Recall any legal movie you’ve seen recently. As the camera pans across the courtroom, your eyes land on the usual players in a case: lawyers, the judge, the plaintiff, and the defendant. Observers sit in the shiny, dark pews behind them listening to both sides anxiously. Then there, off in a corner, is a person laboring over what looks to be a cross between a typewriter and mini piano. His or her fingers seem to furiously float over the keys of the stenotype. This person is the court reporter (more commonly known as a stenographer). Without them, everything that is being said would never be recorded. It’s up to these important legal recorders to have proof of every word said while court is in session.
Court reporting is a field that requires a variety of skills, including an understanding of the ethics of business and the legal system. A court reporter must be able to use shorthand and to type 225 words per minute at minimum. You must have impeccable spelling, punctuation and grammar skills. Auditory skills must also be finely tuned to be able to catch every word being exchanged on the record. One missed syllable, and an important point might be misrepresented. During court proceedings, they must be able to record every word that is spoken while also maintaining decorum during emotional court cases. This career can begin at one of the few NCRA accredited schools in the country, featuring 34 approved programs either online or on campus. If by chance you live in the Sunshine State, court reporters in Fort Lauderdale are available for you to hire, as well as in seven other Florida locations. Companies such as Brickell Key Court Reporting are staffed with a knowledgeable and highly trained team equipped with the latest technology such as legal videotaping depositions for complex technical litigations, high-definition video conferencing that enables remote testimonies, and expedited delivery of all the recordings. The client can also search online repositories of all the transcripts gathered. When hiring a court reporting agency, look for staff with certifications in special areas such as interpreting, translating, and real-time reporting.
Court reporting has many facets, especially if you have technological and business knowledge. You need the speed and dexterity to document everything said by everyone in the courtroom. This career combines these fields to create a specialized niche that can be used not just in the courtroom, but also for meetings, speeches, and other events where conversations need to be transcribed. Court reporters have to purchase and maintain their own stenotypes. So branching out as a freelancer has become a popular option because a speedy reporter is needed in other places beyond a courtroom setting. The legal field is continuously growing, and so is the demand for court reporters in other fields. The medical field uses reporters to copy the notes that doctors and other health care workers record into written reports. Political events can use the services of a court reporter as well as transcribing the spoken word into text, or the closed captioning you see popping up on your television. With a press of the mute button on your television during a live sporting event, you can see a captioner working hard at capturing every word. They must be highly observant to record the announcers, players, and even, at times, a fan calling out in the distance. Just 22 little keys, and you can flourish in the ever-growing field of court reporting.