What do these movies have in common: Austin Powers, Back to the Future, The Naked Gun, and the original Star Wars? They’re all trilogies! In 2021, after serving 14 years on OCRA’s Board of Directors, including two terms as president, I stepped away from service. And although I didn’t utter Arnold Schwarzenegger’s famous words from Terminator at that time -- “I’ll be back” – I guess this year I’ll be concluding my own trilogy!!
In all seriousness, I’m happy to be elected again to serve as President of OCRA. It’s a privilege that I take to heart, that I can represent my fellow colleagues.
OCRA has enjoyed its share of successes, legislatively, in the past couple years – a $10,000 salary increase; a $3,000 per year equipment stipend; increasing each additional certificate attained by $500. The page rate has also been removed from the statute and worded so it’s set by the Oklahoma Supreme Court, and will be on our agenda this fall.
Is everything great now and we can rest on our laurels? Not by any stretch of the imagination. The shortage of court reporters continues to plague our court system across the entire state. Vacancies are at an all-time high. And the numbers would be even worse if we weren’t aided by those reporters working on temporary certificates. If you’re interested in applying for one of the vacant positions, you can view all the openings at https://oscn.net/jobs/
Courts across the nation are having to resort to “digital reporters” due to the shortage. Big box freelance companies are turning the other cheek and sending “digital reporters” to cover depositions. It may not be in Oklahoma yet, but you can expect it to make its way here sooner rather than later. And what’s an even scarier proposition? Artificial intelligence, which may be a whole different battle in the future.
Enrollment in court reporting schools is better than it’s been in recent memory. However, although students are getting out of school and positions are being filled, we still need more students to fill the vacancies created by our retirees so that we’re not just treading water but we are swimming laps! For our profession to be sustained as is, we must talk about it at every opportunity. Think outside the box of who you could talk to about court reporting. Recruitment of new students is the lifeline to the future of our profession.
If we each take the initiative to make this grassroots effort, I’m confident we can stabilize machine stenography for the foreseeable future.
OCRA President 2023-2024