The National Court Reporters Association kicked off its “National Court Reporting & Captioning Week” Sunday, an event designed to increase public awareness of employment opportunities in the profession. A recent study found that more than 5,000 positions in court reporting and captioning will become available in the next five years.
The NCRA is the country’s leading organization representing stenographic court reporters, broadcast and CART captioners, and legal videographers. It started the court reporting week three years ago and launched its Take Note campaign in September based on independent research firm Ducker Worldwide’s report that found some 5,500 jobs are expected to become available over the next five years.
Tonya J. Kaiser, president of the Indiana Shorthand Reporters Association, said it’s important for the profession to proclaim from everywhere it can that these professional opportunities will be available, as well as their importance in the legal system.
“Court reporters are a vital part of our judicial system, ensuring that the testimony and/or argument in any legal proceeding is preserved,” she said. “Though reporters are vital participants of the legal proceedings, many times they are overlooked and thought of as secretaries or typists.
“We are skilled stenographers who invest time and money in continually improving our skills and maintain continuing education credits. Without us, the legal system would be severely hampered.”
Court reporters not only work as official court reporters, but also freelance in the areas of taking depositions or recording the proceedings of a variety of meetings. Broadcast and CART captioners provide captioning in real time for live events and other venues.
Court reporters are not licensed in Indiana, despite several attempts in recent years in the Indiana General Assembly. Many states have minimum standards for court reporters.
The Indiana Shorthand Reporters Association is in strong favor of licensing, Kaiser said, but had to postpone its legislative efforts due to funding.
“It is our belief that licensing will only increase the number of qualified reporters in our state,” she said. “Paralegals and translators already need some sort of certification to work in our profession. It only makes sense that court reporters would need similar licensing.”