How to be a great court reporter
It seems like such a simple question. What makes a great court reporter? While we’re primarily in the legal field, we’re also in business, politics, professional sports, entertainment, and community. Our skills are far-reaching and the need for professionals with our training and expertise is growing.
Whether we’re working in the legal field or remotely, we encourage our court reporters to maintain a high level of professionalism. When I started working in the corporate world in the early nineties, I had a boss who told me to have a smile on my face even when I was answering the phone and I’ve always remembered that. People notice and I find I get better results when I make the effort.
In addition to smiling, we encourage our reporters to be on-time, if not early, to appointments, dress appropriately for a well-trained professional, and deliver quality transcripts according to a deadline. When you meet the attorney you’re working with, shake hands in a professional manner and always be polite, even if you’re working with someone who isn’t.
There will be times when a deposition may not go the way you or the attorney had planned and you may need to adjust the scope of work. Before leaving for the day, ask for clarification on exhibits and timeline. While it was agreed that the client wants hard copies of exhibits, there’s a large blueprint included. It’s a big cost to have that reproduced and it may not need to be. It’s worth your time to ask before incurring the expense.
If a transcript is confidential, ask if the attorney wants the entire transcript marked or if they want separate copies. Ask what they want on the title page - Confidential, Attorney Only, etc. It could save you time in fixing it later if you know their expectation ahead of time.
To be a great court reporter means you never stop learning. Whether it’s medical, forensic, or industry-specific terms, the latest in court reporter technology, or testing to become a real-time captioner, there’s always more you can learn. Be open to the possibilities and you will never be bored in this profession!
How to be a great court reporter depends on how much you want to invest. We’re here to encourage and support your efforts. Remember your attitude and professionalism go a long way to building lasting business relationships! Here’s to your success.