The job of a court reporter is an essential component in the legal world – courts and discoveries cannot operate without professionals to keep the official written record of the proceedings. Having said that, nationwide, more specifically Ontario is experiencing an extreme court reporter shortage. The majority of courts are moving to digital reporting, where an individual sits with an audio recording device to prepare the transcripts. In Ontario specifically, courts are gradually moving the court reporting role with digital monitoring positions.

That said, the shortage of stenographers has been long anticipated.

There is a concern that the traditional court reporting position will be phased out and replaced with a digital audio recording.

Inevitably, technology has become the new norm in our society which has played a significant role in moving towards a more digital practice within the courtroom. As well, COVID-19 has also factored into the transition of online digital recordings.  With the changing circumstances, the ongoing pandemic as well as technological advancements within the courtroom, court reporting is still very much in demand and there is a substantial opportunity to get into this line of work.

Although technological advancements can be a great asset, technology can also cause inaccurate recordings. Court reporters are there in real-time and can ask questions/clarifications if needed. For example, digital recordings may not be able to pick up what is being said by all parties, especially if the discovery is occurring in a larger room and people are speaking from different locations within the venue. Overall, the major concern with these online technological advancements is that the discoveries will not be properly documented.

Moving forward, there is simply not enough buzz about this career. Alongside lawyers and paralegals, court reporters are an integral part of the legal process. But there has been a huge disregard for court reporting schools or schools that teach stenography. As a result, this has a huge impact on the court reporting decline.

Furthermore, retirement is another root cause of the court reporting shortage. The median age of working court reporters is 51 years old. This is almost ten years older than the median age of workers in all occupations. Additionally, 70% of the court reporting population is 46 years or older. This contributes to significant retirement rates in the industry.

While this is already an existing issue with law firms and courts, the likelihood of this accelerating is high.

To book a court reporter for a meeting or a mediation, or even to discuss a court reporting position with On The Record, call one of our locations today, conveniently located in Whitby and Barrie  We look forward to discussing your court reporting or mediation needs.