For those considering a career in court reporting, there are two types of reporters –freelance reporters and official reporters. Although they perform the same duties, there are some differences between them each having its own pros and cons, particularly from the reporter’s perspective.

Freelance court reporters:

These reporters are technically ‘self-employed’, or employees who work for agencies which are hired by law firms, lawyers, corporations or other organizations. These agencies use freelancers to cover examinations for discovery, hearings, legal proceedings and board meetings.

Pros: –          

  • They can travel to different locations on-call
  • Opportunity to work with a variety of clients or organizations
  • More free-time to finish transcripts after trial
  • Can make use of desired technology for work

Cons: –    

  • Freelancers do not receive any benefits
  • Usually informed a day or two before an assignment
  • Income depends entirely on number of proceedings a month. Sometimes none.


Official court reporters:

These reporters are employed by the courts and are assigned to a particular judge or courtroom. In this position, they cover all types of lower or high-profile cases for the court on a day-to-day basis. In order to be permanent, many jurisdictions require their reporters have a Registered Professional Reporter (certificate) and a Certified Realtime Reporter certification to ensure they are qualified for the job.

Pros: –

  • A secure position with multiple benefits
  • Opportunity to work closely with top lawyers on cases
  • Comes with set hours, salaries, pensions and stability
  • Additional income can also be earned through providing copy of transcripts to lawyers

Cons: –

  • Takes time to become permanent
  • Might not have the freedom to consider other jobs outside the courtroom for stenography
  • Less time on hand when it comes to deadlines
  • Minimal flexibility in choosing cases to work for, unlike freelancers

These are just some of the pros and cons of the two types of court reporting in function today. That being said, court reporting is recognized as one of the only jobs that is well paid and career-driven without a four year degree.

To book a court reporter for a meeting or a mediation, or even to discuss a court reporting position with On The Record, call one of our locations today, conveniently located in Whitby and Barrie  We look forward to discussing your court reporting or mediation needs.