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Common Expectations of a Court Reporter

— October 7, 2021

Despite its tedious nature, court reporting can be a great career choice for many individuals.

Lawyers, plaintiffs, defendants, judges, witnesses and juries. These are some of the most common and influential roles that are often associated with the legal proceedings in a courtroom. Individuals who hold these job titles are consistently seen throughout the course of a trial, engage in meaningful discussions and disseminate integral information. Court reporters, who tend to remain on the sidelines and out of sight, are easily overlooked; however, these employees provide services that are essential to the success and proper documentation of any lawsuit or court-related matter. They exhibit an exceptional set of skills and characteristics that assist them in adequately performing their required tasks in an effective and efficient way.

Transcribe Court Hearings

The main role of a court reporter is to create a written account of all activities that take place within the courtroom. Whether it be an attorney’s opening and closing statements, a witness’s testimony or a judge’s interjection, this individual is responsible for recording everything that is said throughout the course of a case. These individuals must also be able to accurately interpret nonverbal cues such as body language and the use of facial or hand gestures. Given that the interactions and activities that occur within the courtroom move at a rapid pace, it is imperative that court reporters have the ability to transcribe at a relatively high speed. Individuals in this profession can typically type 200 words per minute when using a stenographic keyboard or similar word processor. Working knowledge of the legal industry may also aid in one’s ability to abbreviate certain terminology and lessen the overall length of the finalized transcript. Not everyone in a courtroom speaks clearly and concisely; oftentimes individuals on the stand may provide inaudible responses due to speech impediment, fast speaking or lack of appropriate voice projection. It is important that all court reporters Bend ensure that the information stated during the proceeding is correctly captured for future reference. During a court hearing or deposition, the person transcribing the case may need to interrupt and ask for clarification. Information such as names, dates and locations may be asked to be repeated.

Properly Organize Materials

Image by Wannapik Studios.
Image by Wannapik Studios.

Strong managerial and organizational skills are beneficial for individuals that wish to obtain a career path in court reporting. Not only are these individuals responsible for creating accurate transcripts for legal proceedings but they also undertake an array of administrative duties; such assignments may include making copies of transcripts, serving as a receptionist and filing documents with the county clerk. They might also proofread transcripts before their final submission, manage a judge’s calendar, help other clerks and assist with other general office maintenance. Transcripts and other legal documents are generally shared amongst a large group of parties. Consequently, it is key that these materials be readily accessible, contain pertinent and relevant information, are organized in the appropriate manner and can be easily deciphered.

Work for Extended Time Periods

Court reporters must be present throughout the entirety of all legal proceedings; when the court is in session, employees of this nature are expected to document all occurring events. The sedentary nature of the job may prove difficult for some individuals as it requires the ability to remain seated for an extended period of time as well as maintain a complete level of silence. On the contrary, individuals with physical disabilities that prevent them from obtaining strenuous and labor-intensive jobs may find that a career in transcribing court documents may adequately suit their specific needs. Working independently with little to no oversight is essential due to the fact that court reporters very rarely interact with others in the courtroom with the exception of asking for verbal clarification of previously stated information.

Despite its tedious nature, court reporting can be a great career choice for many individuals. Those who enjoy working alone, have superb typing skills and thrive in fast-paced environments may enjoy the challenging tasks that accompany such a profession.

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