court reporting and technology

At personal risk of being the target of attack, I respectfully address court reporting leadership’s campaign of sending out a woefully outdated 16-year-old Advisory Opinion on court reporters who video record Zoom depositions. I first wrote about this issue in Court Reporting and Technology.

First, let’s recall that this is a pre-Zoom, pre-pandemic, 2006 outdated opinion, and only an opinion. This was never a rule, never a regulation, nor a law.

If you will recall, this language was addressing a completely different animal in 2006 in live depositions, and it was drafted before the ease of Zoom and modern technology even existed.

This language specifically was addressing live in-person depositions and reporters who were frantically managing videography hardware during depositions. Reporters with tripods, wires, cables, lights, and cameras were showing up to depos. It was 2006 and the tech explosion was just starting to happen. (Twitter was only just about to be launched.)

Court Reporting and Technology

Fast forward to today, it is embarrassing that professionals would employ such obviously outdated language to slow progress. Throw away your 8-track tapes, so to speak, and let’s get upgraded to today’s standards of court reporting and technology.

We should all demand an updated position from NCRA and our state associations before they issue more ill-advised dusty opinions like this.

“Follow the money.”  This anti-reporter movement is partly motivated by companies that are losing millions of dollars each week overcharging for video-recording, even though today modern technology makes it safe, efficient, and Code-compliant.

Be aware that this is another brick in the wall to advance non-reporter proceedings, with a goal to eventually have only the digital reporter (tech/videographer) present. They are doing an excellent job of trying to muddy the water and diverting our attention as they are unopposed in this business plan:  Live stenographic reporter replacement.

Both court reporters and videographers are in short supply. Like in every industry, the crossover is inevitable, efficient, and cost-effective. We should be striving to keep the reporter in the proceeding in as many ways possible, even if an added video certification is deemed best practice.

Is NCRA going to tell the legal industry that reporter-recording a Zoom deposition is unethical and unsafe? Really? This is a bright, forward-thinking, and dynamic demographic that we serve, one that has had hundreds of thousands of proceedings successfully remote recorded by court reporters already.

We all have lived through and adapted through this pandemic. The legal industry has grasped onto advances in technology these last three years. Some went kicking and screaming, but we all adapted, including managing technology for court reporting. Are you going to tell them that we reporters are going to stick to our antiquated 2006 protocol? Really? This is professional suicide for the reporting industry. Please reconsider. More attorneys are asking for Code-compliant, reporter recording of Zoom depositions.

I appreciate that court reporters are intimidated by this massive marketing propaganda, especially when our state associations unwittingly walk in lockstep with a darker agenda. Most have not taken the time to read the RCP language or do their own due diligence, to deeply engage with clients and the marketplace, or to keep updated on this specific issue. Court reporters decline to record because it is new, and yes, there is a learning curve, and many of us just don’t like change. That is completely within their right to turn down this type of job. No argument there. No one is forcing them to accept this task and we appreciate them for the skills they do retain.

Zoom video recording is yet another valuable, advanced skill set, just like real time or captioning. There are court reporters who can write real time and there are others who cannot. They all deserve an opportunity. After all, we know court reporters are in demand across the country.

Thanks to rapidly advancing technology, Zoom video recording is not rocket science. All the hyperbole and criticism that recording a Zoom proceeding pursuant to statutory protocol is too much of a distraction for a reporter is just that, hyperbole…and it is totally subjective. What may be impossible for some reporters is second nature and enjoyable to others.

All protocols and code requirements can be learned and implemented by those that have a desire to expand their skills and be the ultimate professional. It has already been done and continues across the nation in hundreds of thousands of proceedings.

We simply cannot stick our heads in the sand and try to un-ring the bell of progress. 

This is especially true because it clearly opens the door to digitals aligning with videographers with virtually no objection to push the stenographic reporter out completely.

Do not tie our hands while handing them the key to the city.

Let us at least attempt to keep the playing field level.

The tighter our made-up restrictions are, the less competitive we will be… and the easier we will be to replace.

Court reporters need to become video certified for Zoom recording. Period.


For those that are simply not comfortable learning this skill set, with all the associated responsibilities, to disparage those that are comfortable and capable, is ill-advised, unkind, and non-productive to our industry. It’s akin to degrading someone who chooses to write real time, caption, or any other advanced skill. It’s like telling the industry it is too challenging for you so your opinion is wrong. It just doesn’t make sense.

This 2006 citing has been outdated for over a decade. Those in leadership that diligently crafted this opinion 16 years ago never could have predicted the amazing progress technology has made, never could have foretold of a global pandemic that would force the world to learn new advances overnight that have developed in the last decade.

It is time to stop living in the past and trying to scare, intimidate and disparage our fellow reporters. That gets us nowhere. If you are not building someone up, then you are tearing them down. Let us all strive to be better than that. We need to have this discussion with mutual respect and consider all the issues and complexities, form a committee with member collaboration to craft a modern advisory opinion that relates to today, here, now in 2022.

No one loves court reporting and court reporters more than I do. No one.

For 41 years I have loved going to work each day. The wonderful professionals and lifelong relationships continue to sustain me. We are all in this beautiful chaos together.

We need to demand of our National Court Reporters Association better leadership on this topic, and not just a regurgitation of their work in 2006.

As a court reporting community, we need to demand ethical, unbiased direction that protects our industry, not just large firms.  We respectfully ask for updated guidance that considers the differences that exist in technology, adaptability of our members, and the looming encroachment of non-reporter digital and video recording. Please at least put up a fight for us before there is nothing to fight for.

deposition transcripts
Automated Speech Recognition (ASR) isn’t new, but now your record is in peril with its use.  Additionally, ASR companies (digital reporters) are not bound to the state and federal guidelines, skills, and code that stenographic court reporters are.  The myriad of pitfalls with digital reporting includes not only accuracy, but also reliability, unauthorized disclosure/dissemination of testimony and exhibits, HIPAA violations, and breach of confidentiality agreements, to name a few.

Please protect your record and take a moment to read this detailed on-point article recently published in the National Court Reporters Association Journal from our good friend and Immediate Past President of the Kentucky Court Reporters Association, Lisa Migliore Black, CCR, RSA with her assessment

remote video depositions

As a court reporting agency, we understand the value of time, organization, and partnership with paralegals in serving clients. During this time of COVID-19, we’ve had to make adjustments to our Phoenix court reporting but rest assured, Herder and Associates is serving clients with the same integrity and on-time delivery as always. We’re ready to take remote video depositions for you and your clients in Phoenix and across the Valley.

Let’s get ready…set…remote video depositions!

While the world seems to be changing by the minute, we understand your cases are still happening and we are here to help with video depositions in these ways:

  • Scheduling all parties for the remote video depositions.
  • Preparing witnesses, including testing their equipment.
  • Coordinate scheduling changes.

In other words, let Herder and Associates handle before, during, and after the deposition so you can focus on your case and clients.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have scheduled dozens of weekly depositions via Zoom and will continue to do so. That moves your practice, paralegals, and client cases forward, so you’re not stuck in a never ending loop of continuances because you were not able to have deposition transcripts ready on-time.

Why are many attorneys seeking continuances?

The primary reason the parties seek continuances is because they hope physical distancing and stay-at-home orders will be lifted to allow for in-person depositions. Reviewing the daily Arizona Department of Health COVID-19 Dashboard, it would seem this virus is here to stay. At this time, it is simply not feasible for the Court to extend deposition deadlines until a time when they can safely be conducted in-person because we don’t know when that will happen.

For the foreseeable future, remote video depositions are the best alternate to get cases through the court system. We are telling our clients and court reporters to not expect this to change any time soon.

Parties and their counsel should not expect to be able to conduct in-person depositions. The norm, at least for now, is that we are doing remote depositions.

What are the legalities of conducting a remote video deposition?

The judicial acceptance of remote depositions is substantially complete. The Federal Civil Rules Handbook[4] states that, “Generally, leave to take depositions by remote means will be granted liberally.”

In other words, when utilizing deposition best practices, a remote deposition holds the same weight in court as an in-person deposition. The court does not view them differently.

At Herder and Associates, we coordinate all aspects of the depositions on your behalf and to the best of our ability. This includes preparing witnesses and taking care of the technical aspects of a deposition. 

Contact us today to schedule your remote video deposition!

Court Reporting Social Distancing

It is our hope at Herder & Associates that this message finds each of you healthy and as upbeat as possible in these trying times. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends social distancing and some businesses are closed, there are critical depositions that still need to be taken. We want to remain compliant with CDC regulations so when it comes to court reporting and social distancing, we are taking our depositions online. Using video conferencing platforms, we can continue to serve our clients.

Court Reporting Social Distancing

Staying Safe: Court Reporting and Social Distancing

Just because we need to be at least six feet from others or in some places, quarantined, our court reporters can still take video depositions. Take the worry out of needless travel and possibly exposing yourself, your family and coworkers to CoVid-19.

Call the Herder & Associates office in Phoenix, Arizona at 480-481-0649 to schedule a video deposition. We’ve got the phones forwarded to home offices and are ready to serve you and your clients.

We offer state of the art professional hosting and reporting of your video conference depositions.

Our team has been helping the legal community navigate crises and turmoil for 30 years.

Our court reporting services include:

  • Remote laptop streaming and video conferences
  • Depose witnesses remotely from their home or office
  • Remote court reporter and videographer can record your deposition as if they were in the room.

We’ve all seen video conferences go bad.  Real bad.  Don’t waste your time and your client’s money on an inferior service or a random pool reporter. You don’t have time to take that chance. Your reputation depends on you calling the right experts, the elite team of Herder & Associates.

Schedule your remote deposition now at [email protected] or call (480)-481-0649 to share any questions or concerns.   

No matter what your tech-savvy, we’ve got your back. Court reporting and social distancing can work together; we are here to help you navigate your way through this new era. We put Service Above Self, and we will all get through this together, stronger and better equipped to serve. All the best. Stay safe! We’ve got your depositions covered.

Phoenix Law Office

While the rest of the country is experiencing snow, wind, and ice, even as they’re springing their clocks forward, we encourage you to step away from the Phoenix law office and embrace spring fun!  From Cactus League Major League Spring Training games to arts and food festivals, the valley is hopping with activity for singles, couples, families, and winter visitors.

Let’s root root root for the home team!

Whether you’re a Diamondbacks, Cubs, Giants or a fan of the dozen other Major League baseball teams that play in the Cactus League, take an afternoon off from your Phoenix law firm to enjoy America’s past time with your colleagues and families. Lawn seats are perfect for young families as it gives the kids space to play. Older kids, and their parents, can enjoy up close seats right behind home plate to see veterans and up and coming rookies take to the field.

Missed the Cactus League season? Check out the Arizona Diamondbacks regular season games under the roof in a cool-ish 75 degree environment.

Take a hike.

Whether you’re a novice or seasoned hiker, this time of year is perfect for a day outside. Wear hiking shoes, sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses and bring water and snacks. You never know when you may go off trail by accident and need a few supplies to get you back to the parking lot. Not only that but if you’re not used to being outside in the Arizona sunshine, you will dehydrate more quickly making water and a sports drink or electrolytes an important part of your hiking backpack.

Not ready for a big hike but want to enjoy the cool weather?

Google hiking Arizona to find resources for the best trails. If you’re not sure where to start, I recommend a nature walk at the Riparian Preserve in Gilbert, the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, or Papago Park. Other options include festivals and food centered events like the Aloha Festival in Tempe.

Anything to get you out of your Phoenix law office and into the sunshine is perfect this time of year! Have fun. Stay safe. We will be here to help you and your clients when you get back.

If HAL 9000 were Alexa

If you’re a fan of sci-fi movies, the name HAL 9000 is likely familiar. Developed long before Siri or Alexa, HAL 9000 is the artificial intelligence that controls the systems of the Discovery One spaceship in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.  That got us thinking about if HAL 9000 were Alexa, what would it be like? We took our search to YouTube and found this video that gave us a chuckle:

Open the pod bay doors, Alexa.

Alexa: Searching for cod recipes online.

The video continues through a series of misheard commands that would undoubtedly lead the spaceship to unintended places. If you’ve tried to use Alexa, you likely had some of these moments yourself!

What does HAL 9000 have to do with court reporting?

For years we’ve been hearing about how speech recognition software like For the Record may replace the verbatim court reporter but these claims ignore important aspects of the role of Phoenix court reporters.

The claims ignore that trial and deposition testimony is filled with unique challenges that speech recognition cannot overcome like people talking over or interrupting each other or low talkers (remember that Seinfeld episode?).  If we utilize speech recognition technology in conversations or meetings where people frequently interrupt each other or talk over one another, such as in a deposition, it’s likely to be a poor recording that is challenging for a court reporter to transcribe.

The problem with digital recordings is that they aren?t done by humans.

Variations in the pronunciation of words, unwanted ambient noises, homonyms, as well individual dialects and accents create challenges for a machine that is simply recording. “There” and “their,” “air” and “heir,” “be” and “bee” are all examples. There is no way for a speech recognition program to tell the difference between these words based on sound alone.

This software also faces other problems with the type of hardware used to input the sound, as the results can have a huge impact in how the software will interpret the speech.

The idea of replacing a sworn officer of the court who is also witnessing and recording each of these nuances leaves keeping of the official record vulnerable and open to inaccuracy. In spite of challenges in our industry including a court reporter shortage, the Certified Professional Court Reporter remains the gold standard for producing a real-time verbatim record.

If you’re in need of a court reporter for an upcoming deposition, contact Herder and Associates today!

This press release was originally published here.


Herder & Associates Court Reporters are pleased to announce the relocation and expansion of their Phoenix headquarters to the prestigious Renaissance Center, Two North Central, Suite 1800, Phoenix, Arizona, 85004. They are poised for growth as they join many of Arizona’s elite law firms.

Bigger, stronger, and faster are our growth goals, says founder Marty Herder.  “With five offices throughout Arizona, the decision to expand our headquarters in the Phoenix area was a logical step in our business strategy. This move increases our ability to serve current and future clients across the state and country.”

The investment in expansion reinforces Herder’s 40-year roots in Phoenix and provides the leader in Southwest court reporting firms the technology and manpower necessary to support continuous growth in an evolving market. Herder & Associates is the turnkey reporting firm for Arizona depositions in an inspiring and energizing environment.

Located in the heart of Phoenix’s central business district, One Renaissance Tower is in the heart of downtown.

Its exclusive location offers the best access to government buildings, Arizona State University downtown campus, and professional sports and entertainment venues. Fine hotels and the Metro Light Rail Station are nearby making it easily accessible to clients and exciting for the team to explore downtown Phoenix shopping, restaurants, arts, and theatre including CityScape which is just across the street, or take in a Suns basketball game or Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game.

Herder & Associates is a leader in the court reporting industry. The firm offers state-of-the-art, certified professional court reporters for every aspect of litigation, hearing, arbitration testimony, with a diverse range of clients. State of Arizona and federally-approved contract vendor, with an excellent reputation for integrity and professionalism in both the reporting and legal industry.

Superior cost-containment with personalized professional service. Full-spectrum elite national experience providing tailor-made service for your litigation. Specialties include large complex civil litigation requiring full commitment and organization during discovery of an elite team of experienced professional reporters. Visit

Court Reporter Shortage

It?s estimated, by Ducker Worldwide that by this year there will be a court reporter shortage of 5,000 within five years meaning that demand will exceed supply. The combination of many court reporters being close to retirement age and a dearth of younger people pursuing the profession is leading the shortage.

What does this mean for the courts and for attorneys?

This shortage highlights the need to recruit younger people to the field. To retain the highest level of customer care for attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona and their clients, the profession literally cannot afford any of the current court reporters to retire early.

Recruiting new court reporters to the profession is not as easy as it once was because court reporting schools are also going out of business. This is especially true in rural areas which might not only experience a shortage of court reporters, but a complete lack of them.

The shrinking base of court reporters and a smaller pool of potential candidates to replace them has many court officials seeking options to ensure accurate records of court proceedings are captured and maintained.

What can be done?

Phoenix, Arizona attorneys and the courts themselves need to find ways to support and help regrow interest in the career. The salary and the flexibility the career offers should potentially lure new professionals into the career.

The starting salaries for court reporters is estimated at $43,000. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 14% growth in salary per year through 2020. The reason for the salary growth is because the supply of court reporters is low and the demand remains high and that leads to salary increases. It is hoped that the salary level for even beginning court reporters will be an incentive for them to pursue training in the field.

Many court reporters work on a contract basis with various courts and this means they can work as often, or as infrequently, as they like. They are essentially able to set their own earning potential. Some court reporters, on certain cases, could earn more than six figures.

Why is there a court reporter shortage and what does it mean to the public?

A shortage of court reporters means a dearth of qualified professionals available to deliver service to attorneys who are representing their clients in courtroom proceedings.?

While electronic recording devices have been introduced into some courtrooms they are no replacement for an experienced court reporter who can pick up on nuances in conversations and request something be repeated it if wasn?t clear.

Technology is no a solution to the court reporter shortage, though because with technology comes technical problems. Additionally, even if the proceedings are recorded, the record still needs to be transcribed. Litigation firms do not anticipate a decline in the need for court reporters.

Court reporters provide service during court proceedings and they also prepare transcripts for appeals and other judicial review processes.

To entice a new crop of court reporters to the field, current court reporters in Phoenix, Arizona should be urged to communicate what they enjoy about their careers. It is up to those in the legal profession to help the public understand the need for these professionals in courtroom proceedings.

Hire A Court Reporter

You?ve been handed a case and need to hire a court reporter. Where do you go and what do you ask? While search engines may provide a start for your search, we encourage you to call and ask these questions. Just like with any important hiring decision, you want to make sure you?re onboarding the right candidate for the job.

What is your experience?

While court reporters are an average age of about 53 years old, that doesn?t mean they all have the experience you need for your case. In fact, they may be new or second career reporters so it?s important to ask about the type of cases they?ve worked. Rather than spinning your wheels trying to find a reporter, contact an agency like Herder and Associates who can match you with the right reporter, follow a process, and deliver a final transcript by deadline.

Are you certified and trained?

This is an especially important question for a couple of reasons. Arizona is a transient state meaning many people aren?t from here and they tend to move here and then to another state. Not all states require court reporters to be certified so it is important to ask. In Arizona and surrounding states, certification is a requirement. The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) offers certification and continuing education (CEU) so that reporters are up to date on technology and best practices.

How much advance notification do you need to schedule a deposition?

At Herder and Associates, we strive to provide the most qualified court reporters to all of our clients. While we?re always working to meet your timeframes, the more advanced notice you can give us, the better it is for us to be able to schedule the right court reporter for your case or project.

What is the cost and timeframe for transcript turnaround?

When you call to schedule your deposition, we will provide the cost and timeframe. If you need an expedited transcript, please let us know at that time. Prices may vary depending on how soon you need the final transcript. The more information you can relay to our team, the better we can provide the product and service you desire.

Before you hire a court reporter, ask these questions to be sure you?re getting the reporter that can work best with your legal team. Have more questions or need to schedule a court reporter? Contact us today.

Apps for Legal Professionals

Years ago I wrote an article called Time Management Isn?t about Managing Your Time that?s likely still floating on the interweb somewhere. The idea was that we always have 24 hours in a day so it is pointless to manage our time. Rather, we need to manage how we?re using our time. I?ve found one of the ways to do this is to embrace apps for legal professionals.

Increased Efficiency

My favorite tool for running a small business is Google Drive which includes Google equivalents of MS Word, Excel, a calendar, and other tools. Safely store and share documents with multiple parties or share links to documents that includes view-only or editing options. That means using less space on a computer and sharing documents without sending a separate email. I like this because it?s efficient, especially for those working in teams. Other cloud options include DropBox and iCloud.

Words Matter

DragonDiction is a voice to text app that allows users to dictate text messages, emails, and social media statuses. This is the perfect app for the legal professional who is on the go and needs an efficient way to communicate.

Along with DragonDiction is Evernote which allows users to make lists, take notes, and search via smartphone or computer. Pretty slick and easy to use for the busiest of freelancers.

Legal Specific

DroidLaw is a free app providing access to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Evidence, Appellate, Criminal, Appellate, and Bankruptcy Procedure, and the U.S. Constitution. Available for purchase are state codes and laws and other resources useful to legal professionals. If you?re an iPhone user, LawStack is another option with similar resources.

If you?re a legal news hound, try LegalEdge. This app includes news alerts, updates, and case filings from across the nation. For general news, set up a Google Alert for certain terms and automatically receive news and blog posts about that topic straight to your email on a recurring basis.

It?s worth noting these apps for legal professionals including our Phoenix court reporters, all have free options available if you just want to give them a try. Leave a comment and let us know what you like to use and have fun managing your time!