Court reporters have an incredibly important job. They need to be able to accurately and impartially record a hist of legal proceedings in which the outcome may have very serious consequences for all of the people involved. There simply is no room for error.
It is a growing field. There were approximately 21,200 court reporters nationwide in 2012 and that number is only expected to grow by about 10% by 2022. Many court cases are handled these days via videoconferencing, it is key that anyone who wants to go into this field be prepared for both in person and remote interactions. Legal videoconferencing encompasses so much of the work, it is important to keep that in mind.
What is the training do court reporters receive?
Court reporters are represented by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), which certifies their training. They require court reporters be able to type at least 225 words per minute. Students spend roughly 15 hours each week honing their typing and transcription skills. The entire training and certification process for this program is usually about 33 months. For professional court reporting in a trial, people must be able to transcribe at least 200 jury charge words each minute. Their accuracy cannot drop below 95%.
Do you think you have what it takes to work for a court reporting service?
- Accuracy is job number one. Whether the proceedings at hand happen in person or via videoconferencing, accuracy can never be sacrificed. They must have an avid eye for detail. They can never be late or deal poorly with pressure situations. It is also advisable that they have poise and an ability to work under all that pressure with people starting at them. It is just part of the job.
- They do their best but remember they are still human. As important as accuracy is, no one is perfect. Perfectionists do not excel in this job. They are exquisite listeners.
- They are not afraid of hard work. It takes a lot of work to become a court reporter. It takes a lot of practice and perseverance to get the hang of the variables in the job from the different tools to the different settings. Even getting used to do it live vs. via videoconferencing can be a challenge at first.
Having said all of that, being a court reporter can be a very rewarding and interesting job. More than 70% of those who do it, do not go to a court room every day. There are depositions to take and other proceedings to record. That gives the job some variety that other positions lack. They also are part of some very interesting events. Every day is different yet every day their job matters. If you think this is a career path you would like to follow, go for it! It will be many things but it is usually very rewarding.