Court reporters from the ones in Phoenix, such as Phoenix Desposition Services, to those in New York remain relevant to the US justice system, as the progress of cases partly depends on their availability.
Despite their importance, the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) has found it hard to recruit new workers. This has caused the problem of a looming shortage of court reporters in the country.
Court reporting shares the same name with jobs that involve news and media broadcasting, which causes it to be misunderstood by most people. Otherwise, called court stenographers, they document legal proceedings in court or legislature.
This job requires no college degree and pays up to $95,000 per year, while the median salary in 2016 amounted to more than $51,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Still, the misconceptions about this occupation cause a hard time for the NCRA to recruit new professionals, according to NCRA President Nativa Wood. In some states such as South Carolina, the lack of court reporters has affected the progress of cases, particularly in the family court.
South Carolina’s Plight
Most delays in court hearings comprise cases such as divorce and child custody, due to a lack of qualified professionals.
A major factor for the shortage involves the number of retiring professionals. A court reporter not only affects the progress of a case but also have a negative impact on depositions since accurate transcriptions are important for a judge or jury’s verdict.
However, some legal firms and third-party companies offer court reporting as an added service. It may not solve the immediate need for more professionals, but it could help in advancing overdue trials.
Contrary to popular belief, court reports still hold an important role in the justice system. If it were the opposite, then many cases would have moved forward without any problems.