Gary Froonjian

Gary Froonjian of The Digital Deposition Group

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Attorney at Law Magazine publisher Sarah Torres recently spoke with Gary Froonjian of The Digital Deposition Group in the latest Vendor Spotlight to discuss his legacy in the industry and how they have evolved to continue succeeding into the future. 

AALM: How long have you and your family been in the court reporting industry?

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GF: My father-in-law was involved in the legal transcription business in New York City in the late 1970s. He was transcribing from belt media. These were the pre-cassette days. I became involved in 1991 providing legal transcription to the Superior Court system in New Jersey. So I would say we have been involved for 45 years—almost a half-century.

AALM: What are some of the highlights of your career in the legal industry?

GF: I helped convert the court system in New Jersey from stenography to recording on 4-track tapes. We went head to head with stenographers to determine who could produce a more accurate, timely transcript of the court proceedings, and we prevailed.

I was also involved in creating licensing curriculum for legal transcriptionists in New Jersey. Back in the day, they had to pass the state test to become certified to transcribe court proceedings. This upset the VAR association and the Court Reporters Union. They were vehemently opposing analog transcription.

I attempted to bring 4-track recording to the deposition industry in 1997 in Manhattan. While I was not successful because the Rules of the Court disallowed it, I never gave up on analog/digitally recording depositions. I consider this lesson a highlight in my career.
I’ve founded and created three legal transcription companies, two digital deposition companies and one medical transcription company. I never used stenography in my career.

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Most recently, when COVID-19 shut down the world in mid-March, we were one of the first small companies in the country to begin conducting remote videoconferencing for depositions, allowing attorneys to continue deposing from at home.

AALM: Why do you think it has taken the industry so long to switch from stenography to digital?

GF: The legal industry has been notoriously slow to embrace technology, and not just digitally. They were using WordPerfect years after the rest of the world moved to MS Word and other much more user-friendly software packages. Change is uncomfortable and can be scary. Attorneys were too busy to educate themselves and make changes. The old ways were working, but only barely.

AALM: How has Digital Deposition Group answered some of the challenges in the court reporting industry?

GF: The turnaround time to receive a transcript has been unacceptable. It can take stenographers 30 days to produce a transcript. If you want it sooner, it will cost more. Ten days is our standard turnaround time.

Scheduling depositions has also been a tremendous hassle for attorneys. In fact, it’s one of the biggest complaints I’ve heard over the years. To schedule with us, an attorney need only email a copy of the Notice of Deposition to us or visit our website. We’ll confirm via email. Easy!
Reliability that a court reporter will cover your deposition has been another problem. There is such a shortage of stenographers that they are turning away 8-12% of the business. Steno schools are non-existent. Graduating numbers are not keeping up with the loss through attrition. Our company eliminates the stenographer so reliability is never an issue.

Historically, billing was created to be extremely complex and allow the agencies to charge for anything and everything. We’ve simplified billing to reduce expenses for all parties. It needed to be simplified, and this is what we have done.

AALM: How else have you integrated digital technology into your agency?

GF: We recently started using remote videoconferencing depositions. The convenience, user friendliness and cost were eye openers to the attorneys and law firms.

In 2018, we also introduced digital reporting using laptops equipped with recording software, microphones and three redundant backup systems to effectively record audio and video and provide the client with all of that information for free at the end of the depositions.

AALM: What are some of the advantages of digital reporting?

GF: Digital reporting produces verifiable and accurate transcripts, which are produced quickly and synced. The attorneys do not have to rely on any human being’s hearing what is said; it is recorded regardless of simultaneous speech. Also, the labor force is unlimited. For the most part, digital reporters have grown up with this technology and know it even better than I do! There is never a shortage of reporters.

The digital technology we employ also extends to litigation support. Impeaching witnesses using our software has never been easier. Our transcripts are delivered with built-in player software and contains synchronized audio/video and text, and they contain hyperlinked exhibits/documents. While playing the transcript, the user can easily copy excerpts and paste portion them paste or create a new file that can be played back in court.

AALM: What effect has the quarantine had on your business and the legal community?

GF: COVID-19 forced the legal industry to trust and embrace digital technology by using videoconferencing to conduct depositions and, in some cases, court hearings. Attorneys were kicking and screaming to stay in the 20th century, but they couldn’t anymore. Now that they have had to use the technology, they’re probably wondering why they didn’t do it sooner. We trust they’ll continue to move forward incorporating technology into their practices.

AALM: With all the new technologies you’re using, does a deposition service need to be local anymore?

GF: Not at all! We are based in Florida, but we have been conducting remote depositions throughout The United States, including Los Angeles and New York, and there are times when we do not even know where the person is located. We’ve provided the same high level of customer service that we’ve given to our local clients for decades.

AALM: Has artificial intelligence affected the court reporting industry? If so, how?

GF: While AI is not near 100%, it currently can accurately capture and convert speech to text with 80%+ accuracy. This reduces the time and cost of transcription. Ultimately, I see it producing a very accurate draft that can be distributed at the end of the deposition.

AALM: How would a client begin to use your service?

GF: All they need to do is schedule a deposition via the website or email, as described above.

AALM: What sets The Digital Deposition Group apart from the rest of the competition?

GF: We have nearly 50 years of experience in analog/digital technology. We understand the benefits and embrace enhancements in technology. We eliminate the client’s worry about coverage. We provide audio, video and the digital reporters notes on a USB flash drive for free at the end of every in-person deposition. If the deposition is held remotely, we can still provide audio and video upon the completion of the deposition. We produce a 3D product for download that syncs the audio, video and transcript, allowing attorneys to watch, hear and see the deposition in just 10 days. And we do not charge for discovery video at every deposition. Most importantly, we are committed to developing new technologies that improve the experience for all.

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Comments 37

  1. Paula S. Behmke says:

    “Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.”

  2. Gary Froonjian says:

    First, I’d like to thank each of you who (apparently) read and took the time to comment on my article. While I’m accustomed to negative and angry responses to me and my business I must say I found the quantity and degree of hostility a bit surprising.

    While I would very much like to address each of your comments individually, I quickly realized to do so would be redundant as it appears all of you had essentially the same things to say.

    I appreciate your anger and hence, the subsequent condescending comments, I have been hearing the same pushback since 1991 when your colleagues in New Jersey lost their jobs with the state’s Superior Court.

    While you might not like what I’ve said, that does not negate the facts. I have been in the digital/analog legal industry for 30 years and my family for 50. None of us can (or should want to) stop progress, I simply chose to fill a niche. Technology does not require your approval, nor will your anger at me block the rapidly expanding utilization of technology.

    Many of you challenged the validity of either my statements and/or the success rate of using digital transcribing. One person even suggested that our services are “80% accurate”. I’d be very interested in knowing where that arbitrary number came from. While stumped by the origins of that stat, I do know it is 100% false.

    Digital technology is reliable, accurate and verifiable. The human error is both fallible and subject to personal interpretation or error. The ear itself cannot decipher simultaneous speech, nor can it verify anything except with notes written by that same fallible human.

    Digital technology, at least what we use, records different speakers on different tracks. In addition, we have video and someone on hand to take real-time notes that coincide with the recordings. This is all 100% verifiable and has been used all across the country since 1991.

    Others suggested that because our reporters have not been trained in the “traditional” court-reporting schools, that they are incapable of understanding, therefore incapable of accurately transcribing what they hear and see. Again, a statement that is completely untrue and I suspect born out of frustration and anger from those who spent significant time and money to attend these schools and now are finding themselves “replaceable.”

    Please understand these are not simply my opinions. If you do your research you’ll find that court-reporting schools have an alarming attrition rate a direct result of this new and broadening technology and the consequential lack of student enrollment.

    On a final note, there were several who attacked my ability to “research” and my lack of experience. I promise you, the very success of my business depends on vast amounts of both of these. Again,
    while I am sympathetic to the growing pains that new technology brings, I refuse to apologize for helping to provide an excellent, highly praised and sought after service. I proudly stand by my company, my employees and my own reputation for honesty and transparency.

  3. Kerry says:

    Wow. Any MONKEY could read this article and follow the breadcrumb of lies and contradictions. Licensed VERBATIM Stenographers are trained to be 98% accurate as opposed to your 80% record. Audio transcription is also something stenographer and anyone off of CRAIGSLIST can do. You don’t have to be licensed NOR HELD ACCOUNTABLE for the record which is UNACCEPTABLE in the LEGAL INDUSTRY. This article is an embarrassment to journalism and the legal industry. How dare you sell these lies and inaccuracies to make a career off the backs of litigants and people who truly need attorneys for their problems. From my 10 years of experience in the legal field, audio transcription is an EMBARRASSMENT and half the time is useless in court. There’s a reason your company is SMALL, sir. Attorneys should be educated on the lies the legal transcription market is selling to them. And you most DEFINITELY did not create the force behind “digital depositions” even long before COVID.

  4. Cory Barrett says:

    This is just not true in my experience since the early ’80s. A Certified Shorthand Reporter can always produce a better transcription more quickly and more accurately than either voice recognition or by audio recording and being transcribed by… who knows who. People in deposition situations are passionate, and they don’t follow rules very well to talk one at a time. A reporter can stop them and sort out the statements being made. Reporters know legal and medical terminology and how to punctuate correctly. Transcriptionists can type, but they are not schooled for this. I hope very few are falling for this. Court Reporters are the gold standard for a trusted transcript, and a legal one! Don’t sell your clients short!

  5. A State-Certified Stenographer says:

    I disagree.

  6. Carol Zurborg says:

    Please contact a representative from the stenographic community to be able to rebut this article. There a lot of fallacies in what Mr. Froojian has stated.

  7. Shellie Loomis says:

    I totally disagree with this article on recording and “digital.” You cannot replace a human listening and being able to interrupt when somebody coughs during testimony, etc. d igital had tons of issues. I am a working court reporter who reports live and also via zoom, the Internet, etc., and also do transcription work off of many recording systems and there is no comparison. Whoever wrote this should have done some research.

  8. Roshen McRoberts, CSR says:

    I do not agree.

  9. Lora Strat says:

    And who will transcribe these recorded legal proceedings? Will a licensed Certified Shorthand Reporter certify your transcript? Will these transcripts be accepted at trial? Unlikely!

  10. Jaclyn kinsbursky says:

    This is very sad and just not factually true. Sure you can spend a little more to shop for a higher quality item just like you can pinch your pennies and buy a knock off down the street. At the end of the day no recorder will ever be able to replace what the human body hears. It’s just not possible, and we know no judge is going to be accepting of such practices for anything like that to be admitted in court. Instead we should work together to find a happy medium to better service attorneys’ needs as well as the reporters. There should be enough room at the table for all of us rather than using a recording machine. There’s a reason that’s never been implemented before, and it’s not because attorneys can’t/won’t learn new tricks.

  11. Candi Donnels says:

    Nothing is better than a live person reporting a deposition stenographically. Having reported many depositions via videoconference, there are many sounds coming from the different participants’ surroundings. I am able to speak up and clarify what was actually said to protect the official record. A machine cannot do that.

  12. Ashley Proxmire says:

    This is just another way some business is trying to replace a good-paying job, which serves to give an American citizen a decent living, with a job that pays minimum wage (or near to) and forces that person to be on subsidized, tax-payer supported social services. People wonder why so many Americans are on food stamps — it’s because we’re allowing companies like this one to get away with replacing decent paying jobs to hardworking individuals with positions that pay poverty wages. My dad made $60-70k a year selling TVs at the Good Guys in the 90s and early 2000s. Best Buy rolled into town and replaced his and all his coworkers jobs with minimum wage replacements, and put many people out of work. I don’t remember one person who didn’t have a TV before Best Buy rolled into town. I don’t recall one person complaining that TVs were too expensive or obtainable. Now when I need assistance in buying the right laptop at Best Buy, none of the workers can explain to me the proper details of each laptop to help me make an informed decision because none of them give a crap about their job enough to learn the things they need to to actually help the customers. That is exactly what this gentleman is trying to do with court reporting. Don’t let it happen.

  13. Edith Navas-Mouneimne says:

    Perhaps you should interview someone in the court reporting industry as that is different from a transcription company. This person failed to mention courts do not accept transcripts produced by digital transcribers. Stenographers have to adhere to Code of Civil Procedures and transcript formats for a transcript to be admitted in court. Also, what about if the connection fails or the recording is not clear for the transcriber? Or thick accents?

  14. Harmony Menier says:

    This article is inaccurate and far from the truth. As a court reporter, myself, digital reporting doesn’t come near the perfection and accuracy we produce in our transcripts. This article mentions 80% accuracy. We are certified at 97.5% accuracy at 200 words per minute which involves punctuation. When I was in court reporting school, 80% accuracy or any percentage close to it was a big fail. It seems as if you have no idea the importance of our profession, and the benefits it offers the legal world and its clients. It seems as if the “easy” and “quick” way is the trend of this article, but digital recording is far from that. The quality cannot even touch what a court reporter can do. Most attorneys I’ve worked with who have tried a “button pusher” have been greatly disappointed and won’t return back to that option. Our worth is major in this business. There is not a shortage. There are plenty options when it comes to education for aspiring court reporters. These transcripts that “button pushers” produce are not even comparable to a court reporter’s. I would not feel comfortable with my confidential information contained in a transcript being sent to foreign countries to transcribe and certify. Real attorneys VALUE real transcripts. This article is disgraceful and publishes information that is completely false. Try your best to come for our profession. I promise you only disappointment will follow. People have been trying to make this happen for years, and they have yet to succeed. It won’t happen. This job is too important and should be treated that way.

  15. Kathy Mannlein says:

    This is absolute garbage. There is no room in the court reporting field for fake button pushers. There is no “shortage,” as you digis love to claim. If you want our job, go to school and get certified like the rest of us. Stop ripping our whole industry off. Would you go to a doctor who didn’t have his medical license? Or hire a contractor who doesn’t have his contractor’s license? I think not. Kindly fuck off. Thank you.

  16. Allison A says:

    I’m a deposition reporter in Southern California. Our certification testing rate is at 97.5% to be licensed to work. This means our transcripts are more accurate. Our production turnaround is ten business days and can be sooner if needed. We don’t outsource internationally for cheaper transcription labor. We can accommodate for accents, simultaneous speaking, crosstalk, emotions, etc. We can identify speakers on a video conference call when the screen share is in place. Please do not even begin to claim a digital recorder is a more accurate replacement for a human reporter. Anyone tried Siri lately?

  17. Julia Lennan says:

    Although the premise seems promising, there’s no replacement currently for a human being observing and taking down verbatim proceedings. I love modern technology — although I admit I am skeptical of self-driving cars 😬😁 — and it would be amazing if there were a way to get an actually verbatim transcript from a digital recording, but as someone who actually produces verbatim transcripts, I can tell you that the transcript you will get from a digital recording will not be close to 100% accurate. There are simply too many opportunities for something to be slightly misheard or missed which can dramatically change the meaning of the transcribed testimony. Yes, we are sometimes amazed by what technology can do, but every layer of distance between a human being and the spoken word creates countless opportunities for the actual verbatim record to be lost.

  18. Nora Brittain says:

    This is an insult for all court reporters. First of all, this individual and his father-in-law are in the transcribing industry not court reporting. There is a BIG difference. Transcriptionists are just that, transcribers.
    Court reporters are certified by the Secretary of the State to take down word for word what is being said in a proceeding at 97.5 % accuracy, not 80% as mentioned in this article.
    Now I think it’s time for an interview in support of court reporters. Where would the attorneys and judges in their courtrooms be without court reporters?

  19. Ronni Valentino says:

    As a certified shorthand reporter for over 40 years, I must say that this is only one small perspective and, frankly, untrue!
    There are schools teaching “court reporting.”
    In over 30 years reporting in Los Angeles, I have never ever turned in a transcript later than two weeks. That is a turnaround of 10 business day.
    I would seriously doubt the accuracy of a digital transcript. This has been tried in courts before and failed when the transcripts were must needed.
    Please do your due diligence and follow up this article with an interview from a certified shorthand reporter.

  20. If you like calling for technical support on a matter that’s important to you and the person on the line is outsourced from another country, then you may like digital recording. That’s the quality of product you will receive for your important legal proceedings.
    If you want an accurate record of proceedings, then call a professional stenographer. There’s no comparison.

  21. Jamie L. Asbury, California Shorthand Reporter No. 13308, Certificate in Realtime Reporting No. 206 says:

    The amount of inaccurate information in this interview regarding the current climate of court reporting is very concerning. This is in essence a marketing interview and nothing else. I would encourage you to do some actual research into the field of stenography to understand how stenographers capture and produce transcripts at 98% accuracy, and the value of providing simultaneous realtime streaming and rough drafts within hours after an all-day proceeding. Marketers can tote that AI can produce transcripts minutes after a proceeding, but that is unreliable. Have you asked Siri to research something just to have her hear the completely wrong thing? Imagine a deposition full of arguments and crosstalk and what AI would produce. Will you get a transcript of words? Yes. But will they be the right words and content? Likely not. Point being, whether there is an audio recording or not, it still will need to be transcribed. Court reporters are constantly updating their computer systems and machines to keep up with the latest technology, ensuring to produce the fastest and most reliable transcripts. I would love to see an interview of a live stenographer promoting this amazing field because rest assured, digital will never be more accurate than a live court reporter. Attorneys have relied on stenographers for decades upon decades because they are irreplaceable! That will never change.

  22. Julie McKay says:

    This is laughable. The reason why attorneys prefer certified shorthand reporters is because we are far superior in every way imaginable to a tape recorder. For instance, capital cases require a transcript produce daily. I can write the job in the courtroom, produce a rough as soon as we’re finished on the record, and have a full and complete certified transcript in your hands by midnight the same day. Maybe sooner. What typist can do that? That is only one example, but you get the idea. Our profession deserves more respect.

  23. Stephenie Farmer says:

    This article is not even close to being factual!

  24. Elizabeth Harvey, CCR, RPR says:

    As a certified stenographer, I’d like to respond to this interview. Despite the claims made here, stenographers are at the forefront of technology. We have been “digital” for decades. The little machines you see us write on are fully computerized and store our steno notes, an audio backup, and a realtime translated transcript. In contrast to a digital recording being the only record, we have multiple audio backups, our steno notes are stored in real time on at least two devices, and the draft transcript is immediately available at an accuracy rate of more than 95 percent. Secure backup services are also utilized.

    The 80 percent translation rate mentioned in the interview will produce a basically unusable transcript. Stenographic reporters can provide a realtime transcript or rough draft at the end of the proceedings with a translation rate at 95 percent or higher. We provide instantaneous readback of testimony. When the pandemic arrived, stenographers adapted quickly to remote depositions via Zoom and other platforms with ease, providing captioning and realtime depositions. This is a service most of us had already been offering.

    A certified stenographer is an officer of the court, responsible for the record from start to finish. If your proceeding is simply recorded, what happens in the case of equipment failure? Where does that recording go? Who transcribes it and are they even in the United States? What about your client’s confidential financial or medical information? How many people have access to that file? What are their qualifications? What is the chain of custody of the audio recording and the exhibits? Do you have any recourse if problems arise?

    The interview mentions taking remote proceedings without knowing where the witness is. Most, if not all states have court rules and laws regarding who may administer an oath and act as a deposition officer. Depositions are usually determined to take place where the witness is located. For example, both Washington and Oklahoma require a state-certified reporter cover depositions in their states, and notaries public are specifically prohibited from providing court reporting services. Georgia, Texas and Louisiana, among others, have strict certification requirements. Other states, such as New York and Colorado, require the reporter to be a state notary republic. Some states require that only the reporter who took the proceedings certify the final transcript. To make sure your transcript will be admissible in court, make sure the deposition officer has the authority to report and certify the proceedings. Contrary to Mr. Froonjian’s statement, it is essential to know where the witness is located.

    Certified stenographers have extensive training, ongoing education, and as officers of the court, we are accountable to the court and the public. Your first choice should always be a certified stenographic reporter.

  25. Samantha Avenaim says:

    This is complete hogwash. There are plenty of Certified Court Reporters. There are schools open and students graduating. What there is no substitute for is a Certified Court Reporter versus a “someone” trying to transcribe from audio recording after the fact. What there is no substitute for is the years of college Certified Court Reporters undero to take down medical, legal — all aspects of difficult testimony and follow the Code of Civil Procedure as Officers of the Court. This is a money-grab that will leave these attorneys with quite possibly unadmissible transcripts. Also, normal turnaround is eight business days, standard most everywhere. If you are going to report on one side of the story, please do fact checking and look at the actual industry.

  26. Grace Chung says:

    I think it’s a case of people not truly understanding the level of training and experience it takes to produce an accurate transcript that are provided by live court reporters. It’s not so simple as it sounds (granted, some very EZ material with good audio recording might be okay, but seriously how many proceedings are really that EZ). This has been tried before: A lot of bad, unusable transcripts from courts that utilized audio recording in place of reporters and the proven fallacy of cost-effectiveness of live reporters v. audio recording with transcriptionists.

  27. Debra Duran-Bornstein says:

    While I understand this is an “interview,” I would think at least a little bit of fact-checking would be in order. How stenography is portrayed in this article is absolutely not true and I find it disheartening that you would hurt a profession in the interest of a person who goes from one company to another and is just undermining a distinguished profession. While these statements are nothing but untruths, the facts are that stenography is the ONLY voice-to-text technology that is 97% accurate (99 for a stellar stenographer.). Stenographers are pushing out real-time feeds daily to attorneys, and producing accurate, overnight transcripts. It’s impossible to list here the differences between digital and stenographers, but I assure you, it is vast. I hope you’ll take the time, Sarah, and interview a stenographer to provide real truth in how transcripts are produced today.

  28. Shelley says:

    What a crock of shit. How many cases have been overturned because the “tape wasn’t recording?” A lot. How many have been overturned when a live stenographer was present taking down the testimony? NONE. This guy is full of it. There are PLENTY of stenography schools, too. If you’re conducting depositions in Los Angeles without a license, that’s a misdemeanor and that can affect the legitimacy of the testimony given. I think I’ll ask the CSR board to check in with this guy. Florida has no rules, but the rest of the country does!

  29. Virginia Perez says:

    Is this GF a certified CRS? If he isn’t, then he shouldn’t be trying to convert anything. Stop your nonsense of digital. It’s been proven time and time again that it doesn’t work.

  30. CHERYL PARRISH says:

    This is nonsense.
    Who are you and what are yo doing?

  31. Catherine Rajcan says:

    80% accuracy “boasted” in the article is atrocious! Real-time court reporters create a simultaneous transcript with 99.9+% accuracy. There are so many false/misleading statements by the company representative that bear out his being disingenuous: attorneys have long easily scheduled a court reporter by providing just a Notice, there are numerous schools for court reporting (and captioning) across the country including online courses, and realtime court reporters regularly provide immediate draft transcripts, daily copy, and expedited transcripts. Importantly, states with licensure for court reporters, and notary requirements, require proceedings in their state to be covered by in-state licensed court reporters and notaries public.

  32. Erin says:

    Awful information, I couldn’t disagree with this more. Digital reporting is just plain inaccurate and unreliable.

  33. Zaira J says:

    I dont agree

  34. Natalie says:

    This guy is a complete hack job. He is pushing a low-grade product and trying to pass it off as a transcript. This cannot be used in court. These are not reliable, but I guess it works for an ambulance chaser. You get what you pay for. Garbage is cheap.

  35. Jeanese Johnson says:

    This article is a farce. Who is allowed to publish such misleading and inaccurate information without proper fact-checking?
    This publisher claims to be a “dedicated publishing professional” and yet allows such statements as “there are no schools” to be published for attorneys to read? What research did she do? How utterly irresponsible. As I write this, half a dozen schools rush to mind — but I’m not going to do your homework for you. Please think of all of the students whom you harm with that statement. Very, extremely damaging to the “real” court reporting community.

    Whoever “published” this article should be wholly ashamed of themselves for a completely self-serving, misleading, untrue, maligning, damaging untruths and misinformation than probably I’ve ever seen in a digital article.

  36. Dyann L. Berndt, Illinois Certified Shorthand Reporter, NCRA Registered Professional Reporter says:

    I’m curious as to why the author didn’t question this gentleman as to how and/or whether his digital recorders are certified or licensed and, if so, by what body. He touted his push for licensing for transcriptionists, so an obvious follow-up question would have been regarding licensing requirements for the recorders. Currently, anybody with a minimum amount of education can be a digital recorder and taught to push a button. Stenographers, on the other hand, are licensed and/or certified officers of the court in many states. We are held to a much higher standard, which means our consumers — attorneys — can file complaints against us and our licensing status if we don’t produce accurate transcripts. If a digital recorder messes up a transcript, the attorney is simply out of luck; there is no authority to complain to other than the company who provided the subpar product. Make no mistake: digitals recorders are NOT court reporters. They don’t have the education, knowledge, skill, or certification of a stenographer. Stenographers are the gold standard. Don’t trust your record to anyone else.

  37. There are at least a few factual inaccuracies here. The labor force for digital reporters is not unlimited. There are no unlimited labor forces. Succinctly, the reporting agencies that have tried switching to digital recording would have done so by now if there was this large pool of employees ready and waiting. There are over two dozen NCRA-approved schools for stenographic reporters in this country and only perhaps four AAERT-approved schools. Just by the numbers, it’s impossible to claim a larger workforce of digital reporters while stenographers are taking a larger share of depositions in this country.

    Also on the idea of efficiency and digital, stenography is digital and has been digital for the last thirty years. AI only captures about 80 percent in the best of circumstances. According to Stanford’s Fairspeech study, it was 20 percent inaccurate with white speakers, 40 percent inaccurate with black speakers, and did worse on specialized dialects such as AAE. With the fast push of voice cloning and audio editing, audio-only records are likely to become more vulnerable to tampering. This is interesting when juxtaposed against the study by Taylor Jones et al. where court reporters were 80 percent accurate on AAE, lawyers were 60 percent accurate in the pilot study, and laypeople were 40 percent accurate in the pilot study. Stenography is also more efficient with regard to transcription thanks to the chorded stenotype. We’ve got things going at 225 WPM (average). On a QWERTY keyboard, the average is more like 50 to 100 WPM. Requiring twice as much time or twice as much manpower as stenographic reporting.

    Also on the idea of not knowing where the witnesses are, it seems like to comply with CPLR 3113(a) in New York you would have to know where the witnesses are so that you could have the deposition before the appropriate officer.

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