ILNews

2012 Leadership in Law: Bruce G. Berner

Louis and Anna Seegers Professor of Law, Valparaiso University Law School, Valparaiso Valparaiso University Law School

April 25, 2012
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Bruce G. Berner (IL Photo/Steve Linsenmayer)

Professor Bruce Berner has been at the law school since 1971 and is a student favorite. He was repeatedly voted by students to address them at commencement – until he became disqualified because of his position as associate dean. While a student, Bruce helped found the “Valparaiso University Law Review.” His name may be familiar to those who kept up with the Ford Pinto case in the 1970s – he served as a special prosecutor. Today, he is working with the Indiana Supreme Court by evaluating a pilot project that will open certain court proceedings to the public through webcasting.

The best advice I ever received was
as I left for college, my father advised me to be a little suspicious of anyone who was certain about anything.  

I wish I had known when I graduated law school that
law school had only begun.  Many lawyers, including me, often have a hard time accepting legal principles which developed after we graduated.

My best stress reliever is
music.

If I weren’t a lawyer, I’d be
a math teacher (but only because I couldn’t hit well enough to be a major league baseball player). 

In 2012, I’d like to
live until 2013.

The three words that best describe me are
lucky, humorous and hopeful.

In the movie about my life,
Woody Allen would play me. (We look a little alike and both were born in Brooklyn.)

In my community, I’m passionate about
getting people to talk with each other and find that they agree about far more than they think they do.

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  1. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  2. If the end result is to simply record the spoke word, then perhaps some day digital recording may eventually be the status quo. However, it is a shallow view to believe the professional court reporter's function is to simply report the spoken word and nothing else. There are many aspects to being a professional court reporter, and many aspects involved in producing a professional and accurate transcript. A properly trained professional steno court reporter has achieved a skill set in a field where the average dropout rate in court reporting schools across the nation is 80% due to the difficulty of mastering the necessary skills. To name just a few "extras" that a court reporter with proper training brings into a courtroom or a deposition suite; an understanding of legal procedure, technology specific to the legal profession, and an understanding of what is being said by the attorneys and litigants (which makes a huge difference in the quality of the transcript). As to contracting, or anti-contracting the argument is simple. The court reporter as governed by our ethical standards is to be the independent, unbiased individual in a deposition or courtroom setting. When one has entered into a contract with any party, insurance carrier, etc., then that reporter is no longer unbiased. I have been a court reporter for over 30 years and I echo Mr. Richardson's remarks that I too am here to serve.

  3. A competitive bid process is ethical and appropriate especially when dealing with government agencies and large corporations, but an ethical line is crossed when court reporters in Pittsburgh start charging exorbitant fees on opposing counsel. This fee shifting isn't just financially biased, it undermines the entire justice system, giving advantages to those that can afford litigation the most. It makes no sense.

  4. "a ttention to detail is an asset for all lawyers." Well played, Indiana Lawyer. Well played.

  5. I have a appeals hearing for the renewal of my LPN licenses and I need an attorney, the ones I have spoke to so far want the money up front and I cant afford that. I was wondering if you could help me find one that takes payments or even a pro bono one. I live in Indiana just north of Indianapolis.

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