COURT REPORTING – WHAT'S UP WITH THIS RECESSION?

In California court reporters have had a tough year.  The recession has hit our profession hard.  I have been reading and collecting www.law.com articles and blogs written by attorney groups for a seminar I am on a panel on for the Deposition Reporters Association convention tomorrow.  Attorneys have been hit hard by the recession.  I can cite you layoffs of staff, associate attorneys, and commercial buildings becoming empty of lawyers.  I personally know young people who just passed the bar and have nowhere to work.  Two of the new licensees I would hire in a half-second they are so smart, diligent and progressive in thinking.  They are becoming their own rainmakers out of necessity.  One of my business clients recently told me, “There is no capital to fund lawsuits, but tremendous opportunity is out there.”

In these tough times I believe many reporters are asking themselves, “What are my choices?”  Court reporters coming out of school need mentoring and monitoring.  Seasoned court reporters have a full calendar, and then the jobs cancel.  Attorneys are looking for ways to save their clients money, and if that means settling a case or going to trial with no discovery, and they think they can get away with it, they are canceling depositions.

I was reading an article in the Wall Street Journal this morning about what I will call the “science” of the recession by David Ranson, Director of Research at H.C. Wainwright & Co., Economics, Inc., “Why The Recovery Will Be Robust.”  He writes, “The fourth quarter GOP growth rate of 5.7% (annual) announced by the Commerce Department should be a ray of sunshine,” but then he goes on, “many panned it as either a statistical anomaly or an unsustainable blip…or the governmnet’s ‘stimulus’ package.”  But then, pay attention, court reporters, he writes, “History refutes all three interpretations.”  Ranson says, “We are witnessing the natural resilience of a free-market economy; a strong rebound is normal at this stage in the business cycle.”  Ranson goes on to state, “The great majority of U.S. recessions and recoveries are V-shaped , i.e., the more deep and precipitous the drop, the steeper and more vigorous the bounce.” 

Many of the experts are predicting an upswing of the economy starting in the spring of 2010.  Law firms are now starting to hire again.  Today I read an article that cites MoFo raising their first-year attorneys’ salaries back to 2008 dollars. 

This recession shall pass.  From my past experience, having owned a court reporting firm since 1985 and surviving two recessions, we will be incredibly busy once again.  There are going to be exhausted court reporters begging to be off calendar. 

The question is, what are court reporters doing now to get ready?  When times are slow we have a choice.  We can sit back and worry or sharpen the saw.  As we all know, the cleaner we write, the faster we scope.  The more sophisticated the dictionary, the faster we scope.  The more efficient we are in utilizing our CAT software, the faster we scope.  When reporting firms are calling you begging you to work, the faster you scope the more you can take more work without going crazy – and if you use a scopist, allow her/him to be more productive. 

Let’s all make a commitment to learn at least 2 new “macros” we can do from our steno machines in realtime by March 10.  Tweet to me what you decide your 2 new tricks are.  I will choose 2 and let you know what they are.  I need to sharpen my saw, too.

Students, I would like you to learn 5 new briefs for phrases by March 3.  Let me know what phrases you choose and the briefs.     

Let’s use this time to work as a profession to get ready for the onslaught of work that is coming.  I don’t want anyone turning away work because they are spending all of their time scoping or their scopists get overwhelmed.  Let’s be ready for the ROBUST RECOVERY!

Rosalie@kramm.com

@rosaliekramm (Twitter)

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