Bulletin: Court Reporter Shortage or Fraud?

Law360: A Dire Court Reporter Shortage? Depends on Who You Ask.

Certain court reporting companies are exaggerating and exacerbating the stenographer shortage for the purpose of selling digital court reporting to lawyers/courts/consumers.

Veritext, US Legal Support, and Planet Depos have all publicly made statements about the unavailability or shortage of stenographers while putting most of their effort into expanding digital court reporting. Succinctly, utilizing their market share to obfuscate the availability of stenographers and artificially increase digital court reporter demand. It is unknown whether this is concerted or a form of tacit parallelism.

The resulting atmosphere is also misleading to those seeking a career in court reporting.

The nonprofit Protect Your Record Project was formed to educate consumers on the bait and switch tactics occurring in the court reporting industry.

In 2021, US Legal Rep Peter Giammanco wrote, “Does it really matter if done legally and ethically and both methods end with the same final transcript?” A consumer awareness campaign was subsequently launched. There are questions about whether digital recording is reliably the same as stenography. In one New York case, the court remarked that past holdings that recording was equivalent to stenography were belied by the record in that appeal.

Companies continue to profess shortage while placing the bulk of their effort into expanding the digital reporting market, effectively limiting consumer choice and ignoring consumer preference for stenography. The 2013-2014 Court Reporting Industry Outlook is used to add credibility to these claims, but that forecast is nearly a decade old and does not account for recruitment initiatives such as National Court Reporters A to Z, Project Steno, and Open Steno.

Attorneys, courts, and support staff can attempt to find stenographers or stenographer-run businesses through their state court reporting association or NCRA Pro Link.

The FTC has stated it will crack down on companies taking advantage of gig workers. It is unknown how this will affect court reporting, a field that is approximately 70% independent contractors according to available data. It is also unknown how rampant misclassification may be in the field.

Stenonymous (Christopher Day) is dedicated to informing the court reporting and legal community and has faced legal threat for accurate reporting in the past.

Does this look like they’re looking for stenographers?

Members of the community that wish to support advertising for this bulletin may send money through the donation box at Stenonymous.com.

13 thoughts on “Bulletin: Court Reporter Shortage or Fraud?

  1. Thank you for all your hard work, Mr. Day. I believe that those companies you mentioned do have a stenographer shortage within their companies. Not only do they pay so poorly that stenographers can’t afford to work for them, they don’t want us. They’re entering into contracts with insurance companies and the like at such low rates that they’re eating up all the business. Each one of those companies is actively trying to do it all cheaper than the other. They want cheap labor, not skilled labor.

    Propaganda. The world needs to believe there’s a stenographer shortage. That’s the only way they can sell these inferior methods of producing a record. If they cry shortage loud enough and long enough, it will actually happen. Unfortunately, it’s working. Because of these practices, less people are entering the profession and more are leaving it. This contracting practice and propaganda is not only killing our profession, it’s affecting our judicial system. Shortage? I know plenty of stenographers looking for more work. But they do expect to earn a living wage.

    1. You’re welcome. And thank you. Yes, I do not doubt that they are experiencing some measure of shortage. This is definitely how I see it as well. Can’t crash the market and then lie so that consumers accept a different service.

      1. I agree they shouldn’t be able to crash the market and then lie, but that seems to be exactly what’s happening. Thank you so much for calling them out!

  2. For those who mentioned they know plenty of stenographers looking for work, please send them to New Mexico. We have lost several reporters recently due to retirement, and really need certified reporters ASAP at Bean & Associates, Inc. 505-843-9494.

  3. Where are those stenographers looking for work?- Can’t find enough court reporters for our agency. Call Donna at 936-637-7594 if interested in coming to Texas!

  4. Hello. I advocate for court reporters professionally at the state level. The Judicial Council of California has directly contributed to the official court reporter staffing shortage for decades. The state even put dedicated funding in the budget to recruit and retain official court reporters, and many courts are refusing to meaningfully spend their allocations. I saw your post about the Indiana legislative proposal. I’m wondering if you have other examples that would help me draw the connection between the Judicial Council’s narrative and a conservative, anti-worker, anti-justice agenda. California’s legislature considers itself progressive.

    1. It depends on what examples you are looking for. The narrative pushed by the STTI Bloc is identical to the judicial council’s narrative from what I’ve heard. I can tear into STTI’s bad numbers and I have. I’ve openly accused them of fraud, to which they’ve failed to respond in any meaningful fashion. If you provide me some examples of the narrative (chris@stenonymous.com) I can then look back at some of my arguments and numbers and see if anything applies.


  5. if the required final speed of 225 wasn’t so fucking impossible, they wouldn’t have a shortage!!! I know SO many people that have quit school, myself included, because we can’t pass that final damn speed. it’s ridiculous. I suppose digital recorders now. its almost like the NCRA is a big fucking scam, a money pit, taking advantage of desperate people looking for a better life.
    if they lowered that final speed to 200, SOOO many more people would graduate their programs.

    but if they want to kill off the career, then keep it at 225. they have only themselves to blame when AI takes over.

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