Looking for a new job and don’t want as much competition? By 2018, there should be 5,500 vacancies in the court reporting field. It’s not the easiest field to get into, though. The schools alone have a shocking 85% dropout rate, so don’t think you can breeze through because you can send a quick text. It’s far more difficult than that.
The Three Areas of Court Reporting
Court reporting has three distinct fields, and each requires that the reporter be close to 100% accuracy. The first field is your traditional court reporting, the one that accompanies any television drama — the ramrod-straight posture, the hands hovering over a keyboard. This person, traditionally a woman (as this profession is 90% female), types madly whenever anyone speaks. Sometimes she speaks into a device that is plastered over her mouth. This is called a stenomask.
The second field is caption providers, who help the hearing impaired by providing the closed captions you see on television or at concerts. These captioners need to be at 98% accuracy in order to land the job.
Finally, there are freelancers, who make extraordinary salaries if they approach the job right and work 50-60 hours per week. They can provide realtime captioning for law firms during depositions, meetings, trials and other events. This means at least 96% accuracy at 200 or 300 words per minute, though the elite are higher than that. Literary certification requires 180 words per minute; jury charge is 200 words per minute; and testimony is 225 words per minute. A certified realtime reporter captures at least 200 words per minute for all of those combined.
A realtime reporter will spend the extra time and money to sell law firms on his or her skills by showing off the equipment for an hour. This means that the reporter will have gone the extra mile and hired a scopist (someone who edits the transcripts of official proceedings) and copy editor to input medical and legal terms like obscure medications or Latin terminology. This usually seals the deal because it shows all the front-end effort.
That doesn’t even show all the back-end effort, like transcribing the transcripts from shorthand and editing them once they’re in coherent English. Then, once they’re in a standard format, they can be submitted.
A Wide Open Field: Reporters vs Robots
A court reporter’s job is hard and often thankless. The ranks are falling because many younger people think it’s an unsexy job that is difficult to enter. However, if you put in the work and are willing to pay your dues, you can have a secure job that won’t be replaced by machines. Sure, a robot can record a court proceeding, but it can’t understand dialects, colloquialisms, crosstalk, or ask witnesses to speak up. It isn’t human.
Orange Legal employs humans, and its court reporters are nothing but the best. If you’re looking for someone in the top percentile for your court reporting, contact us today.