Being a court reporter requires a unique set of skills and specialized education. While it is attainable, it requires practice and hard work.
7 Skills of a Successful Court Reporter
Speed and Accuracy
Keeping up with the pace of a courtroom can be a challenge, which is why court reporters should be able to type at a speed of 180 to 225 words per minute. Not only do court reporters have to keep up with the speaking pace, but their transcriptions also need to be accurate. Transcriptions need to be free from any errors in order to maintain the validity of the proceeding.
Listening and Focus
During proceedings there may be distracting sounds, so being able to focus in on the person speaking and listen to what they’re saying in order to transcribe only their words is a vital skill. Working on your active listening and extending your attention span can aid in developing this skill.
Integrity and Confidentiality
Being an integral part of court proceedings, court reporters are privy to sensitive information every day. The expectation is that court reporters abide by confidentiality rules in order to maintain the privacy of those involved and the details of the case.
Depending on location, court reporters may be required to speak and write in both English and French. On top of knowing different languages, being an effective communicator can help you find other jobs as a freelancer.
A court reporter is meant to be an unbiased and steady presence during court proceedings, so being able to maintain composure and keep a neutral demeanor when listening to uncomfortable testimonies is vital in order to keep the attention on the matter at hand.
Court reporters often have to attend and transcribe multiple proceedings, so keeping files and information organized while also staying on top of dates and times is paramount. Being punctual is also a key skill, as setup can take time and being late can further delay proceedings.
These skills do not always come naturally to everyone. Being able to understand each required skill and taking the time to develop each of them takes dedication. Practicing typing skills, active listening, and maintaining a neutral demeanour take years to perfect and can still leave room for error. Not giving up is the most important skill to have.
Indeed Editorial Team. “What Is a Court Reporter? (with Duties and Required Skills).” Indeed.com, 2022, ca.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/what-is-court-reporter.
Kusar Court Reporters. “Top 10 Skills of the Best Court Reporters | Kusar Court Reporters.” Kusar Legal Services, 29 Apr. 2022, www.kusar.com/top-10-skills-of-the-best-court-reporters/.