Because court reporting is a highly specialized skill, it takes a special type of person to be a court reporter and do it well. The best court reporters possess certain qualities and skills that make them good at what they do.
When a court reporter is given an assignment, the best court reporters will show up to the venue on time or a few minutes early. If a court reporter shows up 20 minutes late, that is 20 minutes wasted on the part of all attorneys, as well as the deponent. The best court reporters know that punctuality makes them more reliable and valuable to clients.
Court reporters are involved in many different types of legal actions. Many times the testimony that is being recorded is confidential and sensitive information. The best court reporters understand that information heard in a proceeding is not to be repeated elsewhere.
As officers of the court, court reporters are to maintain neutrality when working on cases. Upon hearing testimony, they do not share their opinions about the case. The best court reporters simply record what is spoken. They do not enter into special contracts for services with one party over another. Instead, they treat each party equally, providing the same services with the same price structure to all parties.
4. Business Etiquette
The best court reporters are familiar with and use good manners and business etiquette. They understand how to introduce people in a situation where parties do not know each other. They are always on time. The best court reporters dress appropriately for a business setting. They know that using good manners and business etiquette go a long way in cementing a business relationship.
5. Grammar, Punctuation and Proofreading
Court reporters produce a written transcript of the spoken word. When a witness speaks, he or she does not provide punctuation. The best court reporters know the rules of punctuation and how to apply them to the spoken word. They are good at proofreading. Their transcripts will hold little to no errors, typos, or misplaced punctuation.
During a legal proceeding, the court reporter will sit, listen, and record the spoken word. They are not an active part of the proceedings. However, there are times when a court reporter does need to speak up in order to make an accurate record. The best court reporters know when to stop a proceeding to ask a witness to speak louder. They do not hesitate to make requests from parties when necessary, such as ask for spellings of names, cities or streets mentioned in the proceeding at the conclusion of the deposition. The best court reporters know when to speak up and be assertive in order to make an accurate transcript.
7. Organizational Skills
Most court reporters work independently and have a large amount of control over their own schedule and work load. They have to balance many activities effectively. Organizational skills are needed in order to manage witnesses and exhibits during a proceeding. These same skills are needed when preparing a transcript and ensuring that it will be delivered on time. The best court reporters are well-organized and are reliable.
8. Time Management
Most court reporters spend a large part of their time working independently. The best court reporters know how to organize their schedule. They know how to manage their time in order to deliver an accurate transcript on time. The best court reporters know how to prioritize their tasks and activities in order to meet their responsibilities.
9. Customer Service
Customer service is important in any industry and especially true in court reporting. The best court reporters are committed to providing good service and accurate transcripts on time. They can anticipate some of the needs of their clients. They know that great customer service is one of the best ways to build a good working relationship with clients and gain repeat business.
10. Shorthand Writing Skills
Writing machine shorthand is a highly technical skill. Not everyone has a talent for learning the shorthand language and how to write it. The best court reporters have a gift for writing shorthand. They continually strive to increase their skills by obtaining higher levels of certification. These higher levels of certification require a court reporter to possess a higher level of knowledge of the industry as well as the ability to write at higher speeds and rates of accuracy. The best court reporters know there is always room for improvement and continually strive to obtain higher skill levels.
The best court reporters enjoy their career. They reproduce every spoken word into a transcript that creates an official record of testimony. They are punctual. They understand confidentiality and neutrality. They are good at time management, punctuation and grammar. The best court reporters provide an excellent service and superior customer service. When working with the best court reporters, attorneys can rest assured the record will be accurate and delivered on time.
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