Shortage Solutions 16: Looser Deadlines

It seems almost a waste to make this its own post, but the thought occurred to me that if the shortage was really a pressing concern and something the agencies wanted to help alleviate, they might just take work a little later.

It varies from case to case and isn’t something that can be done everywhere, but in general, at least in New York, the deadlines have remained the same over the years. If anything, they’ve tried to demand transcripts even sooner than the two-week turnaround that existed when I started out.

It would not only enable individual court reporters to take more work, but also help draw the existing pool of reporters to an agency that’s easier to work for rather than trying to squeeze them for every ounce of productivity they can.

It’s not CoverCrow, but it’s still an idea.

Shortage Solutions 15: CoverCrow

Similar to Shortage Solution 4.

There are many services to connect court reporters to the people that need them, but in the words of founder Cassandra Caldarella, none like CoverCrow, a free service for court reporters across the country.

CoverCrow connects reporters and agencies.

I asked for some of the features users could expect when using CoverCrow, and was told that there is tons of automation. Beyond its job board, there are email reminders and jobs automatically go back to the board if a reporter cancels, becoming urgent if they are close to the deadline.

CoverCrow will also serve as a document vault, helping keep rate sheets, W9s, resumes, and worksheets in order. It is also complete with profiles and ratings. It has state certification requirements programmed in so that only qualified court reporters can see available jobs. Agency contact information will be listed, but not reporters’ information, allowing for more reporter privacy. The service also features a map and geolocation services that will help reporters “check-in” and pick up jobs close to them. One of the newest features, the “Nest” feature, allows reporters to rate job sites with information about amenities, chairs, temperatures or even pictures. For larger companies, there is an option to bulk upload up to 60 jobs from Excel. There is also a new apprentice/mentor feature releasing next week. As of now only agencies and reporters can utilize the service. There is functionality currently being built to extend the service directly to attorneys and law firms.

This is one of those times where I have to point at all the potential fixes out there other than “we can’t find stenographers.” If CoverCrow isn’t up to an agency’s standards, why not let us all know what’s missing? If it’s a solution going unused, then is it true that stenographers cannot be found, or are agencies not really trying very hard? These are the kinds of questions that people in some markets have started asking. As of writing, the app has over 1,500 freelancer signups. As CoverCrow continues to grow and establish itself, the number of people asking those questions is only going to grow. So sign up today and make sure to give lots of feedback!