CHAOS RULES – Tuesday’s midterm elections brought a host of surprises to pollsters anticipating a “red wave” of Republican support, and Wednesday did little to clarify who would control the US House or Senate. This lack of clarity can be frustrating for some, but, as Law.com’s Bruce Love reports, it’s fine for Beltway lawyers. Why? Because it means customers will need even more help navigating the upcoming policy, enforcement and regulatory environment over the next two years. Casey Higgins, senior counsel at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, sees two busy years for companies with a strong presence in DC She said whenever there is an era of divided government, but especially after two years where one party has controlled Congress and the presidency – most administrations tend to use more executive power to get ahead. “It still leads to a slight increase in legal work, in terms of helping clients figure out which direction policy is heading, but also responding to EOs,” Higgins said, adding that two years of a Democratic presidency coming straight from the back of a previous Republican presidency also provides a “ripe” environment for increased agency and regulatory action.
SHORTAGE OF REPORTING – A heated debate about what causes a shortage of court reporters — and how to fix it — has led to public court reporting services being shut down for some cases in a California court system. The Los Angeles County Superior Court announced in August that it would no longer initiate proceedings with court reporters in cases where they are not legally mandated. Court officials said retirements, departures of journalists to the private sector and a lack of new entrants to the profession have resulted in a shortage of available candidates. Advocates for court reporters say news of shortages is exaggerated and the result of low pay rates in affected markets. Why should this matter to you? As Law.com’s Alaina Lancaster writes in this week’s Barometer newsletter, the California trial court’s decision and responses from the court reporting industry and lawmakers may indicate how other jurisdictions will respond to a similar shortage of applicants. News of court reporter shortages came from jurisdictions such as Texas, New York, Arkansas, South Dakota, Florida and Vermont. “Court administrators, lawmakers and court reporter advocates will likely want to look west to see how the debate continues to shape up in California,” Lancaster writes. To receive the Law.com Barometer straight to your inbox each week, click here.