Veritext “Provides More Work To Stenographers Than Any Other Firm In The Country”

“We are committed to our entire network of independent contractors, including the stenographic reporting community, as they provide an integral and necessary service to our legal system,” states Tony Donofrio, CTO of Veritext. “Technology has become an integral part of practicing law today, and while it will not take the place of the stenographer, it will continue to evolve to provide the profession with a broader toolset to aid them in their commitment to transcribing the spoken word efficiently.” – passed to me by Senior Vice President Valerie Berger on February 4, 2021. Again, these are the words of Veritext’s CTO, Tony Donofrio.

How’d we get here? Not long ago, I was performing some research on where students could find scholarships and grants. It wasn’t long until I came across the Veritext Scholarships page. It struck me as odd that I had gotten eight LinkedIn notices for the company looking for digitals in my area, but not a single one for stenographic reporters. I did what many of my readers do. I kept an open mind. I reached out, and I asked, in spirit “why bother with scholarships for stenographic reporting if you’re going to press so hard on digital reporting?” I had an e-mail exchange with Ms. Berger where I shared many of the things I’ve reported on in the past and seen in the media recently. I got to explain that to many reporters, this kind of stuff comes off kind of like business “stashing,” a term I borrowed from the dating world where a partner says they love and support you in private, but doesn’t do a lot to broadcast that relationship, usually to maintain a relationship with another partner.

The message I got back, in sum and substance, was that Veritext supports all of its independent contractors. They said they find their own network a better way of finding stenographic talent than LinkedIn. Ms. Berger told me that Veritext provides more work to stenographers than any other firm in the country, and took the time to link me to some things that Veritext is doing or has done to support the stenographic community:

  1. Pre-pandemic fundraisers for Project Steno.
  2. The Veritext Peer Advisory Council (VPAC) and its mission to mentor students and individuals considering a steno career in North America in addition to collaborating with Veritext on education for the stenographic community. VPAC also has a student resource center, where the advice column has scores of reporters saying what I often tell students, “find a mentor!” As a matter of fact, there is an old quote from me right on that advice column, “know your market and seek many mentors.”
  3. The webinar A Collaborative Effort: Investing in the Future of Our Profession. In celebration of Court Reporting & Captioning Week 2021, the webinar will be held again on February 11, 2021.
  4. Monthly newsletters featuring reporters and stories.
  5. A Court Reporting Training Program through Maryland Community College System.

I was positively surprised by a lot of what I saw. Our lives and careers are so busy. It can be hard to keep track of all the information out there, and though I was tangentially aware of some of these endeavors, a lot of it was news to me. Let this mark the first time that I have seen such a definitive statement from Veritext. Technology will never replace stenographers. I’ve alluded to that. Many industry leaders have said that. Now Veritext, through its CTO, says that. This is serious vindication for all the times we’ve pressed to correct the news media. This is truth that can be brought to the media’s attention by any one of us for years to come. What better time for such a declaration than CRCW 2021?

What I need from readers is a commitment to keep sharing information and supporting stenography. There are so many programs that have opened up to beat the shortage and for stenographic court reporters to meet the demands of the legal field. There’s so much media about such a small field that it becomes impossible for one man to keep track of. As we march through the year, please feel empowered to send me things that support this article, contradict it, highlight the work of other agencies big or small, or give a totally different point of view on a totally different topic. We’ll keep building information and work to keep the public record accurate, and court reporting will carry on as the fantastic career it has always been.

6 thoughts on “Veritext “Provides More Work To Stenographers Than Any Other Firm In The Country”

  1. I have no respect for Veritext. They continue to try to gobble up the market with illegal contracts in over half the states, redirecting business from stenographic reporters who had the work previously, only to farm it out to the unskilled at an inflated price to consumers.

    1. I hear you. I’ll certainly be watching out for that. But for the first time we see the words “will not take the place of stenographers” in print and I’m glad for that.

  2. Interesting they say technology will not replace stenographers, yet their actions are actually replacing stenographers with digital recording. I’m actually shocked by this post, but you know I have much respect for you, Chris.
    They provide court reporting services in California when it is in the law that they cannot. Our CSR Board would go bankrupt if they try to actually uphold the law and fight them in court.
    I have seen with my own eyes this company giving presentations to attorneys to change their depo notices so they can “REPLACE” stenographers and have attorneys use digital. I believe this company gave a seminar at an NCRA gathering on how it’s good business to donate money as they are write-offs. I was not at that so I don’t have firsthand knowledge, but I have always heard that is a business practice to further profit margins.
    They just might provide more work to stenographers than any other company since these venture capitalists have continued to buy up our legal CSR-owned agencies and there soon will be nowhere left for CSRs in California to work for a CSR-owned agency. I don’t know what the threshold is for a monopoly but it sure is heading in that direction. They have to talk out of both sides of their mouth to appease the stenographers they have to use as there are still attorneys who know the value and services a stenographer provides that digital cannot touch.

    1. Believe me, I’ll be watching for it. But I need readers to send me stuff every time.

      I believe it’s somewhere in the 50 to 75 percent range based on various things I’ve read.

      Reporters that read this should not be discouraged by the largeness though. I recently published a list of all the New York agencies I could find, and while I’m sure Veritext does very well here, the fact that there are so many other New York entities means that there’s a lot of room for stenographers that want to compete to compete. And I’m sure you know my view, steno will win out anywhere quality and accuracy is wanted.

      But seeing some of the heavier quotes out there from Donofrio, it was refreshing to see a steno-positive quote. Because previously, I hadn’t even seen much in the way of talking both sides. I had only seen, pretty much what I reported here, a very heavy digital push.

      Write me sometime. We can chat more about it!

  3. Words mean things. “Scourge” is defined as “a person or thing that causes great trouble or suffering.” I can think of only one other agency on the planet that’s caused as much suffering to the court reporting field. The deft handling of the spoken word is our stock in trade. Our skills are VALUABLE. Inflating the cost to the consumer while devaluing the talent performing the work is soul crushing and not supportive of those with expertise in the field.

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