People assume that court reporters just sit in front of a judge transcribing the proceedings. They type on their steno machines at warp speed to ensure no detail gets left out. You may even see this scenario happening in courtroom drama movies or legal soap operas on TV. However, Court Reporter Boca Raton, FL firms agree that they do more than transcriptions for legal proceedings.
Apart from the courtroom setting, they also provide a word for word documentation for many other scenarios. Though the majority of court reporters carry out their tasks in the court setting, they also handle other work-related areas. For example, court reporters’ quick stenography skills can be used for the following:
- Provide official documents for conferences, meetings, webinars, classes, lectures, etc.
- Create CC or close captioning for TV shows, films, or foreign content that need subtitles for translation.
- Offer personalized services for the deaf community or those who are hard of hearing.
As you can see, court reporters carry a big responsibility. If you are considering becoming a part of this lucrative profession, here are the top three qualities that you must possess to survive and thrive in this career:
Hard Working to Improve Essential Skills
Boca Raton court reporting firms all concur that you need to hone your professional skills with proper training. You need to undergo schooling so you can join their elite teams. For instance, several small community colleges and technical schools offer a court reporting course in Florida, either in a classroom set up or online. You can get a certificate, which is the shortest duration of any program that lasts for 28th months. However, you can also opt for a more intensive 3-year associate degree course, which gives you an edge to command a higher rate.
Noteworthy, these courses teach you everything you need to know to thrive in this profession. You learn about steno theories, which serve as your foundation for shorthand and swift transcriptions. Moreover, you also tackle legal proceedings to familiarize yourself with the industry jargon. Above all, you receive direct training using transcription machines. Speed is the name of the game, without compromising accuracy.
Once you’ve received the proper education, you need to ascertain if you need the license. Some states require you to have a certification. But for other areas like Boca Raton in Florida, you don’t need one. Although, it would be beneficial to take the certification as it will open more employment opportunities. Furthermore, with certification and accreditation, you become more competitive and enjoy better pay.
Noteworthy, Boca Raton court reporting firms say that showing proficiency assures you get hired right away. For example, affiliation with the FCRA (Florida Court Reporters Association) becomes the first step to getting your FPR (Florida Professional) Certificate. You need to train and pass their tests to show that you are skilled in the following:
- Typing fast to produce accurate transcripts
- Showing knowledge with appellate procedures
- Indicating master of rules of court of Florida and the federals courts
- Proving affiliation with NCRA (National court Reporter Association) group
Possess Keen Attention to Details
If you want to excel in this profession, Boca Raton court reporting firms emphasize that you must be very detail-oriented. Being mindful of what goes on around you means you can deliver accurate transcripts. Possessing the steno skills to capture words and sounds is not enough. You must be a keen observer and great listener to note down crucial details that transpire at rapid speed. All of this matters because a judge may ask you to read a part for your transcription. It would be embarrassing and damaging to your reputation if you take note of the wrong information.
Moreover, court reporters usually take the initiative to verify information, especially the spelling of proper names of parties concerned, places, etc. If you encounter medical jargon, you don’t understand; you must be confident enough to seek clarification from the speaker without interrupting the proceedings. Remember, there are times when the speaker becomes garbled because of strong emotions. Hence, you may need to speak with them outside the courtroom to get the correct data.
Apart from that, you must possess eagle eyes when you edit your work to catch mistakes. You cannot submit an official legal document that has spelling, grammar, and other typo errors. Keep in mind; you will be furnishing your reports to all parties involved in the case. Boca Raton court reporting firms said you need to give the judge, attorneys, plaintiff, defendant, and jury a precise copy. Whatever they receive will be a reflection of your capabilities. Since so many people rely on your work output, you need to pay extra attention to details to ensure no errors.
Observe Proper Ethics at All Times
When it comes to practicing this profession, you need to observe ethical codes. Apart from looking professionally dressed and groomed when you step into the courtroom, you must possess a respectable bearing. Remember, you carry an essential part in the quest for truth and justice. As a part of the legal system, you must pay attention to your behavior at all times. Yes, this also includes what you do after work.
According to Boca Raton court reporting firms, many of their staff members must uphold themselves well in public. You cannot accept gifts or mingle with people concerned in a case you are working with. Ethical codes indicate you must never show preferential treatment towards any party. You must make it your mission to provide comparable services for everyone. As such, you must strive hard to be impartial and objective at all times so you can give reports that are:
Moreover, when someone asks you about a controversial case, you cannot divulge information. Talking about proceeding details after work hours is a big no-no. This can jeopardize the case you are working on and affect your own integrity. Court reporting firms in Boca Raton all agree that you may be the fastest typist with stellar finished reports. Still, if you do not follow the proper ethics and code of conduct, it will compromise your professional credibility. As such, one of the most essential qualities of being a court reporter involves your internal values and morals. It cannot just be about skills because those can be learned. Attitude and work ethics matter the most.