Court Reporting

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What Do Court Reporters Do?

Court reporters are specially-trained professionals who work in virtually every court, state or federal, in the United States. They create a written record of every official proceeding that occurs in a courtroom. They are required to accurately record everything which is said in the court, creating a transcript of every court proceeding. Most court reporters today use a device that looks something like a typewriter. It is specially designed to allow a user who has been trained at one of the many available court reporting schools to write everything that happens as quickly as is physically possible, allowing them to keep up. In court reporting schools, court reporters are taught a special shorthand, which a computer then transcribes into plain English.

Court reporters are very important, because a written record of what occurs in a courtroom is essential for an appeals court (if the case is appealed by either side) to determine if there was any legal error in the prior proceedings. If this record is inaccurate, it becomes impossible for appeals courts to do their jobs.

What Skills Do Court Reporters Need?

Court reporters need a wide variety of skills which can be taught at court reporting schools. However, some traits, like patience, an ability to maintain intense concentration for long periods of time, and an ability to not get flustered and overwhelmed after making a mistake are also crucial traits that a good court reporter needs, which may not be possible for court reporting schools to teach. 

Additionally, every state requires court reporters to have a certain amount of training, and a state-issued license. The necessary training can be obtained at court reporting schools across the U.S., and once this is complete, most states require prospective court reporters to pass some type of skills test before receiving a court reporting license.

What Careers Are Available for Court Reporters?

In theory, the job of a court reporter is fairly simple: write down everything that is said in a courtroom. But in practice, court reporting is a difficult job. However, if you feel that you’re up to it, there are many court reporting schools across the country which can teach you the necessary skills. Furthermore, there is a shortage of court reporters, and they’re in great demand almost everywhere in the United States.

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Last Modified: 01-27-2012 11:08 AM PST

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