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Clearwater court reporting company embraces digital disruption.

It may not seem like it, but the court reporting profession is not immune to technological innovation. From inkwells to courtroom stenography, the job has evolved. Now, companies like Clearwater court reporting agency CourtScribes are leading digital disruption.

Digital disruption comes at a good time for the industry, as demand for court reporting services grows.

According to Ducker Worldwide: “Increased legal activity and new opportunities will drive demand despite the steady transition of some courts to digital recording. Decreased enrollment and graduation rates for court reporters, combined with significant retirement rates, will create by 2018 a critical shortfall projected to represent nearly 5,500 court reporting positions.”

Ducker Worldwide predicts there will still be a strong market for courtroom stenography in the years to come. But the research firm adds that the work is changing. From Ducker’s report:

“New technologies have been developed to assist the court reporter in producing an accurate record with better equipment and better software. At the same time, competing technologies such as digital recording and even voice recognition are making headway. Increased emphasis on improving digital recording procedures and voice recognition software accuracy will occur.”

No one is better positioned for the new paradigm than CourtScribes. The Clearwater court reporting agency uses the latest technological tools in the service of the oldest goal in the industry, creating verbatim records of legal proceedings. While CourtScribes offers traditional courtroom stenography, it adds high tech audio, cloud-based services and courtroom video to the mix in a way that increases accuracy while decreasing cost.

Entrepreneur and professor Barry Unger, in a white paper, writes that the Clearwater court reporting agency is leading a wave of change to disrupt the centuries-old profession.

Unger writes: “CourtScribes is changing the court reporting industry by using Internet age technology to create the official record of court proceedings, using remote transcriptionists and charging attorneys up to 50% less than what they now pay, and as … a disruptive technology will not only improve the quality of services, but also ultimately extend and even democratize the use of services that are today often restricted only to high profile or high dollar value cases.”

Here’s a rundown of some of CourtScribes’ services:

  • An experienced court reporter oversees recording equipment and takes simultaneous notes.  Digital annotations are time-linked to the recording so it’s a simple process to find and listen to actual testimony.
  • Each primary participant in the proceeding is given a discreet sound channel so that each voice is distinct, eliminating confusion caused by cross talk. “This voice isolation feature permits a full and accurate transcription of exactly what was said — and who said it — because each channel can be listened to individually,” Unger writes.
  • Because of the quality of the recordings, court reporters are less obtrusive than in more traditional court stenography. Unger writes, “The recording process captures all words exactly as spoken — then in transcription the audio can be replayed as needed to verify verbatim accuracy.”
  • Lawyers or other interested parties can obtain copies of the digital recording as well as the transcript, and, “With digital annotations directly “hot-linked” to the audio, points of interest are located quickly and efficiently,” Unger writes.
  • Notes and audio files can be delivered over the Internet. Unger writes, “Both log notes and audio files are transmitted over the Internet, reducing or eliminating shipping costs and delivery delays. Storage and archiving are efficient and compact. When the audio and log notes are saved as computer files, there are no cassettes to store, nor files of reporters’ paper notes to maintain.”

According to Unger, court reporting agencies in Florida charge as much as $10 per page for verbatim daily transcripts, while CourtScribes charges half that. “CourtScribes is able to leverage its process and technology to provide live and on-demand video or audio recording to attorneys in the office at marginal cost. Attorneys not only benefit from a less expensive transcript but the video and/or audio recording provides them with a more accurate and complete record. The digital recording reveals the demeanor of a witness and whether, for instance, they were being sarcastic. In addition, the live video and/or audio feed can be watched by attorneys in the office, allowing the office team to monitor the proceedings and more effectively assist the attorneys in the courtroom.”

As with other aspects of the digital economy, the cost-savings and higher quality the Clearwater court reporting agency offers work to democratize the court system by making a key service more readily available.

According to Unger: “The idea of legal audio and video recording has been around for decades, but only within the last few years has the technology and pricing caught up. Likewise as a cofounder of Kurzweil Computer Products, Inc., an early artificial intelligence and digital imaging company which then became Xerox Imaging Systems, I saw first-hand the enormous positive impact of what is now called digital photography, and how this new capability has both improved the quality of photography and equally importantly opened up active photography to a much bigger audience and to new uses. Think for example how many of the countless unforeseen ways we now on a regular basis use the electronic cameras built into our phones to communicate with each other and facilitate our work flow, and even recording images like damage to our cars or receipts for expense reports or to identify items for purchase, or to make video calls around the world, and how integral video recording is becoming to law enforcement activities. This of course is the impact disruptive technologies can have. Looking at the already successful implementations of CourtScribes’ technology and internet based service, I can see an analogous type of phenomenon beginning to happen in the legal industry, where court reporting and videography will become a new standard, a “no-brainer” as it were, for the legal professional, and thus extend both the amount and uses of legal reporting, and its practicality and availability to a larger part of the public the legal industry serves.”