Atlanta Court Reporting Blog

National Court Reporter Shortage

Important Tips to Assure Smooth Scheduling With Your Reporting Firm in Midst of the National Court Reporter Shortage

Important tips to assure smooth scheduling with your reporting firm.

Last week was NCRA’s National Court Reporting & Captioning Week. As we celebrated our profession, we were also reminded of the court reporter shortage that is challenging our industry today.

NCRA previously reported that by 2018 there would be a national shortfall of over 5,500 court reporters across the nation. Today, we are all feeling the crunch of the nationwide court reporter shortage.

Perhaps you have felt the sting of the shortage in your own practice. It was only a few years ago when you could confidently schedule your favorite reporting firm the night before a deposition. Back then, a cheerful “No problem!” was the likely response. Those days have long passed.

Our team has discussed the contributing factors as well as the impact this issue is having on the legal community. As stewards of the record, Donovan Reporting is committed to providing the highest quality, ethically sound, real-time solutions for our clients’ reporting needs—in the fastest possible time.

Factors Contributing to the Court Reporter Shortage

Probably the biggest contributing factor is that reporters themselves are known for being barely seen and rarely heard. As a result, the vocation itself doesn’t have a loud band of advocates educating the next generation on the benefits of pursuing a career in court reporting. (More details about the benefits of a career in court reporting can be found here.)

The lack of public awareness about court reporting as a viable career option may explain the raised eyebrows and “wow” factor that many folks feel when they realize that court reporting is a highly professional, technically educated, and competitively paid profession. At Donovan Reporting, we love what we do. We know that if more folks were aware of the benefits of the career, there wouldn’t be a national court reporter shortage.

Widespread Impact of the National Court Reporter Shortage

The court reporter shortage has impacted many courtrooms across the country. When the role of court reporter is not filled for a civil hearing, judicial systems are stretched, and some jurisdictions are opting to pass the responsibility of obtaining (and paying for) a court reporter directly to the attorneys and parties involved in litigation. As a result, freelance workloads are oftentimes overflowing which has resulted in difficult scheduling in many cases.

Enough of the bad news…Here’s what you can do to make sure your needs are met.


How You Can Assure Smooth Scheduling

How You Can Assure Smooth Scheduling

As they say in sports, “the best defense is a solid offense.” There are simple, yet important actions that you can take to assure smooth scheduling, including:

  1. Never assume that the task can be delayed until the last minute. Make sure that scheduling of the court reporter is included as part of your deposition planning process. As soon as the details of the deposition are determined, go ahead and schedule the reporter as well. Need to schedule now?
  2. Critical details: Time, Place, Date. When scheduling a deposition, there are many details included on our online scheduling form. However, the three “criticals” are time, place, and date. If you have those, we can go ahead and put in a place holder for you. We’ll add in the remaining details as you are able to collect them.
  3. If a deposition must be cancelled, please let us know as soon as possible. In other words, as soon as the deposition is cancelled, tell us! Don’t wait until we contact you the day before to confirm. Otherwise, valuable (and scarce) resources are wasted.

At Donovan Reporting, we take the national court reporter shortage very seriously. Providing the highest quality record and being available for our fine clients is very important to us. This is why we work hard to attract and retain the highly skilled, professional reporters you have come to know and trust. After 27 years, we remain committed to being your first and best choice.

Thank you for your trust. We look forward to working with you next time, and every time!

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