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What is Court Reporting?

Jan 3, 2008
Many people are looking for a professional change. Some are looking for a bigger paycheck and others for new and exciting challenges. As you consider different careers you may have heard that court reporting is a growing field that is attracting talent from many other professions.

You may be confused about what court reporters are. Often the image people have is the one that comes from the movies - a person sitting quietly in the corner typing on a tiny typewriter with too-few keys, occasionally reading back a statement to emphasize the drama of the moment.

This illustrates only the most basic level of the profession. There is so much more to this dynamic career.

The levels of court reporting

A number of years ago, Hay Management consultants did a study of court reporting services in comparison to other professions such as accounting and nursing. They identified four job levels:

-Entry-Level: takes and transcribes notes under supervision
-Skilled: transcribes complex cases in real time without supervision
-Experienced: assists court officials in organization and use of information
-Seasoned: uses information and personal experience to advise court officials including judges.

As you can see, this profession isn't like being a glorified tape recorder. At the highest levels the reporter becomes an important part of the courtroom staff, a specialized expert with information that even the judge may not have.

Out of the courtroom and into the boardroom

Despite the title, "court reporting" happens in places outside of the courts.

A certified court reporter acts as a neutral observer in any situation that requires negotiation. The participants in the matter each carries bias but the reporter is a disinterested witness who can make an impartial record of the proceedings.

Reporters create official records of the proceedings in meetings at all levels of the government and corporate world. These include such activities as sales meetings, conferences, and training seminars.

Court reporters are often employed by television networks, supplying closed captioning in real time for live broadcasts such as the news or sporting events.

A field that grows as technology grows

As technology has changed so have the duties of court reporting.

For example, years ago the widespread demand for closed captioners on television broadcasts expanded the prospects for court reporters of the time. Internet technologies are doing the same as streaming Internet text allows people to sit in on meetings across the globe even if their computer systems lack the capacity for live video feed.

Today's reporters use software to help them translate and proofread their notes into formal transcripts. Internet and wireless technologies mean that court reporters are able to work remotely. Many of today's reporters work out of their home.

All over the country, from Maine to California to Florida, court reporting is a growing field that is a critical component of our legal, commercial, and communication systems.
About the Author
Author is a freelance copywriter. For more information on
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