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Our last blog dealt with the perils of gift giving in the legal profession. This is such a hot topic in our industry that we wanted to continue on the subject and talk about the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) “Ethics First” program.

According to the NCRA, “the Ethics First program was created as a positive and proactive effort to encourage reporters, firms, and the clients they serve to promote the impartiality and the neutrality of the reporting profession and to avoid inappropriate gift giving and gift acceptance.” The key phrases here are “impartial” and “neutral”, both of which are critically important in instilling public confidence in the court reporting profession.

The Ethics First program is free and voluntary and only available to members of NCRA and, in some cases, non-NCRA members in certain specified professions. This program is a “no-brainer” and everyone should participate. It’s so important that we all support any education that ensures the maintenance of an unbiased legal system.

Participants in the program agree to abide by the NCRA Code of Professional Ethics. A benefit of participating is that you are allowed (and encouraged) to promote your affiliation via the use of a supporter logo and are listed in all Ethics First print and electronic materials. This alone helps instill confidence with your clients and, more importantly, potential clients. If an Ethics First firm or participant is found to be giving incentive gifts, they are dropped from the program and use of the logo is revoked.

The topic of gift giving and ethics has been going on for quite some time now and it is sure to continue until everyone understands what is and what isn’t appropriate or ethical. Along those lines, have you seen Todd Olivas & Associates quiz, “The 10 Commandments of Professional Ethics?”  Here’s a quick sample of the quiz:

–       An official reporter must never perform freelance reporting activities, Yes or No

–       Complete the following sentence: The reporter must maintain the ____________ of the reporting profession

Click on the link above, take the quiz and test your knowledge!

Let’s face it, the world of court reporting is becoming very competitive. A powerful way to compete is by becoming an Ethics First participant who takes pride in their skills and the services they provide. We are participants in the program and proudly announce it to our clients.

Bottom line is that in our business, the best gift to give is excellent service from someone who puts ethics first!

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