Proof The Court Reporter Shortage is A Digital Court Reporting Advertisement

I was sent this by a contact over social media. It’s labeled as an advertorial. And that alone gives us enough to pick it apart and figure out what it’s selling. It’s written by Christy Pratt, VP of Veritext Canada.

Veritext releases advertorial about the court reporting shortage, strengthening Stenonymous arguments that the court reporter shortage is being exaggerated and exacerbated to artificially increase demand for digital court reporting.

It goes a little into the history of reporting to give the rest of the piece some credibility. I have no problem with that. But then it gets to its main sell: The shortage is real and times are changing! Hey everybody! Did you know times change? You can trust the rest of the advertorial because the author is making perfect sense up to this point.

Veritext advertorial showcasing that the shortage is being used as a selling point for digital court reporting.

Remember, this is posted to Trial Lawyers of BC. It’s clear who the audience is. They don’t want lawyers to complain about the transition from steno to digital, where the author admits steno is still in heavy use. They want to paint digital as the solution. It’s much easier to tell someone what they want is not available instead of telling them you don’t want to give it to them. It’s a lie to limit consumer choice.

It’s worth noting that the shortage isn’t as bad as it was forecasted to be in America and that the Speech-to-Text Institute’s Jim Cudahy left the field when I accused him of fraud for spreading court reporter shortage disinformation. It’s also worth noting that Veritext is represented in the Speech-to-Text Institute’s leadership by Adam Friend, VP of business development, and has not made any attempt to correct the misleading information put out onto the market by STTI. Misleading information that threatens the futures of ourselves and our students, by the way. Does anyone believe that Veritext, a multimillion dollar corporation that benefits financially from the expansion of digital, would not spread the same lies in Canada?

I’ve had people lie to me over $5. When the future direction of an industry is at stake, does anyone believe this isn’t fabricated? And I’m sure I have a detractor or two who would point at me and say the same, but let’s be real, in my wildest dreams Stenonymous makes me maybe a million dollars someday because some rich person realizes how much fun it would be to set me loose on the world or Veritext realizes my creative genius can be bought (in reality, I lose money on my media activities, even with the support of my wonderful audience.) This industry is close to $3 billion annually by estimates I’ve seen. Who has a greater incentive to lie? And it’s not like they can claim they don’t know about my research now. They’re basically using my arguments on AI to make the case for why court reporters won’t be replaced. I’ve basically never had better proof that Veritext execs read the blog and understand at least part of my work.

To make matters worse, a source inside a big box is saying the nickel and diming of stenographers is getting worse despite the alleged demand. If they’re chipping away at the incomes of high-end realtime reporters, the average reporter isn’t going to stand a chance.

Reporters, organize and resist or be ruled by people that don’t care if you have a good life. That’s all there is to it. I know my methods come off as extreme, but it’s an extraordinary case where an entire profession is threatened with extinction based on a lie. It’s a classic what-would-you-do scenario, and I’d like to think that if every reporter had the same statistics and information that I have seen and published, they’d be just as outraged. They’d fight just as hard, and maybe harder.

I’ll continue my quest to slay the windmills. Wish me luck.

10 thoughts on “Proof The Court Reporter Shortage is A Digital Court Reporting Advertisement

  1. There is not a stenographer shortage in BC/Alberta. There is a scheduling problem.

    Firms take more jobs than they can realistically cover because they expect a percentage of them to cancel, which allows the firms to pocket the cancellation fees. If firms stopped overbooking and stopped assigning jobs the day before and instead assigned jobs to reporters as they come in and increased the cancellation fee period (instead of the day before, try a week before), I suspect this so-called “shortage” would disappear.

    If firms accept 20 “maybe” jobs but only have 10 reporters, yeah, it’s gonna look like an exacerbated shortage. What other industry books that way? The hair salon doesn’t book five clients at the same time if it only has two hairstylists. The salon accepts and assigns the job immediately. If the job cancels within a time period that would lessen the likelihood of a replacement gig coming in, the stylist gets a cancellation fee. If I try to book a stylist who is already booked, the salon doesn’t just book me in. The salon tells me all stylists are currently booked and to try a different day or time, to book at another salon, or that I can be put on a waitlist that it’s not guaranteed I’ll get in. The salon doesn’t greedily say yes to as many bookings as possible in the hopes that a few of them will cancel.

    The current booking system is broken. I’m sick and tired of reporting firms blaming the result of that broken system on a stenographer shortage.

  2. The writer from Veritext Canada is probably unaware — benefit of the doubt — but “guardian/s of the record” is legally registered by the National Court Reporters Association; and NCRA is a steno-only court reporter association. Therefore it is improper, to say the least, for “guardian of the record” to be used with respect to court reporting when the court reporter/s the usage is referring to are not stenographic court reporters, and are not members of NCRA.

  3. im interested in this topic. can you give some proofs that the shortage claim is a fraud? theres a california study that i have read where they interviewed court stenographers, they state they are having a hard time filling in vacancies. and i read another source where a court stenographer that was interviewed says they have to delay court proceedings at times due to not being able to attend trials because of heavy workloads.

    i likee what you said in ur post, yes i believe too that these tech companies will do everything to take over an industry with AI, however the studies ive read seems like some states (especially in california) are really in need of court stenographers asap, but no one is filling in, which prompts them to use digital alternatives.

    i might just add im not from US. im a student conducting a study about this shortage and factors behind it. here in my country, court stenographers are very unheard of. also, our judicial system has announced some time ago that court reporters that will retire soon are withheld for a bit so they can work on the pending untrandscribed notes.

    1. Hi. Yes. First, to address California, its shortage was forecasted to be 20x worse than other places. I don’t deny there is some shortage. But their court administration was playing games out there. As put in a recent post by Calloquy, only 20 of the 58 courts used the money meant to entice court reporters. Very suspicious in a time of shortage. I’ve also heard from people that say they were mistreated by their court admin to the point of quitting. Cassandra Caldarella sent me some data that the shortage in CA may not be as bad as forecasted, but I haven’t had a chance to post it yet.

      As for more proof, we can look to our adversaries’ claims. I made a post, and I’ll link below, about two conflicting 2023 numbers for our shortage. One claims 5,500, the other is like 11,000. The 11,000 is from the propaganda machine, the Speech-to-Text Institute, which failed to adjust its numbers for increased recruitment due to NCRA A to Z, Project Steno, and Open Steno. In brief, it wouldn’t be trouble if that many court reporters were missing, it would be complete pandemonium. Can you imagine a third of every deposition in the country cancelling every day? Even if my numbers were off, 20%, 15%? I haven’t met any agency owner that said large fractions of their jobs are going uncovered every single day for the last 5 years.

      We can also figure it out from how they treated the shortage. Again, this was known about for like 6 years before they began the aggressive expansion of digital. They did nothing. Suddenly they can whip up a huge ad campaign for digital (Veritext, Facebook). I took notes in December 2022 as to how many steno ads I saw versus digital, and it was very lopsided. It was like 10 to 1, digital to steno.

      You want my opinion on the factors behind it? They treated us like garbage here in New York for the last 10 years and according to one of my sources Magna even told reporters there were too many reporters and not enough work. If there’s no shortage in NY they could just try to pull people from NY to CA with some enticements. They’re not doing that.

      We can also figure it out from the fact that, for the most part, they do not seem to be subsidizing digital court reporter training and equipment, they’re all in a big group profiting from selling that training and equipment. If there was such a massive shortage — again, by their numbers, a third of the field, wouldn’t it make more sense to subsidize that and bring more people in faster rather than wait for people that can afford the computer and training?

      There’s some anecdotal evidence too. I called their frontman Jim Cudahy a fraud and he ran away to another field instead of defending his position. Also, these multimillion dollar corporations have never said a word to defend themselves even though they clearly have people feeding them information from our Facebook. We live in a “litigious country.” Isn’t it odd that people with so much money would just let me trash their business and show up in their search results? You know why they won’t sue? Because then I’d get access to a lot more information about their businesses in discovery and probably be able to show conclusively that they lied.

      I also have in writing from a U.S. Legal Rep “does it matter if done legally and ethically…?” I mean, that right there’s big. Does it matter? Not to them.

      There was also a site luring people to digital using stenographer imagery. If everything is above board, why the subterfuge?

      And the hit ad they put on me. If I’m just a crazy moron, why bother?

      To be honest, if you go back through my writing from 2021 to now, you’ll see how I discovered things.

      In my country circumstantial evidence can make a case and the testimony of only one witness can convict beyond a reasonable doubt. I can show via math (described above) that their claims are BS, so I am not afraid of court. One additional hint is how they marketed the shortage. There’s a JD Supra article by USL that gave an equation to show how bad the shortage was, but there was no end date on the equation and done in perpetuity it would lead to negative stenographers, which cannot happen if you’re getting new stenographers every year. Again, by failing to account for this, the multimillion dollar corporation makes the shortage look worse than it is.

      That’s all I can think of right now, but I haven’t reviewed all of my posts going back years to see what else I discovered and how I arrived at the conclusion that there was a fraud. But with the NCRA admitting that Ducker was debunked, I would say that my claims are on much stronger ground now than ever before.

      1. Wow I am a bit dumbfounded honestly, it seems like the foundation for the study I am writing is a bit weak now 😂

        About the ducker report, I also found it weird that most of the articles writing about the shortage always mention it, which was published back in 2014, almost 10 years ago (in my country, you can’t cite reports, studies more than 5 years ago, they are seen as outdated and irrelevant).

        Also, there is literally no recent statistic about the number of needed court reporters to aid this shortage. And kudos to you for reaching out to them to confirm if that projection holds true. It would also be very helpful if NCRA would release a statement similar to their reply to you, especially during these times when the shortage news is hot. And so that articles stop citing their outdated work!

        Also, as I read those shortage articles, I was a bit disappointed because there is no effort in finding the reasons for this shortage, like the profession not being marketed enough, but yes they do seem too eager to find an immediate solution for the shortage, which is to turn everything to digital.

        In my time of writing this, I am still in the process of reading your blog (starting from 2021 as you have said), then reading other sources about the shortage and about digital court reporting, as I am a bit confused on how that works.

        I wrote this at around 12 am so sorry for the ramblings! But I do like to ask you, as a court stenographer, what’s the current happening in your workplace, like if there is any signs and struggle of shortage? and are you encouraged by your employeer to turn digital now? Do you think the futures of court reporters are at risk due to this exaggeration of the shortage?

        I would also like to share that here in my place, there is no report of shortage in stenographers. It’s been two weeks since I have wrote to the national stenographer association here in my country confirming the shortage, and they still haven’t replied. As I am a student studying a course related to stenography, almost all of my professors claim there is a shortage though. I also noticed that only few graduates pursue court reporting, only 3 to 5 students in a class of 50. There has been a rumor in our department as well that the supreme court is planning to have an agreement with the university, that all students studying stenography will be automatically hired as court reporters.

        There’s also news here in our country that court reporting will be aided by ai to kind of alleviate the workloads of stenographers. But I believe we don’t have to worry as much as you guys in the US 😂, we are still too far from turning digital since most courts here don’t even have access to stenotype machines. although, I am a bit worried if AI turns to be cheaper than buying machines, my future is doomed.

        Anyways, your blog has definitely sparked my interest to look more into this issue. I admit I am still a bit skeptical about all of these, maybe I am still in denial that organizations might be teaming to erase a profession, which is so evil…

        “Cassandra Caldarella sent me some data that the shortage in CA may not be as bad as forecasted, but I haven’t had a chance to post it yet.” —- also I’ll be waiting for this!

      2. There are signs of struggle. New York City reporters were paid very low for like a decade and it scared a lot of reporters out of the field. Now the courts are having trouble recruiting. I am not personally encouraged to go digital. Future of court reporters is at severe risk because once they’ve recruited enough digital reporters to the market rates will fall from court reporter market glut. It’ll go from a respectable profession to a side hustle.

        I find it unlikely AI is good enough for legal reporting. In the Racial Disparities in Automatic Speech Recognition study AI was as low as 25% accurate.

        It is okay to doubt. It is healthy. My media pushes hard against the mainstream narrative. NCRA President Jason Meadors did state in a recent quote that the Ducker Report was pretty well debunked and NCRA strong wrote that it’s unreliable because it’s outdated. I’ll get that for you.

        It may help your skepticism to read the medical transcription post. You’ll see a lot of similarities with our field. You can also look up TakeMedBack by Dr. Mitch Li. Li claims the private equity companies in emergency medicine are claiming doctor shortage while replacing them with NPs. Truckers also have been accused of having a shortage but many truckers say there’s not a shortage, the pay is too low. Same with the teacher shortage. In my view, this is anecdotal evidence that these businesspeople have a playbook that they all use. I want to rip the pages out of their book and make sure they never try this nonsense again.

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