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Archive for the ‘Court reporting’ Category

Why Choose CourtScribes

Posted on: May 20th, 2019 by Dependable Website Management No Comments

If you have a need for court services, you might want to look into contacting CourtScribes. Why choose CourtScribes? Well, to start, they are the number one court reporting agency in Florida, and they deliver both a complete range of standard court reporting services as well as advanced, high-value services. This includes services that are not available from other court reporting companies.

In addition to the certified transcript, CourtScribes provides live & on-demand video streaming of trial proceedings for enhanced trial team support. CourtScribes covers trials, depositions, arbitrations, mediations and hearings.

 

Free Professional Legal Videography

Videography can be expensive. Typically, even more expensive than the actual court reporting. No matter how complex your case, you can expect a perfect video recording of your proceeding at no additional cost.

 

Expect Perfection with CourtScribes

CourtScribes understands how crucial it is to create a verbatim record. We pride ourselves in creating a completely accurate, verbatim transcript no matter how difficult the environment. With our unique and powerful, industry-leading technology, you can expect nothing less than total perfection.

 

Our Private Online Repository

With CourtScribes’ Private Online Repository, you are able to access all of your transcripts, exhibits and videos no matter where you are. Whether it be by phone, tablet, or PC, you can access all of your transcripts, exhibits, and on-demand videos sorted by each individual case. How about that for convenience? We want to make things as easy and connected as possible.

 

CourtScribes.com is ready to serve you right now in your court reporting, videography services, interpreters, live-streaming, and video-to-text synchronization.

 

Although the majority of cities that offer CourtScribes’ services are in Florida, the company home base, other cities all across these United States that CourtScribes offers services in, are the following: Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, Port St. Lucie, Fort Lauderdale, Cape Coral, Coral Springs, Clearwater, Palm Bay, Fort Myers, Weston, Sarasota, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Hialeah, Stuart, Hollywood, Naples, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, Jupiter, Key West, Coral Gables, Maryland, Manhattan, Buffalo, Washington DC, Baltimore, Bowie, Virginia, Frederick, Albany, New York, Brooklyn,  Westchester, Gaithersberg, and Rockville.

 

Illinois Court Reporter Lobbies Lawmakers

Posted on: May 13th, 2019 by Dependable Website Management No Comments
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Illinois court reporter Kim Cottrell with Senator Tammy Duckworth.

Great news for the court reporting world is coming out of Illinois. A certified shorthand reporter with the Illinois Eighth Judicial Circuit was in Washington last week advocating for the court reporting profession at the National Court Reporter Association’s 2019 Leadership and Legislative Boot Camp.

 

Kim Cottrell, who has worked in the Eighth Circuit for two years, met with staffers from U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood and Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin. It was a fruitful meeting.

 

“My experience at Boot Camp was life changing,” Cottrell said. “It gave me the confidence to continue to advocate for court reporting in any arena; particularly, its superiority over electronic recording in our state courts.”

 

What Did She Do

While meeting with congressional staffers, Cottrell, a member of the Illinois Court Reporters Association Board of Director, urged the lawmakers to support the reauthorization of the Training for Realtime Writers grants under the Higher Education Act enacted in 2009.

 

The legislation created a grant program to train realtime writers to provide both captioned information and communication access for 30 million Americans who are deaf and hard of hearing. Programs established with past grants also aided working reporters in learning and polishing realtime skills.

The National Court Reporters Association represents stenographic court reporters, captioners, and legal videographers. And boy are we thankful for them and their representation.

 

What Did the Boot Camp Provide

The Boot Camp provided sessions on politics and grassroots lobbying, effective press communications and what to expect when visiting lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Other session provided mock hearings and tips for promoting the profession to consumer groups, as well as how to testify before legislators.

This is something that can only help the court reporting industry which can use any help it can get. We have shown in previous posts here at CourtScribes.com that there is a dire shortage of reporters out there.

CourtScribes.com is ready to serve you in your court reporting, videography services, interpreters, live-streaming, and video-to-text synchronization.

 

Although the majority of cities that offer CourtScribes’ services are in Florida, the company home base, other cities all across these United States that CourtScribes offers services in, are the following: Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, Port St. Lucie, Fort Lauderdale, Cape Coral, Coral Springs, Clearwater, Palm Bay, Fort Myers, Weston, Sarasota, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Hialeah, Stuart, Hollywood, Naples, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, Jupiter, Key West, Coral Gables, Maryland, Manhattan, Buffalo, Washington DC, Baltimore, Bowie, Virginia, Frederick, Albany, New York, Brooklyn,  Westchester, Gaithersberg, and Rockville.

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First African-American Smith County Woman Court Reporter Celebrates 25 Years

Posted on: May 6th, 2019 by Dependable Website Management No Comments
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East Texas Court Reporter Kim Christopher.

The world of court reporting has it’s ‘firsts’ just like any other industry. CourtScribes.com is proud to salute and congratulate a very deserving court reporter out of Tyler, Texas. The first African-American woman to be hired as a Smith County court reporter is celebrating 25 years of service.

This is quite a feat as there is a shortage, not just in Texas, but throughout the whole United States, in general of those doing her job.

How Did it All Start

On April 25, 1994, Kim Christopher was hired by the now deceased Smith County Judge, Larry Craig as his reporter for County/Probate Court. Christopher was also the roving local reporter. She worked in a different courtroom each day or for weeks at a time. Her duties also included recording the record for grand jury proceedings.

“Smith County has been a blessing to me and my family,” said Kim Christopher “I have worked with many wonderful judges, court staff, and have formed friendships that are like family. If it is the Lord’s will, I am looking forward to serving Smith County for many more years to come,” she said.

114th District Judge Christi Kennedy said a few words about her.

“I am privileged to be able to recognize Kim Christopher for her 25 years of service to Smith County,” Ms. Kennedy said, adding that she has put up with more judges and attorneys than she could count and has always had the best demeanor in doing so. She said when Mrs. Christopher started working for the county, she had no children but now has kids in college and high school.

Judge Kennedy said she is most impressed by what Christopher has done in her last year of service, by implementing an evening program to try to encourage young people to choose a court reporting career because of a severe shortage in the profession (as we have pointed out in previous blogs).

Who Is Kim Christopher

Christopher has been married to her husband, Michael for twenty-eight years. They have two sons, Kirby, who is a senior in high school, and Jordan, who is a sophomore in high school. They attend North Tenneha Church of Christ and are very active members.

It truly is wonderful that Mrs. Christopher has lasted this long in the industry. It is a testament to the fact that she enjoys what she does, values what she does, and knows that she is filling a very important civic role. Especially as her position of court reporter is becoming ‘endagered’.

And much like Mrs. Christopher does in Tyler, Texas, CourtScribes.com is ready to serve you in your court reporting, videography services, interpreters, live-streaming, and video-to-text synchronization.

Although the majority of cities that offer CourtScribes‘ services are in Florida, the company home base, other cities all across these United States that CourtScribes offers services in, are the following: Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, Port St. Lucie, Fort Lauderdale, Cape Coral, Coral Springs, Clearwater, Palm Bay, Fort Myers, Weston, Sarasota, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Hialeah, Stuart, Hollywood, Naples, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, Jupiter, Key West, Coral Gables, Maryland, Manhattan, Buffalo, Washington DC, Baltimore, Bowie, Virginia, Frederick, Albany, New York, Brooklyn,  Westchester, Gaithersberg, and Rockville.

So, You Want to be a Court Reporter

Posted on: April 29th, 2019 by Dependable Website Management No Comments

So You Want to be a Court ReporterThere are few jobs that are more in demand than court reporters right now. There is a major shortage all around the country. Here, CourtScribes will show you the steps. So, you want to be a court reporter? Well, here is what you need to know.

 

Court reporters, also known as stenographers or shorthand reporters are the professionals that are hired to ensure that all words spoken as well as the gestures of a proceeding are recorded to produce an accurate transcript.

 

These guardians court records are required to be impartial, reliable, responsible, and they must be properly trained and certified to expertly perform their job.

 

With outstanding employment and salary potential, it’s no wonder many are pursuing careers in court reporting and stenography. But before you embark on a career as a court reporter, you must complete a comprehensive program in court reporting. You also must satisfy requirements for licensure or certification that is required in many states.

 

1. Choosing Your Career Path

There are a number of paths you could choose in a career in court reporting. It is important to find a path of interest before beginning a court reporter program.

 

The International Realtime Court Reporting Institute offers online programs at all levels, from basic and retraining courses in speech-to-text technology to advanced CAT system training in Eclipse Vox.
Although all court reporter programs have the same, basic structure for preparing students for state licensure and/or professional certification, many schools do divide their programs in a number of ways to best prepare students for specific areas of court reporting. Others provide a more comprehensive approach to court reporting.

 

Some schools provide a wider approach, which allows the students to study in a number of areas within the profession. This includes:

 

Other programs may separate court reporter programs by:

 

2. Preparing for the Program

One thing the students have to bite the bullet and do is that they must purchase their own manual stenotype machine. These usually cost between $100 and $250. Most schools don’t endorse paperless writers. They feel it is important that writers learn to read paper notes.

 

Students are then often required to rent or purchase a model computerized writer for CAT classes. Purchasing a new computerized writer can be very expensive. Like costing upwards of $2,000 expensive. Used models can be purchased for as little as $400. That does offer a little bit of a break. Since the cost is on the high side, many students choose to rent these models. Software for the computerized writers may also cost an additional $100 to $500.

 

Students need to also be prepared to take entrance exams prior to being accepted into a court reporter program. These exams are usually in typing and English. Students should have a firm grasp of the English language before applying to a court reporter program.

 

3. Completing the Program

The path to a court reporting career is standard in terms of education. Individuals must complete a recognized court reporting program. Where this education is obtained may differ, as court reporting programs are available in a number of institutions. This ranges from community colleges to dedicated court reporter schools. A court reporting program may result in an associate’s degree or professional diploma or certificate, depending on the institution in which the program is located.

 

Court reporting programs tend to be quite flexible. Many institutions offer a number of online courses and day and evening classes to accommodate today’s busy lifestyles. Some programs, especially those in dedicated court reporter schools and technical schools even offer combination court reporting programs that include online academics with hands-on speed classes taken on-site.

 

Because court reporting programs are designed to prepare students to achieve state licensure and/or professional certification, they must contain a similar curriculum. Students must be able to achieve a minimum skills standard for machine shorthand which, according to the National Court Reporters Association, is

 

Most court reporting programs deal with shorthand. Most specifically, the mastery of it. A minimum accuracy must be achieved in machine shorthand. This is usually 97 percent accuracy. Most programs also require students to achieve a minimum, average grade in both speed-building classes and coursework.

 

In addition to teaching students the skills through the use of a stenography machine and often computer-aided real-time technology, court reporting programs are designed to provide a comprehensive education in:

 

4.  Meeting Licensing Requirements

Depending on the state in which one practices their court reporting, a state license may be required. Most states that require licensing either have their own court reporting examinations, which consist of both a written examination and a skill test, and many accept the Certified Verbatim Reporter’s examination (CVR) through the National Verbatim Reporters Association or the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) designation through the National Court Reporters Association in lieu of state exams.

Even states in which no licensing requirements exist, it is common to find many employers seeking the RPR designation, which is the entry-level designation for the National Court Reporters Association.

 

We here at CourtScribes.com, know about the shortage of court reporters and how important it is to continue to train those who have an interest in court reporting. The faster you train, the faster you can get going embarking on your new career. Courtrooms are not going anywhere. Why not get certified, get into the courtroom and let your fingers start typing away.

Owner of Stenotype Institute In Jacksonville Sentenced

Posted on: April 22nd, 2019 by Dependable Website Management No Comments
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The Stenotype Institute in Jacksonville, Florida.

Gloria Wiley, the former owner of the Stenotype Institute of Jacksonville, located in Jacksonville, Florida was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison for her failures to refund federal student aid money. This aid money was commonly referred to as ‘Stafford Loans’ and ‘Pell Grants’.

 

Wiley plead guilty November 13th, 2018.

 

The court also ordered Wiley to pay nearly $289,000 in restitution to former students of the Stenotype Institute, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

 

According to the final judgment signed by Senior U.S. District Judge Harvey Schlesinger, Wiley must pay up to 50 percent of her income, if she works in a federal prison industry, to the clerk of the U.S. District Court.

 

After being released, she is required to repay the government $300 per month until the reimbursement is satisfied. She actually faced a maximum penalty of up to five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000. So she lucked out.

 

Wiley, 73, was the owner of Stenotype Institute of Jacksonville Inc., a Jacksonville-based stenography school that opened in 1940. The school provided professional education to students pursuing stenography careers, including court reporting and medical transcription.

 

The business was authorized to receive federal student aid funds from the U.S. Department of Education on behalf of its students to cover tuition, fees and living expenses. Excess funds drawn on behalf of students were required to be refunded to the U.S. Department of Education or to the student within 45 days.

 

But starting in June 2015, instead of refunding the excess funds, Wiley and her staff began tracking the amounts owed in a spreadsheet. Meanwhile, Wiley continued to draw funds from the school for personal use which is illegal.

 

According to court documents, Wiley and the institute held about $290,000 in refunds due to the U.S. Department of Education and to former students, and $9,000 due to the Department of Veterans Affairs, none of which were ever paid.

 

The Stenotype Institute closed in March 2016, soon after an on-site program inspection by the U.S. Department of Education.

 

The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Education – Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Cofer Taylor.

 

This is a real shame because there is a dire shortage of court reporters aka stenographers in the United States and especially Florida. These type of schools are sorely needed. When a school like this closes down, everybody loses. Gloria Wiley has truly done a disservice. She is now paying the price.

 

At CourtScribes.com we provide the best in videographers and court reporters that you may need to hire. We operate in cities throughout all of Florida (our home base) as well as the whole country. You can go to the website now and contact us to set up a consult and you can learn why CourtScribes is right for you and your transcribing needs. Operators are standing by to take your call.

What Cities Does CourtScribes Service

Posted on: April 15th, 2019 by Dependable Website Management No Comments

courtscribes_logoCourtScribes is the premier stenography and court reporting agency in all of the United States. While the company is based out of Florida, the services are offered all over the states. CourtScribes does everything you need involved in court reporting and getting testimony on the record. CourtScribes not only delivers a complete range of standard court reporting services but also as advanced, high-value services not available from other court reporting companies. In addition to the certified transcript, CourtScribes provides live & on-demand video streaming of trial proceedings for enhanced trial team support. They cover trials, depositions, arbitrations, mediations and hearings. If after reading this so far, you ask yourself what cities does CourtScribes service, then read on.

 

As far as standard services go, CourtScribes offers daily delivery of transcripts, expedited delivery of transcripts, licensed videographer, as well as interpreters. Advanced services include free professional legal videography, free 24/7 access to your transcripts, exhibits and videos, live streaming at a marginal extra cost, and even video-to-text synchronization.

Free Professional Legal Videography

Videography can be expensive. Typically, even more expensive than court reporting. No matter how complex your case, expect a perfect video record of your proceeding at no additional cost.

 

Perfection with CourtScribes

CourtScribes understands that it is crucial to create a verbatim record. CourtScribes prides themselves in creating a completely accurate, verbatim transcript no matter how chaotic the environment. With unique and powerful, industry-leading technology, you can expect nothing less than perfection.

 

Private Online Repository

With CourtScribes’ Private Online Repository, you are able to access all of your transcripts, exhibits and videos no matter where you are located. Whether by phone, tablet, or PC, you can access all of your transcripts, exhibits, and on-demand videos sorted by each individual case.

 

Although the majority of cities that offer CourtScribes’ services are in Florida, the company home base, other cities all across these United States that CourtScribes offers services in, are the following: Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, Port St. Lucie, Fort Lauderdale, Cape Coral, Coral Springs, Clearwater, Palm Bay, Fort Myers, Weston, Sarasota, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Hialeah, Stuart, Hollywood, Naples, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, Jupiter, Key West, Coral Gables, Maryland, Manhattan, Buffalo, Washington DC, Baltimore, Bowie, Virginia, Frederick, Albany, New York, Brooklyn,  Westchester, Gaithersberg, and Rockville.

Court of Appeals in NY Appoints First-Ever Female State Reporter

Posted on: April 8th, 2019 by Dependable Website Management No Comments
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Portrait of Cara Brousseau

We here at courtscribes.com like to keep you up-to-date on all of the news and views surrounding the court reporting industry here in the United States. Our blog covers all of the interesting and poignant stories in this industry. This includes important hirings in our industry as well. On Thursday, the Court of Appeals appointed Cara Brousseau to be the first-ever female state reporter for the New York State Law Reporting Bureau. She will succeed William Hooks in the position.

 

Brousseau will be responsible for the bureau’s operations, including the regular publishing of decisions by the appellate courts and, sometimes, trial courts. She will be responsible for producing more than 17 bound volumes each year.

 

It’s a position she’s familiar with; Brousseau has been the deputy state reporter at the bureau since February 2017. Before that, she spent nearly two years as the assistant state reporter.

 

Brousseau has been practicing law for two decades now, after graduating cum laude from Albany Law School in 1999. She was admitted to the New York Bar later that year. She entered the legal community as an associate attorney for Iseman, Cunningham, Riester & Hyde in Albany, where she worked in labor law, civil rights cases and mental hygiene law.

 

Then she left the firm to clerk for former Court of Appeals Associate Judge Susan Phillips Read. Read served on the high court for twelve years after being appointed in 2003. Brousseau clerked for her during the first four years of her tenure on the bench.

 

Cara went on to serve as deputy executive director and counsel for the New York State Board of Law Examiners, which administers the bar exam and operates under the Court of Appeals. She oversaw litigation involving the board and supervised candidate misconduct investigations.

 

She held that position until she became assistant state reporter in April 2015. Brousseau is a past president of the Capital District Women’s Bar Association and a member of the Appellate Division, Third Department Committees on Character and Fitness.

 

It is good to see women like Brousseau climbing up the ladder. We at courtscribes.com are very proud of her, and remind you that if you ever need legal services in court reporting, videography, or interpreters, then please consult us via the website.

Stenographer Shortages Hit Illinois Too

Posted on: April 2nd, 2019 by Dependable Website Management No Comments
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There is a continued need for court reporters

Courtscribes.com has written before about the shortages that have hit the court reporting industry. Well, that trend continues as now the state of Illinois is waving the red flag.

 

Nicole Kopec, who is the court reporting supervisor in the Eighth Judicial Circuit of Illinois, knows that court reporters in the West-Central Illinois area are stretched thin. She knows this because she travels to various counties to make sure reporters are available when needed. And she’s not the only one.

Kopec sees many court reporters, including herself, traveling across the circuit up to four days a week.

 

The Eighth Judicial Circuit is meant to have twelve court reporters to notate the events in various criminal and civil cases. Currently, there are seven reporters for the eighth-county circuit because several court reporters have retired and there are no replacements.

Court reporter Shannon Niekamp, who works in the Adams County Courthouse, said her day consists of various court hearings and preparing transcripts.

“I like being busy, so it doesn’t bother me,” Niekamp said. “You get to be in the action (of the courtroom) without doing anything. You’re just a neutral party preserving the record.”

Kopec and Niekamp both heard when they decided to become court reporters that their profession would soon be eliminated with technological advances, but they remain certain that there will always be a need for court reporters.

Niekamp said, “Somebody is always going to have be there to transcribe the record and make sure it’s accurate. There are so many times where the audio — even in this county — where it doesn’t work.”

Kopec once was working during a jury trial when the courthouse lost power.

“I was there, so we got to keep going on with the jury trial,” she said. “And I think any reporter will tell you that what we do is way better quality than anything that you can take off the electronic recording. Attorneys talk over each other. There is no one to tell them to stop or slow down.”

Court reporters test at 225 words per minute. Employed by the state of Illinois, a newly-certified court reporter’s salary starts at about $30,000 and can climb up to $47,000 if they are real-time certified, which is similar to closed captioning on TV. Court reporters also are able to earn extra money for preparing transcripts.

Anyone interested in exploring a career in court reporting can visit the National Court Reporters Association website. It also offers a free introductory course. Training programs are site-based or online, and can be completed in two and a half to four and a half years on average. Illinois allows court reporters who aren’t yet licensed to work for up to a year before they become certified.

“There’s been reporters who have completed it in 19 months,” Kopec said. “It’s possible to do it quick. It’s all up to you.”

As you know from previous articles, this continues to be a problem all around the United States. Luckily, we at courtscribes.com have plenty of reporters for your court reporting needs. Contact now to find out what is needed to take advantage of our many services.

Is There a Shortage of Qualified Stenographers

Posted on: March 25th, 2019 by Dependable Website Management No Comments

Court Reporting StenographThere seems to be a little issue happening in our courts. Court reporters are seeing a stenographer shortage coming in the very near future. So that does beg the question, is there a shortage of qualified Stenographers? We here at Courtscribes.com are here to find out.

‘People think this is an archaic profession. … it’s not’

What is Stenography aka Shorthand?

Shorthand is an abbreviated symbolic writing method that increases speed and brevity of writing as compared to longhand. Longhand is a more common method of writing a language. The process of writing in shorthand is called stenography.

Traditional shorthand systems were written on paper with a stenographic pencil or pen. Machine shorthand is also a common term for writing produced by a stenotype, a specialized keyboard that are often used for courtroom transcripts.

Learning stenography is like learning another language. The stenographic court reporting machine has 24 keys and works phonetically.

Why is There a Shortage of Stenographers?

To start awareness of the profession has steadily declined. A drop in enrollment has actually led to stenography schools closing. The industry’s focus is pushing young professionals into the job and supporting them through tough schooling.

It does not help that television advertisements have become less common and schools that teach stenography have shuttered in recent years.

The average age of a court reporter right now is 56 years old. The feeling is that many of these people are going to retire and by virtue of that fact, there will be a serious shortage of court reporters in the very near future.

Stenographers provide transcripts for not only court proceedings, but also live captioning during cable broadcasts and college lectures, among other services.

Did They See This Coming?

The shortage of stenographers has been long anticipated. In 2013, the National Court Reporters Association commissioned an independent research group to study the industry and make predictions on its future demands.

In the study, known in the industry as the Ducker Report, researchers determined that by 2018 a lack of student enrollment rates “combined with significant retirement rates,” would create a shortage of about 5,500 court reporters nationwide as “increased legal activity and new opportunities … drive demand.”

The drop in enrollment has led to schools closing, including two in the Central Florida area. Now, the only stenographic reporting programs in the state are in South Florida, though students can take classes online.

Another problem is that student failure rates in these programs are high, and so is the cost of equipment and schooling.

Stenography is a skill, much like learning piano. In some programs, only 4 percent of students who enter graduate. It can take between two and eight years to finish, and tuition can cost more than $10,000 per year.

What is the Future?

It is a lucrative career, and basically, a job is guaranteed upon completion of training. Recently graduated stenographers typically start with salaries in the low $40,000s, but can eventually make upward of $150,000. Since most stenographers are independent contractors, their income is based on how much work the reporter actually logs in.

Like many trade occupations, automation has made its way into the industry. In court reporting, digital reporters have replaced stenographers for many routine legal proceedings. They set up microphones in a courtroom, then transcribe the recordings later.

But their training is minimal. Minimal like only four weeks.

“The sad thing is, people think this is an archaic profession, a dying profession, and it’s not,” experts say. “Everybody says, ‘Oh, aren’t you going to be replaced by technology? Can’t they just record?’ You can’t compare what a court reporter does to a recording.”

While digital reporters help by freeing up stenographers for more complex legal work, transcriptions can take three to five times longer for a digital reporter and often contain more errors.

If courts continue to see a shortage in stenographers, forcing digital reporters to cover more high-profile proceedings, the quality of the record will deteriorate without a doubt.

For example, occasional transcripts from digital reporters have come back indicating a word or sentence was inaudible, which doesn’t happen with stenographers. Since they are writing the record as it unfolds, they can ask someone to repeat a word, or move closer to their microphone.

The National Court Reporters Association has a program called “A to Z,” which offers students free, six-week trial classes to test their interest in the profession. Students who decide to pursue the job can get tuition assistance and mentorship through Project Steno, which focuses on student outreach and enrollment.

A program like this can only help what will become a dire situation unless it is addressed. If you ever need a stenographer, you can book one right now on our website courtscribes.com.

Mount Hope Student Is Fastest Court Reporter

Posted on: March 18th, 2019 by Dependable Website Management No Comments
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Maia Morgan, the winner of Plaza College’s 2019 National Court Reporting Association Student Speed Competition.

Mount Hope resident Maia Morgan from the Bronx is one of twelve winners in Plaza College’s 2019 National Court Reporting Association Student Speed Competition.

With over 100 students racing against the clock and racing against each other to see who was the fastest and most accurate court reporter in honor of National Court Reporting and Capturing Week, Morgan was the best.

Morgan and her peers were to transcribe using a stenotype. It is a specialized shorthand machine which interfaces with a customized laptop, and take dictation at various speeds as they train to become professional court reporters. Morgan has proven that she is good enough to be hired by CourtScribes, which houses the best in the business.

A stenotype keyboard has fewer keys than a conventional alphanumeric keyboard. It is usually used for court reporting purposes. Multiple keys are pressed simultaneously to spell out whole syllables, words, and phrases with a single hand motion. Since the keyboard does not contain all the letters of the English alphabet, letter combinations are substituted for the missing characters.

 

“Using the stenotype machine is almost like learning another language,” Morgan expressed.

 

Morgan types at an impressive 120 words per minute with 96% accuracy. To graduate, she will have to increase her speed to 225 words per minute. Morgan aspires to one day work as a stenographer in either the supreme or civil court. She finds being a court reporter an exciting career option and encourages everyone to give it a try.

“Maintaining the required speed and trying not to think too hard while typing are challenges, but they can be overcome through practice and patience,” Morgan said.

She said making one’s fingers nimble is key to increasing typing speed. Morgan suggested learning to play an instrument such as a piano or guitar to establish muscle memory.

According to Karen Santucci, Plaza College Court Reporting chairwoman and NYS Court Reporters Association vice president, stenographers are very vital. They keep records for legal hearings and trials; grand juries; depositions; government meetings and hearings at local, state and federal levels; as well as TV closed captioning and services for the hearing impaired.

“Our role is crucial because we record and preserve the accurate accounts of trials, depositions, grand juries and other crucial aspects of the legal system which are essential to ensuring the fair administration of justice,” Santucci explained.

Court reporters’ records ensure fair trials and serve as the basis for appeals and other cornerstones of the entire American legal process. These professionals (court reporters), 90% of whom are women, are responsible for preserving the historical record of legal proceedings and serve as crucial documentarians ensuring reliability.

Court reporters’ salaries can top $100,000 a year. If you have trained to be a court reporter or you are in need of one, go to the website courtscribes.com to see how you can become a part of the team, or contact to hire a reporter.

Plaza College is NYC’s sole court stenographer program, with 200 students currently enrolled. Plaza College has a 70% graduation rate across all of their offered programs and more specifically a 73% retention rate within the court reporting program. A true sign of a successful program putting out successful reporters.

Horry-Georgetown Tech Launches Court Reporting Program

Posted on: March 11th, 2019 by Dependable Website Management No Comments

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The campus of Horry-Georgetown Technical College

Horry-Georgetown Technical College of Conway, South Carolina launched a digital court reporting program this week, which the school says is the first of its kind in South Carolina. They are launching the program with the hopes of prepping students for a career that is seeing a national shortage.

 

“If a student has an interest in technology, this is a great way to utilize that interest and have an opportunity for a pretty nice salary,” said Daniel Hoppe, director of the Distance Learning Institute at HGTC. “The starting salary is around $41,000.”

“The State of South Carolina is looking toward digital court reporting to meet that demand,” Hoppe said. “We’ve partnered with them to identify that need and provide education for them.”

 

Hoppe says the program will help fill roughly 5,500 unfilled court reporting jobs nationwide, 164 of which are in South Carolina alone.

Fifteen students in online classes learn how to use specialized audio technology to keep court records. HGTC says the program also teaches students tasks they need to do outside the courtroom like depositions.

 

Sen. Stephen Goldfinch, R-Murrells Inlet, helped the college at the state level. He says more court reporters will make Horry County’s legal system more efficient.

“In the last six months, I know of at least three terms of court that have been canceled,” Sen. Goldfinch said. “It is affecting every single county in the state.”

“Our program, working with our partner BlueLedge, is an accredited program, so students who complete our program are able to go right to work at the State of South Carolina.”

 

The digital court reporting course only takes 15-18 weeks to complete. HGTC will also launch stenography and voice writing programs next month to go right in sync with its court reporting curriculum.

In the future, Courtscribes may hire one of the graduates of the HGTC program. In the meantime, you can hire one of the amazing court reporters right here at Courtscribes.com. Use our contact form to inquire now.

Court Reporters Inaccurately Transcribing ‘African-American Vernacular English’

Posted on: March 4th, 2019 by Dependable Website Management No Comments
microphone_in_court

Audio and digital recording in court can make all the difference.

So picture this scenario:

You are African American. A court reporter taking notes during your criminal case makes an error in the transcript that ends up becoming a point of contention in an appeal. An appeal that you lose. You probably would not have lost the case if your words had been reported accurately. Now you’re facing penalties, or even worse, prison time because of that court reporter’s mistake.

If you’re a person who uses a dialect like African-American Vernacular English, also known as AAVE, that situation is much more likely to happen to you, according to research in Philadelphia. This is why having a digital court reporter via Courtscribes is so very important. It can be the difference between jail and freedom.

This study found serious errors in court transcripts that materially changed what people said or rendered their speech as incomprehensible gibberish. People perceived as speaking “incorrectly” already deal with a substantial social stigma, and apparently, that includes courtroom settings.

 

How Can We Solve This Problem?

When a court reporter is not familiar with a given dialect, their lack of understanding can influence the way they record one’s speech (testimony). Unless someone reviews and contests the transcript in a timely manner, it may go on the record as incorrect. This will become a much more difficult problem to correct months or years in the future.

This problem can even reinforce biases that put certain people at a disadvantage in the courtroom. For black defendants, testifying in ‘AAVE’ may have a serious impact on how those defendants are perceived by juries, as well as how their words are recorded for posterity.

Many states are starting to transition away from the classic court recorder to audio or video recordings, which capture a complete digital record of everything that was said. This can be used instead of or in addition to transcripts for accuracy. Much like the services that Courtscribes offers. One thing courts shouldn’t be relying on though is an automated transcription. Anyone who has spoken text into their cellphone in an attempt at transcribing a message would agree.

The technologies used for speech recognition just aren’t there yet. This is true in the case of many accents and dialects, where word order and inflection can carry very different meanings.

 

Solutions are Coming

The solution to this problem is multifaceted. Court reporters across the country may need more training to improve their accuracy with both transcribing and paraphrasing when people speak with accents or dialects. That training should be regionally-appropriate as well because different aspects and dialects have variable representations depending on locale.

Also using digital recordings as a backup may be a good idea. Transcripts can ensure that information is available in multiple formats, with the original recordings retained to cross-reference. The stakes are simply too high for these kinds of mistakes.

Detailed digital recordkeeping benefits both courts and defendants. Not only does it serve that purpose, but it will also aid future dialect researchers who may be interested in looking at a large body of material stored from year to year to learn more about how dialects and accents evolve.

N.Y. Court Reporting Students Take Top Prizes At Competition

Posted on: February 18th, 2019 by Dependable Website Management No Comments

Several students from Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx and Staten Island, New York, were recently named winners in the National Court Reporting Association Student Speed Competition held at Plaza College.

Plaza College in Forest Hills, New York the hosted the 2019 National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) Student Speed Contest competition Feb. 13 as part of their court reporting and captioning week. More than 100 students who are training to be court stenographers competed in contests  to test their speed and accuracy.

“We are the guardians of the record. Our role is crucial because we record and preserve the accurate accounts of trials, depositions, grand juries and other crucial aspects of the legal system which are essential to ensuring the fair administration of justice,” Karen Santucci, Plaza College court reporting program chair and vice president of the NYS Court Reporters Association, told QNS.

“We are extremely proud of the professionals who graduate this program and go on to not only work in the courts but also perform closed captioning and provide services for the hearing impaired. Our students are well prepared for these crucially important well-paying jobs in which they can build their careers,” Santucci said.

Two hundred students are currently enrolled in the Plaza College program, which is

Several students from Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx and Staten Island, New York, were rnamed winners in the student speed competition.

Students transcribe using a specialized shorthand machine which interfaces with a customized laptop computer, taking dictation at various speeds as they train to join the ranks of court reporters.

Court reporters’ records are key to ensuring fair trials, often serving as the basis for appeals. Court reporting professionals are responsible for preserving the historical record of legal proceedings and serving as documentarians that ensure the exacting reliability.   

Winners of the  2019 National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) Student Speed Contest include Bianna Lewis of Brooklyn; Dishawn Williams of New Jersey; Taylor Mascari of Staten Island; Letizia Yemma of Staten Island; Paula Mullen of Queens; Christina Penna of  Staten Island; Alexandra Bourekas of Queens; Emily Nicholson of Staten Island;  Rachel Salatino of Long Island; Tikiya Etchison of Staten Island;  Michelle Paluszek of New Jersey, and Maia Morgan of Bronx.

Students Realize The Value Of A Two-Year Degree

Posted on: February 4th, 2019 by Dependable Website Management No Comments

Many people are beginning to question whether a four-year college degree is worth the high cost of tuition, especially since many students now have to take out  student loans that they will be paying off for years in order to afford their schooling.

Many are returning to institutions that teach specific skills like court reporting, usually in two years. They used to be known as “business colleges.”

Forbes reported that students attending Chicago-based MacCormac pay about $25,000 a year for a two-year court reporting program, but most students get some form of financial aid, bringing their cost to $13,520 a year.

A court reporting student who gets a degree at MacCormac is likely to come out with about $30,000 in debt but will likely get a job paying at least $40,000 annually, Forbes said.

As they progress in their field, students will probably make between $50,000 and $100,000 court reporting, depending on where they work.

Other jobs such as medical records clerk, paramedic, welder or long-distance truck driver also pay good wages without a college degree.

According to the National Center for Education 19.9 million, which is higher than the enrollment of 15.3 million students in fall 2000. Total enrollment is expected to increase between fall 2018 and fall 2027 to 20.5 million.

Women are expected to account for the majority of college and university students in fall 2018, with about 11.2 million women enrolled compared with 8.7 million men. Also, more students are expected to attend full time (an estimated 12.1 million students) than part time (7.8 million students).

About 6.7 million students will attend 2-year institutions and 13.3 million will attend 4-year colleges. About 17 million students are expected to enroll in undergraduate programs.

During the 2018–19 school year, colleges and universities are expected to award 1.0 million associate‘s degrees; 1.9 million bachelor’s degrees; 780,000 master’s degrees; and 182,000 doctor’s degrees. In 2015–16, postsecondary institutions awarded 939,000 certificates below the associate‘s degree level, 1 million associate‘s degrees, 1.9 million bachelor‘s degrees, 786,000 master‘s degrees, and 178,000 doctor‘s degrees.

Study Shows Court Reporters Have Trouble With Dialects

Posted on: January 28th, 2019 by Dependable Website Management No Comments

A study set to be published in the journal Language looked at how well court reporters in Philadelphia transcribe dialects and found that 40 percent of the sentences they had transcribed were wrong, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Linguists from the University of Pennsylvania, a sociologist from New York University and a co-founder of Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity found that among the 27 court reporters they tested, 67 percent of their attempts at paraphrasing inaccurate, and 11 percent were called “gibberish.”

Court reporters must test at a 95 percent accuracy rate to be certified in Pennsylvania.

Linguists note that African American English is a dialect that has its own grammatical rules.

African American English speakers have “a very reasonable expectation” to be understood in the court system, said  Jessica Kalbfeld, a doctoral candidate in sociology at New York University and co-researcher on the study.

“They’re not getting the benefits of those rights, because people aren’t understanding them and don’t even know that that’s happening,” she told the Inquirer.

In one example, a speaker in the study said, “That cop partner been got transferred,” meaning that the police officer had been transferred a while ago, and the court reporter recorded the line as: “That cop partner, Ben, got transferred.”

Black court reporters in the study scored higher in paraphrasing and syntax, but their transcriptions weren’t any more accurate.

Researchers also tested seven lawyers, three of whom spoke African American English, and found that black lawyers scored much higher in their comprehension of African American English than attorneys of other races.

Researchers said it’s possible that social differences and enduring disapproval of African American English, even among black people who speak it, may be a reason why black court reporters as well as non-black reporters scored poorly on their transcription.

“It could be they’re coming across forms that could not be in their speech community,” said researcher Taylor Jones, a doctoral candidate in linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania.

Jury Selection Is Important To The Judicial Process

Posted on: January 7th, 2019 by Dependable Website Management No Comments

Having an accurate court reporting service on hand is an important part of any trial, and Court Scribes is one of the best. But there are obviously a lot of other parties involved in making a trail successful: attorneys and their staff members, an impartial judge, and in the case of a criminal prosecution a jury of your peers.

But how does that panel of people hearing the case come to be seated?

The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution grants criminal defendants the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury representing a cross-section of the community. The right to a jury only applies to offenses in which the penalty is imprisonment for longer than six months.

The jury’s job is to review the evidence presented in a trail and deliberating then coming to a conclusion about what the penalty for the accused should be.

Jury selection happens in two parts, random selection and “voir dire,” when attorneys question potential jurors to see if they are suitable to sit on that specific jury.

In the random selection process, the state or federal district chooses names randomly from lists including rosters of registered voters, people who hold driver’s licenses in the state, or people receiving unemployment benefits, for example, according to findlaw.com.

People who are randomly selected from one of these lists will receive a notice in the mail telling they will be expected to report to serve on a certain date.

“Voir Dire” is the process the court and the attorneys use to narrow down the pool of candidates to 12. Sometimes a judge will randomly excuse some people from duty if there are too many.

But usually, during the voir dire process, the judge and attorneys will interview each juror about their background and beliefs and look for reasons to object to jurors. The two types of objections include “peremptory challenges” and “challenges for cause.”

When an attorney challenges a juror for cause, it usually means there is something in the juror’s background that would prevent them from being objective about a case. In federal courts, each side has an unlimited number of challenges for cause, but each side only gets a limited number of peremptory challenges. Attorneys do not need to give reasons for peremptory challenges.

Technology Is Catching Up To Humans For Accurate Transcribing

Posted on: December 31st, 2018 by Dependable Website Management No Comments

Technology is catching up to the sophistication of the human ear when it comes to accurate transcribing.

Artificial intelligence-driven transcription and voice-to-text solutions have improved 80 percent in accuracy over the past decade, IT News Africa reported. Although human-driven transcription solutions are still a little further ahead, technology is not far behind.

Microsoft reported that its transcription abilities had a reduced error rate of 12 percent from 2016 to 2017, which meant its automated transcriptions were 94.9 percent accurate.

Voice recognition software turns talk into text, but it occasionally runs into issues. The biggest advantage a human transcriber has over artificial intelligence is that a human knows what to keep and what to factor out.

Humans are better at disregarding background noise. Humans also are better at understanding different cultural contexts and identifying different accents than machines.

IT News Africa cited a 2018 study that found Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant had difficulty “understanding” accents even when the speakers spoke fluent English. Accuracy dropped by 2.6 percent when speakers had a Chinese accent and by as much as 4.2 percent for Spanish accents.

AI-driven services also have difficulty understanding interlocked speech and colloquial and slang terms, while humans  are able to achieve accuracy rates of between 99 percent and 100 percent.

“We cannot doubt the fact that the advancements AI has made in the transcription sphere in recent years is phenomenal,” said Peter Trebek, the CEO of GoTranscript. “However, with error rates over 5 percent, there are still some considerable improvements to be made.”

Programmers need to work closely with language experts to clear up the problems.

CourtScribes uses professional-level recording systems to bring the most sophisticated digital technology into the courtroom to produce the highest-quality transcripts.

Electronic recording equipment is overseen by an experienced reporter who simultaneously takes notes that are time-linked to the corresponding recording, so people involved with the case can instantly find the point in the record where they want to re-listen.

Library Of Congress Needs Your Help Transcribing Lincoln’s Letters

Posted on: December 24th, 2018 by Dependable Website Management No Comments

Looking for something to do in your free time that will include service to your country? Love history as much as court reporting?

Then the Library of Congress has a volunteer job for you.

The Library of Congress is looking for volunteers to volunteers to transcribe writings left behind by some of the greatest names in history, including Abraham Lincoln, American Red Cross founder Clara Barton, Civil War veterans, Civil Rights campaigner Rosa Parks, leaders of the woman’s suffrage movement, American poets, important figures in the history of psychiatry, and other important historical figures, Mental Floss reported.

The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress contain more than 40,550 documents written by or to Abraham Lincoln when he was a lawyer, representative from Illinois, and 16th president of the United State, about half of which are available online. Of those 20,000, about half have already been transcribed, the Library said.

The Library’s goal is to have volunteers transcribe all of the remaining materials as well so that they are easy for people to search online using key words.

The goal of the Letters to Lincoln Challenge 2018 is to transcribe all 28,000 pages by December 31, but more opportunities will be available beyond the end of the year.

Documents include not only letters written by Lincoln but also by correspondents including friends and associates, well-known political figures and reformers, and individuals and organizations.

Because the documents are hand written, they are difficult for computers to read and decode. Some are faded and written in difficult to read cursive, Mental Floss said.

To learn how to help with the project, log on to crowd.loc.gov, the library’s crowdsourcing site, and create an account on the registration page. Documents that are transcribed are then reviewed by another registered volunteer.

Carla Hayden, a librarian at the Library of Congress, said the project is a good way to serve the public good while learning about history at the same time.

“The pages awaiting transcription at crowd.loc.gov represent some of the diversity of the Library’s treasure, and the metadata that will result from these transcriptions mean these digitized documents will have even greater use to classrooms, researchers, or anyone who is curious about these historical figures,” Hayden said.

For more detailed instructions on how to help, visit the library’s guide here.

Real-Life Stenographer Gets Court Reporter Role In Showtime Series

Posted on: December 17th, 2018 by Dependable Website Management No Comments

A Pennsylvania court stenographer’s job led to her landing a part in a television drama, The Mercury, a newspaper published in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

Emilie Posnan, who has been a Montgomery County Court stenographer for 13 years, got a role on a Showtime drama, “Escape At Dannemora,” about a 2015 prison break in upstate New York.

The series premiered Nov. 18 and will continue through Dec. 30, Sundays at 10 p.m. on Showtime.

The limited-event series is based on the escape from Clinton Correctional Facility by inmates Richard Matt and David Sweat that spawned the largest manhunt in the history of New York State. The escapees were helped by prison employee, Joyce “Tilly” Mitchell, “who reportedly carried on affairs with both men while supervising them in the tailor shop,” according to Showtime.

The series stars Benicio Del Toro, Paul Dano, Patricia Arquette and Bonnie. Ben Stiller is the director and executive producer.

The creators of the series wanted a  real-life stenographer to appear in the series to properly portray the typing rhythm and the locked-in attention that are the trademarks of the craft.

During the first scene of the series, Hunt’s character says she won’t begin until the stenographer, portrayed by Posnan, arrives.

Posnan held a screening party at her home for the series premiere.

She learned about the role from an actress friend who had read a casting notice from a talent agency. She submitted a photo and was one of seven stenographers who were called to Brooklyn for an audition.

On her drive home from the audition, she learned she had gotten the part.

The following week, she went to Queens, N.Y. for two days of filming. She was told to actually record what the characters said during the scene to make her role appear authentic.

Posnan, her husband, some relatives and friends traveled to Lincoln Center in New York for the November premiere of the series.

The Showtime series has been nominated for several Golden Globes.

Court Reporting Student Sues Department of Education

Posted on: December 10th, 2018 by Dependable Website Management No Comments

A former student at a for-profit court reporting school that had locations in Seattle and Tacoma, Washington is suing the U.S. Department of Education for not forgiving her student loans.

The school, called the Court Reporting Institute, went out of business.

The school allegedly told students that its three-year program in legal transcription would get them a high-paying job, the Seattle Times reported.

State investigators shut down the school in 2006, saying it used deceptive business practices.

The former student who filed the lawsuit, Christine Gold, said she incurred nearly $36,000 in debt while attending the school.

Borrowers misled by a school are eligible for federal student-loan forgiveness, per the Times.

The nonprofit National Student Legal Defense Network filed the suit in the District of Columbia last week, naming the Department of Education and its secretary, Betsy DeVos, as defendants.

The Department of Education had no comment for the Times because the litigation is pending.

DeVos’ critics say her department has been slow to process claims and is too easy on for-profit colleges.

According to the lawsuit, Gold was the sole earner in her household when she started attending the Court Reporting Institute in 2001. She says she was told by an admissions officer that she would make $65,000 a year after she graduated from a three-year program.

Complaints against the school showed that it repeatedly misrepresented educational practices, instructor qualifications, graduation rates, program length, employment prospects and the amount of financial aid available, and that it did not make mandated changes.

Gold said she never seemed to be making progress toward graduation despite the classes she finished and after nearly three-and-a-half years, she withdrew in 2005 with $35,750 in federal loans.

Because she was unable to pay the money back without a better job and because of interest accrued, she now owes around $62,000.

Another State Acknowledges Its Shortage Of Court Reporters

Posted on: November 26th, 2018 by Dependable Website Management No Comments

Court reporter shortages are reported across the country, and court reporting technology like the services provided by Court Scribes in Florida and other states may be a solution in some situations.

South Dakota is one of the states that’s feeling the effects of the court reporter shortage, according to KELO of Keloland Media Group in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Court reporting is one of several skilled trades that’s facing a shortage in South Dakota, along with plumbers and electricians, KELO reported.

“We know we’re going to have positions open, and we need bodies to fill them,” Official Court Reporter Carla Dedula of South Dakota’s Unified Judicial System said. Dedula is one of just 50 court reporters in the system. Of the 50, almost half will be eligible to retire in the next 10 years, and there are not necessarily younger people coming up behind them to fill the empty positions.

“Nationally there were 5,500 open positions last year,” Freelance Court Reporter Pat Beck told the TV station.

He pointed out that in some states, courts are having to reschedule court cases because there aren’t enough reporters to make a record of what’s going on in the courtroom.

There aren’t any brick and mortar programs in South Dakota any more where people can learn the skill of court reporting, meaning if people in the state are interested in pursuing the field, they have to get a degree online, which usually takes a couple of years.

CourtScribes uses professional-level recording systems to bring the most sophisticated digital technology into the private marketplace and provide the highest quality transcripts.

Advanced technology helps make trials easier in many ways. There are many benefits of court technology, the most important being that people who can’t attend the trial can view the transcript in real-time if they have an internet connection.

Four Reasons To Hire A Skilled Court Reporting Service

Posted on: November 19th, 2018 by Dependable Website Management No Comments

Professional court reporting services like Court Scribes are an important part of any trial, a fact that attorneys recognize.

Conservative Daily News recently listed several benefits of hiring a skilled court reporting service:

Expertise

Court reporters have to complete training that gives them the necessary knowledge and skills they need to provide their services in a courtroom. Most professional court reporters complete a two-year training course.

Miami court reporters

Experienced court reporters and stenographers have a good famliarity with legal documents, legal terms, and how court cases progress. They also are comfortable dealing with interruptions, delays, and background noise that are often associated with most depositions.

Peace of mind

Hiring a reliable court reporting agency will help the lawyer run the case smoothly, eliminating stress and headaches. A skilled court reporting agency will  handle all logistics and any last-minute.

Court reporters have a strong understanding of the importance of confidentiality and with the concept of neutrality. They understand they must always behave as an unbiased third party.

Prompt services

Agencies like Court Scribes that offer professional court reporting services, deposition services, and transcription have experience dealing with the needs of different attorneys and services are very efficient and reliable.

High level of accuracy

Court reporting services like Court Scribes have the background and experience to produce high-quality, accurate transcripts thanks to the cutting-edge technology they use and the quality people they employ.

CourtScribes uses professional-level recording systems to bring the most sophisticated digital technology into the private marketplace and provide the highest quality transcripts.

The company uses computer-based digital systems with enhanced features that perform recording functions with convenience, flexibility, and economy.

Electronic recording equipment is overseen by an experienced reporter at all times. The reporter simultaneously takes notes that are time-linked to the corresponding recording, so people involved with the case can instantly find the point in the record where they want to re-listen.

Head Of Court Reporters Philanthropic Organization To Retire

Posted on: November 5th, 2018 by Dependable Website Management No Comments

The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), the country’s leading organization representing stenographic court reporters, captioners, and legal videographers, announced that the head of its philanthropic arm will retire in January.

BJ Shorak, Deputy Executive Director of the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF), will be replaced by NCRA Senior Director of External Affairs Mary Petto.

“Today’s announcement does not mark the end of an era for NCRA and NCRF, but rather a step into the future for both organizations as they continue to work together to advance the court reporting and captioning professions,” said Marcia Ferranto, CEO and Executive Director of NCRA.

“BJ has committed the last 28 years of her career to building lasting relationships between NCRF and like-minded organizations, establishing unprecedented programs that benefit our members, students, and the legal profession as a whole and creating a legacy on which the Foundation will continue to grow,” she added.

Petto, who has been with NCRA for a year, most recently established NCRA’s Corporate Partnership Program to strengthen the Association’s mission to promote and protect the court reporting and captioning professions.

“I’ve had the privilege to work closely with Mary over the past year on a variety of fundraising activities for NCRF and am confident that her experience and fundraising talents will carry NCRF on its strategic path well into the future,” Shorak said.” I am confident that NCRF’s presence in the industry will remain strong and viable with the leadership of Mary and Marcia, who also has extensive experience in the fundraising arena.”

Shorak joined NCRA in 1987 as Director of Research and Technology. She was named Deputy Executive Director of the Foundation in 1992 when it began operating separately from NCRA.

Throughout her tenure, Shorak has successfully built lasting relationships with organizations and individuals that have led to dozens of meaningful programs

“I know I speak for hundreds of others whose lives BJ has touched through her work with the Foundation, that as she begins this new journey in her life, we will always be grateful for her commitment that has created the legacy she leaves behind: making a difference in the court reporting and captioning professions, and a smile in our hearts and on our faces whenever we think of her,” said NCRA Past President Tami Keenan.

Court Workers In Fresno County Set To Strike

Posted on: October 22nd, 2018 by Dependable Website Management No Comments

Court workers are important to the smooth operation of the American court system, but when workers find it’s necessary to strike to protest work conditions, the system can grind to a halt.   

CourtScribes court reporting agency is working to change the industry by having fewer workers in the courtroom, using internet-age technology to create the official record of court proceedings, using remote transcriptionists and charging attorneys up to 50 percent less. The attorneys not only benefit from a less-expensive transcript, but video and/or audio recording also provides them with a more accurate and verifiable record.

Fresno County, California is one place that could be facing court proceeding disruptions because nearly 300 courtroom workers could walk off the job if they don’t reach an agreement with court administrators on increased pay, hours and benefits.

Clerks, assistants, and court reporters have been working without a contract since September 30th, looking for a raise and protesting steep increases in health care costs as well as seeking better benefits.

Six years ago during the economic crisis, court reporters had their 40 hour week reduced to 35 hour week, according to ABC 30 Action News. The latest proposal would increase the work week to 37.5 hours, but court reporters would not get a pay raise, although clerks, judicial assistants and office assistants would get a 3 percent raise.

Workers protested that the eight to nine percent increase in the cost of health benefits would mean workers would still have to pay more out of pocket, even with the increase in hours. They rejected the proposal and are heading back to the negotiation table but are still considering a strike.

Court administrators issued a statement saying, “We are very disappointed to hear rumors about the employees’ vote to not accept the Court’s offer. The Court has no more money to offer.”

Technical College Plans To Add Court Reporting Curriculum

Posted on: September 24th, 2018 by Dependable Website Management No Comments

There’s a nationwide shortage of court reporters, and while technology like the systems provided by CourtScribes help, skilled people are still needed to help with courtroom communications.

Horry Georgetown Technical College is one school that wants to start offering a court reporter program to help ease the shortage, which is especially severe in South Carolina, TV station WPDE ABC15 reported.

Horry Georgetown Technical College is a two-year technical college with three campuses, one in Georgetown, South Carolina, one in Conway, and one in Myrtle Beach. It is a part of the South Carolina Technical College System and is the fourth-largest technical college in the state, offering more than 80 degree and certificate programs.

Miami court reporters

The Miami court reporters of CourtScribes incorporate technology into their work.

The president of the college, Dr. Marilyn Fore, said the first step to setting up a program at the school is to figure out what credentials are needed for the job and to determine whether the program should be a degree program or certificate program.

Next, the college will build a curriculum then find qualified instructors to teach the classes.

“I think there are private contractors that teach court reporting but they would like for a college to do this, so they’re also volunteering to teach. I’m going to seek those folks out and see how they can help us to structure the program,” she said.

Fore said she hopes to have a plan in place by January.

A recent National Court Reporters Association found there will be 5,500 job openings available in the court reporting field across the country in the next five years.

Part of the reason for the strong demand is that many court reporters are retiring, so jobs are opening up, but there aren’t enough studying court reporting so there aren’t enough people to fill the jobs.

Also, a lack of awareness about the profession means people don’t often think of it as a career choice, something that court reporting programs are working locally and nationally to change.

Military Spouse Fights For The Right To Practice Law

Posted on: September 19th, 2018 by Dependable Website Management No Comments

The use of courtroom technology like CourtScribes provides for courtrooms can make the practice of law easier. But practicing law can be difficult for military spouses who frequently have to move from place to place, meaning they are not necessarily licensed to practice law in the state in which they find themselves currently living.

But the Georgia Supreme Court recently overruled the state Board of Examiners’ denial of a military spouse’s request to practice law without having to pass the state bar exam, saying the board denied the request without giving a reason.

“Harriet O’Neal filed a waiver petition with the Board of Bar Examiners on November 30, 2017, asking that she be allowed to practice law in Georgia without sitting for the Georgia bar exam and without meeting the usual requirements for admission without examination. Specifically, O’Neal based her request for a waiver on her status as the spouse of an active member of the military who had been transferred here,” the court said in a unanimous unsigned opinion, per Law.com.

The opinion continued that O’Neal did not meet the general requirements for admission to the Georgia Bar “on motion without examination, as outlined in the Rules Governing Admission to the Practice of Law, because (1) she passed the bar in Louisiana, which does not offer reciprocity with Georgia or any other state, and (2) she has not been ‘primarily engaged in the active practice of law’ for the preceding five years, as she has only been a lawyer for three years,” the court said.

O’Neal graduated from Louisiana State University Law School in 2014, took and passed the Louisiana bar exam and was admitted to practice in Louisiana in October 2014, but  requested a waiver of the requirements based on the board’s  policy for military spouses.

The court told the board “to clearly apply the military waiver policy and explain why.”

“Given the incredibly high unemployment rate among spouses of active duty service members, we need initiatives such as the military spouse waiver program,” said Linda Klein of Baker Donelson, former president of the American Bar Association. “Military spouse underemployment creates many problems that threaten our national defense.”

New York Adds Watchdog Organization For Prosecutors

Posted on: September 17th, 2018 by Dependable Website Management No Comments

Accurate court reporting is an important part of the criminal justice system, and so is fairness in prosecution.

New York state is working to reform its court system, and as part of that effort, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has signed legislation establishing the nation’s first State Commission on Prosecutorial Conduct.

The Commission will review and investigate prosecutorial conduct to address allegations of misconduct which lead to malicious prosecutions and wrongful convictions, frequently impacting people of color and marginalized communities.

By avoiding wrongful convictions and associated retrial costs and settlements, the Commission will save taxpayers money, the state said in a statement.

“Our criminal justice system must fairly convict the guilty and exonerate the innocent,” Governor Cuomo said. “When any prosecutor consciously disregards that fundamental duty, communities suffer and lose faith in the system, and they must have a forum to be heard and seek justice. This first-in-the-nation Commission will serve to give New Yorkers comfort that there is a system of checks and balances in the criminal justice system, and to root out any potential abuses of power to ensure that our justice system is just for all New Yorkers.”

Senator John DeFrancisco said, “There have been many cases of individuals who’ve been wrongfully convicted and who’ve served jail time because of the misconduct of some prosecutors. Despite the good work of most prosecutors, there must be a remedy against those who violate the law. This prosecutorial conduct commission legislation, signed by the Governor today, will provide that remedy and also provide oversight by an independent body, which over time will change the conduct of the wrongdoing of prosecutors, and help to ensure all a fairer criminal justice system.”

Governor Cuomo also led a successful effort to expand New York’s DNA databank in 2012, making New York the first state in the nation to require DNA samples from anyone convicted of a felony or Penal Law misdemeanor.

The Governor also established the Work for Success Initiative which has helped over 18,000 formerly incarcerated people find work upon their release.

Court Reporters And Captioners Are In Demand

Posted on: September 4th, 2018 by Dependable Website Management No Comments

Becoming a court reporter is a sure-fire path to a good job, experts say.

A recent National Court Reporters Association survey that looked at the trends affecting job opportunities in the profession found there will be 5,500 job openings available in the field across the country in the next five years, Smart Business Cleveland reported.

Miami court reporters

The high tech solutions adopted by CourtScribes Miami court reporters could help solve personnel shortages.

“We have a 100 percent employment rate for graduates,” Kelly Moranz, program manager and adjunct faculty in the Captioning and Court Reporting program at Cuyahoga Community College, told Smart Business. “I’m always getting calls about job openings. Court reporters and captionists are being hired locally and all over the country.”

She said part of the reason for the strong demand is that many court reporters are retiring, so jobs are opening up but there aren’t enough people to fill them.

Also, a lack of awareness about the profession means people don’t often think of it as a career choice, something that court reporting programs are working locally and nationally change.

Moranz said flexibility is one attractive feature about the job. Captioners and court reporters often can work from home with significant earning potential. She said it’s not uncommon for experienced reporters to earn more than $100,000 a year.

She said new reporters might start out doing freelance work like deposition hearings, arbitrations or CART captioning for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community In court

There are also video captioning opportunities, including post-production jobs for companies like Nextflix and Hulu.

Training programs typically teach students the skills they need to earn their National Court Reporters Association or National Verbatim Reporters Association certification. There is also an associate degree option, which typically takes two years to complete.

The emphasis in court reporting is on accuracy and performance,  so students need to practice regularly to be successful.

Moranz noted that captioning and court reporting is an in-demand field offering excellent pay and great flexibility for those willing to put in the work.

CourtScribes Offers The Best In Digital Court Reporting

Posted on: August 27th, 2018 by Dependable Website Management No Comments

If you’re looking for the best way to create a record of court proceedings, you need the best court reporting system, so CourtScribes is where you should turn.

Digital court reporting is a relative newcomer to the field of court reporting, per CourtReporter.edu. But this subspecialty of court reporting has made its way into a number of courtrooms across the United States, thanks to advancements in digital recording.

Miami Court Reporters

The digital revolution led by people like the Miami court reporters of CourtScribes includes blockchain.

CourtScribes uses professional-level recording systems to bring the most sophisticated digital technology into the private marketplace and provide the highest quality transcripts.

The company uses computer-based digital systems with enhanced features that perform recording functions with convenience, flexibility, and economy.

Electronic recording equipment is overseen by an experienced reporter at all times. The reporter simultaneously takes notes that are time-linked to the corresponding recording, so people involved with the case can instantly find the point in the record where they want to re-listen.

Because primary participants are assigned to separate, discrete sound channels, it’s easy to identify who’s who. A typical four-channel system individually records the judge, witness, plaintiff’s attorney and defendant’s attorney. When two or more parties talk at the same time, digital reporting captures each voice clearly on its own separate sound channel.

The recording process captures all words exactly as they are spoken without worrying about a person being unable to understand accents or complex medical or technical terms. During the transcription process, the audio can be replayed as needed to verify any questions.

Any portion of a recorded proceeding can be played back over audio speakers whenever the judge or counsel requires it.  Audio also can be replayed for jurors if they wish to review actual spoken testimony during deliberations.

Counsel can also obtain copies of the actual recording with digital annotations “hot-linked” to the audio so points of interest can be located quickly and efficiently.

Another benefit is that both log notes and audio files are transmitted over the internet, reducing or eliminating shipping costs and delivery delays. Storage and archiving are efficient because audio and log notes are saved as computer files.

Legal Professional Sues Amazon Over Exempt Status

Posted on: August 20th, 2018 by Dependable Website Management No Comments

A former paralegal at Amazon.com Inc. is suing the company, alleging that the online retail giant misclassified paralegals as exempt employees, The Puget Sound Business Journal reported.

Paralegals and court reporters are both crucial to the legal process.

Court reporters

Miami court reporters Courtscribes bring technology to the table.

The lawsuit alleges that Amazon wrongfully misclassified paralegals as exempt employees, meaning that they were not subject to state and federal rules that required the company to pay them overtime for working more than 40 hours a week and to give them scheduled, set times for meal and rest breaks,  the Puget Sound Business Journal reported.

The lawsuit was filed in King County Superior Court in Seattle on Aug. 1. Filing the lawsuit was  former Amazon employee, Lorraine Colby of Bellevue, who said she worked as a paralegal for Amazon from June 2012 to June 2017.

Amazon is headquartered in Seattle and is looking to open a second headquarters somewhere else in the United States. The company has not responded to the lawsuit in court and a spokeswoman declined to comment to the Puget Sound Business Journal when contacted Aug 16.

“In its never-ending search to save money from its employees, Amazon willfully misclassified its paralegals to save on overtime and avoid the requirements of meal and rest breaks under Washington state law,” the Business Journal quoted the lawsuit as saying.

The lawsuit alleges that Amazon’s legal department was “advised on multiple occasions that these employees were misclassified based on their job duties.”

Amazon onboarding documents told paralegals they were expected to work 50 hours per week to meet the minimum requirements of their job, the lawsuit said, but they were not paid 1.5 times their regular pay for working more than 40 hours per week.

The lawsuit said because paralegals can’t “independently determine their own work product, settle cases, and determine strategy or impact policy or procedure without the authorization of an in-house lawyer” they are not exempt employees.

The lawsuit seeks class-action status to include any paralegals who worked for Amazon in Washington state after August 2015 and were classified as exempt.

Houston Man Holds Guinness World Record As Fastest Court Reporter

Posted on: August 13th, 2018 by Dependable Website Management No Comments

Who’s the fastest court reporter in the world? According to Guinness World Records, it’s

Mark Kislingbury, who can type 360 words per minute on his stenomachine.

Kislingbury set the record in 2004, securing his place in the Guinness World Record book as well as his place in history.

But Houston, Texas native Kislingbury is not happy to just sit back and relax now that he holds the world record, he told WGNO TV while he was attending the National Court Reporters Association convention in New Orleans recently.

court reporters

There’s still a place for courtroom stenography in the technological revolution by court reporting agency CourtScribes.

“I’m going to keep practicing in hopes of breaking my own record.  Hopefully in the next few years I can break it by typing 370 or 380 words per minute,” he said.

“It is wonderful to hold the record because only a small amount of people have a World Record, and I have one,”  he said.

Kislingbury, who said he has been a court reporter for 35 years, uses a stenomachine. While he was at the recent convention in New Orleans, he competed in a “real-time” competition in which he had 99 percent accuracy.

“Using this machine is using shorthand.  I make so many shortcuts, it allows me to go faster than most people,”  Kislingbury said.

He encouraged more people to learn his profession, which is seeing shortages across the United States.

“There’s a big demand.  There are jobs everywhere,” he said.  “The money is good.  The job satisfaction is good.  The job is challenging, so not everyone can do it, but that’s why we get paid so well.”

Guinness World Records says its mission is to make the amazing official. They seek to inspire people — individuals, families, schools, teams, groups, companies and communities – of any age, in any city or country, to be inspired by reading, watching, listening to and participating in record-breaking.

To become the ultimate global authority on record breaking, Guiness World Records

researches, measures, documents and authorizes the world’s superlatives, then creates products that entertain, inform and inspire people through our unique window on the world.

NCRA Adds Three New Corporate Partners

Posted on: August 6th, 2018 by Dependable Website Management No Comments

The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), the country’s leading organization representing stenographic captioners, court reporters, and legal videographers, announced that three major industry leaders serving or representing the court reporting and captioning professions have signed on to the Association’s corporate partnership program, NCRA said in a press release.

court reporters

There’s still a place for courtroom stenography in the technological revolution by court reporting agency CourtScribes.

NCRA welcomed MacCormac College, Chicago, Ill., Magna Legal Services, Philadelphia, Pa., And U.S.  and Legal Support, Washington, D.C., as corporate partners.

NCRA’s Corporate Partnership program, which ranges in levels of support from $10,000 to $100,000, aids in business and workforce development efforts by NCRA and the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF).

“We continue to focus on the next generation of captioners and court reporters by illustrating that these professions are viable and lucrative career opportunities,” said NCRA executive director and CEO Marcia Ferranto. “We’re excited about the diversity of the organizations that are joining our commitment to closing the shortage gap of stenographers nationally.”

“NCRA recognizes that there are various methods available to capture the spoken word, but our emphasis is on ensuring that both the general public and the legal industry understand that stenography is by far the most effective and desired method,” Ferranto said

The court reporting and captioning professions offer viable career choices that do not require a four-year college degree and yet offer good salaries, flexible schedules, and interesting venues. There is currently an increasing demand for more reporters and captioners to meet the growing number of employment opportunities available nationwide and abroad.

Court reporters and captioners rely on the latest in technology to use stenographic machines to capture the spoken word and translate it into written text in real time. These professionals work both in and out of the courtroom recording legal cases and depositions, providing live captioning of events, and assisting members of the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities with gaining access to information, entertainment, educational opportunities, and more.

South Carolina Is Feeling The Pinch Of Court Reporter Shortage

Posted on: July 30th, 2018 by Dependable Website Management No Comments

The shortage of court reporters is being felt in Horry County, South Carolina, and Bobbi Fisher of Myrtle Beach, who works as a court reporter in Horry County’s Family Court, says she’s afraid  that when her generation leaves the courtroom there won’t be anyone to replace them.

Ginny Jones, spokesperson for the S.C. Judicial Department, said that since fewer people are entering the profession and the numbers of new court reporters hasn’t kept up with retirements, machines are the obvious choice to remedy the problem.

She said the South Carolina Court Administration is already experimenting with digital recorders.

“In January 2018, the S.C. Supreme Court issued an order for a Digital Courtroom Recorder Project,” Jones told The Horry Independent. “This proven technology, which is operated in courtrooms by trained staff, is now capturing the record effectively in five courtrooms and is coming to more this year.”

But Jones went on to note that technology is not replacing human court reporters where they are available.

“It is important to note that we view digital recording as a supplement to court reporting; it has never replaced an existing court reporter, nor do we intend for it to.”

If no court reporters are available, the courts are more likely to take plea bargains over trials. Defendants who opt for a trial will have to wait until the proper staff is available.

South Carolina Senator Greg Hembree called the court reporter shortage a “huge” problem.

“Yes, it is a huge problem, especially in Family Court,” he said. “We’ve got judges that can’t hold court because they don’t have court reporters.”

He said the government is willing to increase court reporter salaries if  need be.

He calls letting machines help with recording court proceedings “a good experiment” but said, “In the meantime, we’ve got cases that are not getting heard.”

San Diego Asks For Funding For More Court Reporters

Posted on: July 23rd, 2018 by Dependable Website Management No Comments

The Judicial Council in San Diego has added an amendment to its budget asking for funding for court reporters when poor people qualify for fee waivers under the recent Supreme Court ruling.

The funding will cover a verbatim record obtained through court reporting, electronic recording or some other means.

The high court’s ruling in Jameson v. Desta earlier this month affirmed an indigent litigant’s right to have a free court reporter in a civil trial. The Supreme Court said an accurate trial record is especially important in the appeal stage of a case.

“While we don’t know the scope of that budget obligation at this stage, we know that it will become one,” said council member Judge David Rubin of San Diego, chair of the Judicial Branch Budget Committee.

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye wrote in the court’s unanimous decision, “Without an exception for fee waiver recipients, the policy at issue here places indigent civil litigants at a significant disadvantage with respect to the right of appeal compared to those litigants who can afford to pay for a private shorthand reporter,” Courthouse News reported.

Some judges requested language allowing for other ways to record proceedings besides court reporters, anticipating a potential shortage of court reporters in the future.

“I’m not necessarily advocating that we switch to electric recording for all proceedings, but it is something that maybe we should be looking at as we begin to propose budgets that are years from now,” said Judge Stuart Rice of Los Angeles, outgoing president of the California Judges Association.

The Supreme Court’s ruling does not limit recording to court reporters, and the Council noted there are “many technologies out there that will convert voice to text.”

“This is certainly not meant to say, ‘Hey, we are now against court reporters,’” Rice said. “We just want to be able to make sure that as we move forward we have the ability to provide access, provide a verbatim record, by whatever means the future holds for us.”

Judge Marla Anderson of Monterey County said the proposal should be for “an inclusive world that includes court reporters as well as any means of getting a verbatim record.”

Cantil-Sakauye said,“There is no ill-will toward court reporters. It is a nod to the future if need be for the courts.”