Look Past Basic Skills When Choosing the Right Court Reporter for Your Firm

When you’re staring at a list of potential court reporting firms, it can be tempting to make a decision based on a single factor. Maybe one is closest to your office, or has the cheapest page rates, offering you a simple way to make a tough decision.

However, simpler is not always better. Too many attorneys see choosing a court reporter as an a la carte solution rather than a permanent position. If you approach the choice as a hiring decision for a prospective employee, you will likely find a service that you can depend on throughout the life of your firm.

The first step in choosing a court reporter is evaluating his or her technical abilities.

A Good Court Reporter Should Have These Fundamental Skills:

  • Minimum typing speed of 200 wpm
  • State certification
  • Excellent editing and proofreading skills
  • Good organization and research ability
  • Concentration and listening skills
  • Computer proficiency
  • Ability to speak clearly

After you have assessed the basic requirements of your court reporter, you should think about which person would suit your specific needs. This depends on the right mix of professionalism and on-the-job training, and each candidate will vary based on his or her experience. For example, you probably wouldn’t immediately hire a court reporter for a multi-district litigation case if his only experience was taking divorce depositions.

Consider the Following Attributes of Your Prospective Court Reporter:

  • Experience in the types of cases you prefer
  • Professional, respectful attitude
  • Discretion and impartiality to the facts of the case
  • Flexibility (in case the deposition runs long or needs to be rescheduled)

Finally, your choice “on paper” will have to hold up in person. The best choice will have a good mix of technical skills, professionalism, and positive personality traits. If your reporter’s attitude, punctuality, demeanor, or reliability have become a problem, you shouldn’t hesitate to make a change.

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