Will Digital Recordings Replace Court Reporters?

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Digital Recordings Replace Court Reporters

There are news stories covering the topic of whether or not humans can be replaced in the courtroom. More specifically, it’s being asked if court reporters will be replaced by technology. You might think that prospect makes us nervous but it doesn’t.

We don’t think digital recordings will replace court reporters and here’s why.

Technology, however accurate, can never replace a human asking a witness or attorney to repeat what they said. Technology can’t ask people to stop talking over one another and it can’t ask a witness to speak louder. While digital recordings can capture proceeding and perhaps with less background noise than in the past, they can’t replace the people needed to make a court proceeding or deposition run in a way that enables the reporter to accurately capture what is being said for an official transcript.

The reason recordings were even introduced to courtrooms was a shortage of court reporters that dates back to the 1990’s [Source].

At the time it was thought to be a money saving idea and as technology improved, it was thought that even more reporters could be eliminated from legal proceedings. The problem is that technology isn’t always reliable. It may be set to run and it is not even recording or the recording is so muffled a transcript cannot be created. What was originally purchased to be a cheaper option to paying human reporters has turned out to actually cost courts more money.

While recording are an option in some cases, there are those that involve murder, attempted murder, and/or sexual assault that require a court reporter to be present. For other cases such as custody or divorce, the recordings will have to suffice. This is due in part to the court reporter shortage. It is estimated that by next year there will be a nationwide court reporter shortage of at least 5,000 reporters.

Florida isn’t estimated to have a shortage but demand in nearby Georgia and Alabama could mean reporters move from Florida for more lucrative opportunities elsewhere. 

In other words, what isn’t a court reporter crisis could easily become one if the market allows it to happen. That’s why the team at Milestone and court reporting agencies across the nation are sharing the need for reporters and the benefits of court reporting. We want to attract new reporters to our exciting and lucrative career