Court Reporters NYC
Most students entering the court reporting world, or for that matter any profession, for the first time never give a thought to the differences in court reporting agencies. Like anything else in today’s highly specialized world, everybody is an expert, and, yes, court reporters are different and so are the court reporting firms that they work for. Before you send out a resume to a firm, I would strongly suggest you do some research and see the type of work they do. It is so easy now, check out their website. New court reporters are wasting everybody’s time if they send a resume to a firm which is marketing itself as a real time firm. New court reporters should look for firms that have easier, simpler work for them to start with and learn from. Unfortunately, most firms are too busy getting clients and collecting their money than to work with new reporters. Sad but true. There is very little of a give-back philosophy in our highly competitive world.
What is the simpler work? From my prospective, it is work that is billed out at lower rates because price is the driving motivation, not necessarily quality. As in everything, quality costs more. Who are the clients without the deep pockets or who are the clients do don’t like spending money? You figure it out. Not too hard. In court reporting firms where lower price is the driving factor in their client base, don’t expect to get paid the rates you may have heard floating around in school. You are taking a job to learn and gain experience. Compensation is not, or rather should not, be your prime motivator. It takes time to hone your skills. As your skills improve so will your paycheck.
Just want to take today to thank everybody for their wonderful comments about my blog. When I started writing, it was really to add some informational material to my website. With the passing of time, and speaking with many people looking for work, I realized that in my profession, court reporting, there is really very little material to help reporters, who do not read about or go to meetings, learn the real ins-and-outs of our profession.
I have always felt it incumbent upon myself to give back to a profession which has been so good to me. That’s really why I do take the time each day to answer almost all emails and calls from reporters. I do see many personally also. Obviously, sometimes I am just not in the mood. Life gets in the way. But as I have said many times, persistence pays. You might just catch me on one of my very good days and get a lot of personal attention and information.
And I guess I am very disappointed in how few people give back in ways that are unnoticed and un-publicized.
As one of the few court reporting agency owners who actually speak to new graduates and, yes, I meet many of them, here are some pointers how not to get a second chance, in other words, be called again. After looking at many new reporter transcripts recently, I would strongly suggest you have a knowledgeable friend, relative or professional read over your transcript before you send it in. I would think that every firm has somebody proofreading transcripts of new reporters, as we do, but it does not really bode well for you if you have lots of mistakes and corrections. It is very time-consuming for the office, even if they are charging you to do the corrections, which I recently found out some court reporting agencies do charge for doing corrections.
I think my biggest pet peeve is reporters using wrong words. It sounds like what I wrote so I will just pop it in, having really no idea of the meaning of the word and how it is used. Actually I was shocked at the extent reporters do this. It doesn’t get caught in a spell check and only a very careful proofreader will pick it up because it looks good to them, too. It won’t look so good on an errata sheet which a lot of people in the office see. When we get one back that is particularly horrible, we are finished with that reporter, no matter what their work looked like before. You just never know what kind of work product you will be getting. First impressions on everything count and court reporting has become terribly competitive so sharpen all your professional skills. There is still lots of work around for those who put in the time and effort in every aspect of their work.
I had always assumed that when a court reporter has achieved real time status that that was an indication of several skills, writing real time and also putting out a certain level of quality in their transcripts. Real time court reporters are the top of our profession and I, like many of my clients, assume that when you are getting a real time court reporter you are also getting a certain level of quality in their transcripts. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Yes, they have mastered the technical skill of writing well real time but in the process these real time court reporters become so assured of their level of skill that they no longer feel the need to proofread their transcripts with the same level of concern as court reporters who are not so sure of their skills. Unfortunately, some of the most corrections we receive back on errata sheets are on real time depositions where I guess the court reporter thought that the feed/rough ascii level of accuracy supersedes the need to put out a higher quality transcript. If you are a real time writer and wonder why you are not getting these great real time cases anymore perhaps it is simply a function that your final transcript is much sloppier than other court reporters who writer poorer but are much more careful in their proofreading.