A career as a court reporter is one that is packed full of opportunity. As a court reporter you have many chances to grow your career, to be involved in a range of legal hearings and meetings, and to be on the cutting-edge of court reporting technology.
More and more people are drawn to court reporting for the depth of opportunities and the wide range of work options. You can work for the court system, for a private company, as a freelancer, or in a work-from-home role. Really, whatever you want from this career – you can have.
But to achieve this, you need to possess key essential court reporting skills. In this article we highlight the skills that every professional court reporter needs. Share this post with your court reporting colleagues and help everyone be at the top of their game.
With these skills, you’ll be the court reporter that gets recommended when a professional colleague learns that there is a demand for court reporters near you – make sure you’re the person who comes to mind and is recommended.
Essential Court Reporter Skills
Consider this list your go-to when you’re doing self-review and self-assessment of how you’re doing in your career. This review and assessment process is very important for anyone who wants to continue to develop their career. As well, for any companies interested in learning how to hire a court reporter, the skills listed below should be top priorities.
These essential court reporter skills apply to junior and senior court reporters. Make sure you’ve got these skills and are doing your best to continue to grow your skillset.
- Strong listening skills. You must remain focussed and able to give each person speaking your full attention. As well, you must be able to understand what is being said.
- Confidentiality. You are involved in a range of legal hearings and meetings. The testimony is typically confidential and of a private matter. You are expected to be 100% professional and keep everything you see, hear, and record confidential.
- Neutral. You cannot enter the legal proceedings with any type of bias. Bias prevents you from providing a neutral and completely honest recording. As well, do not discuss your opinions on the testimony or the case with anyone else, this includes other officers of the court, lawyers, or anyone else in attendance.
- Accuracy. There is no question that accuracy is an essential skill for every court reporter. You are expected to provide an accurate and complete account of the testimony given. In fact accuracy is of such high importance, that numerous studies have been done about the quality of court reporter accuracy. Be the court reporter who delivers accurate work every single time.
- Proactive. Typically, court reporters work independently, so it’s up to you to manage yourself and ensure you have the required time needed to complete your deliverables. Along with having exceptional organization skills, you must also be confident enough to speak up when you are overworked or are lacking in an adequate professional support system.
- Positivity. Let’s face it, there will be times when the testimony you hear can be very hard to absorb. It’s very important that you don’t let this drag you down. And if you do feel that hearing troubling testimony is taking a toll on you – please speak up and ask for help. Court reporters are often overlooked when it comes to post traumatic stress disorder related to work situations.
- Technical aptitude. Technology is changing how court reporters work. To thrive in your career and to ensure career longevity, it’s very important that you have strong technical skills. Be proactive in learning about the latest in court reporting technology and about the software being used to enable file-sharing, cloud storage, and legal research.
Along with these essential court reporting skills, it helps to be an active member of a court reporting association such as the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). Being a member of such an organization connects you with other professionals and provides you with access to courses, conferences, and other career development opportunities.