Fall is already upon us, and 2017 is speeding by. As we move toward the end of the year, it is time to start looking ahead to 2018, to anticipate what the future may hold. Court reporting is a profession that has been continually adapting over time since the first American shorthand machine was invented in 1879. Though some may misguidedly peg court reporting as outmoded, the profession is constantly evolving, modernizing and looking forward. In that spirit of advancement and modernization, this blog post examines the upcoming innovations and challenges in store for the court reporting industry in 2018.
The Job Market
As we discuss in our Court Reporter Shortage blog post, the legal and court reporting industries are facing an impending shortage of around 5,500 qualified court reporters. According to the 2013 Ducker Worldwide report, these industries will begin to feel the effects of the shortage in 2018.
The looming shortage will have a mixed impact for current court reporters. On one hand, qualified reporters will experience an increased demand for their services: a shortage of 5,500 qualified court reporters means 5,500 potential job opportunities for current reporters. There will be more opportunities for freelance work and potential increases in compensation. On the other hand, court reporting firms and legal firms will find it increasingly difficult to hire new reporters as education and enrollment rates across court reporting schools continue to fall.
In light of these demographics, the industry as a whole should focus on visibility, recruitment and outreach in 2018. Court reporting is a lucrative career with boundless opportunities for young professionals. Skilled court reporters are indispensable to the judicial process, and those in the legal field can help by encouraging new reporters to join the industry.
Will technology replace court reporters in 2018? The firm consensus is no, a qualified court reporter simply cannot be replaced by technology. (However, you can read more about that debate here.) What is certain is that skilled court reporters will continue to utilize efficient, new technologies to streamline legal processes in 2018.
Realtime Court Reporting
Realtime software instantaneously translates stenographic shorthand into readable English. This software represents the perfect marriage between court reporter and technology: it offers speed and efficiency without sacrificing accuracy, nuance and human skill. Attorneys and reporters alike increasingly rely on this technology. 2018 will establish realtime court reporting, more than ever, as the standard for legal proceedings.
Legal Video Synchronization
Multimedia presentations are essential to the modern legal field. Video depositions are frequently used in litigation, but they can be difficult to edit or reference quickly. Video synchronization software, as the name suggests, synchronizes a video deposition with its written transcript. With this technology, legal professionals can instantly cue and play portions of video simply by referencing line numbers or keywords in the script. Video synchronization greatly improves the efficiency and celerity of deposition work and will only become more prevalent in 2018.
As we note in our recent blog post, videoconferencing — though not exactly a new technology — is only recently being used in a greater capacity. Videoconferencing allows legal firms and courtrooms remote but “live” access to defendants, witnesses and experts. This technology greatly reduces the costs and improves the overall efficiency and convenience of legal proceedings. As a result, many legal professionals are making great use of videoconferencing software, and this will only continue in 2018.
What’s New for Connor Reporting?
Connor Reporting is committed to modernization and the use of new technologies in the legal field. Because of this, the company recently redesigned and updated its office headquarters in downtown Indianapolis. Connor currently has three, spacious videoconferencing suites. These suites are equipped with flat-screen HD TVs and state-of-the art videoconferencing technology. Connor Reporting can accommodate all your videoconferencing needs, with any remote location across the globe.
With these hi-tech, modern capabilities, Connor hopes to inspire a productive, efficient and collaborative work environment for our employees and our clients. Connor Reporting is committed to superior service, using the latest technologies. With this in mind, we are ready to take on 2018, and we hope you are too!