Kaci Hardin, Verbit’s Legal Quality and Delivery Manager, is joining an expert panel for Digital Court Reporter and Transcriber Week (DCRT) on Wednesday, October 11 at 7pm EST to discuss advocacy efforts and strategies for digital court reporters. A seasoned court reporter with nearly 20 years in the industry, Hardin understands the important role digital court reporters play in the legal field and will contribute her extensive knowledge to the panel. Sandra Wilson of Planet Depot will be moderating the event, which will also include U.S. Legal Support’s Michelle Baden, Veritext Legal Solutions’ Larry Swope and Erin Pollock Loyka, Remote Legal Court Reporting’s Amanda Ricker and Planet Depo’s Joey Velazquez.
Hardin was selected to join AAERT’s event to bring perspective from her current role working at Verbit to support digital court reporters and build teams of certified electronic transcribers (CET). She is known for setting these professionals on successful career paths and fostering their professional development. In turn, Verbit’s experienced and well-trained CETs are providing quality solutions in an industry that’s undergoing a rapid and seismic transformation.
How and why to check out the DCRT panel
As a recent appointee to the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers (AAERT) Advocacy Committee, Hardin will be speaking on the upcoming panel, “What Does it Mean to Advocate for One’s Self?”
“We’ll be discussing how to partner with digital reporters and help lobbying efforts to improve awareness and acceptance of digital reporters and this workforce,” said Hardin.
The discussion will also cover how digital reporters want to present themselves within the legal community, how to handle misinformation about their roles and capabilities and strategies for educating others on digital reporting and transcription.
The event is open to the public, offers 0.1 CEU credits and registration is free.
Why there simply aren’t enough stenographers
Hardin’s belief that digital court reporters are critical to the industry does nothing to diminish her great respect for stenographers.
“They are able to provide real-time that’s 99.9% accurate on the spot,” said Hardin. “They’re the reporters for the President of the United States, so it is incredibly inspiring to watch them work and do their craft. They are the fastest in the world.”
However, there just aren’t enough people in these roles.
“I would encourage you to go look at the pass rate for the California state exam for court reporters,” said Hardin. “It’s an incredibly challenging test. It is mentally grueling, so it’s amazing when people do pass. They have jobs right out of the gate.”
According to the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, the pass rate in recent years fell between eight and 20%.
Hardin explained that for many students, the cost of expensive equipment and training is too big of a gamble for such a low chance of success.
“You pay for school, you pay for your machine and you’re talking about $20,000 just in software and technology alone to go take a test that has a very low pass rate,” she said. “So, the workforce is not replenishing at a rate that sustains the litigious society that we have in the United States. It’s just not sustainable.”
Digital court reporters and CETs can fill the gap
Unlike stenography, digital court reporters and CETs rely on technology to perform their jobs. The modern tools remove some barriers making it easier to get into this field.
“For the digital reporting community, the learning curve is not as high, but the demand for these professionals and the quality of the output is the same,” said Hardin. “It’s a different method that can provide the same result. There was a person who spoke about Kodak, and he said you had a company whose entire thing was cameras and pictures. You’re not going say, hey, this 8-millimeter film can produce a higher accuracy picture than a digital camera. It’s new technology. We just have to work on getting it embraced and accepted across the country.”
How Verbit supports CETs and the digital court reporting industry
Once a transcriptionist receives their certification as an electronic transcriber, they have a few potential career paths. They can be an independent contractor, work for a government agency or join a company like Verbit.
Hardin is proud of the path Verbit offers for CETs, and the way we help them advance as professionals.
“What we offer that is not available in a lot of our competitors, is a career path,” she said. “You come to me with the CET, your resume is at the top of the list. We could bring you on as an employee. We can get you into admin roles. We can help you and watch you grow. We mentor and coach you. You have KPIs, paid time off, holidays and when we promote, we definitely promote from within those roles.”
The support and training for CETs allow them to commit to their careers and advance while offering reliable, quality work product for clients.
Join Verbit at DCRT
Verbit is dedicated to empowering CETs, delivering quality solutions and supporting the legal industry as it navigates the evolving role of technology in court reporting. The upcoming DCRT Week event offers an excellent opportunity to hear more insights from Hardin and other leaders in the digital court reporting and transcription industry. Join Verbit at DCRT from Oct. 9-13 and explore how new tools and technology are shaping the industry.