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 Law.com, 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.
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