In the courtroom, the focus tends to be on the very vocal attorney asking tough questions. At times, it can also be on the stern judge mediating between errant parties. Hardly ever do court reporters get recognized because they sit quietly in the corner. A court reporter Fort Lauderdale FL said they easily blend into the background because they do not speak unless spoken to. Instead, they just type up the proceedings and aim to give accurate reports.
However, though they remain silent, court reporters play a critical role in the carriage of justice. In fact, legal proceedings cannot commence without the presence of a court reporter. To illustrate, most people will never recognize audio engineers during a major concert. However, they ensure that the audience enjoys the show. They also work hard to record and document the entire production for later broadcast. Without sound technicians, the event will be postponed.
Well, in the world of court reporting, it works out just the same. The administration of justice cannot be carried out in their absence. Unfortunately, you will encounter a delay in your case these days because of a court reporter shortage. If you are suffering from a postponed case, learn more about this issue below:
The Sad Truth About Shortages
A court reporter in Fort Lauderdale FL shared that there is a shortage of experienced workers in their fields. For example, in some states, court reporter compensation was suddenly cut because of the failing economy. As a result, many veteran court reporters have had to seek work elsewhere. Because of these reasons, many courtrooms do not have a court reporter.
Consequently, everyone deals with frustration as hearings get delayed for an indefinite period of time. Sadly, this turn of events makes people angry because justice delayed is justice denied. Remember, court reporters play a crucial role in:
- Providing official records of legal proceedings
- Giving accurate transcripts of word-for-word statements
- Paying attention to details to assure nothing gets left out
- Furnishing final reports to all parties concerned
With the current shortage, a court reporter Fort Lauderdale FL affirmed that hearings, arbitration cases, depositions, and trials are indeed left hanging. None of these can commence until a court reporter can work on the scene.
The Retiring Veterans Add to the Fire
Another pressing problem that affected this issue included the retirement of veterans. A court reporter Fort Lauderdale FL noted that most court reporters belong to the mid and late 50s age bracket. The current shortage also falls on the fact that not enough new graduates enter the field. As a result, you have people retiring with no one to fill the position.
If someone comes, they usually encounter a court reporter in another field like a freelancer who works for live events or the deaf community. Alternatively, they grab someone from a different state to fill the empty positions. For example, you can pirate someone from Colorado to Florida. But skills tests prove necessary, as well as the proper state and industry-related certifications.
The Situation of Not Enough New Graduates
On top of that, the numbers show that people training for this profession have dwindled. Though many colleges have begun offering a court reporter program to solve the shortage, the situation still appears dire. A court reporter Fort Lauderdale FL said though most programs are at least two years, and can even be completed online, many educational programs say that they possess a dropout rate of 75%.
As such, whether you have recruiters actively looking for court reporters to fill in a big void, it doesn’t matter. Why? Because there are not enough new court reporter graduates to fill in the vacant posts. It seems that students drop out because of the stringent requirements like:
- Mastering steno theory
- Typing at least 225 words per minute
- Learning legal proceedings
- Memorizing legal and medical jargon
- Passing the required state licenses
- Complying with industry certifications
The Compounding Problems
Apart from the shortage of crucial staff, a court reporter in Fort Lauderdale FL said that the delays brought on by the pandemic compounds the problem. With so many case backlogs due to the suspensions of face-to-face hearings, the workload feels overwhelming.
As a result, the dwindling number of court reporters serving in their respective areas cannot keep. For this reason, judges, lawyers, and parties concerned feel terribly frustrated. The shortage and delays just keep on getting worse with each passing day.
The Invitation to HS Grads and Transitioning Workers
Because of the shortage, even a veteran court reporter Fort Lauderdale FL said that they actively invite high school graduates to pursue this field. The same goes for people in other careers who wish to shift their careers. Because of the shortage and high demand, many new graduates receive a lot of potential job offers. Newly minted court reporters will have many options to choose from. In fact, recruiters search proactively for graduates. Thus, it proves that this career path is indeed a lucrative investment.
Though certain places like North Carolina slashed their pay, most places still offer a very lucrative monthly compensation package for court-reporting graduates. Besides, studying for this career has become easier with a 2-year online court reporting program. Consequently, students can also opt for an on-campus experience with an associate degree.
Remember, a court reporting degree and certificate will open doors. Notably, court reporters do not have to stick to a courtroom setting. In fact, court reporters can also work in other industries. They provide the following:
- Transcription services for movies and TV shows
- Assistance for daily life for the hard-of-hearing
- Documentation for meetings and other live events like concerts and sports activities
- Work within the classroom setting to record lessons for the deaf community
The Final Word
As the shortage continues, whether due to compensation issues, lack of new graduates, or retiring veterans, delays in courtroom proceedings prove inevitable. It can indeed be aggravating for the parties concerned when the administration of justice waits. After all, many know that lady justice holds a reputation for not being patient.
However, many industry veterans feel hopeful that younger people will eventually take on this challenge. After all, this profession is a well-paying career opportunity. Besides, captioners and court reporters do not need a four-year degree. As such, it is a lot faster and easier for court reporting graduates to transition into the workforce.