Secretarial and Court Reporting

SIC 7338

Companies in this industry

Industry report:

This category covers establishments primarily engaged in providing secretarial, word processing, typing, editing, proofreading, resume writing, letter writing, stenographic, or court reporting services.

Many governmental bodies, businesses, and individuals have discovered that by outsourcing tasks like word processing, proofreading, and document transcription to specialized secretarial and court reporting services, they can save time and money, avoid adding to or straining their staff and equipment, and focus on their own core functions.

In 2010, there were approximately 17,628 commercial establishments offering secretarial and court reporting services in the United States, according to Dun & Bradstreet's Industry Reports. Together these firms generated $2.3 billion in annual revenues. Of those establishments that reported a specialty, 44 percent were court reporting services, 29 percent were secretarial and typing services, 8 percent were editing and proofreading services, and the remainder were other types of related services.

An official court reporter traditionally produces a court transcript containing such information as witness testimony, attorney arguments and examination of witnesses, and judicial comments and instructions. A freelance court reporter typically transcribes pretrial depositions arranged by attorneys. The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), which sponsored various certification programs, in 2011 reported about 19,600 members, 89 percent of which were female. Court reporting agencies generally provide some training to employees in the form of specialized shorthand reporting. Ranging from two to four years in length, these training programs focus on computer operation, grammar, law, and attaining a typing speed of at least 200 words per minute. Typically, employee benefits such as health insurance and pension plans are not offered.

While secretarial services perform a large portion of contracted work on their own premises, services are also provided on-site and in "satellite offices" set up within larger businesses. A contributor for Home-Office Computing reported word processing rates of $2 to $4 per page and secretarial labor rates of $15 to $20 per hour. Court reporters made an average of $49,710 a year in 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A vital question facing participants in this industry in the late twentieth century was how technology would alter it. Some industry observers predicted the demise of professional services such as proofreading, editing, and court reporting due to advances in computer technology and software. For example, some speculated that the use of computer software programs capable of spell checking may cause a decline in the need for proofreading services. Still, automated editing programs that could identify an ungrammatical or awkwardly constructed sentence remained unable to identify illogical or libelous assertions. High error rates still existed with the use of such voice and speech systems by the end of the twenty-first century.

Despite the advances in technology--or perhaps because of it--the profession of court reporting flourished. According to the NCRA, more than 90 percent of all court reporters used some form of computer-aided transcription (CAT) by the year 2000. In addition, new advances in real time reporting, where notes are converted into text and projected on monitors or screens as they are recorded, allowed synchronized video testimony. Real time reporting complied with the Americans With Disabilities Act by making testimony available to the vision and hearing impaired. James Stith remarked in Career World that while the use of videotape recording equipment has increased, it will not replace human reporters. He noted that "the technology is not as reliable as the human ear. It breaks down, and it takes longer for a person to listen to a tape than to read a transcript."

By the end of the 1990s, approximately 25 percent of all court reporters were using the Internet to e-mail, research, network, and advertise. In the early 2000s, court reporters were using the Internet for nearly every aspect of their job. Transcripts became available "on-demand," and new software was developed to enable reporters, attorneys, and litigation staff to review transcripts more efficiently.

In addition, by the 2000s the courts and attorneys were able to search transcripts using keywords and phrases to reexamine testimonies. Real time text known as Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) made it possible for the court reporter to provide an instant transcript to be displayed on computer monitors or projection screens for viewing. Besides its use for television captioning, this technology made it possible for the hearing-impaired to participate in trials, and it also extended the length of a career for judges suffering hearing loss.

Employment in the reporting industry received a boost when federal legislation mandated that by 2006 all television programs be captioned for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, and the Americans with Disabilities Act allowed deaf and hard-of-hearing students the right to demand access to real-time translation in their classes. By the second decade of the twenty-first century, reporters were also providing real-time transcripts of meetings, press conferences, and a variety of other events delivered directly to people's computers via the Internet.

Industry Leaders

In 2010, one of the largest U.S. court reporting firms was Esquire (formerly Hobart West Group), a division of Alexander Gallo Holdings LLC. Esquire was founded in 1996 and acquired by Alexander Gallo in 2008. A temporary and permanent employment agency specializing in court reporting services and legal staffing and operating in 20 states, Esquire's subsidiaries included DepoNet, Esquire Deposition Services, Esquire Litigation Solutions, Esquire Corporate Solutions, and Esquire Staffing Solutions.

Workforce

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) figures showed that about 21,500 people worked as court reporters in 2008. About half of these worked for state and local governments, with most of the rest employed by court reporting agencies. The BLS predicted employment in court reporting would rise 18 percent by 2018 due to an increase in demand for real-time broadcast captioning and translating.

According to the NCRA, freelance court reporters earned an average yearly income of $62,000; broadcast captioners' salaries ranged from $35,000 to $75,000 and above; CART reporters earned between $35,000 and $65,000; and Internet information reporters, who remotely caption for the Internet or provide Webcasting services, earned an hourly rate of $100 to $200. Earnings were based on the reporter's education, experience, and geographic location.

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News and information about Secretarial and Court Reporting

[ Other types of services included in House Bill 197 ]
Wyoming Tribune-Eagle (Cheyenne, WY); January 29, 1999; 198 words
Other types of services included in House Bill 197: Photocopying and duplicating Commercial photography Secretarial and court reporting Disinfecting and pest control Building cleaning and maintenance Employment agencies Prepackaged software Computer...
Court Reporting Technology Expands Closed-Caption Role; Martin Block Leads Effort for Association
The Washington Post; October 2, 1989; 700+ words
...organization representing court reporters in the nation...technology for both court reporting and closed-captioning...crying need" for court reporters, Block...problem is that court reporting has been viewed as secretarial work. "It's really...
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...the addition of the "Court Reporting Services in the US...support services (except secretarial and other document preparation...services; and credit reporting services). Included...establishments furnish secretarial, typing, word processing...
Research and Markets Adds Report: Court Reporting Services in the US
Entertainment Close-up; December 6, 2013; 598 words
...the addition of the "Court Reporting Services in the US...support services (except secretarial and other document preparation...services; and credit reporting services). Included...establishments furnish secretarial, typing, word processing...
[ Other types of services included in House Bill 197 ]
Wyoming Tribune-Eagle (Cheyenne, WY); January 29, 1999; 198 words
Other types of services included in House Bill 197: Photocopying and duplicating Commercial photography Secretarial and court reporting Disinfecting and pest control Building cleaning and maintenance Employment agencies Prepackaged software...
There's a new college in Aurora
The Beacon News - Aurora (IL); June 22, 2008; 647 words
...business in St. Paul, Minn. The family-oriented college grew and expanded its programs to include secretarial, accounting and court reporting. In 1995, the business college was regionally accredited and changed its name to Rasmussen College...
The write stuff: MTS, a family-owned business, is expanding its secretarial services and is also giving back to the community by providing free resumes to the unemployed
New Pittsburgh Courier; March 27, 2002; 700+ words
...complement of services, including printing, mailing, court reporting and depositions, faxing and stenography. Personal...host conventions and may be looking for those with secretarial skills. And I also envision a `cyber cafe' that...
DEATHS IN NORTHWEST INDIANA
Post-Tribune (IN); January 18, 1988; 621 words
...Jan. 17, 1988; Rendina Funeral Home, Calumet Township. She was owner and director of the Institute of Court Reporting and Secretarial Practice Inc. FURTO, William J. - Age 61, of Whiting, died Sunday, Jan. 17, 1988; Baran Funeral...

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