STTI Copies NCRA, Assumes Lawyers Can’t Tell the Difference

I have serious and ongoing concerns about STTI. It is an organization that claims the stenographer shortage cannot be solved through recruitment, yet has never actually tried to do just that. I view it as a weapon of demoralization against stenographers. Tell people the situation is hopeless and they will start acting like it regardless of the truth.

Anything that might threaten digital reporting is heresy to STTI. Naturally, when NCRA sought to let bar associations know about state procedural rules being violated, it had to act.

There’s an interesting dynamic to telling an uncomfortable truth. In the beginning, the truth teller is filled with fear and does not know how the truth will be received. Through the support of others, the fear can be replaced by courage. That is what I see unfolding here. I was afraid. I stood up. Court reporters supported me. In three months we went from “the court reporter shortage is nearly impossible to solve” to “some people want an unrealistic steno-only solution.” STTI’s lie will likely become untenable because people will start asking how a shortage that was impossible to solve is being solved. Simply put, if court reporters keep recruiting, stenographers stay on top.

14 thoughts on “STTI Copies NCRA, Assumes Lawyers Can’t Tell the Difference

  1. You’ve got the “thieving side” shaking in their boots, and you’ve got the rest of us – the people with integrity – backing you 1000%. Keep going. We’ve got your back. It’s time for these digital proponents to join our efforts or go away!

  2. Onto another article featuring “The Legal World According to Chris Day”. I kind of feel bad for you because you can’t see and accept what is taking place. Reminds me of the days when pen writers fought tooth and nail over the steno machine when it came into play. Pen writers were outraged. “Nothing is more accurate than a person writng it down!” “Machines can malfunction, break, or lose content!” Digital is coming in faster than ever and the auto transcribing accuracy is short of “WOW” with every new software release. Think of Google voice to text used by the average person. The legal field, including attorneys, obviously voice text too. It is now a regular tool used to send a message. They get it! They understand the technology and its potential benefits when therr is a skilled person at the wheel guiding the process. They are clearly seeing this as a viable method in all areas of their profession. I recently had the chance to look at some of this new technology. Sorry, Chris, but the end result is the same for the client. A beautiful transcript that can be produced even quicker. How much more proof do you need? Traditional Stenograph-only companies are now offering digital solutions too. Guess who their biggest clients are? Ding, ding, ding. It’s not digital reporting companies. Stenographer-owned, big and small. Why? Because there’s a MASSIVE SHORTAGE you claim is made up. If you had any common sense, cut with the know it all and non-sensical arguments, and teach to embrace new and current methods before it’s too late. Stenographers are not going to win in the end. The NCRA is losing membership in droves each year for a reason and the others are growing. if stenographers listen to your uneducated reasoning of how to move forward and “we should,” it will in the very near future become another lost art like pen writers.

    1. Multiple stenotype service corporation owners have told me they exclusively use steno and there is the 2020 Racial Disparities in Automatic Speech Recognition study that shows info from all the big players, including Google, between 25 and 80% accurate.

      On the issue of attorneys, they’re not adopting it, which is why the digital camp has to play games like exaggerating the shortage and shaming attorneys for “slow technological adoption.”

      It seems much more likely you are on the digital side of the equation and have worked out that Stenonymous is a massive threat to the digital because it uses actual data to make arguments.

      After all, if this was really about technology, you’d be using voice writers.

      I sincerely appreciate you coming to share your perspective with me. It has been very helpful for me.

  3. More of you conspiracy theories, Mr. Day. ALL TECHNOLOGIES should be embraced and can easily work together. If not, why don’t we stick with pen writers? They were doing a fine job prior. Maybe go back to the ‘brick” phones too. Do you really think attorneys need your protection from the big, bad marketers? Lol. They are pretty savvy. Here’s the deal. They want someone that is competent with whatever the technology being used and they receive an accurate, certified transcript. End of story.

      1. Gotcha… So we should embrace your technology and no one else’s. Thank you for that bit of information. Very helpful.

    1. Brad Patterson, let me help you with your history and with a few other things.

      To any attorneys reading this, please read in full.

      In 1910, Ward Stone Ireland invented a new shorthand keyboard that was never seen nor thought of nor used before. He patented his “Stenotype” shorthand machine with his keyboard in 1911 and began teaching students how to use it. In 1914, a group of Stenotype students known as “The Stenotype Speed Crew” entered the NSRA’s speed contests for the very first time and they stole the show away from the pen writers with their speed and accuracy, putting machine shorthand on the map in a really big way! The Speed Crew consisted of teenagers ranging from ages 15 to 19 years of age. Their names were Clem H. Boling, Fred H. Linscheid, Mabelle M. Head, George Bambach, Allan Sweeney, Ethel Thornblade, Fanny E. Schoenfeld, Richard Cosgrove who was the youngest at age 15, and our well-known and beloved Berry H. Horne. Due to the Speed Crew’s amazing success, sales for the shorthand machine exploded, as did class sign-ups. It was a very exciting time; however, machine shorthand was mostly used in secretarial type settings, and the pen writers remained the main source of shorthand for another 50-plus years in both offices and in courthouses. In other words, the transition did not happen overnight, but the greater speed and the higher accuracy of the machine was always acknowledged, appreciated, and sought after. So much so that many pen writers, amazed by the machine, took classes to learn how to use it, and then they used both forms of shorthand. To this very day there are still a few working pen writers out there.

      Both the pen writers and the shorthand machine users are highly trained and highly skilled in doing their job. They know when they have to interrupt during the proceedings to ensure accuracy. They know how to format accurately, and what spelling questions to ask. They know what research they must do to produce the highest quality transcript. They are licensed officers of the court who are charged with overseeing the chain of custody and the accuracy and the quality of each and every transcript. They are guided by and adhere to ethics and laws, otherwise they are held accountable with fines, suspension, and even revocation of their license.

      Stenographers are highly skilled and highly trained. They are well-equipped to deal with people who have accents and who speak broken English. They know when the noise coming through the window is drowning out the sound of the speakers and so they interrupt and ask for a repeat. They know when speakers talk too fast and they slow them down. They know when two or more speakers talk at once that they must interrupt in order to ensure they get that objection and that answer that were lost within the simultaneous speaking. They oversee the exhibits, keep track of what exhibit is next in order. They can accurately report testimony through an interpreter. They can do realtime-to-attorney jobs and offer a daily final transcript, one-day rough drafts, and expedites.

      You wrote, “They want someone that is competent with whatever the technology being used and they receive an accurate, certified transcript. End of story.”

      Let’s break that down a bit. We’ll start with the word “competent,” and I will use my own experience as an example.

      To become a stenographer, I had to go to a school which required me to take 3.5 years of academic classes, which were in addition to my classes for machine speed training. The academic classes were as follows: A one-year anatomy and physiology class; three years’ worth of very intense English classes; one semester of law; a medical terminology class; a legal terminology class; a procedures class which included learning transcript formatting, legal language used in formatting, and all the laws that must be abided; and of course vocabulary – a ton of vocabulary. And, of course, I took a technology class that taught me how to use my software — the software that won awards from Microsoft and which enables me to be a better and faster reporter.

      I not only endured academic classes every day but also three machine speed classes every day to help me obtain writing speed with accuracy in upwards of 250 wpm. The speed classes included training in literary, jury charge, congressional record, Q&A, readback, taking down four speakers at a time, and offered a speed test at the end of every class.

      Before taking the state exam, I was required to do an apprenticeship. I had to sit in court with an official for 20 hours, and I had to sit in on depositions with a freelance reporter for 20 hours.

      For four years my school schedule was chock full with wall-to-wall classes five days a week and hours of practicing in the evenings and on the weekends at home.

      This challenging and rigorous program produces highly COMPETENT individuals who can and do turn out very accurate, high-quality transcripts that are LEGALLY CERTIFIED and IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE LAW.

      Now let’s move to the “technology” portion of your comment. Court reporting softwares are extremely high-tech and are like no other softwares out there. The technology is second to none. These softwares enable stenographers to be better and faster with all their neat tricks, to include timers, fields, accelerwriters, macros, different panes, include files, over-the-internet realtime to attorneys, and all the other amazing technological features which are far too numerous to mention.

      You mentioned “accuracy.” I argue that no one is or can be more accurate in their transcript than a stenographer. And this is due to their above-mentioned rigorous training.

      Stenographers’ ears and brains are trained to catch everything and be more accurate than anyone else. This has been proven time and time again.

      We know digitally produced transcripts are not as accurate as a stenographer’s transcript by the MANY reports of botched digital transcripts, some of which are filled with “inaudible” and “indiscernible” throughout. Both the digital companies and the agencies are fully aware of the low quality and they hide that fact from the lawyers. Why? MONEY. It’s all about the money.

      Now, you mentioned “certified.”
      What does “certified” mean to you, I wonder. Because in my world, “certified” is a legal term which means a licensed officer of the court “certifies” or “swears” under penalty of perjury that they were present during the proceedings, are unbiased, and that they skillfully and accurately took down the testimony, and put together a quality transcript, swearing that the transcript is true and accurate to the very best of their ability. (That ability having been tested and approved by the licensing GOVERNMENTAL AGENCY.)

      When a digitally created transcript is said to be a “certified transcript” THAT IS A LIE, which goes against the law. It is FRAUD. Using notaries and transcriptionists and coining them “reporters” is not a way around the law but is outright fraud. Not only are the digitally created transcripts lower in quality due to lack of skill and training, they are illegal because they are not “certified” as that word is defined under the law.

      Actions here are unlawful, unconstitutional, and violate certain amendments concerning due process.

      If digital is the new “WOW,” as you say, then why are agencies like Planet Depos begging reporters to produce transcripts from the digital recordings?
      (That’s a rhetorical question.)

      You say, “This huge shortage is affecting attorneys and court reporting firms.” This is a lie and involves collusion. Why do I say that? There is NOT a huge shortage; that is a lie.

      ATTORNEYS do NOT want to use recordings. They WANT STENOGRAPHERS.

      AGENCIES (some) WANT TO USE digitals instead of stenographers because it’s more lucrative for the agency. And because it is more lucrative for the agency, the invention of the lie was created regarding a huge shortage.

      This is all about money, and the digital companies know it and collude with the agencies on this lie.

      The agencies are touting “huge shortage” so as to convince attorneys that they have to use digital. It goes something like this: “There’s no stenographer available for your deposition today, Counsel; so we’ll send a digital (aka a tape recorder button-pusher) instead.”

      Oftentimes, this is told to the attorney at the very last minute, putting the attorney in a bind and giving him or her very little choice.

      How do I know about the lie? Because stenographers all across the country have reported that an agency they work for sent a digital to a job, the agency stating that they had no choice but to send a digital because they “couldn’t find a stenographer,” when that particular reporter was actually available to take that job assignment that day AND NEVER WAS CONTACTED! In other words, agencies are not calling around or emailing all available reporters on their list before sending a digital! There are MANY reports of this. Some agencies are sending out mostly digitals and only using a few stenographers. They say it’s “due to a shortage” because they have to say that. Why? Because if they told the truth they’d lose their clients and they’d probably get sued. It’s a ruse designed to make more money and with zero consideration for the quality of the transcript, which may have a PROFOUND EFFECT ON SOMEONE’S LIFE.

      Since attorneys want a stenographer and some attorneys are very adamant about that, some agencies are actually sending a digital WITH A STENO MACHINE as a prop so as to trick the attorneys into believing they actually have a stenographer in the room. When the phony stenographer cannot read back, all heck break loose, which brings me back to your comment about “competent with whatever the technology they use”; I think it is safe to say that stenographers win that argument, don’t you?


      How does an agency make more money when they send a button-pusher instead of a stenographer? Well, the agency takes the digital recording at the end of the proceedings and they send it to an inexpensive, overseas transcriptionist. The agency pays that untrained and unskilled overseas transcriptionist $1.50 per page to listen to the audio recording and type it up on a computer. (Which they later claim is “certified.”) Then the agency bills the attorneys 600% or more above that $1.50 amount, and the attorney gets a low-quality transcript.

      In conclusion, pen writers were very good, machine writers are faster AND more accurate than the pen writers. And when you compare machine writers to digitals, there is no comparison. I mean, even the pen writers are much better than digitals.

      Digitals have no ability to produce readback, rough drafts, expedites, dailies, realtime, high quality, or a LEGALLY CERTIFIED TRANSCRIPT. Heck, they don’t produce a transcript at all.

      Stenographers aka machine writers are proud of their unique and difficult-to-obtain skill, care about the record and about accuracy and about quality, and can PROVIDE IT ALL.

      We walk the walk. Maybe you should try walking the walk, too.

  4. Traveling the west coast cities this week. Next week the central region. Have dozens of steno-owned firms implementing digital for the first time because it’s the quickest way to provide a phenomenal end product for the client. This huge SHORTAGE is affecting attorneys and court reporting firms even though you do not care. NY is not on the list at the moment. Most folks are all about helping stenographers stay relevant and keeping the profession growing as I’ve mentioned multiple times. Hammering other methods will not work for your cause. When you come to that conclusion, that’s when you will benefit them.

    1. I wish you a lot of luck and success. I hope you come to understand that there was a whole lot of nastiness done to me and my fellow court reporters to get to where we are today. Except it was not healthy, overt snipes like you or I can give. It was this game of hiding the ball and pretending. Not a single large company came out like you did. They all said “oh, no, no, no. We want stenographers. Gold standard.” You are singlehandedly defending digital more than they have in three months.

      They were and are to this day afraid of stenographers catching on.

  5. You truly do not have a pulse of the industry. Until you humble yourself and admit there is a real shortage that’s continuing to grow significantly and will over the next few years, your credibility will be zero. Again for the umpteenth time, I have no personal preference of the technology used, but thank you for thinking I own a large firm! Trying to stop the advancement of technology is a long and arduous fight. The integration of digital courts should be your model.There can easily be a place at the table for stenographers as there is now. Those entering the field today and tomorrow can take their deserved place. The side-by-side approach is the only way to survive. And that’s okay! All or nothing = failure for either side.

    And you’re absolutely wrong that you think many, many firms are not looking at other methodologies. Do you really think they can be honest with you if they indicated to be open to combining other Technologies? You would immediately slander them, share the name with all the reporters you know in an attempt to make sure they never work with these businesses again. Luckily you don’t have that kind of power, but how terrible of a person you are to operate that way. I have very little respect for your underhanded tactics.

    1. I’m saying you’re defending the digital more than the large firms have in three months. It’s actually pretty cool. A welcomed change. Prior to this, all I had were digitals telling me how Naegeli or some other outfit mistreated them.

      If the courts were serious about placing an audio monitor and a stenographer/voice writer in every court, maybe we could have this glorious future where we all work together. The problem has been funding and building the political will for that funding. As it stands the methodologies are not equal and digital is literally using CourtReporterEDU to misdirect steno students to digital. How do you compete with people that pretend there’s no competition while they quietly undermine our recruitment?

      Sure, I think the firms are looking. They’re basically being spammed by Verbit by phone and STTI online to get them to think of digital reporting as a legitimate or equal method.

      I would never do what you’re describing on a simple and honest difference of opinion. I do what I do because we were caught in a loop where companies would disseminate partial truths and then watch us try to figure it out. What I am doing is taking those partial truths and filling in what we know from various sources.

      I do not fully understand why you consider my tactics underhanded. I have a website where I use my real legal name to publish information and analyses. I am not sure if I could be more above board without diluting the message and starting every sentence with “I’m pretty sure this is happening and here is why.”

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