Court Reporters – 101

Who are we?  What do we do?  We know the answer to this, but how many of the rest of you know how talented and diverse we are?  And, what role a court reporter plays in a very versatile industry?  Our profession dictates that we be highly educated and trained…and, we are!

Following are some of the more popular FAQs with brief answers about “us”!

What is a court reporter?

That’s easy – we are the official keepers of the record…the accurate record.  We are expected to document conversations, word for word that are, exact, precise and legally binding.  Today’s court reporter must be technologically savvy and have access to and the knowhow to use the latest equipment such as audio, digital and video.  The role of the court reporter has changed over the years. We are not just in the courtroom or court system-related arenas anymore. We’ll keep the record – any record whether it be for journalistic purposes, conference recording, board meetings, etc. We’ll record and report anything and everything that is important to you. Read more about the role of a court reporter, click here to download “Role of a Court Reporter”.

What are the types of services being offered today?

The more efficient question would be “what services aren’t being offered today.” Because of the ease and speed of producing documents digitally, the entire profession is moving towards being a “real time” profession.  The wait time for documentation of the session has been drastically reduced and the client can now make a choice of what medium they prefer – i.e. paper, digital, video, etc.  Factor in video conferencing and suddenly a whole new world of information opens up.  For example, sign language for the hearing impaired is easily implemented; remote witness statements and foreign language translation is easier; and important to court cases, the nuances of facial expressions appear on the record in video recordings.  Another advantage of the digital, audio and video records is the storage factor.  Much more can be stored and found quickly as opposed to paper records which require a great deal of space and climate controlled storage facilities. As the world moves towards a more “green” approach, so does the court reporter who is becoming paperless more and more by the day.

What is the biggest court reporter health complaint?

You guessed it, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. And, it’s not restricted to court reporters as it affects anyone who does repetitive motions with their fingers and hands.  It is very painful and affects the feeling and movement of the hands, wrists and elbows…and sometimes the shoulders.  Carpal Tunnel Syndrome has become a widespread issue as the use of computers has increased. This is so prevalent and of such concern that we went online and found multiple articles with tips to prevent and to treat this malady.  The most informative one included daily practices to help prevent carpal tunnel and steps to help minimize the pain and tingling if the symptoms occur.  Click here to read the blog out of Austin, TX.

What is the advantage of dealing with a local or networked firm vs. clearing houses such as 1-800-call a reporter?

The advantages far outweigh the possible discount one would receive with a court reporting clearing house.  Many local firms are part of a professional network and are heavily screened to ensure the highest level of professionalism and expertise.  Also, there are a set of rules that the member of the network must adhere to.  What does this mean for you?  It means that when you call the main firm and tell them what city and state you need to hire their services for, they instantly will book your session at the member firm in the location you requested. And, the location will be an office. That’s it, just that one call. And you are still dealing with a firm, not an individual.

Dealing with a clearing house that you see advertised via a phone number such as 1-800 –call, etc., you may (or may not) get an independent reporter that most likely has no office and will have to hold the session in a hotel or other public venue.  Or worse yet, you could get a firm that is not up-to-speed on the latest technological innovations.  The problem is that you just don’t know what you’ll get. Bottom line, do your homework and choose a local or networked firm as you don’t want to make any mistakes here!

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