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How Tampa court reporting company CourtScribes is riding a wave of tech change.

Court reporting doesn’t leap to mind when one thinks of industries ripe for technological change.

Most people picture a person at a stenography machine while lawyers strut their stuff in the courtroom. To be sure, there’s still a place for court stenography. But, as Tampa court reporting service CourtScribes shows, the industry has moved far beyond mere stenography, thanks to cloud, video and audio technology.

AnythingResearch reports:

“The court reporting industry has experienced steady growth. New technology has realigned the industry, allowing it to provide expanded and higher-value services. No longer only stenographer services, firms now provide storage and technology-based reporting options. Services now include online document repositories and data files with transcripts and exhibits linked electronically. The technology saves valuable time for reporters and litigators and creates a new level of accountability and accuracy for both.”

Among the technologies making their way into the courtroom, video technology, audio technology and cloud computing are all having an impact on court reporting. As TeanorHL notes:

“Videoconferencing and digital systems are enabling real-time remote reporting, allowing court reporters to handle multiple cases at a time. They can hear testimony and annotate proceedings live or using recordings, creating legible text transcripts almost immediately. This is especially useful in capital cases where the judges, lawyers and prosecutors may want transcripts turned around quickly.”

Nowhere are those trends more evident than in the work of CourtScribes.

The Tampa court reporting company is on the cutting edge of the technological changes sweeping the industry.

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 Tampa 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 Tampa 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 process can result in significant savings, 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.”

Unger, who has been involved in disruptive technologies throughout his career, sees the Tampa court reporting agency as using just such technology.

He writes:

“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.”