If America’s courtroom judges have their say, court reporting could become a much more all-encompassing job in the future, according to research commissioned by the National Court Reporters Association.
“The survey suggests that the role of the stenographic court reporter should, in more instances, grow to become that of ‘courtroom manager,’” reads a white paper titled Making the Record: Solutions for Today and for the Future. “In this role, court reporters could assist in more effectively managing the allocation of resour4ces and ensuring inevitable technological changes are accompanied by corresponding benefit to the courts while aligning with courtroom policies and procedures.”
The study was prompted in part by ill-advised moves that some courtrooms are making in an effort to save money. Several have nixed live court reporters, opting instead for video or audio recordings of court sessions. Too bad for them, many don’t have backup plans in the case of a technical failure. Multiple legal cases have been impacted because systems either failed to record or the recordings have been damaged, rendering the audio unusable. Sound sometimes is warbled. Plus, cases that involve a large number of parties and/or parties with pronounced accents can prove difficult when the only legal record available is an audio recording. In multiple cases, courts have been forced to order repeats of hearings because of technical shortcomings.
Judges participating in the NCRA survey said that budgetary considerations and integration of new technology would be the two most significant factors impacting court systems over the next 15 to 20 years. They also reported overwhelmingly that those budgetary restraints would be the primary reason that courts would opt for recording methods other than a live court reporter. Just 18 percent noted a preference for digital audio recording.
Not surprisingly, the foray into electronic recordings have proven costly to many courts. Repeating hearings or paying court reporters to spend hours poring over bad audio in an attempt to capture a record is expensive, and many of these courts have done an about face, cutting their losses and switching back to live court reporters. In the future, court reporters likely will be viewed as indispensable and will play bigger roles in choosing and managing all resources used for securing and protecting legal records, both human and electronic.
Says the white paper: “A managing court reporter, familiar with the inner workings of his or her court system and who is part of both the stenographic reporter and court administration teams, has the ability to bring efficiencies to the management of record, the management of reporting function, and the management of all associated technology.”
The Stenotype Institute advises current and future court reporters to stay up to the minute on all the latest stenographic technologies and trends, as well as financial and management issues unique to courts. This will no doubt boost your competitiveness and prove your mirth as an indispensable part of your courtroom team. Start your court reporting career by enrolling online and choosing between the Stenotype Institute’s Jacksonville and Orlando campuses.