A court reporter checking her work from steno machine to laptop

Top 10 Skills Of The Best Court Reporters

A court reporter checking her work from steno machine to laptop

Top 10 Skills Of The Best Court Reporters

Court reporting is a career that requires a highly specialized skill set. The skills of the best court reporters include academic skills, attention to detail, organization skills, and more. If you are looking to hire a court reporter, it is essential to understand those skills to ensure that the individual you are considering possesses those abilities. Kusar Court Reporters provides experienced court reporters for depositions and other services. If you are looking for remote reporting or real-time, in-person reporting for depositions and trials or other trial support services, our team has access to the tools and resources to provide you with the court reporter who can meet your needs. Consider contacting us at (800) 282-3376 to learn more about hiring a court reporter with these top 10 skills.

1) Academic Skills

Court reporters must be well-versed in stenography, which refers to the practice of conceptualizing and organizing what is heard in order to quickly transcribe the words as they are conveyed. In terms of academic skills, court reporters need expert English grammar and punctuation skills, a comprehensive understanding of courtroom procedures, and an extensive technical vocabulary. Spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and missed dialogue can ruin a report.

2) Attention to Detail

Another of the skills of the best court reporters is attention to detail. Every word spoken during a case must be recorded precisely. Legal documents and proceedings are complex, so court reporters need to have a comprehensive understanding of procedures and their duties prior to working. When a court reporter is faced with a particularly lengthy proceeding or is handling more than one case in a single day, he or she must have the stamina to remain focused and continue to record dialogue correctly.

Court reporters are also required to learn legal and medical terminologies, as they will typically not use basic conversational language. This ensures that the reports are as accurate as possible—particularly in terms of referenced laws and statutes.

3) Confidentiality

Court reporters are tasked with maintaining classified records at all times. Like jurors, attorneys, judges, and others in the courtroom during proceedings, court reporters are not to disclose court records or information to unauthorized individuals or third parties. Doing so could jeopardize a case, resulting in a mistrial and additional stress for the attorneys.

Court records are highly classified documents that are only meant to be accessed by authorized personnel like judges and attorneys. Unless the information is being made public, what happens in the courtroom must stay confidential, and reporting documents must be kept in safe and secure locations.

4) Demeanor

Court reporters are often under pressure to record every word of a given court proceeding accurately. As such, composure is imperative. Someone who is easily distracted would not make a quality court reporter. Court reporters should also look and be professional and courteous while on the job.

Another aspect of a professional demeanor is punctuality. Court reporters should always arrive early to the location of a deposition or hearing. Setup can take some time, and the proceedings will not begin until the court reporter arrives and is ready to record.

5) Emotional Stability

Court reporting can be stressful. Reporters need to have the ability to remain calm and focused to ensure that they are accurately capturing the proceedings. Individuals giving testimony may be excited, upset, or angry, which can make piecing together what is being said challenging—especially when there are a lot of interjections from attorneys. Court reporters need to focus solely on recording the dialogue accurately.

It is also likely that a court reporter will encounter proceedings that involve murder or abuse cases. Emotional stability is crucial when listening to and recording information about tragic or gruesome events. Those with a weak stomach or emotional sensitivities may be ill-equipped to work as court reporters.

6) Neutrality

Court reporters witness the two opposing sides in every case they record. To properly do the job, court reporters need to remain neutral and avoid inserting opinions of any kind into their reports. Court reporters should focus only on what is said and transcribe those words in their entirety.

7) Organizational Skills

Court reporters often balance multiple proceedings—sometimes in the same day. As such, it is vital that they be incredibly organized. A quality court reporter will keep track of files for different cases. Everything must remain in order to avoid mixing up documents, which could breach confidentiality and jeopardize other cases. Organization tools may be physical or digital depending on the technology available in the courtroom and how the court reporter chooses to operate.

8) Speed and Accuracy

Court proceedings change directions frequently. As such, court reporters must be able to keep up with the pace of conversation. This typically means being able to type 180 to 225 words per minute. Court reporters must be able to simultaneously listen and record without making any mistakes. Having zero errors is the gold standard, but minimal errors may occur, especially if a court reporter is new to the position.

9) Technical Skills

Court reporters must be trained to use stenography machines and computer-aided transcription software. The technical skills involve maintaining the stenograph machine and knowing what type of technology is needed for different cases. Examples include broadcast, closed captioning, and communication access real-time translation (CART).

10) Time Management

Court reporters are tasked with juggling a number of tasks and cases. In most cases, the schedules are tight, and deadlines cannot be missed. Deadlines like that cannot be met without impeccable time-management skills. Examples of valuable time-management skills include planning, goal setting, auditing and improving workflows, and learning to prioritize.

Contact Kusar Court Reporters Today

While a person can learn some of the skills of the best court reporters, many skills are inherent. Ultimately, court reporters must be organized, precise, and focused. If you are looking for a dependable and accurate court reporter for your next deposition, Kusar Court Reporters can help. Consider contacting us today at (800) 282-3376 to learn more.

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