Freelance Court Reporting vs Official Court Reporting

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. Here are the pros and cons, particularly from the reporter’s perspective.

Freelance court reporters:

These reporters are usually self-employed. Sometimes they are employees who work for agencies that are hired by law firms, lawyers, corporations, or other organizations to perform court reporting services. These agencies use freelancers to cover examinations for discovery, hearings, legal proceedings, and board meetings.


  • 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


  • Freelancers do not receive any benefits
  • They are usually informed a day or two before an assignment
  • Income depends entirely on the number of assignments a month

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. To be offered a permanent position as an official court reporter, many jurisdictions require their reporters to have a Registered Professional Reporter certificate and a Certified Realtime Reporter certification to ensure they are qualified for the job.


  • 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 copies of transcripts to lawyers


  • It 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 on

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 are 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.