Changes have happened within the Los Angeles County court system in the past few years that have affected court reporters and attorneys. The court has been seeing a number of layoffs because of budget cutbacks. Court reporters were one of the largest groups of individuals to be laid off in the Los Angeles County courts. Instead of the court employing reporters and assigning them to a trial or deposition internally, attorneys then needed to seek out and hire their own reporter.
Just like hiring any employee or freelancer, attorneys need to consider the credentials of their court reporters and ensure that the reporter will be able to properly record all of the court proceedings and turn their appeals in at the correct time.Court reporters are necessary to ensure that a record is captured for court proceedings, and attorneys need to make sure that the reporter they hire is competent enough to work in the courts. The courts have been able to ease the minds of attorneys by assigning term “Court-Approved” to the most qualified court reporters.
So, What Makes a Court Reporter "Court-Approved”?
This is a very important term for court reporters and the attorneys who hire them. Reporters who have not been approved have not been checked by the courts and both the defense and plaintiff attorneys will need to sign paperwork to stipulate that the court reporter is not court-approved. This can be a “red flag” for the attorneys, and they may not want to hire the court reporter. With a court-approved reporter, no stipulation is necessary. There are 2 ways that a court reporter can become court-approved - they worked with the court before the layoffs or they petitioned to become court-approved.
Previously Worked With the Court
After the layoffs, the court published a list of reporters who had worked with the courts. These court reporters were deemed “Court-Approved”. However, reporters would not be included on the list if there were any issues with their work. For example, reporters would not be included on the list if any of their appeals had been turned in past their deadline.
Petitioned to Become Court-Approved
This is a much more complicated process for court reporters. After the layoffs, the court made it possible for court reporters to petition to become court-approved. In order for a reporter to become court-approved, they will need to have successfully turned in an appeal transcript to the courts. This is the largest hurdle for court reporters, because they will need to have worked in the courts without being on the court-approved list. However, once they are over this hurdle, they can submit their applications to the court system, and they will be considered for court-approval. The approval process can sometimes take up to several months.
Court approval is an important process for court reporters, because it confirms their qualifications. When you do contact your court reporting agency to hire your court reporter, make sure that you do stipulate that you want a court-approved reporter. It will be much less of a hassle for you and your opposing attorney.