Court Reporters are often behind the scenes. We're the flies on the wall, and yet are crucially necessary for legal proceedings and accessibility services like closed captioning. What you might not know about court reporters, however, is that we are becoming fewer and further between by the day.
Court Reporter Shortage
A relatively recent study indicated that there will be a shortage of nearly 550o court reporters by 2018.
The fact is, court reporters are simply retiring at a faster rate than they are being educated. That, combined with a steady rise in demand, is recipe for disaster. Pockets around the country are already experiencing shortages and some firms have even invested in alternative technologies that could change the way depositions are held in the future.
An Aging Profession
The average age of a court reporter is more than 51 years old, while the average age of all professions is around the mid 40's.
Court reporting is an amazingly rewarding profession. It's truly fascinating to watch lawsuits unfold before your eyes. Hearing the most intimate details of circumstances from all walks of life.
It's not for the faint of heart, though. While court reporting doesn't require a degree from a university, more than 90% of students drop out of court reporting programs. This sharp attrition, combined with low recruitment numbers mean that schools are shutting their doors.
The National Court Reporters Association has recognized the crisis and has even implemented their Take Note campaign. Take Note could be considered the association's Hail Mary pass. It's an expensive, professionally orchestrated PR movement to simply bring awareness to the profession.
Threatened by alternative technologies, the NCRA is in damage-control mode. Lawyers should establish relationships with their court reporters now before the shortages come to New England.