Court reporters added to list of nationwide shortages


San Angelo, Texas — Everyday a new shortage seems to show up and now another shortage is influencing the court system. Nationwide we are seeing a shortage of Court Reporters, which are the keepers of records, typically in a court room. The pandemic has already put a strain on cases being heard, creating a backlog, and with a shortage of court reporters that pile is continuing to grow.

Shortages are hitting the nation and the state of Texas from every angle, whether it be fireworks, coins or even lawnmowers. Now the availability of court reporters has been on a continuous decline since 2018,

“there was a decline of about 18% of certified Court Reporters,” Heather Pierce the Director of Nationwide Academy for Court Reporting said.

Heather Pierce credits this shortage to the retirement of current court reporters and an overwhelming lack of knowledge of the career as a whole.

“Lack of awareness. There are so many instances where people believe that unless you go to college and have that four-year degree that you’re not going to be successful,” Pierce said.

Pierce tells us this shortage really comes back to hurt those that have a case that needs to be heard,

“Not only do we have all of these other normal cases that in everyday life that we’ve been having to take care of, but now once you add in all of the legal matters that are kind of tied in with COVID that you could, just add all of that to the already backlog cases in court,” Pierce said.

Not only is there a backlog caseload, but without a Court Reporter accuracy within those cases isn’t always a guarantee,

“It’s a neutral party in there taking down both sides, making sure that everything is accurate, and everything is recorded to be referred to later and you know you can imagine if you were in that situation and you were on trial for something you would want to make sure that someone was accurately taking down that record,” Pierce said.

A steeper decline is expected post pandemic, something peers hopes can turn around, once people learn the job can leave a courtroom and bring in a decent salary

Heather Pierce says that training can lead to all types of paths especially in close captioning. She says while there is a long road ahead and the shortage is very real; the bright side is there are plenty of opportunities for employment.

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