About my work...
Ana Fatima Costa
Coach, Author, Speaker & Trainer
My legal career path includes being a freelance shorthand reporter (now retired RPR/CSR), office manager of the San Francisco office of a global agency, sales executive for two agencies, litigation secretary, and office administrator for a forensic psychiatrist / expert witness.
Since 2008, I have provided hundreds of internship opportunities for court reporting students and newly licensed reporters to experience being reporters of record at mock depositions and mock trials in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley. After the mocks, I provide transcript reviews for each intern and have read hundreds of their unedited and completed rough drafts.
What I discovered is 90% of first-time apprentices' unedited transcripts are full of steno errors and untranslates.
Begining in the late 1990s, third-party contracting resulted in schools closing. More recently, schools lost their funding and students were informed their program was no longer available. Low pass rates for California CSR candidates has created a crisis in the court reporting field: increased jobs and demand for licensed reporters but fewer reporters.
It is my opinion that a major part of the issue why students are not passing is because they are not writing cleanly, are encouraged to "read through their slop," and thus struggle to read and transcribe their notes, progress in school, and pass state and/or certification exams.
It is now common for students to take the California CSR exam between 5 and 11 (or more) times. Why?
Lack of confidence in their ability to read and transcribe their shorthand. They feel nervous, anxious, fearful, and worried before stepping foot into the CSR skills exam.
Based on my 35-year experience, this crisis arose from an archaic* principle:
"Slap something down for everything you hear. Don't worry about accuracy. Go for speed and figure it out later."
This principle DOES NOT WORK.
When I was in court reporting school, I honed my practice to develop excellent steno writing skills which resulted in my taking all legs of the RPR one week before taking all legs of the CSR and passing both exams - the first time.
There is a deep need for radical change.
My 4-part comprehensive package of services includes:
#1 - This e-book, 0-225: Your Guide to Writing Mastery.
#2 - 5 Golden Rules to Steno Mastery course based on Part 2 of my e-book (as described above).
#3 - Reporter of Record Internships for new reporters and high-speed reporting students provide real-life experiences so they can feel what it is like to be THE REPORTER in dozens of mock depo and mock trial sessions throughout the greater San Francisco Bay Area.
#4 - Coaching assists students and reporters to overcome obstacles to achieving their goals and dreams.
*ar·cha·ic ärˈkāik adjective
very old or old-fashioned
Synonyms: obsolete, out of date, old-fashioned, outmoded, behind the times, bygone, anachronistic,
antediluvian, old world, old-fangled; More
Testimonials from current and former students ...
Before I passed the qualifier to take the CSR, I read back part of a 4-voice in class, and it was clean!! I was so proud of myself. Ana's techniques work! She has read my raw notes, so she knows this is an accomplishment for me.
These internship mocks are entirely different from the required internships in school. As the reporter, you are responsible for the record. There is no other court reporter in the room with you. You are not shadowing. You are the court reporter.
When I first signed up for Ana's internship mocks, I was scared. I wasn't confident. I didn't believe I could be the reporter of record. However, after participating in a few mock depositions and mock trials, my confidence has soared! I've learned to walk into the room knowing that I have the skills of a professional court reporter. I've learned to speak up for the integrity of the record. And, most importantly, I believe in myself and my skill.
I could not have done this without Ana's assistance. Ana has a calming spirit about her that will guide you from uncertainty to confident reporter. She understands the struggle of being a court reporting student and will put you at ease.
The experiences from these mock internships will teach you the necessary tools that go well beyond writing on your machine. This is something you cannot learn in school. This is something you must experience as a court reporting student.
This is also something that the law students must experience. There are actual working attorneys that do not know what a court reporter actually does. What a benefit for not only the court reporting students, but also for the law students who will be more consciously aware of what the court reporter does and how they are creating their record once they begin practicing law. So I strongly feel these internship mocks are teaching moments for everyone.
Tricia Holmes, CSR Candidate
With years of experience in the field, Ana is a fountain of information and sage advice. She has seen the gamut of court reporting brilliance and blunders and has made it her mission to bestow her knowledge onto court reporting students. As an advocate for court reporters, Ana instills in her mentees a sense of pride in and awareness about the profession and is shaping the newest members of the workforce to be capable, professional, and informed.
Katherine Schilling, RPR, CSR 14163 (and book cover artist)
"Today is the first day of my practice based on your e-mail. I now feel as if I have some type of plan to proceed and be successful. I just needed some guidance and structure for my practice. Thank you once again for your expertise and spending valuable time with me on the phone. Your advice was PRICELESS!!! "
Barbara Sanders, Court Reporting Student (theory)
From the very beginning of my court reporting school, I was taught to write something for every word, which frustrated me during read-back because I couldn't read my sloppy notes. After interning with Ana, I have learned to write cleanly and drop, and I have seen a huge improvement. Now reading back and transcribing are a breeze.
Tobiya Abhaya, Court Reporting Student
As a former court reporting student, I can empathize with all of us who have to take the CSR exam. It is an incredible test of will and determination to even get that far. The CSR, like most tests, has its fair share of stress that goes with it. I took it twice. The first time, I failed. But on my second attempt, I was able to pass, thanks to Ana's coaching. She helped me find peace and let the stress that would otherwise ensure my failure crumble. Now, the stress and anxiety that once controlled my ability to do well no longer exists. I owe all my success to her!
Sarah Maksim, CSR 14053 ((and artist of Golden Rule #1 graphic)