Recruitment-Retention Efforts Update, 12.4.2022

It is the Los Angeles County Court Reporters Association’s assertion that the Los Angeles Superior Court has created the so-called “shortage” and “court reporter crisis” dwindling down the number of LASC Official Court Reporters through a lackadaisical approach to recruitment and a lack of care in retaining Official Court Reporters by making LASC a non-desirous place to work.

The true crisis is in recruitment and retention. The following are some of the suggestions LACCRA has advocated for since 2015 and the court has either been slow or failed completely to implement.

2015 Suggestion:
1. LACCRA advocated for the application process court reporters to NOT include a steno machine test. Instead, we argued every applicant is already a licensed CA CSR who had passed what is, arguably, the most difficult state certification test for stenographers in the country.

2017 Suggestions (LASC changes job listing to include):
1. Remove machine test from application process. LASC agrees to do so and reissues the job listing June/July 2017 (TWO YEARS after our initial suggestion).
2. Amend limitation on type of steno writer that can be used with employment with LASC (change implemented as part of 2017 renewed job listing). 
3. LACCRA suggests listing part-time/as-needed employment.
     a. LASC includes these options in its job listing in mid-2017. However, it was not until approximately mid-2022 that LASC hired two court reporters at the part-time classification, FIVE YEARS LATER.

2018 Suggestions:
1. 9/12/2018 - Request the Court to memorialize Court Reporting and Captioning Week with a recruitment video and/or other methods. LASC asked if LACCRA had a video they could see. LACCRA directed them to the California Court Reporters Association which would have a video available at the end of the month. NO ACTION AS OF 11/2022

August of 2019, LASC came to LACCRA to ask for recruitment ideas. LACCRA put together and presented a PowerPoint presentation to the court with the following suggestions for recruitment ideas:

1. Suggestion: PILOT PROJECT to provide officials in limited courtrooms for civil law and motion in the Civic Center area in order to encourage freelance interest back to LASC employment (PowerPoint and suggestions have continued to be presented up to and including 2022).

December 2019 LASC indicates they cannot implement this suggestion because they “cannot tell some judges they can have reporters and others they cannot.”

PILOT PROJECT REASONING: In 2012 Official Reporters were removed from unlimited civil courtrooms to be covered by Freelance Reporters. Where there used to be one Official Reporter covering all matters, there can be and have been upwards of 1-8 reporters covering separate matters in one courtroom. The court created a MISALLOCATION of reporters with the removal of Official Court Reporters from unlimited civil courtrooms. The court has now in the process of removing Official Court Reporters from Family Law, Probate, and Writs and Receivers courtrooms; thereby, increasing misallocation.

     1. LASC indicates they will look into this option.
     2. June 2020, approximately a year later, LASC indicates they are informed by the Court Reporters Board that no vendors/organizations are allowed to set up at the testing sites.  CSR Exams are now done online but were in-person in the nearly year it took for LASC to indicate the Court Reporters Board response.

3. Suggestion: LASC’s presence or convention sponsorship (separate from LACCRA) at the California Court Reporters Association’s Convention

     1. LASC takes no action on this suggestion in 2019/2020/2021.
     2. THREE YEARS LATER in September 2022 LASC procures a vendor table at the California Court Reporter Association’s first in-person annual convention since 2019.  The 2020 and 2021 CCRA Conventions were held online and could have easily been attended virtually as sponsorships were available.
     3. LACCRA has been a major sponsor of the CCRA annual conventions (in-person and virtual) using its sponsorship to advertise the need for officials.

4. Suggestion: LASC advertise in the National Court Reporters Association’s Journal of Court Reporting, which is a publication specific to the field of court reporting.
     1. LASC indicates advertisement space has been arranged for. When LACCRA inquires, we learn the Court has utilized only the SMALL, FREE government ad space shown at the very back of the JCR publication.
     2. LACCRA reiterates that we believe it would be more beneficial for the Court to have a full-page, color advertisement in a more prominent space of the JCR.
     3. TWO AND A HALF YEARS LATER, LASC employment flyer appears in one month of the Journal of Court Reporting.
     4. September of 2022, THREE YEARS LATER after the announcement of removal of Family Law and Probate Reporters, LASC obtains ¼ ad space in the Journal of Court Reporting for one year.

5. Suggestion: Hire recruiters specifically for Court Reporters
     1. First suggested in 2019, LASC asks LACCRA for clarification on Recruiter and indicates it will “look into it.”
     2. October 2021, TWO YEARS LATER LASC informs LACCRA they have been given approval to seek multiple recruitment vendors and they would have those vendors set, hopefully, by January 2022. 
     3. LASC repeatedly indicates this is in the works. 
     4. March 22, 2022, SIX months after being informed by the court they were given approval, and approximately THREE YEARS after we made the suggestion, the court informs LACCRA they are still in the process of what services the vendor can provide. In that same meeting, Human Resources indicates they do not believe an outside recruiter could do anything different than what they could do in-house.
     5. JUNE 15, 2022, the court informs LACCRA/SEIU in answer to Request for Information that “the court decided to suspend the solicitation of Requests for Proposals” from external recruitment firms.
     6. AUGUST OF 2022, an email from Sherri Carter regarding the removal of Family Law and Probate Reporters lists a recruiter as one of the ways the court has aggressively tried to recruit court reporters despite LACCRA/SEIU being told LASC would NOT be hiring an outside recruiter.

6. Suggestion: LASC host an Open House/Meet and Greet (virtual if not in person)
     1. 4/25/2019: Suggestion made by LACCRA. As of 2022 other county courts and private Court Reporting agencies have been hosting Open Houses and Meet and Greets.  NO ACTION AS OF 11/2022

7. Suggestion: LASC visit local Court Reporting Schools
     1.  Some visits have been made by Managers. LACCRA provided contact persons for each of the schools to LASC.

8. Suggestion: LASC utilize Online Ads (Instagram, FaceBook, LinkedIn, Indeed)
     1. Online ads began only AFTER 2019, SOME THREE YEARS LATER.
After informing LACCRA that online ads were ongoing and communicating to all bench officers and LACCRA that they had been “aggressively recruiting online” in the notification email about the removal of Family Law and Probate Reporters, we found that absolutely no advertisements were present on the Court’s own LinkedIn page and did not list the job opening for Official Court Reporter until September 9, 2022.  Indeed web site also did not have the Job listing until September 2022.

9. Suggestion: LASC attend Career Fairs
LACCRA requested on several occasions to attend career fairs during the workday as they are mostly held during the day. When released, it is only for a half day, and must use our own time if the fair goes past the allotted time. We have had to cancel attended career fairs because we are told the court may not know until the day of the fair or the day before whether or not we will be released.  As recently as November 14, 2022, LACCRA canceled a career fair LACCRA was invited to because we would not know until a couple of days before whether or not we would be released, and did not want to inconvenience the school with an unprofessional late cancellation.

10. Suggestion: Handouts in Court Spaces (i.e. jury rooms, etc.)
     1. 9/12/2018 The Court refuses but will check with Human Resources to see if it’s possible.
     2. 4/25/2019: The court says it is not a practice of the court to advertise in jury rooms and court buildings. The Court will see if pamphlets are feasible.
     3. LACCRA continuously renewed the request to have fliers in the jury rooms. It was noted that the Los Angeles County Sheriffs were allowed to advertise their job openings within the Criminal Justice Center Lobby and in front of the First Floor Jury Room. When LACCRA brought that to the Court’s attention, the Sheriffs advertisement is removed.

11. Suggestion: LASC mail out snail-mail flyers/pamphlets to ALL CSRs
     1. 2/18/2020 Court finally agrees to send up-to-date flyers but ONLY to newly certified California CSRs because it is “too costly."
     2. LACCRA reiterates the request to mail updated recruitment flyer/pamphlet to all California CSRs or at least those in L.A. and surrounding counties.  The Court continues to say it is too costly.
     3. September 2022, THREE YEARS after the suggestion and after the announcement of the removal of Family Law and Probate reporters, the court FINALLY sends out employment postcards seemingly to all CA CSRs - including their own employees.

9/30/2019: After initial suggestions to Court’s solicited ask for our input re-recruitment, the Court indicates it needs time to review everything and have discussions through management of bigger ideas and thoughts.

Additional Recruitment Suggestions Submitted 6/2021 and continuing request for updates on past recruitment suggestions to present.

1. Suggestion: Targeted Online Ads
     1. Court Reporting Podcasts.  Ex. Confessions of a Stenographer, etc.
          NO ACTION AS OF 11/2022
     2. Other legal/crime podcasts
          NO ACTION AS OF 11/2022
     3. Emphasize ad space for podcasts during peak commuting hours
          NO ACTION AS OF 11/2022 
     4. YouTube advertising.
          NO ACTION AS OF 11/2022

2. Suggestion:  Internships for High-Speed students or students waiting to take the CSR 
     1. Sit them with reporters on the same CAT software system so they get templates and are ready to go with the court when they pass the CSR. 
          NO ACTION AS OF 11/2022

3. Suggestion: Court Reporter Scholarships for commitment to work with LASC upon certification.
          NO ACTION AS OF 11/2022

4. Suggestion: LASC has NCRA Convention presence and/or sponsorship. 
          NO ACTION AS OF 11/2022

5. Suggestion: LASC change the floating assignment process so there is less stress on our floaters that are available to float.

6. Suggestion: LASC conducts exit interviews to find out why reporters no longer want to work for LASC.

7. Suggestion: Focused job-hiring for coverage in Antelope Valley suggested 2/18/2020.  Court asked clarifying questions and said they’d get back to us. 8/19/2020, Court indicates, based on coverage needs, there were no coverage issues in the Antelope Valley area and a focused job listing would not be done.

1. Signing bonus for New Hires ($2,000 after one year of employment).  
2. Start at a higher step of pay.  New hires will now start at Step 5 instead of the previous Step 3.
3. $500 equipment bonus, which has still not taken effect as of November 15, 2022, due to internal court coding.

Funding: Since 2022, CA Budget has had $30m ($4m to $9m per county) of ongoing funding specifically earmarked for its courts to hire and retain court reporters (with a focus on covering family law and civil courts). As of today’s date, Los Angeles Superior Court has not shared with LACCRA/SEIU how it intends to use its funding for this purpose.  If it goes unused, it will go back to the General Fund. Other courts in the state have already started using this money for its designated purpose.

Dedicated to its members and the profession!
The LACCRA Board of Directors