The Pros and Cons of AI Court Reporting

Since the onset of the pandemic in 2019 our industries have undergone profound transformations. The emphasis on social distancing, remote working, and contact-free payment systems has facilitated the digitization of our economy and court reporting was not exempt from this trend. Part of this digitization process involves an increasing reliance on artificial intelligence for recording court trials, transcribing legal proceedings, and providing closed-captioning solutions.

The first benefit of AI-assisted court reporting is its time-saving element. Pandemic mandates and concerns mean fewer court reporters are available to document live courtroom proceedings. Fewer stenographers mean courtroom transcripts require a longer turnaround time. Using digital recording, we can capture a rough transcription of a trial or disposition which a professional transcriber can then refine. This lightens the transcriber’s workload, and we can have our final transcripts within a matter of days. One downfall of digital transcription is that if your recorder has a technical difficulty the recording could be erased lengthening the entire process. Another issue may arise if several people are speaking during a trial, the documentation may be incorrect and slow down the process.

Another benefit of digital court reporting technology is the reduction in court reporting costs. Since stenography is an acquired skill set, the fee of a live stenographer can be high. Like any automation process, the addition of AI technology to court reporting relieves law firms of labour costs while maintaining productivity. Again, however, a major drawback is the possibility of technical glitches with the digital stenography device stemming from an inability to pickup inaudible and indiscernible speech. This may add greater strain on the subsequent human transcription which could justify an increase in cost.

Even though human stenographers are far from being obsolete, technological innovation is not slowing down so AI-assisted court reporting will only become more common. In spite of the technical difficulties that can ensue, AI-assisted court reporting is a great way to scale a court reporting practice by reducing operating costs, and speeding-up productivity. Thereby achieving the primary objective of maximizing client satisfaction.