The court reporting profession has been around for decades, and it remains as one of the most in-demand jobs in the legal industry. Being a court reporter takes a special type of dedication and requires an exact record of what is being said. In general, court reporters are responsible for providing a comprehensive, accurate, and reliable legal transcript of courtroom proceedings, witness testimonies, and depositions.
Although the demand for qualified court reporters is outpacing the supply, approximately 90% of students who start court reporting school drop out before graduation, according to statistics. This may not be surprising when one learns that the required speed necessary to graduate court reporting school is 225 words per minute. Besides completing their formal program, court reporters must freelance for a couple of months to get experience before being able to get a job in the courts.
Court reporting is thus a huge responsibility. It is considered to be one of the most stressful professions in the world. Court reporters’ mistakes or misinterpretations could compromise an entire case. That’s why they must write down accurately and quickly every word and action that happens during a proceeding. Furthermore, court reporters are required by their jobs to stay seated for long periods of time, unlike lawyers who have the opportunity to take breaks. Prolonged sitting can be a major cause of back pain, increased stress of the back, and severe discomfort.
While most courtrooms are open during normal business hours, depositions can be scheduled during the early morning or late evening hours. Court reporters usually work 40 hours per week, although it’s not unusual for them to work overtime in order to meet deadlines.
As with any profession, there are definite benefits and drawbacks to a career in court reporting. Make sure this is absolutely the career path you want to follow. If you have a sincere interest in the legal sector and want to play an important professional role at hearings, depositions, and all other types of legal proceedings, then working in court reporting might be a perfect career for you.