While court reporters have proven to be nearly invaluable to many businesses and firms, there still tends to be plenty of misconceptions and misunderstandings of what they actually do. Since court reporting is so versatile, there’s a wide range of services reporters offer. Here are some of the most common misconceptions about court reporting and some factual information to clear up the misunderstandings.
Misconception 1: Court Reporting is Basically a Typing Job
While many people may be under the misconception that court reporters are basically glorified secretaries or typists, the opposite is actually true. The skills that an experienced court reporter requires cannot be found in your average good typist. Reporters must have the necessary speed, language control and understanding to accurately keep up with the speaker. The information they record must be completely accurate and unbiased.
Legal firms have a great need for court reporters because they possess a high level of comprehension and listening skills that can quickly be translated into data. While a good secretary or typist may possess great keyboard skills and speed on the computer, they won’t be able to convert words into text at real time speed the way a seasoned court reporter can.
Misconception 2: Technology Will Soon Replace Court Reporters
The idea that technology will soon be replacing court reporters is far from the truth. With recent changes to technology and the addition of technology in courtrooms, reporters have actually become quite skilled and proficient with its use. In fact, many court reporters are required to learn and use video depositions as part of their job description. In addition, a large number of reporters have also taken on the responsibility of creating decent video depositions for use by attorneys. They skillfully sync the text and accurately section the video for future reference by attorneys.
Misconception 3: Most Court Reporters are Women
Many people are under the assumption that to be a court reporter you must be a woman. This is, of course, false. While images in movies and television shows often portray the role of a court reporter as a woman, there are actually quite a few men who make reporting their primary profession as well. The ratio of men to women in the field is nearly even.
Misconception 4: Good Court Reporters are Easy to Find
While it would be nice if good court reporters were easy to find, that isn’t always the case. The skills required to be a good court reporter often develop over time. Great typing skills, listening skills, language understanding and professionalism are all necessary to be a good court reporter and it has sometimes proven difficult to find all the required skills in new reporters. Which is one reason accomplished reporters are in such high demand.
Misconception 4: A Court Reporters Only Job is to Create Court Reports
The assumption that a court reporter only creates court reports is completely inaccurate. While they do spend time creating court documents and reports, it is by no means their only function. In fact, reporters have proven to be a great asset through the entire legal process, and have even been successful in providing assistance to businesses in non-legal settings as well. They are trained to write depositions, use technology to provide video and audio transcription services, as well as record important business meetings.
While many people may think that a court reporter spends the majority of their time in court, it’s not entirely true. Some positions may require more time in court than others, but many reporters also spend a good amount of their time creating depositions and other critical documentations that demand their preciseness and accuracy.
Misconception 5: You can Point out the Court Reporter by Appearance
There tends to be a wide misconception that anyone can spot the court reporter in court by how they look or what they wear. This is false, as a court reporter is trained to dress completely professionally and in a way that accurately reflects the attorneys, the clients and the courts. A seasoned reporter should be dressed similarly to the attorneys and it should be difficult to determine who they are.
Similarly, good court reporters make a habit of being punctual and do not seek any additional attention while court is in progress. The purpose of their job is to correctly transcribe the material in court rather than be the center of anyone’s attention.
There are obviously misconceptions regarding any industry and profession, but more misunderstandings seem to surround court reporters than other occupations. Hopefully the information listed above will clear up any confusion the public has about the importance of court reporters and how they can greatly contribute to the success and prosperity of firms and businesses.