There are many unsung professions that not many people know. Court reporting, for instance, doesn’t get the spotlight as other jobs within the same industry. The same way the world needs talented engineers, medical practitioners, and artists, court reporters also play a huge role in any courtroom. The fact that they are rarely recognized doesn’t mean they aren’t appreciated.
This lesser known profession is part and parcel of what lawyers and paralegals do at the court every day. No legal process can run smoothly without the fingers of these people on the keyboard. What’s worse is the fact that young adults are less aware of this career. In fact, you’ll be surprised that most of those who have an idea about it are the ones who either have a relative, friend, or neighbour working within the same field. Don’t worry if this is the first time you are coming across the term. This post aims to help you familiarize with some of the important facts about court reporting.
What Does Court Reporting Entail?
The simplest definition of court reporting is the process of recording and transcribing verbal speech into official transcripts using a stenograph. This is usually done in real-time during a court session, and it takes a real pro to keep up with the speaker’s speed. This is just a basic definition of the profession. There are many sub-tasks that go on behind the scenes before the final transcript is made available for the concerned parties.
So, what exactly do court reporters do? Also known as guardians of the record, these professionals capture every single word from all speakers during a court proceeding. Then, they go ahead and prepare a verbatim transcript of every proceeding, hence, safeguarding the legal process. This transcript can be used by appeal attorneys when they want to appeal the case. As such, it is important to record accurate speeches, which is why court reporting is among the most significant tasks within the courtroom, not that there is any less important job in the judicial process.
Freelance Court Reporting
Freelance court reporting is also part of the industry, but it includes those who work as independent contractors. In other words, court reporters are technically self-employed or work for a court reporting company, which is run independently from the court. These agencies are usually hired by attorneys, law firms, or corporations for a court proceeding. As a freelance court reporter, you’ll either cover examinations, depositions, or hearings. Before you can start working on some of the sessions, especially examinations, you are required to take an oath not to share confidential information with anyone outside the courtroom.
This type of profession is basically an on-call job wherein one is called a day or so before the assignment. Once you join the industry, you should be ready to work in different locations. Some find it fun, while it could be an inconvenience to those who don’t like traveling frequently. The best thing about this job is that you can go and do transcription from the comfort of your home once the session is done. You, however, won’t receive benefits, such as health insurance given to those working on full-time contracts.
Who Can Become A Court Reporter?
Court reporters are not some fancy typists who just, one day, decided to join a legal setting. There is more to this profession than just great typing skills. What most people don’t know is that court reporters are trained professionals who have gone through years of thorough education. There are several schools that offer a course in court reporting. You can also join this growing industry, provided you meet the requirements of court reporter training programs.
You can either join these classes through online sessions or visit the nearest campus physically. Either way, be sure to gain the concept of court reporting and the most important skills required to accomplish the task. Wondering what court reporter training entails? Well, if you are already a fast typist and have a good grasp of grammar, you’ll just need to familiarize yourself with the industry. It is a no-brainer that you should understand all legal terminologies before you can start working in this setting. Programs range from certificates, diplomas, to degree courses. You can apply to take whichever you qualify for, and the time of studies will depend on the college you decide to join.
Court reporting, whether official or freelance, is one of the most important jobs in a courtroom. Those working in this profession exhibit great grammar and typing skills, but that’s not all you need. A court reporter training program is available for those interested, and it takes about two years. Perhaps, this is among the best paying positions that does not require a four-year degree.