All parties involved in a court case rely on the work of court reporters to act as an integral part concerning the details and activities in a court proceeding.
Whereas the misconception is that lawyers, members of the jury and judges play the definitive roles in a hearing, court reporters should be seen more as the gate-keepers for the information that is presented in a case.
So, with such a heavy responsibility placed on one to two people in this position, what does their workload look like in and out of the courtroom on a given week?
The traditional expectations of a court reporter require them to be equipped to perform in a host of areas including courtrooms, government hearings, depositions, public hearings, and business meetings. In these settings, the typical court reporter’s weekly schedule matches that of the case or courtroom—typically 40 hours a week during business hours, sometimes more.
During this time reporters must remain attentive and detail-oriented to ensure that notes taken in the final hours of the day are as accurate and up-to-speed as the notes taken when the proceedings began. Even when judges skip the lunch recess and hours might go by without a break, still court reporters will be held accountable for detailed notes on the process.
Once equipment and materials have been packed, the courtroom has emptied or the deposition is done, a court reporter’s work isn’t necessarily finished for the day. If a court reporter is responsible for providing transcripts after a court proceeding or deposition, it falls on them to complete during after-hours.
During lunch, once the day is complete and before the day has started, a court reporter uses this time to collect, organize and proofread transcripts to provide for the case. Depending on what’s required, this time can quickly pile up well beyond a typical 40-hour week.
Many reporters work with a team who work during off-hours—when the court isn’t in session—to compile accurate transcripts. These transcripts are pivotal for prosecutors and defenders to have on hand, to review, in the event these details will be needed later in the case.
Becoming a court reporter requires specialized schooling, training, and adeptness at certain skills such as high words-per-minute rates and using cutting-edge technology.
To maintain their level of expertise, court reporters will undertake annual training required to maintain certifications, and they will need to continually integrate new technologies into their daily process—adding to the hours already required in their position.
Court reporting will continue to be an inherently relevant position.
Rumination that court reporting is on its way out due to developments in voice-to-text technologies couldn’t be further from the truth: the need for court reporters is projected to increase.
In fact, as smartphones, internet, and communication technology becomes ever-present in business and social contexts, court cases that require proficient court reporters will develop.
If you have any court reporting needs, please reach out to us and we can help fill that void.