FREE-Secure-24/7 Access To Your Transcripts and Exhibits

Is Digital Court Reporting the Stenographer of the Future

Court reporters

Technological advancements in digital reporting and stenographer shortages are really beginning to impact the legal market in every region of the country.

This can be thought of as the point where a technology or method transitions into the mainstream market. In the case of court reporting, digital reporting is expanding from the courtroom into the deposition room.

Since depositions represent as much as two-thirds of the total court reporting market, this is a significant moment and number.

While digital reporting seems new to many in the legal market, it has been a standard part of courtroom infrastructure for years now. While it was introduced in the mid-90s, digital reporting is now operating in nearly all jurisdictions in the United States and much of the rest of the world.

Differences Between Digital Reporting and Standard Stenography

Stenography reporters, referred to as officials, operate in a very different manner from deposition reporters. While the foundational skills can be employed in both environments, the processes and daily activities are quite different. This is true for digital reporting as well. The technology is basically the same whether it is being used in the deposition room or the courtroom, but the business processes are very different.

Digital reporting in the courtroom incorporates multiple microphones recording into at least four separate channels of audio. The microphones are connected to a mixing device that is often integrated with the courtroom’s public address system. The recording solution is configured to capture multiple channels of audio to accommodate several speakers in a large, open space. The system can also be installed in the room permanently, allowing cables and hardware devices to be affixed to set locations and concealed.

In a deposition setting, the recording solution must be portable and easily configured. Both deposition and the courtroom reporting systems should be operated by qualified reporters who know their equipment and understand procedures.

The courtroom experience has proven that, when managed properly, digital reporting can provide highly accurate transcripts in a short time frame. Companies offering digital reporting of depositions must demonstrate the same success. As a buyer of deposition reporting services, you need to make sure that you are engaging professional firms that can provide quality service on a regular basis.

The courtroom offered a number of advantages for early technology providers. Court administrators were highly motivated by cost, which was a benefit digital recording delivered. Court administration still had to make sure that digital recording met the requirements of the judges and other courtroom participants, but they were happy to advocate for modified business processes to achieve the anticipated cost savings.

Because court administration usually had direct influence over the rule-making process that can often impede adoption, rule and statute changes could be pursued efficiently when needed. The deposition market presents a much less centralized decision-making process and thus some unique challenges.

Courts have only their own set of rules to manage and the laws of just one state regarding issues such as reporter licensing. But providers and customers in the deposition market must navigate rules of civil procedures, licensing requirements and state laws from all over the country. National associations and service providers are working now to change antiquated rules and laws, but the process will take some time and leave practitioners and customers confused and hesitant in the interim. While this change is occurring, the best practice is to make it clear in a deposition notice that an alternative method of capture is being used and stipulate the same on the record.

Since court administration has full control over the physical infrastructure in their facilities, digital recording systems could be installed in an elegant manner. Depositions require portability and flexibility. Providers must rely on individual digital reporters to configure different rooms. The configurations must be able to capture audio and video accurately and not be intrusive for the participants. Technical and operational solutions can be deployed today, but the management of the process on a day-to-day basis is very new to the firms just entering the market.

The court market has one other advantage: the judge. Not to say that all judges were fully supportive of digital recording over the years, but their presence in the room was critical. Court administrators were able to focus 100% of their hiring and training efforts on recording and note-taking, leaving the judge to control courtroom behavior. That simplified things a lot. In the deposition world, your court reporting firm takes on some of that load.

Professional deposition reporters, whether digital or steno, know how to manage a deposition. They understand that they are officers of the court and responsible for the record of a deposition. That means that good reporters know how to manage attorneys and witnesses when they need to. That is not a skill that comes easily to a lot of people. Without the support of a judge in the room, all deposition reporters must know how to look after themselves and others. This is just one more reason why you should always rely on a reputable provider that can ensure that all the complex logistics for the deposition will be taken care of. supports all states and programs that aid in the court reporting world, and we too are 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.