Seven Traits That Set a Good Reporter Apart From the Rest

Court reporting is a highly specialized career that's growing in demand, as more courts and attorneys are seeking qualified, accurate reporters. Court reporters are a well-known fixture in the courtroom, as the person who quietly sits near the stand meticulously recording each word that is spoken during a trial or proceeding. Despite a demanding training process, the need to be accurate and detail-oriented, and the willingness to put in additional hours for transcribing and organizing, most court reporters are passionate about what they do and love their jobs.

For any court case, especially high-profile and complex trial cases, it's crucial to have an accurate and professional court reporter. Here are seven questions to ask yourself when looking for the court reporter that's perfect for your needs.

1. Is she friendly and professional? Do others in the court system look to your prospective court reporter as a professional in the field? A good court reporter should take pride in the way she presents herself by dressing professionally and being friendly to attorneys, witnesses and others in the courtroom.

2. Does he show up to court on time? A serious court reporter will not only show up to every appointment on time, but up to a half hour early to meet with attorneys, ask and answer questions, set up his notes and equipment, and get acquainted with the case and environment in the courtroom before proceedings begin.

3. Does she have a reputation for professional behavior during the proceedings? Sometimes it's necessary for a court reporter to interrupt a trial and ask for clarification, especially if a witness is mumbling or speaking too fast to hear. But a good court reporter will have an ear for different voice patterns and inflections, and will rarely need to ask someone to repeat what was said. In addition, court reporters should be sure to have the accurate spelling of everyone's names and organizations that are brought up in the case.

4. Is the court reporter detail-oriented with a good grasp on writing? A successful court reporter will have good writing skills, with a solid grasp of grammar and the ability to transcribe the proceedings accurately. The transcription should be easy to understand with short sentences at the points when a witness pauses, rather than run-on sentences punctuated with lots of commas.

5. Is the court reporter self-motivated? Court reporting involves much more than showing up in a courtroom and transcribing the proceedings. His responsibilities outside the courtroom involve editing and correcting mistakes, verifying information, preparing final transcripts and legal records for attorneys, making copies and delivering documents. Many court reporters work freelance and compete for jobs, so the good ones have learned to manage their time efficiently and have honed their reporting skills and multi-tasking abilities to be the best in their field.

6. Does the court reporter have a strong grasp on today's reporting equipment and methods? The stenotype machine is a specialized shorthand typing machine that requires a different mindset to master. It's a bit like learning a new language, but court reporters will tell you it is very rewarding to learn. Many of today's competitive and professional court reporters will have mastered the additional skill of real time reporting, which requires immediate accuracy while transcribing court proceedings right there in the courtroom. Real time reporting is a great advantage that many attorneys find beneficial.

7. Does the court reporter seem passionate about her job? The work a court reporter does is fast-paced and quite demanding. It requires complete attention to what is being said during court proceedings. It certainly isn't a job for everyone, but the best court reporters will affirm that they love what they do. It goes far beyond transcribing the words during a trial. Good court reporters love law and research, and are fascinated by the legal process. Additionally, a court reporter with a good reputation will most often land exciting and interesting trials, so she will be passionate about her job and always strive for learning and improvement.

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