Julie Berman - Host:

Awesome. And if people do want to reach out to you, is there a way that you would be okay with like, or maybe a general email where people can find out more about the field, whatever you're comfortable with sharing?

Karen Santucci:

They could they can email me it's case into chi at Plaza college.edu I'd be happy to speak to anybody about it.

Julie Berman - Host:

Okay, perfect. And so Sen. Tucci Do you mind just spelling your last name as well? For sure.

Karen Santucci:

So it's my a que que my Karen is for the key. S A N. T u CCI San Tucci at Plaza. college.edu.

Julie Berman - Host:

Awesome. Okay. Well, thank you so much. It was so much fun. And yeah, I think a whole bunch people are gonna, like, learn about this and be like, what, I had no idea of all the opportunities.

Karen Santucci:

Thank you so much for having me.

Julie Berman - Host:

Hey, everybody, thank you so much for listening to women with cool jobs. I'll be releasing a new episode every two weeks. So make sure you hit that subscribe button. And if you love the show, please give me a five star rating. Also, it would mean so much if you share this episode with someone you think would love it or would find it inspirational. And lastly, do you have ideas for future shows? Or do you know any Rockstar women with cool jobs? I would love to hear from you. You can email me at Julie at women with cool jobs.com Or you can find me on Instagram at women who will jobs again that women will jobs. Thank you so much for listening and have an incredible day