Have you read the news about court reporting trends recently? There’s an imminent court reporter shortage happening while at the same time, there is an increased demand from business, political, sports, education, and civic sources for professionals with court reporting skills. From real-time reporting to closed captioning of live events, the industry is growing but it’s not without its challenges.
Court Reporter Shortage
We’ve been hearing the debate about real vs. fake news so when we first started seeing stories about a court reporter shortage, we were skeptical. After all, without reporters courts across the nation would shut down or be forced to rely on less than stellar digital recordings to create a record of proceedings for less serious cases. While that is true in rural and some urban areas
[Source], in Jacksonville, Orlando, and Tampa we are trending to have enough or even too many court reporters. While we think the shortage is real news, we’re doing all we can to attract new reporters to the industry.
Court Reporter Salaries
Court reporter salaries are increasing due to the shortage of reporters coupled with an increased demand for services and skills. At the same time, we’re seeing court reporting trends like increases in the number of national court reporting firms. For smaller firms like ours, we’re feeling like our prices could be undercut by larger firms who are able to offer lower prices because they have higher volume. They also tend to hire new court reporters who demand a lower rate than those with more experience. It’s challenging but we can overcome this trend as well.
Managing the Firm
As with any business, the choices of decision makers play a role in whether or not the business succeeds or fails. For court reporting agencies, we choose who we hire, who our clients are, rates, services, and deliverability. At Milestone, we strive to hire the best reporters and pair them with the clients with whom we think they will do best. For our clients, we recommend as much lead time as you can so that we can find the right reporter for you. If you work with a larger firm, the process may simply be finding a resource to fill a demand without thought to the level of service or experience of the court reporter. That can lead to efficiency issues and can negatively impact the industry or perception of the industry. We’d rather be part of the solution.
Looking at the industry as a whole, we’re hopeful and excited at the prospects for growth for both small and large firms. We believe there’s enough of the pie to go around. That makes it interesting for court reporting students and those exploring court reporting as a career.