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Court Reporter Shortage Hits Home In South Carolina

court reporter

A court reporter shortage means choosing the career could set you up for success in the job market.

All around the country, there’s a court reporter shortage. In South Carolina, that shortage has become particularly acute.

The Charleston Post and Courier reports that more than a quarter of that state’s court reporter positions are vacant. Those vacancies are resulting in delays and last-minute cancellations of proceedings across the state, the newspaper reports.

According to the Post and Courier:

Rescheduled hearings can mean additional expenses for litigants, according to a Family Court judge who said she and others on the bench are upset by how they say the state has failed to recruit and hire reporters.

The S.C. Court Administration supervises the trained stenographers who transcribe verbatim records of Circuit and Family Court proceedings. A wave of retirements and a lack of training at state technical colleges has created the shortage, the office says.

The judge, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, disagrees with that explanation.

“This whole shortage has been a creation of the court system. It’s a total disruption. … Court reporters are trying to apply and not getting hired.”

The South Carolina troubles are an extreme example of a nationwide trend, and one that’s expected to grow more acute. Retirements and increased demand are leading to court reporter shortages across the country.

A study by Ducker Worldwide predicts a shortage of court reporters in the coming year, as court reporting professionals retire without enough replacements ready to fill their shoes.

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.