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Key West court reporting agency CourtScribes proudly rides tech wave.

Technology is changing many aspects of the courtroom, including court reporting, and CourtScribes is among the companies leading the way.

The Key West court reporting agency uses the latest in technology to help lower costs while increasing the quality of verbatim records, democratizing the legal process. It’s part of a big set of changes that’s coming to the legal system and affecting not just court reporting, but the way evidence is presented as well.

Law Technology Today, in a report about a new audio visual system in a courthouse, points out, “The jurors of today are communicating with smart phones, texting and sending e-mails.  They take pictures and videos with their phones, posting them on Facebook and YouTube, and communicate their moment-to-moment thoughts and reactions on Twitter. This new generation of jurors is accustomed to the instantaneous delivery of information using the latest technology.  As lawyers, we need to use the technology to which this group is accustomed if we expect to effectively communicate with them.”

As lawyers adjust to presenting evidence in different ways, the court reporting profession is in the middle of similar changes.

According to Jesse Caitland of essentialbusinsses.com, more technology in the courtroom has not meant job losses for court reporters, as it has for some other fields. In fact, she writes: “Court reporters have benefited in a significant way by embracing key technologies and maintaining the traditional values of professionalism, punctuality and other traits.”

Caitland points out that there’s no substitute for the judgment of a professional when it comes to such an important function as court reporting.

In fact, some expect a court reporting talent shortage in coming years.

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.”

Key West court reporting agency CourtScribes sees technology as a huge opportunity.

Cloud computing combined with digital and audio advances put CourtScribes ahead of the pack when it comes to both the accuracy and cost of its court reporting.

“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,” writes Barry Unger, a professor and entrepreneur, in a white paper.

CourtScribes’ services include:

  • 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.”

Unger points out that CourtScribes embrace of technology allows it to charge less and deliver more than competitors. And the quality’s better, too.

“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,” Unger writes.

According to Unger, what CourtScribes is doing amounts to positive disruption of a deeply traditional marketplace.

“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,” he writes