Recently I was reminded of a story that is too often forgotten by most. It’s about a small boy on the beach. He is all alone walking along the shoreline picking up one starfish at a time out of the hundreds that have washed up on the shore and throwing it back into the ocean. He does this for hours. A man who has been watching him work finally comes up to the boy and asks, “Boy, why are you doing this work? Don’t you know it doesn’t matter?” The boy paused, looked at the man, threw another starfish in the ocean and said, “It mattered to that one.”
All too often we see a situation as too big of a task or why does it even matter. What can one person do; right? Well, one person can change the world for somebody else. If one person can do that, imagine what a group of people can do when they unite and stand strong for the good of the people.
Did you know that MCRA was created in 1966 when just 34 reporters volunteered to meet at the invitation of Chief Justice W.N. Ethridge, Jr., and Robert C. Khayat, Director of Continuing Education at the University of Mississippi School of Law. The meeting was under the joint sponsorship of the Mississippi Trial Judges Conference, the University of Mississippi School of Law, and the National College of State Trial Judges.
Now in its 48th year, MCRA continues to work through the volunteerism of its working reporters. Without that selfless dedication of time, creativity, and passion, Mississippi court reporters would not be where we are today. We have come a long way, but the road is still long and full of bumps and potholes. But just as the boy on the beach stayed positive, so must we. We must stay involved, volunteer, work together, stay positive, and know that we are all in this amazing profession together.
Professionalism Measured by Excellence and Ethics.
— Sheila McKinney, BCR, CCR
MCRA President, 2014-2015
Show your court reporter pride by changing your Facebook profile picture, cover photo, and Twitter icon to the Court Reporting & Captioning Week logo or the Take Note logo. (Click HERE for NCRA resource material.)
If you are unsure of what to say, feel free to share posts from facebook.com/NCRAfb or retweet @NCRA during the week. You may also consider using the suggested posts listed below. On Twitter, we will be using the hash tag #courtreportingweek.
February 15: Tell the world that it is court reporting and captioning week!
Facebook post: Friends and family – please help me spread the word! This week is Court Reporting & Captioning Week. Please read and share this link to help me get out the message! LINK to NCRA official press release
Tweet: It’s Court Reporting & Captioning Week nationwide. Help spread the word about this unique and lucrative career! #courtreportingweek
February 16: Why I became a court reporter/captioner
Facebook post: It’s Court Reporting & Captioning week, and today I’d like to share why I became a court reporter/captioner. I became a court reporter/captioner to _________. Learn more about how you can become involved in Court Reporting & Captioning Week here: (LINK to the AWARENESS PAGE and/or crTakeNote.com)
Tweet: I became a court reporter to _________. Other CRs out there – Why did you get into the profession? #courtreportingweek
February 17: Becoming a court reporter
Facebook post: To all of my friends who have children about to graduate high school, or to those who are considering a career change, check this out. [LINK to crTakeNote.com.]
Tweet: If you are wondering what to do after high school, consider a career in court reporting (crTakeNote.com). #courtreportingweek
February 18: Post a photo of my favorite court reporting/captioning gadget
Facebook photo post: My favorite court reporting gadget/tool is ______. It is a great addition to my kit because _______. What is your favorite gadget?
Tweet – photo upload: The best tool in my kit: (insert photo link) I couldn’t do ____ without it. #courtreportingweek.
February 19: The one thing I would tell non-reporters about the profession
Facebook post: It is Court Reporting & Captioning Week, and as I try to spread the word about my profession, I wanted to share that the one thing that most people don’t know about court reporting/captioning is _______.
Tweet: Most people don’t know that court reporting/captioning is ________. #courtreportingweek.
February 20: The best advice I can give to a student
Facebook post: My court reporting week advice to a student: __________.
Suggested Tweet: Court reporting student advice: ___________ #courtreportingweek.
February 21: My professional goal for 2015
Facebook post: As court reporting week comes to a close, I wanted to share my professional goals for the upcoming year. In 2015, I hope to _______.
Suggested Tweet: My professional goal for 2015: ________. #courtreportingweek
Muriel Ellis has been blazing through Mississippi’s legal system. Ellis, 54, became the first African American clerk of Mississippi’s Supreme Court and Court of Appeals on July 1 this year, after being the first African American Supreme Court deputy clerk and chief deputy clerk.
Ellis worked her way through the clerk’s office for 23 years after beginning as a legal clerk in 1991. The Callaway High School alumna, who graduated in 1977, became chief deputy clerk in 2009 after being named a team leader in 2000 and deputy clerk in 2007.
The Jackson native said she is blessed and honored to accept her new position. “I am just going to lead the clerk’s office forward, “ she said. Ellis took courses at Phillips Business College and worked as a ward secretary for St. Dominic Hospital from 1979-1987.
Ellis has seen many changes since working in the clerk’s office. Along with Kathy Gillis, former Mississippi Supreme Court Clerk for 33 years, Ellis supervised the office’s transition to electronic filing. Since the office’s mandatory e-filing for briefs and motions began on Jan. 1, 2014, she continues to work on the electronic transition through implementing emailed orders and clerk’s notices, as well as e-filing transcripts and records from other trial courts.
The clerk became interested in a career in the legal system when she was serving as an alternate juror in the Hinds County Circuit court. While working in the billing edits department at the City of Jackson Water Department, she said she drove past the Supreme Court building all the time on her way to the Water Department office, which is also located on High Street.
“I never knew what this building was, but I used to say: ’That is a pretty building. I would love to work there someday,’” Ellis said.
Ellis has three children – Karen Ellis Evans, Kimberly Ellis and Leonard Ellis – three grandchildren – Madison Evans, Leonard Ellis III and Bryson Williams – and is married to Leonard Ellis Sr.
Credits: Article written by Mary Kate McGowen and originally appeared in the Jackson Free Press, jacksonfreepress.com.