A courtroom reporter has a fundamental role when it comes to the judicial process. Whether it’s a civil or criminal proceeding, a court reporter is responsible for recording every single minute detail of the trial. You could become a stenographer and take down a written account of the proceedings or you can become an audio reporter and take everything down using a high tech audio recording device. No matter what, though, your transcripts will be responsible for backing up all arguments made by the judge, defense and prosecution so that there are no discrepancies. To be a court room reporter you need to have incredible patience and the ability to sit still – and silently – for multiple hours. Here is what training is necessary to become a court reporter.
First of all, you have to evaluate how fast you can actually type. If you can type as fast as someone speaks, you should be fine, but if you are a little slow on the keyboard you are going to need to take classes to pick up the pace. In addition, you must also have excellent listening skills and the ability to make very few errors – in spelling and punctuation – when you are recording a transcript of a trial proceeding. The last thing you want is for someone to go over it and not understand a portion of the transcripts. It is also critical that you have excellent concentration skills.
Next, you have to get some vocational training to learn everything from the tools and technology used to be a voice recorder or stenographer and even to get a grasp of the legal terminology. You will learn everything from what a lawsuit loan is to what habeus corpus means – you will be hearing a lot of terms like this in the courtroom and it is important to both understand what they mean and how to spell them. Understanding the legalese in the court room is also critical so that you don’t miss a word or a particular term on your transcripts.
After you’ve determined whether you have what it takes to become a court room reporter, by evaluating your own innate skills and taking some vocational training, it is time to get certified. To become a CVR (Certified Verbatim Reporter) you need to take a big test. The exam will determine your skills and ability to type arguments word for word, your spelling and grammar, and also how well you know the legal terminology.
Lastly, it is time to get a job. There are a number of ways to apply to become a court reporter. You can seek openings at your local courthouse or you can work for a law firm. In some instances, working for a law firm might pay a higher salary because you won’t be working for the state. As a court reporter at a private law firm you will also be recording transcripts at depositions and interviews with star witnesses. At the end of the day, becoming a court reporter could be an incredibly fascinating career – as you will get to silently observe trial proceedings and gather an invaluable knowledge of the rule of law.