Is There Really a Court Reporter Shortage?

by AWR | Jul 17, 2019 3:36:22 PM | Court Reporting


When it comes to court reporters, it’s a seller’s market. This is due largely to the fact that there is a shortage of court reporters alongside more lawsuits than ever. The question then is what does this mean for your law firm and how will it impact the practice of law overall?

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Factors Influencing the Shortage


Despite a brief love affair with digital recording, more law firms are now requiring the presence of court reporters. Why? Because they feel court reporters are more accurate, more reliable, and have a number of other advantages over tape recorders.

Cross-Industry Demand

At the same time, there are more industries competing for the services of court reporters. Today, you will find court reporters at conferences, hearings, and seminars. Industries such as sports, television, and general business are all hiring court reporters to transcribe formal events.


During the period of time when law offices and courtrooms decided that tape recorders were better, many of those in school saw the writing on the wall. Today, the average age of a court reporter is 51 years old. Significant retirement rates have also contributed to the shortage.

The shortage boils down to a simple case of supply and demand. The demand for court reporters has increased while the supply has diminished.

How Will the Legal Industry Respond?


Most experienced attorneys and judges are still of the opinion that digital technology, including voice-to-text transcription, cannot perform the same duties at the same quality as court reporters. This has improved the prospects for court reporters in general. Those who work with large-scale companies that perform legal services for law firms are seeing increased interest in their skills. That has resulted in more opportunities for court reporters and more competition for their time.

In response to the shortage, those who are seeking an opportunity to make a living as a court reporter are finding it easier to do so. No longer are they required to go through costly four-year programs. Technical degrees and certifications are sufficient. This translates to lower debt and higher return on their educational investment. Additionally, there are many online courses that students can take while they’re working a full-time job, which allows for easier entry into the industry, great return on investment, in an ever-expanding industry.

Where once it seemed like court reporters would go the way of the telegraph, the tide has turned back in their favor, and there is more demand than ever before.

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