When it comes to the court system, it seems like there’s an endless stream of cases that are going through every day. And yet, there’s a shortage of court reporters taking the depositions for those cases. This causes depositions to be delayed or even cancelled altogether because there aren’t enough reporters to cover all of them. This shortage was predicted by Ducker Worldwide and the NCRA in their Court Reporting Industry Outlook back in 2013, where they said that the industry would really start to notice it in 2018. As it stands right now, the reporter demand exceeds supply by almost 5,500. Without a large influx of new reporters, this gap will only continue to widen.
The age of court reporters is only growing too, with the average age being between 50 to 55 years old. If younger generations don’t start coming in to the industry, then there won’t be a lot of relief for this shortage. And the problem isn’t that they aren’t smart enough or tech-savvy enough to handle the career. The biggest problem is that court reporting isn’t marketed to younger generations as a viable option for them. If they want to enter the legal field, the careers that they usually end up pursuing are those of paralegals or lawyers. Court reporting probably doesn’t even cross their mind. On top of that, they typically have a lack of understanding about what the job would entail even if they were interested in this field.
While most people who are not in the legal industry, and even some that are, are not currently concerned about this shortage, it needs to be addressed. And that starts with education. Educating younger generations about this career option and encouraging them to pursue it if they are interested. The push towards getting a four-year degree and the lack of understanding surrounding this career has really impacted enrollment rates for colleges and certification programs looking to create more reporters. Another important factor is really pushing for reporters in the areas that have been affected most during the shortage, including California and Texas as two of the states with the most demand right now.
Attorneys and law firms can help combat this problem as well by establishing good working relationships with the reporters and reporting agencies they use already. They can do that by making sure to schedule depositions as soon as they know when they’ll be and providing any additional information as needed for the reporter or agency such as directions to the deposition, approximately how long it will be, and so on. These small changes will make a significant impact on the relationships that already exist and help them stay strong even during this court reporter shortage.
And If you’re looking to partner with a court reporting agency to build that kind of relationship, consider calling us at Ruffin Consulting, Inc. We’ve helped service depositions nationwide for over 15 years and our clients keep coming back for more. We pride ourselves on our professionalism and customer service and we’re willing to help you however we can.