Online discussions and debates on whether or not there is indeed a shortage of stenographers in the country today are becoming more heated as days go by. Content creators and bloggers like Christopher Day, also known as Stenonymous, claim that companies like Veritext and US Legal have been lying to the public in saying that there is a pressing concern on the shortage of stenographers to serve the courts’ massive needs today. Day was met with a lot of criticism for implying that there is no truth to this claim. Who is telling the truth?
Veritext is a national court reporting company based in San Francisco, California that has more than 40 state-of-the-art deposition facilities. US Legal is a company that caters to clients who have a need for legal services and information. Its clients include attorneys, corporations, ordinary consumers, and small businesses, among others. Both companies, according to Day, are misinforming the public about the real state of stenographers in the country. But what is the real state of stenographers in the country today anyway?
On September 29, 2020, Law Technology Today published an article that reveals the court reporter crisis the country is facing and went on to add that the shortage is forcing people to push for more innovative approaches to address the dilemma. The article also expounded on the important role that stenographers play in the legal process, from taking notes on live proceedings so they can later be used in formal proceedings to taking depositions and noting the valuable testimonies of witnesses. The surprising revelation of that article was the serious and undeniable shortage of stenographers across the country.
There is still a growing demand for stenographers where no one is replacing those who are retiring from the job.
It is also worth noting that fewer and fewer young professionals are inclined to pursue stenography as a professional career. Most of them see it as outdated. The reality is, however, there is still a growing demand for stenographers where no one is replacing those who are retiring from the job.
This sad reality was also validated by another article published by the Speech to Text Institute, a non-profit organization composed of leaders from the industry. The article also highlighted the shortage of stenographers in the country, citing the experience of stenographer Chris Willette as an illustration. While business was booming for her as the owner of Willette Court Reporting in Wausau, she was also worried about the problem at hand.
“I’m working more than I frankly would like to at my age, but someone has to keep the records,” Willette shared. She has been a court reporter for more than 30 years and has always managed to keep up with her bookings, but the past few years have proven to be quite challenging. To keep up with the demands of the legal process, she hired a new court reporter who was fresh out of college.
“That is a huge relief,” Willette expressed. “It’s hard to get young people, especially to move to Wausau.”
The Ducker Report from the National Court Reporters Association revealed that Wisconsin had 430 court reporters in 2018. The number was more than a hundred fewer than what is needed in reality. According to the Speech to Text Institute, it estimates that the present pool of court reporters in Wisconsin alone will drop by at least 100 people in the next five years, while the demand will continue to escalate. It also estimates that by 2028, only 307 people will be working as court reporters in Wisconsin despite the increasing demand for stenographers.
Clearly, there is a legitimate problem that seeks to be addressed immediately. There is no wisdom behind downplaying it, as even court stenographers themselves attest to its validity. As to why Christopher Day is bent on saying otherwise is something worth finding out in the future.