5 Keys to Success for Newbie Court Reporters

Written by on October 15, 2020 in Stuff with 0 Comments

Most people seem to believe that being a court reporter is an easy job. Based on what they see on soap operas, it appears that court reporters just sit there and transcribe what happens during court hearings or depositions. En voila! The job is completed.

However, quash the myth because court reporting takes devotion to details, precision to seek out facts, and a keen sense of responsibility. Court reporting entails a lot of hard work and sleepless nights, so you need to be dedicated to your job.

If you are a newbie embarking on this new career path, welcome to this rewarding profession that helps you ensure that truth and justice prevail. If you want to survive and thrive in this high-paying industry, here are 5 keys to success tips for newbie court reporters:

1. Read the News Daily

When you embark on a court reporting career, keep abreast of different topics and subject matters. You will be writing about a whole gamut of things, so being well-read ensures you are familiar with jargon and vocabulary used in various industries and social sectors. A veteran Jupiter court reporter shared that familiarity with common words, names, and terms in the news makes it easier to write an accurate report.

It is very easy to write the wrong word, especially when you hear it for the first time. Making it a habit to read the news daily will help you minimize mistakes that would be terrible for your reputation. Be sure to do the following:

  • Follow trusted online news portals’ social media accounts like the BBC, CNN, Washington Post, etc.
  • Make it a habit to check the trending news three times a day.
  • Get a copy of local and national newspapers because nothing beats the experience of holding a tangible object. This practice will help you remember as you are using more sense organs.

2. Work Hard and Do the Much-Needed Homework

When it comes to court reporting, do your homework better than a student. Before hearing a court case or attending a deposition, research the parties' names. Look up the following:

  • Attorneys
  • The plaintiff
  • The defendant
  • Key witnesses
  • Other parties involved in the case

You need to become familiar with who these people are because the bulk of your task is writing about them. This step is vital, especially when the topic at hand is complex or technical. The more knowledge you have about the parties concerned and the subject at hand means you can craft a better transcript. Go online and Google information about these people and their respective companies to ease your work during the actual hearing. It will also allow you to understand the situation even more.

3. Set Standards High by Exerting Extra Effort

Despite being diligent with your research, there will be instances when you come across unfamiliar topics. In this instance, give your best effort and go the extra mile. Spend more time researching so you can comprehend the nuances of the subject. This assures you can provide an accurate report, which shall bolster your reputation as a diligent court reporter. When unsure, you can do the following:

  1. Ask around: As a newbie court reporter, don't feel ashamed to ask questions. This is not a sign of weakness, but instead, this indicates that you are eager to learn. Ask the lawyers if you need to verify the information to strengthen your transcript.
  2. Ask for IDs: When it comes to reporting proper names, addresses, or acronyms, you need to be 100% sure. It would help to ask for the parties' identification cards to ensure there are no spelling mistakes. Even names that sound similar can be spelled differently, like Hannah, Hana, Hanah, or Hanna. Doing your due diligence as a good court reporter means verifying all of these pertinent data.
  3. Seek Additional Support: Unfortunately, this profession is what you call a solitary job. You only have yourself to rely upon. However, this doesn't mean there aren't any opportunities to engage with others in the same field. It would help if you interacted with fellow court reporters, attorneys, and other court workers to make the job less lonely. When you have a network of people, you can run to them for guidance and support. You can also try joining a local association, being active in online forums, or simply making friends with those whom you see regularly.

4. Practice to Keep Honing Skills

When it comes to being good at your job, you can't settle for mediocrity. The only way you can ensure this is with regular practice because this endeavor makes things perfect. When you practice every day, you will be able to discover your weaknesses. As such, you can work on them so you'll improve faster. Try to do the following:

  1. Observe and Listen: When it comes to being a court reporter, precision is the most important characteristic. You should have keen attention to detail to assure you always churn out an accurate report. To achieve this, you need to observe the proceedings and listen well to the discussions.
  2. Develop Skills: This profession requires that you keep honing skills. You must have a stellar typing speed so perform online typing exercises daily.
  3. Make Double-Checking a Standard: You have to make double-checking your habit. To readily spot errors or inconsistencies in your transcript, be diligent in re-checking your notes and recordings. Doing this ensures you don't miss anything.
  4. Practice Editing and Proofreading: Apart from being good at transcribing information, you have to be stellar when it comes to spotting grammar mistakes, spelling issues, typos, inconsistencies, and the like. Doing online exercises on your downtime can train you to have an eagle eye for spotting errors.

5. Be Diligent in Securing the Job

Finally, as a newbie court reporter, one of the first dilemmas you may face is landing your job and keeping it. You can try the traditional route by sending your CV to many agencies or going with the modern version by using mobile apps. Apart from that, you have to do your best to give accurate reports to ascertain that you can stay in your job for a long time. Additionally, abide by good manners and business etiquette, from how you dress to how you speak with others to cement your business relationships.

Author Bio: Evie Mills is an Outreach Specialist at Anoodigital.com. She is also passionate about writing. Her key areas of interest are a lifestyle, business, technology and home decor. In her free time, she loves listening to music and play with her cute dog.

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