ST. CHARLES COUNTY, MO — The legal and court reporting industries are facing a major issue. There is a shortage of reporters nationwide and in the St. Louis area. If that does not change, it will cause problems.
“Cases will grind to a halt because we have to have court reporters to make a perfect record of proceedings so people can appeal their cases,” said St. Charles County Circuit Judge Daniel Pelikan.
Judge Pelikan says attempts have been made to use recordings for cases, but they have not been received well, because sometimes lawyers talk at the same time.
“The court reporter has a unique ability to separate out whose speaking and what about and reduce that to a transcript,” said Judge Pelikan.
Cindy Taylor is a court reporter. She says its an exciting job and compares it with being on Dateline.
“People just dont know about us,” said Cindy Taylor. “I want to get the word out. This is a job and a great career.”
Taylor says when St. Louis Community College stopped its court reporting training program fewer people knew about this field. But she will be teaching a new course at St. Charles Community College August 13th.
“The starting salary is phenomenal. It’s a lucrative career. There is money to be made whether freelancing or here,” said Cindy Taylor.
A starting salary is $60,000 a year plus transcripts, which can add an additional $10,000-25,000 dollars a year, and there are state benefits.
A training program takes about two years or less. A reporter is expected to be able to transcribe 225 words a minute. Although some states are looking at making that 200 words a minute.