Do I Need a Stenographer?

As we discussed in a previous blog, “Is Stenography Back,” since many court proceedings that were being held virtually have returned in-person, the demand for stenographic court-reporters (or steno reporters, for short) has increased.

However, having a reporter with a very unique skill that requires extensive training, practice, and certification – and one that is willing to go in-person to proceedings – does come at a higher cost than a digital court reporter.

Why should you choose a stenographer?

Does the Judge Prefer Stenographers?

This makes the decision very easy. Prior to the pandemic, some judges would only allow stenographers in their courtroom and only allow transcripts from stenographers to be admissible as evidence. You didn’t really have a choice.

While the standard has largely changed after COVID made in-person proceedings impossible, the old preference is coming back. It is possible to have a digital recording of the hearing, deposition, or other proceedings as a backup for reference, but if a judge prefers a stenographer, you should probably hire one.

What Are the Benefits of Stenographers?

Why do judges prefer stenographers?

As previously mentioned in our last blog, they are more accurate at discerning between different accents. Human ears are also better able to tell the difference between background noise and spoken words.

Beyond accuracy, however, there are some very practical benefits to stenographers. For example, if there is a problem that might cause inaccuracy, a stenographer can pause and seek clarifications.

Stenographers can also provide direct testimony as to what happened and what was said in court proceedings, while a digital recording cannot.
The transcripts that stenographers provide are also often easier to reference and research than a digital transcript, and certainly having to listen to a digital recording alone.

What Do You Prefer?

If it is up to you, you may decide that it is beneficial and worth it to have a certified stenographer at your next deposition, hearing, or trial.