The Court System is Backlogged: Digital Court Reporters Can Help

By: Sarah Roberts
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The legal industry, already backlogged before the events of 2020, saw an unprecedented 1/3 increase in pending work. Now, court reporters are in even higher demand, and stenographers have the pick of many lucrative jobs every day. However, other work needs to get done, and there simply aren’t enough stenographers to cover it all.

For instance, court reporters who cover depositions in medical malpractice cases earn more per appearance because multiple attorneys will order transcripts. Stenographers with seniority select these higher-revenue jobs and then leave an abundance of other work on the table.

In many states, digital court reporters use Verbit to efficiently cover the overflow work so that the legal industry can tackle its backlog. Here are some high-volume areas where digital court reporters can make a positive impact.

Homeowner claims

Why there are so many:
Whether it’s flooding, a bad roof, or wildfires, HO claims are inundating state courts. For instance, Hurricane Irma led to nearly one million residential property claims in Florida alone.

Why they aren’t stenographers’ first pick:
Only one attorney- the one for the insurance company- typically orders the transcripts for these depositions. Additionally, insurance carriers often pay lower bulk rates for services.
A man sitting on a swivel chair while writing something on a notebook that is placed on a table in an office.

Examinations Under Oath (EUO) and Car Accidents

Why there are so many:
Insurance companies have contracts with their insureds that give insurers the right to investigate claims. One of the tools insurers use is an EUO, which is similar to a deposition. Companies often use EUOs for car accident claims. Considering 4,795,000 people suffered injuries in car accidents in 2020, auto-related claims result in many EUOs.

Why they aren’t stenographers’ first pick:
Like HO claims, insurers often set bulk rates for EUOs and it’s likely that only one party orders a transcript. These jobs are plentiful but don’t offer the same draw for senior court reporters and stenographers.

Workers Compensation claims

Why there are so many:
On average, there are 3.4 Workers’ Compensation claims for every 100 full-time employees. Those numbers add up to 2.7 million injury and illness claims in 2020.

Why they aren’t stenographers’ first pick:
When it comes to covering these claims as a court reporter, the state often sets the price. Also, the transcripts become public documents, which means the court reporter can’t charge for additional copies.

Criminal defense cases

Why there are so many:
In 2020, 63 out of the 66 largest police jurisdictions in the US witnessed increases in violent crime. Economic stress factors contribute to the rise in crime across the country, and early numbers from 2021 indicate this unfortunate trend is continuing.

Why they aren’t stenographers’ first pick:
Many criminal defendants are indigent and rely on public defenders as their legal advocates. States often set lower rates for these proceedings because of the minimal funding available.
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Hearings

Why there are so many:
When cases move through the court system, the parties will appear before the judge many times prior to the litigation’s completion. Hearings are often short and may address a motion or set dates to move cases forward. There will likely be multiple hearings, whether the issue involves divorce, bankruptcy, negligence claims, or criminal charges.

Why they aren’t stenographers’ first pick:
Because they often last a matter of minutes, getting to court and setting up may not seem financially worth it compared to taking a multiple hour-long deposition for one case. Also, court reporters who have first pick often opt for remote depositions, which are more convenient and potentially more lucrative. Stenographers in many areas are not eager to take hearings- or any jobs- where they would need to appear in person.

How Digital Court Reporters Help

With so many cases entering and pending in the US court system, there’s a clear need for more coverage. Digital court reporting is a scalable solution that can accommodate high volumes of cases. When it comes to the above use-cases, the efficient methods that digital reporters use help them accept more clients and cover more proceedings.

Many people in the industry view digital court reporters as the new kids on the block. Stenographers are experienced professionals who earned their status in the industry and benefit from their reputations and years of hard work. While stenographers will continue to cover the jobs they prefer, other professionals need to start taking the overflow work that is flooding the court system.

Court reporting agencies that create teams capable of covering all types of proceedings will thrive in today’s busy legal market. Verbit’s legal transcription tools support digital court reporters and offer a solution to solve the industry’s backlogs. Contact us to learn more.