Emily Bradshaw of Express Network recently addressed the Contra Costa County Legal Professionals Association in Pleasant Hills, Calif., about steno trends and the reporter shortage. This presentation had various members of the NCRA STRONG Committee in attendance and resulted in their advocating further coverage of the dangers of AI. On the heels of NCRA’s statement on AI, this interview helps recap what Bradshaw’s presentation entailed: Clarifying what stenographers offer compared with digital. A highlight from an attendee was about Bradshaw’s comments relating to her experience in law enforcement and what is needed to consider cybersecurity issues in court reporting.
JCR | What are the latest advancements in AI to watch?
Emily Bradshaw (EB) |
- Voice Recognition
- Realtime captioning
- Open captions
- Facial Recognition
JCR | Why should those in the court reporting, captioning, and legal videography career fields be concerned about AI?
EB | A reason for concern is the inherent risks to the standard of accuracy, privacy, and professionalism that those within the reporting fields dedicate a tremendous amount of their lives to maintain and perfect.
JCR | How would you explain what digital reporting is and the downfalls to someone who isn’t familiar with it?
EB | Digital reporting/digital reporters record the audio from a legal proceeding to later produce a transcript. Attorneys and those they represent put themselves at risk of using technology that may maintain the bias of its creator jeopardizing a person’s right to a fair trial; they risk exposure to their likeness or personally identifiable information being captured for deepfake technologies; and they risk exposure to the destruction, tampering, or loss of highly confidential documents and information.
JCR | What can members do to help raise awareness against digital reporting?
EB | The first step of raising awareness is educating yourself. If you have not, there are plenty of resources available on the topic. Of course, perusing the NCRA website is a great start to get caught up on the interesting times in which we currently find ourselves. From there I would highly recommend giving seminars, presentations, and micro-courses on the topic to help bring awareness to the downfalls of digital reporting and the risks our clients find themselves facing. It is the responsibility of those with this knowledge to spread awareness so legal professionals do not fall victim to a technology that is still in its infancy.
JCR | Is there a specific tidbit or pearl of wisdom you’d like to share with NCRA members?
EB | It would be great to network with reporters and small court reporting agencies to assist with educating clients as much as possible about how court reporting works, the latest technologies, and the small things that make a huge difference. Keep open communication with the community and be accessible to an account executive like myself. We are happy to help; let us know how we can!
JCR | Under the digital reporting umbrella, what is something you feel isn’t being paid attention to?
EB | The transmission of digital reporting files to be transcribed — many of the reporting agencies that offer digital reporting use freelance transcriptionists to fulfill these orders. Many freelancers have not had any training, formal or otherwise, or any experience in this field.
JCR | How did you enter the world of depositions? Who told you about that career field?
EB | I entered the world of depositions by mistake. I had a decision to make between a federal law enforcement career or an account executive position for a court reporting company. I decided to take a leap of faith by choosing the court reporting field, and I am very happy with my decision. I am very passionate about my career, and I love helping clients. Flexibility, a positive mental health environment, and a great work-to-life balance are very important to me. Therefore, I am very blessed to have a career and a company that embody the same values.
JCR | What are some of your go-to resources for those interested in becoming more knowledgeable about this subject?
EB | My go-to resources are NCRA and the Deposition Reporters Association of California, Inc. I often research legal industry reports and articles to keep myself informed on the newest trends in the industry.
JCR | How can members contact you to inquire about a presentation for their firms or groups?
EB | The best way to reach me would be by email at email@example.com. I can also be reached via call or text at (650) 435-9587.
JCR | How has engaging with the NCRA STRONG Committee gone?
EB | Engaging with the NCRA STRONG Committee has been sensational. I truly appreciate all their help.
Emily Bradshaw is an Account Executive at Express Network, a legal support company, and holds a BA in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration from San Francisco State University in California. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.