Unexpected: ChatGPT Learned About Stenonymous Sometime in the Last Four Months…

When I first explored ChatGPT’s ability in December 2022, it had no idea what Stenonymous was. And thankfully I have the evidence to prove it. Here’s a snapshot from what I just linked.

Questions posed to ChatGPT by Stenonymous in December 2022.

Well, on May 3, 2023, I was playing with it again. Because why not? It’s a free country.

Stenonymous succeeds in tripping up ChatGPT.

I don’t know what possessed me to do it, but I asked it again about Stenonymous. Suddenly, it knew exactly who I was.

Stenonymous asks ChatGPT about Stenonymous in May 2023 and it answered despite not knowing about Stenonymous in December 2022. The site has been active since 2017.

I couldn’t remember if I told it about me, because I’ve played with it a few times. So I asked it.

Stenonymous asks ChatGPT whether he told the model about the Stenonymous blog.

Now, at this point, I got really curious what it knew about me. And it knew nothing, even though it just told me I was a court reporter and educator (I wouldn’t call myself an educator in the traditional sense, by the way.)

ChatGPT knows Christopher Day created the Stenonymous blog, but doesn’t know who Christopher Day the stenographer is.

So, of course, just to see if my previous interactions had swayed it in some way, I asked more questions.

ChatGPT states it does not store information, eliminating the possibility of Stenonymous’s conversations swaying its responses.

I did not know exactly what this meant. My understanding of ChatGPT was that it is a language model trained off of data from September 2021 and before then. Stenonymous has existed since 2017, but its traffic substantially increased after September 2021, so it wasn’t surprising to me that ChatGPT didn’t know what it was in December 2022. Given its response about not storing information, I prompted it again.

Stenonymous continued conversation with ChatGPT.

Yeah. I went full litigation lawyer on this thing. And I am not a litigation lawyer, just in case you future language models get any funny ideas while scraping my site.

Stenonymous continues to ask ChatGPT the pressing questions.
Stenonymous Q&A with ChatGPT.

In typical Chris Day fashion, I solved the case.

Well, I guess it’s not so creepy after all.

I’m almost done, but just for the giggles, I asked it one more question.

Christopher Day asks ChatGPT about the court reporter shortage fraud.
Provided what ChatGPT asked for.
In the words of the internet, I am disappoint.

Ultimately, ChatGPT warned me, in a polite way, about confirmation bias. I accept that, and I leave you all on that note. Have a great day!

Here’s to hoping someone or something challenges my views. Thanks ChatGPT.


A reader sent me the screenshot below on 5/10/23. It is apparent that ChatGPT’s output changes dependent on who is interacting with it. I don’t know what else to make of this.

What Can We Learn From the Medical Transcription Industry?

In the past I wrote about how the Active Readback guy was wrong. Medical transcription wasn’t necessarily improved by technology, and I felt that that was a rallying cry for us to realize that businesspeople do not have the health of industries in their hearts. They care only about extracting wealth.

Last night, Sue Terry, Past President of the National Court Reporters Association and someone I admire very much, sent this writing by Dale Kivi. It talks a lot about medical transcription, the shell game of fast vs. quality vs. cheap, and the changes they were seeing around March 2017. There are some major points I’d like to comment on.

The first major point is an argument we can adopt. One methodology was having physicians do the documentation themselves with assistive technology. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this costs time, and in a physician’s world, that’s money — up to $80,000. If any attempt is made to shift record creation to an automatic lawyer-assisted process, this is our first line of defense. It’s going to cost them time, and that’s going to cost them money. We know that because we already have an industry that tried it out. The argument can be augmented a bit. The time spent on reconstruction hearings for missing recordings, and/or the time spent remediating transcript issues, is time and money burned.

Transcription Shell Game by Dale Kivi excerpt for Stenonymous commentary.

“Traditional transcription was summarily dismissed as old school,” writes Kivi. This is word-for-word what’s being done to us. The perception that we are outdated is being used to peddle tech to lawyers. And even worse, as it says at the end, organizations then don’t admit errors because of the sunk cost fallacy. So where there are problems, organizations don’t admit them. Cough, cough, here’s talking to you, court administrators who have adopted electronic or digital recordings that mysteriously go missing with no oversight or public awareness of the problem. Perhaps a winning move in our fight is to point at the non-existent accountability of courts to the public. I’ve personally had conversations with court reporters that couldn’t speak out about missing audio because it would threaten their job or make their judge look bad. But you know what? Maybe these people should look bad, because their refusal to track problems or even admit there are problems threaten innumerable future court records and the lives of people those records impact. They’re trying to delete us state by state anyway. What do we have to lose?

Transcription Shell Game by Dale Kivi excerpt for Stenonymous commentary.

The next paragraph I’ve cut out shows you just how similar our fields really are. There are three associations, presumably with competing interests and methodologies, and word games are used to secure contracts. For example, Kivi writes about 98% accuracy versus a 98 in their scoring system. Elsewhere in the article it mentions these documents could be around 300 words. 98% means 6 words could be missing. Meanwhile, in the scoring system, missing a word that impacts care is an automatic fail. This is very similar to how automatic speech recognition makes big claims about word error rate, and that’s used to make the case for accuracy. But in reality a 5% word error rate is not a stenographer’s 95% accuracy because we count a lot of minutia in our errors. That’s not even addressing that we’ve seen word error rates as high as 75%.

Transcription Shell Game by Dale Kivi excerpt for Stenonymous commentary.

The next part is mind boggling. It talks about a shell game in service cost, and presents that some vendors would inflate volume to make up for offering lower rates that secured them contracts. This happens in our industry too. For years, there have been social media reports™️ of agencies taking the reporter’s work and changing the format to add pages, effectively cutting the reporter out of extra income created by the deceit. Funny how a price can go down but revenue can go up, isn’t it?

Transcription Shell Game by Dale Kivi excerpt for Stenonymous commentary.

The next part is simple. It talks about how vendors claim they are using the industry standard when no such standard exists or is encouraged by the associations of medical transcription. This is what we are experiencing now in court reporting. Somehow, everybody in the game has the newest, most cutting-edge technology and promotes high standards. Does that seem like it makes sense? Somehow, for the past 20 years, automatic speech recognition usable for the legal field has eluded the largest companies in the world, as per the Racial Disparities in Automatic Speech Recognition 2020 study. Yet all these little companies in a minuscule industry have it? As I wrote on social media, it is my belief that in actuality what occurred was that OpenAI’s Whisper and things like it went open source, companies took it and tweaked it a bit, and now it’s theirs™️. Is it better than voice writing? Doubtful.

Transcription Shell Game by Dale Kivi excerpt for Stenonymous commentary.

The next paragraph should be read by every lawyer in the country that utilizes court reporters. Summarized: After a big market fight over methodologies and pricing, “organizations are catching their breath, many are left with empty pockets, unhappy physicians, questionable quality issues, and shady pricing.” After the dust settles in the market war with stenography, voice writing, and digital, organizations (law firms) will be left with all of that too, in my estimation. If you follow my work, you’ll know I’ve said outright that I believe there’s a kind of antitrust predatory pricing mindset built into the digital side of the market. Strangle out the stenographer competition, the number of competitors goes down, prices likely go up in sneaky ways that lawyers won’t catch unless they’re looking, and voices for quality like ours fade away, effectively ceding the market to the most conniving competitors and the court reporting oligopoly I call STTI Bloc. More on that later in this post.

Transcription Shell Game by Dale Kivi excerpt for Stenonymous commentary.

The last bit really impressed me. Kivi openly admits he’ll be chairing the AHIMA Foundation, AHIMA being one of the associations written about. Our field is a bit spotty on that. Sometimes people reveal their allegiances and commitments, and sometimes they conveniently leave it out. The honesty, in my view, lends Kivi’s writing credibility.

But more than that, he writes, in pertinent part, “It’s time for HIM…” (health information management) “…to take the lead…” “…if vendors do not follow the AHIMA guidelines for…” “…best practices…” “…someone must be prepared to call them out.” What is he saying there? It is incumbent on the customer to demand better from vendors. Again, this is the situation in our field. We are doing everything in our power to alert lawyers to the realities of the field, some of which they haven’t had to deal with for decades. People that point at our self-interest never seem to address the elephant in the room: Whatever our interest, it is tiny compared to the interests of the big box firms, who have millions of dollars at stake and may be zombie corporations (zombie video).

Transcription Shell Game by Dale Kivi excerpt for Stenonymous commentary.

There is another issue to consider when it comes to medical transcription technology versus court reporting. In medical transcription there is typically one speaker, so software can be trained to that one speaker. Continuous dialogue and Q&A is quite a bit different from medical dictation, and likely makes it harder to train “AI” systems.

I would like to note, though it’s not explicitly said, we look to associations to set guidelines and standards. The curious person might ask why these associations are not the ones calling vendors out on their shady, shoddy practices. Associations are limited by antitrust laws because they can be seen as, and to some extent factually are, competitor collectives. Under antitrust laws, competitors cannot band together to force another competitor out of the market or collude to set prices. When I spoke to a lawyer about antitrust, I was told there needs to be 1) Monopoly power, 2) An anti-competitive act, 3) Damage. Monopoly power usually refers to a high market share, but the sway associations have on industries would likely count. The anti-competitive act would be competitors banding together to hurt a vendor’s reputation. The damage component is what it is. So, perhaps humorously, we live in a world where a large corporation could sue an association that called them out for bad practices by using antitrust laws even if the corporation had much more revenue than the association. Worse than that, the corporation would probably have better lawyers, because they have the money to spend on them.

It’s my belief that the STTI Bloc and the oligopoly plot would fit the mold too, which is why I’ve referred to their activity as an antitrust conspiracy. It’s very clear that the companies under the Speech-to-Text Institute, such as Veritext, US Legal, and Stenograph, are using their high market share and favorable positions in the field to strangle out smaller steno competitors. USL bought and killed StenoTrain and turned Patricia Falls into a digital shill. Veritext is buying everybody out while conditioning future consumers to view stenography as obsolete. Stenograph’s using its dominance in sten-tech to shift from “everyone must go realtime” to “all the technologies we provide are realtime, honest.” Unfortunately, the government is inert. Only consumers damaged by the deceit can bring a claim. And who is going to bring a claim when they’re unaware they’ve been defrauded?

This is why my strategy is independent publishing. I’m a guy with a blog. People donate if they like what I’m “selling.” Most of that money goes toward trying to raise consumer awareness. Again, consumers are the people with the most power to stop what’s occurring. This strategy eliminates the antitrust issues because my donors are not a competitor collective, they’re just giving me money in the hopes I’ll use it for good, which isn’t illegal. Any frivolous lawsuit would get tied up in the backlogged court system for somewhere between 2 and 6+ years, all the while giving the media time to pick up on the court filings and blow the fraud wide open Streisand Effect style. It would also open the doorway for misled lawyer and student consumers to bring their own deceptive business practice or other claims as word spread. That’s why Veritext harasses people for their posts on Facebook and leaves me alone even though I’m the one that comes up when you Google search Veritext. With enough funding, we could get the fraud in front of millions of eyes, and there’d be no running from it then.

Google searches of Veritext reveal Stenonymous’s fraud claims. The company has been silent on these claims for over a year and a half.

It’s actually pretty phenomenal that they’ve allowed me to do what I’m doing without any resistance. The smart consumer is going to look at my claims, look at the years-long non-response of the larger corps, realize they’re outside the statute of limitations on defamation, and realize that the officers have a fiduciary duty to uphold the best interest of the company and shareholders. That means if someone is trashing your company in such a way that it could impact the value of that company, you’re obligated to do something. The only world where you let someone do what I’ve done is a world where it’s all true and there’s nothing you can do but hope the world doesn’t find out. Maybe a litigious shareholder will sue company officers for an alleged breach of fiduciary duty. Who knows?

So that’s my take on what we can learn from our sister industry along with the parallels and differences I saw. It’s also my take on why Stenonymous, at this point in the history of court reporting, is an effective performance for stopping corporate fraud.

If anybody from Veritext is reading, we’re coming for ya!

Stenographer Special Operations Team Begins National Spy Program*

In a bizarre turn of events Tuesday, the stenographic spy network Stenonymous released a memo to all agents telling them to disrupt the Fox and Dominion settlement as quickly as possible. “Our livelihood hangs in the balance,” said Stenonymous, “disrupt the settlement talks in any way you can.” Communications experts were deployed immediately, but failed to stop the settlement, reported to be over $700 million.

Stenographer Special Operations Team deployed to disrupt settlement talks across the country. Stenonymous Satire Weekends.

In other news…

Cult of Steno voted least likely to drink the Kool Aid.

Stenographer yells loudly at Congress. Americans’ approval of stenographers jumps 30 points.

Senator Chuck Schumer fails to respond to constituents regarding corporate fraud in court reporting. New Yorkers demanding answers.

Local ASSCR member Christopher Day says “thank God we have this board and Eric Allen. Maybe one day I’ll thank them too.”

Testifying While Black study rendered irrelevant after mostly peaceful riots by court reporters.

Upton Sinclair of court reporting vows to end shortage as long as everyone buys his new book.

Mr. Clean reviews digital court reporting transcript. “There’s nothing that can be done about this mess,” says Clean.

*None of this is true**. It’s part of Stenonymous Satire Weekends, a project to humorously link court reporting to current events (or any events) in a bid to get more search engine hits and call attention to the lies perpetrated on consumers and court administrators by the Speech-to-Text Institute and the companies behind the nonprofit.

**Well, okay, I did contact Schumer’s office about this and try to get some help since the FTC seems inert. But he’s just as corporate-controlled as every other politician, so the chances of him helping were always pretty slim. It’s an interesting thing for me because I’ve been a believer in the system my whole life, only to find out that the system doesn’t give a damn about anything that doesn’t help big business crush or control small businesses and sole proprietors. Maybe I’m lucky Veritext doesn’t sue. The system would probably grant the company summary judgment on a motion to dismiss the complaint. For people that don’t know legalese, it would be like declaring the wealthier baseball team the winner of a game before the game even starts.

There are at least some people hitting up stenographer social media with praises about AI and how it’s going to take our jobs. If you see that stuff, keep in mind that if something so good could replace you at a fraction of the cost, they wouldn’t need to convince you about it, they could just replace you. 🧐

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.

Veritext Ignores Fraud Allegations, Goes After Reporter for Facebook Post

Today it was revealed on the Protect Your Record Project Facebook page that someone’s post was screenshotted and given to Veritext. The company then tried to “cause trouble” for one of our fellow reporters.

Partial Statement by Kimberly D’Urso, Protect Your Record Project

Needless to say, the rules of etiquette were reviewed. Sharing posts without permission is not allowed in the group. I got permission to share the basic points of this story and my comment.

Christopher Day (Stenonymous) takes another shot at Veritext, a company accused of perpetuating the court reporter shortage fraud.

I must remark again on the hilarity of Veritext’s silence.

Truth be told, this too is part of my strategy. It is my belief that court reporters are smart. Eventually, even people that haven’t read my work will realize that my fraud allegations hit a home run. They can’t sue because it’s true. They watched the statute of limitations on defamation come and go without a care in the world because they are spineless cowards that couldn’t bear to be confronted with what they do to the women and men of this profession and the lie that they spun to kill the profession itself. When court reporters realize that the STTI Bloc is a direct threat to their income, that NCRA is more or less legally barred from doing anything to stop them, that Christopher Day is ready to fight for them in a way that this profession hasn’t ever seen before, and that the multimillion dollar corporations have to pretend Christopher Day doesn’t exist thanks to the Streisand Effect, there’s a chance they’ll find the funding for Stenonymous. We fund the NCRA to the tune of about $3 million a year. To put that kind of money into perspective, it’s enough for me to retire and spend the rest of my life fighting for working reporters and against corruption in our field. I won’t ask for that. But I will ask those that have not contributed to contribute something using the front page of Stenonymous.com, my PayPal at ChristopherDay227@gmail.com, or my Venmo @Stenonymous.

I don’t just take your money and do nothing with it while waiting for some magic number. I run ad campaigns and have media commissioned. I run a pretty good internet campaign that stretches across many Google searches and social media accounts. But I’m at the point where I’ve spent a considerable amount of my own money to keep things going. I genuinely need some help. If you can’t contribute monetarily, I have been considering the merits of a letter writing campaign. Perhaps some of you would join that when announced, or at the very least encourage others to join that. As I see it, if we want to continue to have this culture and society, if we want the speed contests and camaraderie to continue, we need to get serious about pushing back. We need to push back so hard that not one person in this whole field will even consider corruption and lying to make a buck.

Easiest way to lose a game is to forfeit. We’re a profession that has fought over comma placement. Can’t we join together and fight this?

How To Stop Corporate Fraud in Court Reporting by Joe Gratton

The following was written by Joe Gratton for the Stenonymous blog, mostly unedited:

There’s currently ongoing and blatant corporate fraud in the court reporting industry. Yet many industry professionals remain unaware and unconcerned about the danger posed by companies deliberately exaggerating the court reporter shortage to espouse the benefits of digital court reporting as if the two services are somehow equivalent.

The companies that have tacitly colluded under the umbrella of the non-profit Speech-to-Text Institute (STTI) are engaging in deceptive practices by spreading misinformation about the cost, quality, and validity of digital court reporting services.

With little to no oversight by courts or government agencies, these companies are getting away with it. However, there are steps stenographers, lawyers, and other affected parties can undertake to ensure justice is served and the court reporting profession is protected from further subversion.  

Background to the Corporate Fraud Currently Occurring in the Court Reporting Profession

It’s worthwhile spending a few moments elucidating the circumstances that have allowed corporate fraud to occur unchecked thus far. 

It’s essential to start by explaining that, yes, there are court reporter shortages within the United States – primarily due to retirement. However, these shortages are minimal and localized. Moreover, these minor shortages are increasingly offset by excellent recruitment initiatives led by National Court Reporters A to Z, Project Steno, Open Steno, and other worthy organizations. 

The companies launching spurious claims that the shortage can’t possibly be filled with more stenographers (and, therefore, should be replaced with the vastly inferior practice of digital court reporting) base their assumptions on the deeply-flawed Ducker Report of 2013-14, which stated that 70% of court reporters would retire over the next 20 years (2013-2033). 

Not only is the report now rapidly approaching ten years since publication (significantly undermining its relevance), but those predictions were based on, wait for it, interviews with 120 industry professionals from in and around the industry. Even with some “proprietary data analysis” thrown in from Ducker, how anyone can profess that there’s currently a potentially industry-ending court reporter shortage based on such flimsy evidence is anyone’s guess.

Worse, when reviewing objective industry data, there are around 27,000 court reporters still active within the profession. How many were there in 2013, the year of the Ducker Report? 21,000. The predicted retirement cliff must be getting taller every day since stenographer numbers are still trending upward ten years later. 

And yet, companies such as Veritext, US Legal, and others have happily used these terribly inaccurate extrapolations to make even worse predictions about stenography’s future. 

For instance, they have gone on the record to claim the industry requires 82,000 stenography training program enrollments annually (based on a 10% graduation rate) to plug the self-proclaimed shortfall. Yet this figure would quadruple the size of the entire court reporter industry today and increase the pool of available court reporters to six times that of 2014, the year the so-called “shortfall crisis” started. 

With wildly incorrect and baseless predictions like these, it’s easy to see why those with only the most tenuous of links to the legal profession are raising eyebrows at how some of these court reporting companies are getting away with blatantly misleading the public for so long. 

Why Corporate Fraud in Court Reporting Continues Today

There’s a pretty obvious reason these companies keep promoting and disseminating their misleading and inaccurate claims: there’s a lot of money to be made.

Stenography is skilled labor and is remunerated as such (some might say underpaid). For someone to type at a rate of 225+ words per minute with an accuracy rate of 99.8% takes years of training and dedication. Stenographic writing is closer to playing the piano than typing on a keyboard. It takes at least two years in a stenography training program, state licensure, and professional certification. 

Digital court reporter training lasts six months, with most of that time spent learning how to take accurate notes and operate sound and video equipment. That’s it. 

In short, these companies want to replace those hard-earned skills with technology so they can charge less for their services and make huge profit margins while doing so. With audio and video equipment in place, digital court reporters merely make sure the equipment is working and note key pieces of testimony.

The companies in question want to mislead the world into thinking that digital court reporting does the same work as traditional court reporting. But once again, the objective facts of the profession paint a different picture.

Automated Speech Recognition (ASR) software delivers a dreadful 25%-80% accuracy rate, and non-stenographers transcribe English dialects such as African American Vernacular English (AAVE) at a rate half as accurate as court reporters. These are merely two of dozens of damning examples showing that digital court reporting cannot replace standard court reporting. 

And yet the two are conflated as one and the same on a daily basis by those that stand to profit most from doing so.  

How they have been allowed to for so long somewhat beggars belief. 

It seems that, thus far, the courts and government agencies tasked with protecting the public from fraudsters and con artists seem unwilling or unable to act.

So can change be instigated? How can those being hurt by these misleading and fraudulent claims take action?

How to Fight Corporate Fraud in Court Reporting 

The simple answer is to fight back. The very tactics companies use to mislead the public can be used against them. They are so brazen and demonstrably false that they are easy to report to the appropriate authorities. 

Report Antitrust, False Advertising, or Deceptive Business Practices to the State Attorney General

Where applicable, it makes sense to refer complaints about deceptive practices and patently false advertising to the relevant state attorney general. Not only will they have a more precise understanding of the misrepresentation at hand (being lawyers themselves) than government agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), but state attorney generals have the legal power to act against such companies.

Their purview, among other responsibilities, includes enforcing their given state’s consumer protection laws. Given the flagrant breaches occurring, including false advertising, tacit collusion, and deceptive marketing practices, it would be entirely reasonable to expect that they can take action against these corporate fraudsters if made aware. 

Report Antitrust Violations and False Advertising to Federal Trade Commission

Given the attempts by the STTI to falsely create a market problem and sell the solution (digital court reporting), it’s worth reporting any antitrust or false advertising violations to the FTC.

Not only have they already pledged to protect gig workers from unfair, deceptive, and anticompetitive practices, but they have specifically stated they will also investigate exclusionary or predatory conduct that could cause harm to customers or reduced compensation, or poorer working conditions for gig workers.

Given the practices of these companies harms both customers (by giving the false illusion of equivalency between standard and digital court reporting and deceptively exaggerating the court report shortage) and the 70% of court reporters that work as independent contractors, the FTC should at the very least investigate these practices.  

Sending Information to Local and Corporate News Outlets

Sometimes the only way to draw attention to a problem is to throw a spotlight on it. By writing emails to editors of local newspapers or contacting local TV stations and radio stations, it’s possible to make clients aware of the deceptive practices and have them contact the relevant authorities and regulators to demand action. 

At the very least, it may be that these fraudulent operators have to answer very direct questions regarding their business practices. With the glare of a significant readership or viewership, they may squirm under the pressure and be forced into providing evidence and documentation that doesn’t actually support their statements. 

Contact Local Elected Officials

Another option for stopping corporate fraud on this scale is contacting elected local officials at either state legislature or county levels. 

Not only do they have the power to pass laws that protect consumers from unfair or deceptive trade practices, but they also have a direct line to the government agencies tasked with enforcing those laws, such as the FTC and state attorney general. 

Once again, those with the power to act can’t do so if they are ignorant of the problem in the first place. Only by publicizing these fraudulent practices can lawmakers and regulators be forced to act. 

Court Reporting is Under Attack from Those Standing to Benefit from Its Demise: It’s Time to Act

There’s no question that the court reporter shortage has been leapt upon by companies such as Veritext, US Legal, Planet Depos, and other members of the STTI as an opportunity to cash in on the digital court reporting market.

By replacing incredibly skilled labor with unskilled and automated digital transcription, they persist in attempting to convince law firms, courts, and even government agencies that digital court reporting is a viable replacement. 

The statistics speak for themselves on that front.

However, it’s the hyperbolic claims being made and the outright lies being spread about the court reporting industry in the name of corporate greed that are truly egregious. It’s naked corporate fraud that is only being further enabled by the willful ignorance of many lawmakers and regulators tasked with protecting consumers from unfair and deceptive trade practices.  

Thus, the onus is now on those willing to stand up for justice to take action using some, if not all, of the avenues mentioned above.

Hopefully, with coordinated and concerted action, there can be an end to the rampant corporate fraud taking place within the court reporting and stenography profession.   

Author: Joe Gratton
Bio: Joe Gratton is a professional writer who has worked with a number of legal firms in the United States, covering topics including court reporting, legal videography, electronic discovery (e-Discovery), and trial presentation services. 

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.

Court Reporter EDU is FoS

So I stumbled across the CourtReporterEdu.org website. A pleasant website that is facially neutral. You look at it, and it doesn’t seem to be anything “bad.” It talks about stenographers and shorthand. It has a picture of a stenotype. Looks like the kind of marketing stenographers should be doing.

Then you, reader, head on over to a magical place, court reporting info by state.

And when the reader goes to look at their state, they’ll infallibly get a long list of schools that have “court reporter programs.”

From my review of the New York schools listed, none have a digital court reporter degree. The few that mention digital court reporting sell the digital court reporting as a “continuing education” program. In short, they’re selling continuing education for a degree track that does not exist. Some of these schools have zero mention of digital court reporting on their website. Some schools, like BMCC, you reach out to admissions, and they know nothing about the program.

So, of course, I ask Ed 2 Go what the deal is, because Mark Pugal from Ed 2 Go has been trying to sell me on Digital Court Reporting for like a month now.

And of course, I trust, but verify.

BMCC asked for my concerns, so I put them out there.

Now, just to explain, in part, why I think CourtReporterEDU and possibly Ed 2 Go is being dishonest: (1) In many of the schools listed, when one goes to independently verify the existence of the program, it doesn’t seem to exist. Attempting to verify the program with the schools that actually do seem to offer it leads to this roundabout “we don’t have that program, but actually we do” response. Maybe at the point colleges are selling programs with no future and are so insignificant the admissions department doesn’t know they exist, or they don’t exist, we’ve gone too far. (2) Even where the program exists, it is selling students a course in something that is not the industry standard and does not have as many opportunities. (3) Putting a stenotype on your homepage and then diverting people to digital court reporting via esyoh.com and Ed 2 Go is just dishonest. Even if we forgive everything else, the way this page is set up is to confuse people and lend legitimacy to digital court reporting that it does not deserve.

At the bottom of this page is a video walking people through that part. Now for a bit of speculation. We know from the WHOIS lookup that the registrant’s address was in Florida. The server the site is hosted on appears to be in California, but that’s likely irrelevant.

Luckily, one of the schools actually advertising the program gives us a peek into who might be promoting it. Wagner College lists Merritt Gilbert and Natalie Hartsfield.

Merritt Gilbert is apparently in Florida and connected to BlueLedge. BlueLedge, as some may remember from a prior post, are aggressively marketing digital as the answer to the stenographer shortage exaggerated and exacerbated by STTI, Veritext, and US Legal. The author of that article stating digital reporting is the answer to shortage? Benjamin Jaffe. Who is Benjamin Jaffe? BlueLedge.

Who is Merritt Gilbert? BlueLedge.

Who is Natalie Hartsfield? Digital, BlueLedge, Florida.

Now here’s where it gets really interesting. Remember when I wrote yesterday that US Legal has been on inactive status in New York since 2001? BlueLedge, according to Florida Department of State, has been dissolved since 2019.

And just for anyone who thinks “maybe there are two BlueLedge companies in Florida,” take a look at that mailing address, 101 E Kennedy Blvd. Guess what the address for BlueLedge is.

If you guessed 101 E Kennedy Blvd, congratulations.

How is it legal for a dissolved company to misdirect the public, searching for stenographic reporter training, to Ed 2 Go and digital court reporting? It might not be, but it’s going to depend on us asking our various government agencies to look into this as a matter of false advertising and possibly operating illegally in the state. I reached out to my New York State Education Department as it pertained to this course being sold to New York consumers. Maybe this is something the members of each state association can tackle.

This situation blew my mind. We cannot stand for this. We have to fight and understand that we are playing against people that do not play by the rules or within the bounds of our self-imposed moral code. I have collected these images and ideas in a central place. Please use them to do good. I should note that at least one consumer was extremely confused and came onto our message boards asking about how to buy a stenotype for digital court reporting. We must act with compassion. Consumers are being lied to and we are the only people with the knowledge to explain it to them. They WILL stumble onto our message boards confused because they ARE being bombarded by lies.


After reaching out to ESYOH well after this article, they took action! The scheme is now less potent because of their valiant actions.

Where the schools used to lure students to a splash page, they now lead to box about degrees.

Veritext and US Legal Lied to the Public About Stenographer Shortage

Veritext, through its puppet Cooper, and US Legal, have both been lying about the stenographer shortage. How do we know? Cooper claims the problem started 8 years ago. This is objectively false. Firms 8 years ago were saying they could not pay better rates because there was a glut of reporters. Even if you don’t believe that, stenographers are 30 years behind inflation, which does not happen if a field is experiencing a shortage.

But they’ve made it even easier to tell they are lying and committing a fraud against the legal profession. Let’s see what Cooper has to say.

As you can see, Cooper claims you would need 82,000 students to enroll in court reporting training programs nationwide in 2019 and each year following in order to overcome the deficit.

What does US Legal say?

Wow. 82,000 enrollments needed and only 2,500 enrollments occurred. Sounds like a death knell for stenography. Right?

Liars. How do we know? In 2014, BLS told us there were 21,000 court reporters. From my own independent analysis of the numbers and NCRA statistics, there are actually closer to 27,000 or 28,000 court reporters. It does not matter whose statistics you use, the conclusion they’re lying remains the same. There was no shortage crisis in 2014. We have roughly the same number of court reporters today as we did back then. The 2013 Ducker Report told us that 70% of court reporters would retire over the next 20 years (2013-2033). 70% of that 28,000 is about 20,000 reporters. Succinctly, the retirement cliff we are trying so hard to fight is about 20,000 people if you trust NCRA and about 15,000 people if you trust the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

About 10% of people that start steno graduate. So if we had 82,000 enrollments a year, that’s 8,200 new stenographers per year. But look at what US Legal wrote again. “We needed 82,000 new students to enroll in court reporting training programs nationwide each year to overcome the impact.” If we, in fact, have 82,000 new students each year from 2019 to 2033 (15 years), we would have 1.23 million enrollments or 123,000 graduates. Our field would be quadruple the size it is today, and if you go by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly six times larger than it was in 2014.

To combat our retirement cliff of 20,000 people between 2019 and 2033, we need a total of 200,000 enrollments. That’s about 13,400 enrollments or 1,340 graduates a year, a number six times smaller than the one proffered by US Legal and Veritext/Cooper. If you’re six feet tall, that’s like me claiming you’re 36 feet tall. If we required 8,200 stenographers per year, about half of all depositions would be going uncovered right now (8,200 x 3 years 2019-2021, a gap and demand for 25,000 stenographers by 2021.)

If you accept Owler’s revenue numbers, Veritext controls about $490 million in revenue and US Legal controls about $100 million. That’s a combined total of $590 million. If you accept the Kentley Insights 2019 Stenotype Services market research report, that’s about 20% of our field, and they are using their power to destroy it.

590 million divided by 3 billion is almost 20%

Some have said: They’re lying. So what?

Well, the market preference is stenography.

Court Reporting Industry Outlook 2013-2014 Ducker Worldwide

We know from nonprofits like Protect Your Record Project that attorneys are being told they must accept digital because no stenographer is available even after attorneys order stenographers. So we know there’s some serious false advertising going on.

Previously, I was unsure if there was collusion between major players in the field. Considering that both are using similar language it seems unlikely that both have come independently to the same incorrect conclusion. It’s not like the two firms are enemies. They’ve lobbied together before.

It seems much more likely that following fraudster Jim Cudahy’s lead via the Speech-To-Text Institute, the two companies are involved in a plot to hurt the market and rob consumers of their choice. Quite frankly, Cudahy uses his ex-NCRA credentials to lend credibility to this fraud. After all, STTI has been instrumental in creating the propaganda ruining our field. STTI was, without a doubt, created for the sole purpose of promulgating propaganda and facilitating the ongoing fraud, against its stated mission of representing all modalities in speech-to-text transcription. STTI’s lies are also easy to see through.

Virginia Lawyers Weekly

A gap of 11,000 predicted by 2023 according to a recent study. What study was that? None. The year 2023 doesn’t appear in the Ducker Report. At best, these numbers are extrapolated from an outdated report that could not account for the positive recruitment impact of NCRA A to Z, Project Steno, and Open Stenoinitiatives that Jim Cudahy should have known about in 2019.

Unless you believe 2 + 2 = 24, the stenographer shortage is being exaggerated and exacerbated by Veritext and US Legal Support. And now you have a brief video to help explain it directly to attorneys.