Lifelong Court Employee Commends Court Reporters
Looking for some insight on where the court reporting industry is headed? After almost 40 years working in the court systems, Tony Benning says court reporter jobs aren’t going anywhere.
There’s no doubt several parts of the country are facing a court reporter shortage, which could potentially lead to longer turnaround time on any number of legal services, from depositions to sentencing.
Tech to the rescue?
Some legal experts say advances in technology will help to cover that gap — video cameras will soon replace court reporters in many legal situations.
But most agree technology can only go so far in fulfilling the duties of a court reporter. Tony Benning’s one of them:
“We will handle paperwork in a new way, but changes like the role of a court reporter are a long ways off.”
In an interview with the Madison Daily Ledger, Benning said the current court system is focused on cameras in the courtroom and other new technoligies, but said these advances will only go so far.
And Benning should know. After almost 40 years working in a courtroom, he’s seen plenty of fads come and go.
A life’s worth of experience
Benning’s history with the Third Judicial Circuit began in 1975. He was working for a South Dakota state agency that tracked down jobs for others. He went to the Lake County Courthouse looking to secure the Clerk of Courts position for someone else.
He ended up taking the job himself, kicking off a 38-year career. As a clerk magistrate, he was responsible for a lot of administrative tasks, but also determined penalty amounts for misdemeanors like traffic offenses. Eventually he oversaw a reorganization of that process that made the penalties more fair and uniform that other nearby court systems adopted.
He announced his retirement earlier this month. When asked about his somewhat unexpected career, he said he was happy:
“Yes, you can’t be in this business for almost 40 years if you didn’t enjoy it.”
Court reporters are here to stay
While Benning never served as a court reporter himself, he was heavily involved in the administrative tasks that seem to pile up in any court system. And he’d worked in that capacity for a long time — long enough to know what trends were most likely to stick around.
And while new technology has changed the way people pay fines and has shifted how the media covers court proceedings, transcribed testimony and other essential court reporter duties won’t go away anytime soon.
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