Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Economic cutbacks threaten Florida court reporters

Like every part of the country, Florida has been hit hard by recent economic struggles. Sweeping cutbacks are going on in private businesses and now the public sector as well. These cuts may finally be reaching an area once thought of as untouchable, Florida court reporters.

Two significant events have touched off the layoffs: government cutbacks affecting all sectors of state and federal judiciary systems, and the advent of inexpensive digital recording devices used to replace the human reporter element.While burning DVDs of court proceedings may work well enough, many in the field still believe that a human court reporter is the best way to go. For one thing, if someone says something unintelligible during a trial or hearing, only a human being can ask them to repeat it for the permanent record.

The Florida court reporter is by no means going the way of the Dodo however. There will always be enough depositions and arbitration hearings held in private law offices to keep these highly skilled professionals busy, especially given the litigious nature of the state of Florida.Yet the laying-off of the courts official reporters in several counties may be ushering in technology and ushering out an era as old as the court system itself.

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