One of the most underappreciated players in a courtroom is the court reporter. Ironically, she is also among the most important. Without the skill, attentiveness, and diligence of a court reporter, attorneys wouldn’t have a leg to stand on. In addition to capturing every single word spoken during a trial or deposition, these men and women must also:
- Guarantee complete accuracy
- Deal with the continuous pressure of finishing on deadline
- Continually skip lunch and breaks in order to capture the full account (attorneys can, at least, rest in between questioning)
Needless to say, the job of a court reporter—although rewarding in its own right—can be overwhelmingly stressful. As such, any trick to ease that stress is gratefully respected, especially when it comes from someone who understands and feels your pain.
Court Reporting Advice From Fellow Court Reporters
It doesn’t matter if you’re new to the court reporting community or a seasoned transcriptionist, there is always room to improve your efficiency, elevate your commitment to the work, and increase your comfort on the job. Unfortunately, in many cases, it takes an error to see the opportunity for change, but by listening to fellow court reporters you can learn from their experiences and avoid suffering the same setbacks they endured.
Some learned tips that seasoned court reporters have shared to help newcomers (and even veterans) include the following:
- Always have food on hand. A deposition or trial could last hours and you never know when or if you’ll have to skip lunch or dinner. Don’t get caught with low blood sugar or a growling tummy. Pack a few granola bars or snacks that you can sneak in during pauses in order to keep your energy up and your mind on your duties.
- Never be afraid to ask for information. The more information you have about spellings, locations, technical terms, etc., the better your transcript will be. However, you can’t get that information by staying quiet. Speak up before, during, or after the deposition in order to ensure you have all the information you need before you leave. Remember that most people are always happy to help, as long as you just speak up and ask.
- Always strive to make a good impression. Even though you have your own duties, it’s important to show that you’re willing to be helpful to others. Carry extra pens and markers for the attorneys so that the they don’t have to search for them while focusing on their examination. Be prepared to share dining and entertainment suggestions for out-of-town attorneys and witnesses. Build friendly relationships with the bailiffs, clerks, and assistants. Small gestures like these can make big impressions on your clients and make them want to do business with you again.
- Never stop searching for efficiency. Periodically work on your dictionary and explore new ways to write your shorthand. Stay current and practice any shorthand breakthroughs to boost your efficiency and make your job a little easier.
- Always take time for you. With a busy schedule and tight deadlines, finding time to relax can be difficult, but it is essential for your continued well-being. If you have to, schedule a few breaks between depositions or block out a few hours before bed to sit, relax, and de-stress from the day’s pressures.