Considering the current demand for court reporting services, it’s a great time to be a seasoned stenographer or an enthusiastic beginner looking to break into the industry. As such, Connor Reporting wants to advocate for young reporters and educate them on the many opportunities available for court reporting professionals. In this blog post, we’ll examine the differences between the two types of court reporters: freelance and official.
That’s right: there are two types of court reporters, and although both freelance and official reporters generally receive the same education and training, their job requirements are vastly different. So what separates the two?
Not all court reporters are employed by the court system. In fact, most reporters begin their careers as freelance court reporters. Freelance court reporters are independent contractors who work either alone or with various agencies to provide arbitration, deposition and other court reporting services to courts, corporations and law firms. Although seasoned freelancers can work completely independently, most beginners work for local court reporting firms—such as Connor Reporting!
Freelance court reporting provides reporters with ample freedom. Since freelancers function as independent contractors, they are in control of which jobs they accept and decline. Unlike official court reporters, freelance court reporters do not report to the same location day after day. Many of them work on an on-call basis and travel to local, regional and occasionally international job sites as needed, and after the initial record is taken, freelancers enjoy the additional benefit of completing transcriptions from the comfort of their own homes.
The ability to be self-employed and the potential for travel appeal to many young court reporters. However, it’s worth acknowledging the few potential downsides of freelancing. Freelance court reporters often work on short notice, and many of them do not enjoy certain employment benefits—such as health insurance. Despite these challenges, freelance court reporting is a promising career option for young professionals looking to break into the industry.
An official court reporter is the stereotype for all professionals boasting stenographic skill sets. Official court reporters, or judicial reporters, are appointed by the court for an indefinite term, meaning that they are salaried government employees. As government employees, they work in government buildings, be it a county, state or federal courthouse. Official court reporters are responsible for producing a verbatim record of all court proceedings. Because of this, these reporters must be accurate and efficient; their work serves as the official government record of each case.
Official court reporting jobs are competitive and therefore require years of experience and various certifications, such as Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR), Certified Shorthand Reporter (CSR) and Registered Professional Reporter (RPR). Although these positions offer employment benefits, increased pay and stability, official court reporting is high pressure, fast-paced work. This path isn’t for everyone; reporters who value flexibility often vie for freelance work. However, if you’re a tenured stenographer looking for stability and opportunities for advancement, official court reporting presents an attractive alternative.
Given the current court reporter shortage, there’s no better time than now to begin a career in the industry. Whether you’re an ambitious beginner or an experienced professional, Connor Reporting is always looking for a few good hands. Interested in working for an established firm with a sterling reputation? Contact us today.