There are many support roles within the legal industry. Not everyone has to have a JD or be a practicing lawyer to contribute to the important work being done in legal environments today. One such role is the court reporter. An essential part of the legal process, court reporters are solely responsible for recording the often fast-paced communications within a legal setting. So what does a court reporter do, and is it the right job for you?
What is a Court Reporter?
If nothing else, you’ve seen them in movies. A court reporter is a person who takes the entire verbatim transcript of the proceedings in a courtroom. But they do more than we see on TV or on the big screen. Court reporters also work within other environments, such as depositions or mediation meetings.
In the past, court reporters used specialized machines to take down everything that was being said. Today, technology enhances their skills, and many can provide real-time transcripts that the lawyers and judges can access immediately.
Probably the top skill needed to be a court reporter is the ability to type fast and accurately. But there’s more to it, of course. Court reporters must be able to listen well, concentrate for long periods, and be very detailed oriented. They must maintain neutrally throughout their work. They must also have proper business etiquette, grammar and spelling skills, and organizational and time management skills.
The basic requirements for court reporters are an associate’s degree or some post-secondary certification. Check for programs in your community that offer training in court reporting. Once you’ve completed the appropriate training, you can take a certification test. There are also voluntary certifications through court reporting associations that could be good for your resume.
Some states require that court reporters are licensed. In those areas, court reporters may be required to take state board-administered exams.
Average Salary in DC
According to Salary.com, the median salary for a court reporter in the DC area is around $63,000 annually. Of course, the experience you bring to the table, the specific location, and more will all factor into the salary process.
Are you a court reporter looking for a new opportunity?
NRI Legal Staffing Agencies in DC can help. We are currently hiring talented legal professionals in DC, VA, and MD areas.