2016 TCRA Annual Convention

San Antonio TX

Jul 7 - 10, 2016

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work! 

2016 Texas Court Reporters Association Annual Convention

July 8-10 at the Grand Hyatt in San Antonio, TX

Agenda & Room Locations

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Bettina Williams

Official Court Reporter, 187th District Court

Bio: Bettina Williams is a veteran court reporter with over 35 years of experience and is currently the official court reporter for the 187th District Court in Bexar County.

Brittany Mann

College Representative, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising

Bio: Brittany is a college representative for Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising with a background in management and public relations. She is here to offer invaluable information about making a good impression in the professional work place.

Brooke Wagner

Official Court Reporter, Bexar County County Court at Law #10

Bio: - Brooke grew up near Dallas, Texas. - I started court reporting school at the Court Reporting Institute of Dallas the summer after graduating from high school. - I was a scopist and transcriber in court reporting school. - I have both my OK CSR and TX CSR, and I’ve been reporting for 14 years. - In 2006, I moved to San Antonio, and I’m an official in County Court at Law, Number 10 in Bexar (pronounced bear) County. - Despite the hype and attractiveness of a new product, I believe the use of technology should bring about two results: a simpler life and/or to spark a renewed interested in our chosen field of service

Candice Andino

Certified Shorthand Reporter, Registered Merit Reporter, Freelance Court Reporter

Bio: Candice Andino, Texas CSR, California CSR, RMR, has been a freelance deposition reporter for 7 years. Candice reported for 5 years in Orange County and Los Angeles, California, and currently resides and reports in Austin, Texas. Her main focus is realtime reporting. She has competed in NCRA's national speed contest and TCRA's speed contest. She was a speaker last year with Kensie at the TCRA convention and enjoys helping fellow reporters and students along in their court reporting journeys.

Colonel Herb Holland

Colonel, United States Army, Retired

Bio: Colonel Herb Holland served the United States Army from 1943 through 1975. He fought battles in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. He has received the distinguished honors of Legion of Merit, two Bronze Star awards and an Army Commendation Medal.

David Slayton

Administrative Director, Office of Court Administration

Bio: David Slayton is a Past President of the National Association for Court Management and was formerly the Secretary on the Board of Directors for the Texas Association for Drug Court Professionals. In addition to the aforementioned organizations, David is a member of the Texas Association for Court Administration. Slayton has served as the Administrative Director since May 7, 2012. He has been employed by the Judicial Branch in various roles since 1998, serving as Director of Court Administration for Lubbock County (2004-2012), Deputy Clerk and Court Services Supervisor for the U.S. District Court in Dallas (2001-2004) and Court Coordinator for the 99th District Court in Lubbock County (1999-2001). Mr. Slayton is a graduate of Texas Tech University (B.A.) and Troy University (M.P.A.) and is a Fellow of the Institute for Court Management.

Greta Duckett

digitalCAT software and Lightspeed writer, Stenovations

Bio: Greta Duckett, RPR, CRR, AL-CCR, GA-CCR, TN-LCR Realtime Systems Administrator Certified digitalCAT trainer

Judge David A. Ezra

Senior Judge, U.S. District Court

Bio: Judge David Alan Ezra currently serves by designation on the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division. Judge Ezra grew up in Hawaii and attended Chaminade University and UH before receiving a BBA from St. Mary's University magma cum laude. He went on to graduate first in his glass from St. Mary's University School of Law before serving on active duty as an officer in the Army. Judge Ezra returned to Hawaii and practiced law until he was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii in 1988, becoming the youngest federal judge in the state's history. He went on to become the state's longest-serving active federal judge, taking senior judicial status in 2012. In 2007, he was awarded the St. Mary's Law School Rosewood Gavel award for his contributions to the adjudication of justice. In 2013, Judge Ezra was awarded the University of Hawaii Alumni Association Lifetime Achievement Award and the St. Mary's School of Law Lifetime Achievement Award.

Justice Jason Pulliam & Justice Rebecca Martinez

Justice, Fourth Court of Appeals

Bio: Justice Martinez received her law degree from Boston University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts and upon graduation was the honored recipient of the Faculty Award. After clerking with a large prestigious Boston law firm, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo, P.C., Justice Martinez returned to Texas to serve with U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Southern District Eduardo de Ases, and later for Justice Federico Hinojosa on the Thirteenth Court of Appeals. Justice Martinez's private practice began as associate counsel at Thornton, Summers, Biechlin, Dunham Brown. She provided representation and trial defense to individuals, small businesses, and large corporations. Her practice included every aspect of defending cases involving personal injury, premises and products liability, construction defect, oil and gas, environmental and toxic tort, as well as multi-party class action defense. Justice Martinez later joined the Law Offices of Ramon Garcia, P.C. in Edinburg, Texas, one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Texas. As President of her own law practice, she continued to represent individuals and entities involved in multi-party litigation both in state and federal court, including actions involving toxic tort, premises and property liability claims, and product defect and enlarged her practice to include family law and criminal defense. As a member of the State Bar Pro Bono College and the College of the State Bar, among numerous other affiliations, Justice Martinez has been recognized for her outstanding service to the legal profession and to the public. Justice Martinez currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Woman Judges, the Curriculum Committee for the Texas Center for the Judiciary, and many other local bar associations. She currently lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband David and family. Justice Jason Pulliam serves on the Fourth Court of Appeals in San Antonio, Texas. Governor Rick Perry appointed Justice Pulliam to the Fourth Court on January 8, 2015. Prior to serving on the court of appeals, Justice Pulliam was Judge of Bexar County, County Court at Law No. 5 from 2010-2014. As Judge of County Court at Law No. 5, Justice Pulliam handled criminal cases such as Driving While Intoxicated, Assault, Theft, Possession of Marijuana, and other violations of the Texas Penal Code. Justice Pulliam also presided over civil cases with a maximum jurisdictional limit of $200,000. Justice Pulliam made County Court No.5 available to hear matters from the Civil District Court Presiding system to assist the District Court Judges with cases. Prior to his service on the bench, Justice Pulliam worked for William "Bill" Ford at the law firms of Ball &Weed, P.C. and Ford & Massey, P.C. Justice Pulliam also served as a JAG or military lawyer in the United States Marine Corps from 2000-2004. In 2002, he was the recipient of the Eastern Region Defense Counsel of the Year award. Justice Pulliam graduated from Texas Southern University's Thurgood Marshall School of Law with honors. He served as a senior staff member on the school's law review. He earned a B.A. and M.A. in Political Science from Brooklyn College.

Kensie Benoit

Official Court Reporter, Bexar County

Bio: Kensie Benoit, CSR, has worked as an Official Court Reporter in Bexar County, Texas for two years. In addition to being a steno advocate, Kensie teaches speedbuilding classes for SimplySteno and has been a featured speaker at court reporting conventions across the country.

Kimberly Xavier

Official Court Reporter, Criminal District Court #3-Dallas County

Bio: Kimberly has been reporting for 22 years. She has been a freelancer and a firm owner and is currently the Official Court Reporter for Criminal District Court No. 3 in Dallas. She has been a student advocate for many years and has been training new court reporters since 2004.

Kristen Kopp, CSR, RPR, CRR

Official Court Reporter - County Court at Law No. 2, Collin County Government

Bio: Kristen Kopp has been a court reporter for 16 years as a freelance and judicial reporter, presently holding the position Official Court Reporter of the Collin County Court at Law No. 2. She is certified in Texas and California and is an RPR and CRR. As a chair of the Texas TRAIN program, she is excited to introduce that program and present to you "Realtime - The Rhythm of Your Future."

Kristi Herrera

Broadcast Captioner, U.S. Captioning

Bio: Kristi provides CART services through use of stenographic and computer equipment, instantly convert audio from newscasts and sporting events to text for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing television viewers at speeds in excess of 220 words per minute at an accuracy rate of 99% or better.

Lamont Jefferson

Partner, Jefferson Cano

Bio: Lamont Jefferson is an accomplished trial lawyer, representing clients who can afford to leave nothing to chance. Whether the stakes involve corporate treasure, trade secrets, or business reputation, companies and individuals turn to Lamont to help resolve the thorniest business-related disputes. He has been go-to counsel on some of the most important cases in San Antonio and South Texas, including litigation over the multi-billion dollar expansion of the South Texas Nuclear Project, litigation over the $26 billion Clear Channel merger, and the recent much publicized litigation involving the Church of Scientology. Resolving business disputes sometimes requires full-fledged litigation, at other times skilled diplomacy, and sometimes simply honest communication. Lamont’s talents as a seasoned litigator, skilled negotiator, and astute legal analyst make him the right lawyer for a large variety of business disputes. Lamont is a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, an honorary trial lawyer organization whose membership is limited to no more than 1% of the lawyers in any state. He is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates and most recently served as president of the San Antonio Chapter. Lamont regularly speaks on topics of interest to lawyers and judges, from trial strategy and tactics, to rules of civil procedure, to professionalism. Lamont is active in the San Antonio community and currently serves as vice president of the board of directors for the Valero Alamo Bowl. He is on board of directors of the Down Syndrome Association of South Texas, and serves in the Founders Club for the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, and as a board member of the San Antonio Chamber Choir.

Leticia Salas

Official Court reporter, 308th Judicial District's

Bio: Leticia has been a Texas CSR since 1993, starting her career with the Harris County Grand Jury and is currently the official court reporter of the 308th District Court (family law).

Mark Kislingbury

Court Reporter for Caption King, Director of Mark Kislingbury Academy of Court Reporting, Self

Bio: Mark Kislingbury has not only set the Guinness World Record for “fastest court reporter” with a staggering 360wpm recorded, but he has also won seven National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) Speed Contests and four NCRA Realtime Contests in the last eleven years. He trains professionals and students alike on his popular website, www.magnumsteno.com. Mark achieves such amazing speeds by using fewer strokes than other court reporters, and developing the ability to type at much faster speeds than other court reporters. By combining these two skills, he has achieved his one-of-a-kind results as the world's fastest court reporter. Mark has now founded The Mark Kislingbury Academy Of Court Reporting in Houston, Texas, to share his short-writing methods and speed-building techniques with court reporting students who want the absolute best training available anywhere.

Michael Harrison

Branch Manager -Licensed Private Investigator, Executive Security Systems

Bio: Executive Security provides Armed and Unarmed Officers across Texas. Their patrols provide to residential, multifamily and commercial sites everyday using an exclusive realtime reporting system with imaging, text and voice reports.

Nancy Varallo

Owner, Varallo Group

Bio: Nancy Varallo, RDR,CRR, began her court reporting career as a freelancer in 1979. As owner of The Varallo Group, she offers a suite of services designed to help court reporters and firm owners achieve business success. Varallo is a marquee name in court reporting, with a rich and proud history dating back to 1937. Nancy, a court reporter, educator and business owner, carries on the Varallo tradition of excellence with her company’s longstanding commitment of time-honored values of quality, service and accountability. Nancy is currently the President of the National Court Reporters Association and was inducted as a Fellow of the National Academy of Professional Reporters in 2001. Nancy has served as president of the Massachusetts Court Reporters Association, and was recognized as an MCRA Laureate. Her Dear Nancy column appears regularly in the Journal of Court Reporting.

Nico Lahood

Criminal District Attorney, Bexar County

Bio: Nicholas “Nico” LaHood was sworn-in as Bexar County’s Criminal District Attorney on January 1, 2015. Born and raised in San Antonio, LaHood has always had a spirit to serve. As a young boy, LaHood remembers going to work with his father, Michael LaHood Sr., who is a licensed attorney and former judge. LaHood graduated from Central Catholic Marianist High School and attended St. Mary’s University, where he earned his B.A. in Finance and Financial Services. He went on to receive his Juris Doctorate from St. Mary’s School of Law. LaHood remained in San Antonio, where he worked as a criminal defense attorney for twelve years. Since becoming Bexar County’s top prosecutor, District Attorney LaHood has re-vamped the Pre-Trial Diversion Program, created a Child Abuse Unit, Domestic Violence Task Force, and a Conviction Integrity Unit within his office. District Attorney LaHood believes in the Restorative Justice Model for non-violent offenders, which is defined as “bringing together the victim, offender, and community to repair relationships. Since becoming Bexar County’s top prosecutor, District Attorney LaHood has re-vamped the Pre-Trial Diversion Program, created a Child Abuse Unit, Domestic Violence Task Force, and a Conviction Integrity Unit within his office. District Attorney LaHood believes in the Restorative Justice Model for non-violent offenders, which is defined as “bringing together the victim, offender, and community to repair relationships.

Sara Filippone

Hearing Loss Resource Specialist 8a, CAAG-Communication Axess Ability Group

Bio: Sara provides assistance to persons with hearing loss, including those recently deafened. She helps identify solutions based on individual needs, providing essential training and information. Training includes information of communication strategies, assistive technology, hearing loss awareness, cochlear implants and hearing aids. Sara also provides assistance locating resources in the community, individual assessment of the workplace, educational settings, or community challenges.

Wallace Jefferson

Partner, Alexander Dubose Jefferson & Townsend

Bio: Wallace B. Jefferson served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas prior to joining Alexander Dubose Jefferson & Townsend in 2013. Appointed to the Supreme Court in 2001 and named Chief Justice in 2004, Jefferson made Texas judicial history as the Court’s first African-American Justice and Chief Justice. He led the Court’s efforts to fund access to justice programs; helped reform juvenile justice; and inaugurated a statewide electronic filing system for Texas courts. During his time on the bench, Jefferson was elected President of the Conference of Chief Justices, an association of chief justices from the 50 states and U.S. territories. A graduate of the James Madison College at Michigan State University and The University of Texas School of Law, Jefferson is the namesake for Wallace B. Jefferson Middle School in San Antonio. He is Treasurer of the American Law Institute, Chair of the Texas Commission to Expand Civil Legal Services, and serves on the Board of Advisors of the Justice Sandra Day O’Connor Judicial Selection Initiative. Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 1993, Jefferson has twice won cases he argued in the Supreme Court of the United States. Jefferson has been honored with the 2014 Texas Center for Legal Ethics Chief Justice Jack Pope Professionalism Award, honoring a judge or attorney who personifies the highest standards of the legal profession; the 2014 Texas Appleseed J. Chrys Dougherty Good Apple Award because of his leadership in seeking equality for all Texans, especially the less fortunate; and the 2015 Anti-Defamation League Austin Jurisprudence Award, honoring an outstanding member of the legal community who exhibits a commitment to equality, justice, fairness, and community service. In 2016, he was honored with the Presidential Citation Award from The University of Texas. This award recognizes extraordinary contributions of individuals who personify the university’s commitment to transforming lives. He is listed in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Best Lawyers in America, and Texas Super Lawyers.

Willie Ng

Chief of Investigation Division, Bexar County

Bio: Willie Ng, Jr. is the Criminal District Attorney's Office Chief Investigator. As the Chief Investigator, Willie is responsible for coordinating criminal investigations for the Criminal District Attorney’s Office and outside organizations. Willie leads over 40 Investigators and works closely with Prosecutors and Law Enforcement Agencies to successfully prepare criminal cases for prosecution. Willie received a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Wayland Baptist University and a Master of Public Administration from St. Mary’s University, and he is currently in the PhD program in Leadership Studies at the University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. Willie served in the San Antonio Police Department for over 21 years and was promoted to the rank of Detective Investigator where he held that position for 12 years. Willie served in the Repeat Offenders Program (ROP) where he investigated various criminal offenses such as narcotic violations, burglary, surveillance of suspects wanted for serious crimes and executed search and arrest warrants. Willie also served in the Financial Crimes Unit where he investigated cases involving forgery, credit card abuse, counterfeit checks, tampering with government records and identify theft. Willie Ng, Jr. As a San Antonio Police Detective Investigator, Willie was assigned to the United States Secret Service Task Force where he was deputized as a Special Federal Deputy Marshal with the United States Secret Service for over seven years. Willie worked with Secret Service Agents assigned to the San Antonio Field Office to investigate organized crimes such as money laundering, access device fraud, wire fraud, bank and credit card fraud and identity theft while working in cooperation with other Federal Law Enforcement Agencies, Assistant District Attorneys and Assistant United States Attorneys for state and federal prosecution. Willie received Emergency Management training by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Master Certification in Law Enforcement by the State of Texas, among others. In addition to public service with the city of San Antonio, Willie is a successful entrepreneur creating over 300 jobs in the San Antonio area. Willie is passionate about contributing to the quality of life and economic growth, and encouraging the future leaders of our city is invaluable to Willie. He has established three scholarships at St. Mary’s University. Willie is the former interim Chief Executive Officer of JOVEN, Inc., a non-profit organization that focuses on underprivileged youth, and he currently holds the position of Board Chair. Willie is a member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and sits on the Executive Board.

Cleto Rodriguez


Bio: Born and raised in San Antonio, Cleto Rodriguez is living his lifelong dream of becoming an elite stand-up comedian. Rodriguez has been performing since 1995 and has worked with comedians George Lopez, Carlos Mencia, Daniel Tosh, Wayne Brady, Brett Butler, Tim Hawkins and Bob Smiley. Rodriguez connects with audiences by relating everyday life experiences. Anything and everything is fair game, from marriage mishaps to the challenges of dieting. His comedy is high-energy, observational and hilarious with a brilliant Latino twist. He recently met with the Bexar County Court Reporters Association and Official Court Reporters and spent a day in the life of a court reporter. http://foxsanantonio.com/news/wheres-cleto/cleto-was-court-reporting-02-16-2016

Ed Varallo

Varallo Group

Bio: Ed Varallo comes from a family of court reporters and began his career straight out of high school. In 1965, on his 19th birthday, he became the youngest person ever to pass the Certificate of Merit exam (now the RMR). Best known for his speed contest accomplishments (a perfect score on the 280 Q&A in 1975, the first-ever perfect score in a national speed contest) he has six times been NCRA's National Speed Champion, winning three years consecutively, 1974-76, ten years later in 1986, again in 1996, and again in 2006 -- a unique speed contest record. Ed began his career as a freelancer in Philadelphia. After three years as an official reporter in the Court of Chancery in Wilmington, Delaware in the early '70s, he opened a freelance firm in that city which he ran until coming to Boston in 1988, where he is today. Ed got his first CAT system in 1978 and reported his first realtime assignment in 1983. Over the past three decades he has addressed reporters at national and state association seminars on the topics of writing for CAT, speedbuilding, CART, and writing realtime, and is the author of The Realtime Writer’s Manual (pub. 1992), as well as numerous articles for the JCR (Journal of Court Reporting), the official publication of the National Court Reporters Association. He became a CRR (Certified Realtime Reporter) in 1994. In the 1990s Ed actively promoted CART (communications access realtime) for deaf and hard-of-hearing people. He was a CART provider and helped raise awareness of this new field as a frequent instructor in CART trainings for court reporters. He was part of the team assisting the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in the development of its first-in-the-nation CART program. In 1995 the Association of Late-Deafened Adults presented Ed its ALDA Angel Award. Ed has been a Fellow of NCRA's Academy of Professional Reporters (FAPR) since 1976, and was the recipient of the 1994 Distinguished Service Award of the Massachusetts Court Reporters Association. Following his last speed contest win, in 2006, The Boston Globe interviewed Ed and called him “the Michael Jordan of court reporting.” In 2007 Ed was chosen by NCRA for its highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award.

Erminia Irlas-Uviedo

Official Court Reporter

Bio: Erminia is currently the Auxiliary Realtime Court Reporter in Bexar County. Prior to her officialship, she owned a freelance firm in San Antonio and Laredo. Erminia also won the TCRA Speed Cup Competition in 2013.

Chef Heather Larican

Sassy Chef

Bio: Heather received her culinary arts education at the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago, Le Cordon Bleu in 2000. Ms. Larican helps people achieve their health goals with combining her skills as a chef and personal trainer. Court Reporters are in a sedentary position for the majority of their work day. Reporters can be kept in that sitting position and may have only a short window to quickly eat. Chef Heather will teach the reporters how to plan according with proper time management, by selecting healthier options and how to prepare healthy and nutritious meals for the days that reporters are left in the courtroom or deposition too long. Keeping their bodies healthy helps the overall individual continue to function appropriately in the practice of shorthand reporting.

Jan Newman Carter


Bio: Jan Newman Carter Certified Shorthand Reporter No. 6062 in 1996 Education: Attended Howard Payne University, 1977 - 1978 Attended Alvin Community College and Brown Institute of Court Reporting graduated in 1995. Employment: East Texas Court Reporting, 1996-2007, sold to Sunbelt Sunbelt Reporting & Litigation Services, 2007 - 2014, sold to DepoTexas Deposition Services DepoTexas Deposition Services, 2014 to present Kilgore Community College Instructor, Court Reporting Program, 2001-2002 Member of TCRA Served as Area 2 Director, 2008, 2009 and 2014 to present Committees served on: Convention Committee Commemorative Committee, Chair Bylaw & P&P, Chair Advertising Committee Ethics Advisory, Chair Member of NCRA

Justice Jim Wright

11th Court of Appeals

Bio: Chief Justice Jim R. Wright resides near Eastland, Texas, with wife, Pat. They have seven children / step-children and fifteen grandchildren / step-grandchildren. Judge Wright graduated from Eastland High School in 1964. He received his undergraduate degree, BBA with concentration in accounting, from North Texas State University in Denton, Texas. While at North Texas, he was elected into membership of national honor fraternity for accounting. He also served as a teaching assistant for beginning accounting classes while at North Texas. Judge Wright received his degree of Juris Doctor, ranking third in his class with high honors, from Texas Tech University School of Law in December 1971. He served as teaching assistant for undergraduate business law classes while in Tech law school. Also, while at Tech law school, he served as research assistant for oil and gas law professor. Judge Wright was named as "Outstanding Scholar" by Delta Theta Phi, a legal fraternity. Both during law school and after graduation, he was employed by Wagonseller and Cobb, a Lubbock law firm. Judge Wright practiced law in Eastland, Texas, from July 1972 until December 1979, at which time Governor Clements appointed him Judge of the 91st District Court in Eastland, Texas. He served as District Court Judge continuously until March 1995, when Governor Bush appointed Judge Wright to serve as Justice of the 11th Court of Appeals. In September 2005, Governor Perry appointed Judge Wright to serve as Chief Justice, where he is still serving in that capacity. Judge Wright served several terms on the district admissions committee for the State Bar of Texas, was elected to membership of the Texas Bar Foundation, and Order of the Coif. He received the "Golden Deeds" award from the Eastland Chamber of Commerce.

Keith Vincent


Bio: Since 1992, Keith has been an active freelance court reporter, Eclipse user, representative, and trainer. Keith is also the creator of the Visualizer movies in Eclipse, will show what's new in both Eclipse and Bridge Mobile.

Mark Herrera


Bio: Mark Herrera currently serves as the director of education for the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) and is a former police sergeant and SWAT officer. Mark is an operations focused Security Manager with over 20 years of Law Enforcement experience in security and safety compliance at the supervisory level. Mark is well versed in the development and implementation of effective security policies and procedures with excellent knowledge of law enforcement principles and practices, criminal investigation techniques, Interview Techniques and security equipment.

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