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Stenographer Shortages Hit Illinois Too

Court reporters

There is a continued need for court reporters has written before about the shortages that have hit the court reporting industry. Well, that trend continues as now the state of Illinois is waving the red flag.


Nicole Kopec, who is the court reporting supervisor in the Eighth Judicial Circuit of Illinois, knows that court reporters in the West-Central Illinois area are stretched thin. She knows this because she travels to various counties to make sure reporters are available when needed. And she’s not the only one.

Kopec sees many court reporters, including herself, traveling across the circuit up to four days a week.


The Eighth Judicial Circuit is meant to have twelve court reporters to notate the events in various criminal and civil cases. Currently, there are seven reporters for the eighth-county circuit because several court reporters have retired and there are no replacements.

Court reporter Shannon Niekamp, who works in the Adams County Courthouse, said her day consists of various court hearings and preparing transcripts.

“I like being busy, so it doesn’t bother me,” Niekamp said. “You get to be in the action (of the courtroom) without doing anything. You’re just a neutral party preserving the record.”

Kopec and Niekamp both heard when they decided to become court reporters that their profession would soon be eliminated with technological advances, but they remain certain that there will always be a need for court reporters.

Niekamp said, “Somebody is always going to have be there to transcribe the record and make sure it’s accurate. There are so many times where the audio — even in this county — where it doesn’t work.”

Kopec once was working during a jury trial when the courthouse lost power.

“I was there, so we got to keep going on with the jury trial,” she said. “And I think any reporter will tell you that what we do is way better quality than anything that you can take off the electronic recording. Attorneys talk over each other. There is no one to tell them to stop or slow down.”

Court reporters test at 225 words per minute. Employed by the state of Illinois, a newly-certified court reporter’s salary starts at about $30,000 and can climb up to $47,000 if they are real-time certified, which is similar to closed captioning on TV. Court reporters also are able to earn extra money for preparing transcripts.

Anyone interested in exploring a career in court reporting can visit the National Court Reporters Association website. It also offers a free introductory course. Training programs are site-based or online, and can be completed in two and a half to four and a half years on average. Illinois allows court reporters who aren’t yet licensed to work for up to a year before they become certified.

“There’s been reporters who have completed it in 19 months,” Kopec said. “It’s possible to do it quick. It’s all up to you.”

As you know from previous articles, this continues to be a problem all around the United States. Luckily, we at have plenty of reporters for your court reporting needs. Contact now to find out what is needed to take advantage of our many services.