The first days or weeks at a new job can be overwhelming. What’s the most important part of the job? How do you set your schedule? What should you wear to court? What are the witness names? New court reporters need to know the answers to these and more as they get started.
If you’re a new court reporter or are looking for a refresher on the basics, here’s a quick guide:
Attention to detail.
Whether it’s asking specifics about the room being used for depositions or clarifying the spelling of names, it’s your job to have attention to detail, perhaps more than anyone in the room. Errors in the transcript can lead to problems with the case and ultimately reflect poorly on your professionalism. Dot your i’s and cross those t’s and you’re well on your way to creating a long lasting client relationship.
Growing up I was told being early was on time and being on time was late. Same rule applies today. Get to your deposition location early to make sure the room is ready for you and your client. If it’s going to be a long day, find out if lunch will be served and if you need to leave the building, find out the fastest/best place to go so you’re back on time. If you’re not there, they can’t continue and your client won’t be happy.
It’s highly important to get witness names correct including spelling, titles, and credentials. To avoid confusion, we recommend getting a list of names from the attorney prior to the deposition and then clarify with the witness. As you’re proofreading the transcript, check to make sure their name appears the same throughout the document.
If you’re working with a few different clients, it’s helpful to use Google calendar or a similar app to track deposition dates, times, and location so you’re in the right place at the right time. If a remote deposition, allow time prior to the actual start time to check technology to make sure it’s all working. Block time for transcript review and related tasks. Don’t forget to schedule time for family and friends!
Dress to impress.
This one can be a little tricky. There are attorneys who dress casually even for an appearance before a judge. If your client is like this, we recommend you dress in business or casual business attire and not jeans and t-shirts. It makes you look more professional. Starched shirts or blouses, skirt or dress pants, dress shoes, and a jacket or sweater are recommended.
As a court reporter, you’re representing your client and also your agency. We want you to look your best, show up on time, and be prepared. Here’s to your success!