Court reporting

Court Reporting Misconceptions

For those who work outside of the legal industry, it can be difficult to understand how important court reporters are to the legal field. And, not surprisingly, as more and more lawsuits are filed in American courts the value of a neutral record of all aspects of legal proceedings — inside and outside of the courtroom — also continues to grow. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”) the court reporting industry is expected to increase job openings for workers by 9% between 2019 and 2029. This growth is much faster than the average growth in other industries. The BLS has determined that this growth is affected, in part, by new federal laws requiring TV programming and real-time broadcasts to be closed captioned for the hearing impaired.

Despite the growing demand for court reporters, the trend is that fewer and fewer workers are entering the field. The reason for this, in part, is due to the misconceptions about the occupation. Below are some of these wrong assumptions.
● It is simply typing: Perhaps the most damaging myth is that court reporting is “just typing.” A stenograph, which most people have never seen, only has 22 unmarked keys. Court reporters often have to record high-profile cases with impeccable accuracy at an extremely fast pace. While the average person can type 40 words per minute with a 92% accuracy. The speed of the average court reporter is 225 words per minute.
● Anyone can do it: There is a common misconception that court reports can be easily replaced by digital recording devices or unskilled typists. In reality, court reporters can capture the meaning and nuances that even the most sophisticated artificial intelligence or algorithms miss. Court reporters have a flawless understanding of language as well as legal and/or technical terminology. Likewise, live court reporters do not malfunction like voice-capture technology can.
● The career is easy: While many institutions offer placement programs for newly minted court reporters, statistics show that a large percentage drop out within the first two years of their career. While the reasons for dropping out vary, the most common are due to the overwhelming pressure of speed and accuracy required by the job.
● Not much training: Aspiring court reporters must learn to use equipment like stenotypes and complete a court reporting program that awards an associate’s degree or certification. Reporters also undergo on-the-go training. Depending on the state, certification or licensure is required and likely involves passing an exam and skills test.
For more data on court reporting in the legal industry, visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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America was already facing a problem: There was a national shortage of court reporters. And, with a high dropout rate in court reporter schools, the country’s justice system was experiencing a bottleneck in its legal proceedings. According to many court reporting agencies as well as those with their fingers on the pulse of the industry, one way to make a significant dent in the growing caseload in need of court reporters was to better leverage technology in the industry. Long before the global pandemic, court reporting associations gave significant push back against court-reporting that was software driven. Many argued that a human cannot be replaced with AI, as there are issues such as muffled speech, accents, and parties speaking over one another to consider. There are some trends toward using more technology in the court reporting industry, however, since the COVID-19 pandemic began reshaping the world.


Legal Industry Trends


It is no secret that the global COVID-19 pandemic changed the way all of us operated in the world. For the court reporting industry, and others, this means the need for evolving skill demands as well as job opportunities. According to an article published by, below are the trends that appeared in 2020.


  • Remote work: While some court reporting companies were already offering remote certified stenographer services pre-pandemic, many workers in the industry were forced to pivot and work remotely as a result of COVID-19. In fact, the world shut down, including courthouses across the nation. The result was the routine use of videoconferencing through numerous platforms and the implementation of remote proceedings.
  • Digital court reporting: Claimed to be risky and an impediment to the accuracy of the legal records by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) members, digital court reporting occurs when a legal proceeding is recorded and then later transcribed. Simply put, the transcription does not happen in real-time. Nationally, this method is being used more by court systems and insurance companies, as they are deciding which proceedings are better for real-time or delayed transcription.
  • Mastery of video conferencing: Because more depositions and court proceedings have gone remote, being able to use this technology and adjust presentation skills is critical for attorneys, judges, and court reporters alike. This includes setting up exhibit presentations on the front end — where court reporters become critical assets for attorneys — understanding Zoom etiquette, and having back ups in case of technology issues.


Tech is Here to Stay


Whether or not the court reporting industry approves, court reporter technology has gotten the confidence of investors and has been able to secure millions of dollars. For more information on this topic, read the article here.

For other court reporting news check out Depositions Abroad Tool Kit