The Value and Future of Court Reporters

How to Protect Court Reporting from Extinction

Everyone worries that their job will become obsolete, even court reporters. Will you be replaced by machines? Will a robot come into your office one day, bursting through the wall and seizing you by the lapel to announce in a terrifying, monotone voice, “I – AM – HERE – TO – REPORT – THESE – PROCEEDINGS – FOR – NO- WAGES – YOUR – SERVICES – ARE – NO – LONGER – REQUIRED”?

How do you protect yourself from what some believe is inevitable?

The thing is, nobody is going to just have a career in the future. People will likely have numerous skills that apply to various tasks. As much as we want to believe that jobs are insular, protected and definitive, they are bleeding into one another the more that technology brings them into the future.

However, just because technology makes one job obsolete does not mean that the entire field becomes moot. Think about how “knocker uppers,” the people who walked around at dawn with long sticks to literally bang on people’s windows to wake them up, were replaced by alarm clocks. People still need to wake up now, but their method was replaced by better technology.

Court reporting, as it stands, will still need to occur in the future. We just need to figure out how it’s going to happen.

The Difference Made by Live Court Reporters

Many courts are already utilizing video recording systems or audio recording systems in lieu of court reporters, though these have significant drawbacks. Court reporters as a whole need to stand up and illustrate how much more value they have than machines.

How can they do this?

  • Court reporters can hear cross-talk and murmurs far better than a machine.
  • Court reporters can caption in real time and for the hearing impaired.
  • Court reporters are an impartial third party who can certify that the transcript has not been tampered with or altered in any way.
  • Digital recorders need more quality control, not less (e.g., copy editing, proofreading, certification, read back, etc.).
  • Court reporters can stop proceedings if witnesses mumble or lawyers shout over one another. Recorders cannot.
  • Court reporters are more capable of dictating the actions that happen in the courtroom when no words are spoken.

So when you hear rumblings in your courtroom about digital technology, stand up and say, “Look. We can do things that the machines can’t, and that has to be worth something. We can guarantee our results with an almost 100% degree of accuracy. Can those machines do that?”

Some bosses will only see dollar signs, and you will be unable to avoid that. Others, however, will look for quality over cost.

If you need help finding a court reporting position, or a highly skilled court reporter for you case, contact us today. From highly trained stenographers to trained digital court reporters, we’ve got you covered.