Shorthand is the ultimate tool for a court reporter, and it carries a colorful history. This centuries-old technique has been perfected many times over, and according to Wallingford, CT’s A Plus Reporting Service, it remains essential to the legal process. With roots dating back to the 4th Century BC, it carries a significance within many cultural watermarks and exceeds its casual reputation as “narrow writing.”
Shorthand, also known as stenography, has been around since before modern courtrooms. Although court reporting was a casual profession, a Roman slave named Marcus Tullius Tiro is the first identified user of shorthand. Developed in 63 BC, it was his only method to record his master Cicero’s notes.
The birth of shorthand in English wasn’t until 1180 when monk John Tilbury developed its foundation. Centuries later, it was integrated into the courtroom, and in 1588, Dr. Timothie Bright published 500 symbols in the first official shorthand book for a court reporter to use. In 1772, Thomas Gurney was named the first official court reporter by the British government.
Shorthand quickly became a staple in British courts afterward, used even by novelist Charles Dickens. It wasn’t until 1893 when shorthand expert John Robert Gregg published an adapted U.S. English shorthand guide that it became the standard for secretary and court reporter work. This was when the court reporter was truly born in the U.S., as the skill became highly sought-after.
The new century brought recording technology, which became another essential resource for court reporting, and post-war technological advances eventually led to a shorthand collaboration between IBM and the U.S. military in 1950. This marriage gave birth to computer-assisted reporting machines. Since then, court reporting has remained an ever-advancing field, but the fundamentals of shorthand remain the bedrock of its function.
If you need a certified shorthand reporter, settle for only the best. Professionals at A Plus Reporting Service offer a variety of court reporting services and are dedicated to providing accurate, effective records in multiple media formats. Call (203) 269-9976 today to schedule a court reporter or visit their website to contact them through their client portal.