Need A Court Reporter? Check This Out.

Nearly a decade since the stenographer shortage was forecasted, some states and municipalities are feeling the squeeze due to a shortage of qualified court reporters. While the severity of the shortage is a matter of debate, digital court reporting alternatives are proving glitchy.

The available data shows a majority of consumers want a qualified stenographic or stenomask reporter. As I’ve published on this blog in the past, not all court reporting firms are making best efforts to meet demand. So here are an industry insider’s tips for lawyers, law firms, paralegals, and secretaries on finding a stenographer.

  1. NCRA PROLink – The National Court Reporters Association is our industry’s largest trade association and maintains a free national directory of qualified court reporters.
  2. State associations – Many state associations keep “Find A Reporter” tools on their website. Some examples include New York, Florida, Kentucky, Illinois, and California. Even states without a Find A Reporter tool, like Texas, have a number you can call or an email you can write to.
  3. Protect Your Record Project – PYRP is a consumer education nonprofit that has a Find A Stenographer feature.
  4. Ask your court reporting firm if they’re using CoverCrow. The firm may simply work harder to find you a stenographer once it sees you know a thing or two about our field.
  5. Check out stenographer social media. There are public communities where you can ask questions and someone will point you in the right direction. Ask if anyone has a list of court reporting services, like the one I am maintaining for New York.
  6. Some firms, like REC, will attempt to help you find coverage even if they can’t cover. Don’t be afraid to ask your firm for a referral.

Anyone looking for more information on stenography as a career should see National Court Reporters Association A to Z, Project Steno, or Open Steno.

This ad will run for at least 7 days via the Stenonymous Facebook page. Anyone that wants to contribute to the blog fund and consumer awareness advertisement, feel free to use the donation box below.

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NYSCRA’s Upcoming Webinars Can Shape Our Profession

There are a slew of New York State Court Reporters Association webinars coming up that you can register for here. I’d like to point out two of them in particular:

How to Stay Relevant in an Industry at Risk of Disruption by Dr. Erika Jacobi. I want to hone in on one line from the flyer, “empower reporters, captioners, and individual business owners to thrive despite adversity.” The more of us that learn to do this, the more of us that can then turn around and share that knowledge or even sell the knowledge through educational events. By attending, you’re basically becoming a part of the first wave of stenographers that will teach the next waves ways to think which will culminate in an ocean of us all armed with the knowledge not just to survive, but to prosper.

Speech Perception, from Spoken Word to Written Text by Culture Point. The data available today says that stenographers are the best there is, but that there is room for improvement. This is part of that improvement. Through academic understanding of linguistics, we can improve how we hear. I’ve spoken to a stenographer with linguistics training about this, and her thoughts were that these types of classes are very important. Again, the first wave of us that learns these concepts can teach the next waves and increase our own personal value and our skills. I know this because I was a ripple sharing what I learned and it landed me on TV. I was on NYSCRA’s board when the first discussions about this workshop were had, and I have a firm belief that the education will help stenographers, both newbies and masters.

NYSCRA has put a lot into this. A press release was drafted and republished to various sites across the web like Daily Ledger, American Tech Today, and The Business Gazette Online. We all have an individual choice to make. Do we take that effort and toss it away, and allow these opportunities to pass unnoticed, or do we take charge of our profession and turn the first wave of stenographers to learn these concepts into a mile-high tsunami?

Recent events have made it very clear that you, reader, are in charge of what happens next in our profession. I hope that you will join me on those webinars and that we will march into the future ready to help others thrive and close the narrow gap in our stenographic linguistics training. I know that together we can make our gold standard shine brighter.

New Year New Rates Movement (NY Freelancers)

With the ongoing reporter shortage, agencies have been more willing to negotiate to get coverage. For many reasons, we do need to address the shortage, but while it’s happening, it’s important to remember supply and demand. They want the jobs covered? They need to pay properly.

I saw a post that basically said: “Agencies known for paying low have offered to pay my rates.” And the next line was great “new year, new rates.” The message is clear: if you’re getting low balled by your agency or you know someone else who is, ask for more. Encourage everyone to ask for more. Ideas often spread through echo chambers, so echo this: Public sector’s set at 4.30 a regular, 5.50 an expedite, 6.50 a daily, and a dollar a copy! You better believe that agencies are making at least that, so it’s time to start asking for that. Do not be shy about taking action in your own interest. In 2010 agencies had no problem moving lockstep and saying no, we can’t afford to pay you more. Eight years later, shoe is on the other foot, and it’s only our ability to coordinate, spread the idea, and stand firm that freelance reporters must make more for what they do.And if they don’t pay, remember that each and every freelancer is an entrepreneur and can compete directly with the agencies. I’ve known reporter-owned agencies that paid us above what the market was when times were tough, and it’s the reporter-owned firms that are going to pull us forward. There’s going to be a wave where the next shotcaller comes into town. You could be that person, you could know that person, or you could encourage that person to succeed.