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CourtScribes on cutting edge of Miami court reporting.

Court reporting is, in some ways, an ancient profession. But it’s certainly not the same as it ever was, and Miami court reporting agency CourtScribes is in the forefront of change.

The field is definitely growing, as the Wall Street Journal reports:

“Court reporters do more than just transcribe legal proceedings for courts or legislatures,” said Nativa Wood, president of the National Court Reporters Association. “They also caption broadcast television shows and public and school events for the hearing-impaired, as well as providing real-time transcripts for everything from business meetings to legal depositions.

“The field, which many like to date back to ancient scribes, requires training in typing as many as 225 words a minute on a stenotype machine, a chorded keyboard used to transcribe spoken word into shorthand. Students can learn to use the machine in programs offered by trade schools and community colleges.

“Depending on the industry, their experience and the amount of work they take on, court reporters can make upward of $95,000 a year. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that the median annual pay for court reporters in 2016 was $51,320. Median pay for all high-school graduates without further education, meanwhile, has hovered around $30,000 over the past several years, according to the National Center for Education.”

At Miami court reporting agency CourtScribes, the job can go way beyond mere court stenography.

The firm is among the leaders in bringing the industry into the digital age, according to white paper by entrepreneur and professor Barry Unger.

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.”

The Miami court reporting agency’s process mirrors that used at the top of legal systems. According to Unger, “CourtScribes uses professional-level recording systems and digitally based technology to create the record of legal proceedings. For decades, this has been a successful reporting method in federal, state, and local jurisdictions. Indeed, both the United States Supreme Court and the United Kingdom Supreme Court use digital reporting exclusively to capture and preserve their historic public records. CourtScribes is bringing the most sophisticated digital technology into the private marketplace to provide the highest quality transcripts. Their court reporting includes two elements: first and foremost, the electronic court reporter who oversees the process, and secondly, the sound recording process itself. CourtScribes uses computer-based digital systems that perform recording functions that have enhanced features, added convenience, flexibility, and economy. They offer high quality (courtroom videos) as well.”

The Miami court reporting agency’s process works in the following way:

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.”

The Miami court reporting company is pioneering the kind of innovative approach that’s sometimes missing from the courthouse, but that is beginning to make real inroads in areas aside from court reporting as well.

Even virtual reality has been making inroads in the legal system, according to Bloomberg Law:

“Though it can still run into six figures, the cost of virtual reality has come down and tech-savvy attorneys say the time is right for a fresh look at the technology’s use during trials, especially in areas like product liability or criminal law where evidence is vital to recreating events or presenting science.

“There are incredible possibilities for using this technology in the courtroom,” defense attorney Noel Edlin told Bloomberg Law.

“Virtual reality could be used to “transport members of a jury to a Superfund site, inside a mesothelioma patient’s lungs, to the intersection where an accident occurred, or to a grisly crime scene,” said Edlin, managing partner at Bassi Edlin Huie & Blum in San Francisco.”

For customers of Miami court reporting company CourtScribes, the company’s technological prowess means a better price.

Unger writes: “Court reporting agencies in Florida charge both parties ordering a Daily transcript as much as $10/page or about $2,500 a day or about $25,000 for a two week trial to create official transcripts delivered the next morning. CourtScribes provides up to 50% off the Daily transcripts. The company charges ~$5/page or ~$1,250 a day or ~$12,500 for a two week trial to create the Daily transcript for both sides (saving each side as much $12,500 on a two week trial). Twenty of these trials a year would save as much as $250,000 for each side. CourtScribes is able to leverage its process and technology to provide live and ondemand 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.”