Searching for a lucrative career with exceptional job security? A recent ruling by the California Supreme Court is expected to create hundreds of new positions for skilled court reporters.
In this article, we’ll define and discuss the impact of this ruling.
What does the court ruling require?
In 2018, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled that courts must provide a court reporter in civil cases with poor litigants. This ruling was intended to address long-standing, class-based inequality in the system that violates the principles of equal access to justice.
Unlike criminal cases, which are always required to have a court reporter present, many civil cases proceed without a reporter. This is because economically disadvantaged litigants may be unable to afford the steep fees associated with hiring a private reporter. Without a court reporter and transcript, it can be virtually impossible for these litigants to appeal. For years, this imbalance placed poor litigants at a disadvantage in civil court.
How does the CSC ruling impact court reporters?
According to the National Court Reporters Association, there are over 6,000 licensed court reporters in the state of California. Although that number may seem substantial, counties across the state are struggling to fill vacant positions. These openings are primarily for cases in civil courts and family law courts.
Following the high court ruling, court reporters will be made available to litigants in civil cases who secure a fee waiver. This is expected to create hundreds of new jobs for court reporters. The high demand for these skilled professionals enables them to negotiate for higher salaries and better benefits.
What other changes may follow this ruling?
In addition to hiring in-person reporters, courts may also turn to automated recordings and voice-to-text software. The adaptation of these technologies has been increasing recently, but it will only be hastened in response to the Supreme Court’s decision. In the past, court reporters have been vocal opponents of automation technology, fearing that it will replace their jobs. However, recording technology is still evolving, and litigants on both sides often prefer to have an experienced human monitoring for errors.
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