Not many people have an understanding of the court reporter’s role in the litigation processes of today. Most people view a court reporter as that quiet individual who sits in the background when testimonies are given. Court reporters have and always remain an official keeper of records. However, there is a lot more that legal professionals and lawyers should be aware of court reporting as well as the court reporters of today.
Here are a few important factors to consider:
•The knowledge and skills associated with technology and court reporters can assist you in either losing or winning a case.
•Court reporters have different skill sets.
•Not all the court reporters will have or use the very same resources.
•Certain court reports could have business relations with opposition.
Court Reporter Types
There are two main court reporting types in the U.S. The first are the court reporters who work for the courts and judges and are typically known as “official” court reporters. Many years ago, this was the sole type of reporter. Today, as the demands started to increase for officers of courts in offering reporting services which fall outside of a courtroom, “independent” court reporters started to emerge. Today the “official” and “independent” court reporters are both regarded as officers of a court.
Traditionally, official reporters were government employees that were employed within a court system where they worked. Today, various jurisdictions now rely on the “independent” court reporting companies to offer courts with a court reporter associated with a “contract” basis. Many jurisdictions have found that hiring a court reporter on a contract basis has resulted in a significant decrease in expenses. This particular scenario is very common in Florida. In this state, the “official” court reporter is an “independent” court reporter. The independent court reporters are not employees of a court, but still, the officer of a court which offers their court-reporting services.
Typically there are currently two categories in regards to the “independent” court reporters. The first is an independent court reporter who works on an individual basis known as a type of sole practitioner. In the role of sole practitioners, these court reporters will often work mainly with limited amounts of clients. These court reporter types are also common when it comes to the rural areas. The 2nd category of the independent court reporters is the type which is affiliated with either a single or numerous court reporting companies, where they will be an employee of a firm or an independent type contractor for more than one firm.
Court Reporting Types
There are various methods used for reporting. Most people when thinking about court reporting will relate to the “stenographic” method. Many years ago, the stenographer used for court reporting was in most cases a pen writer. This particular method is still in practice in limited sections across the U.S.
The next method that is commonly practiced in a variety of areas is known as the “mask” reporter. These reporters wear masks and practice a technique of repeating what they have heard to themselves, identifying the different speakers that are recorded onto an audiotape that they use to the transcript at a later stage. In certain jurisdictions, the court reporters use tape recorders. This method involves taping the proceedings, and the court reporter later interprets and transcribes these tapes.
It is important to know that not all of the court reporters use or have access to the “same” resources. At the same time, not all of the court reporting companies uses the “same” resources. Some court reporters that are available within a geographical area and some these reporters that have advanced experience levels and skill sets, along with the savvy and investment in regards to technology often result in variances that are significant when it comes to available resources.
Certifications And Qualifications
The court reporters of today have to obtain an education that is considerable as well as develop significant skill sets to successfully perform and work within the marketplace. Not many professionals at various levels will be required to hold an understanding that is as varied of grammar, language, and terminologies that are utilized by just about every type of profession that you can imagine. Court reporters have to have an understanding of the technical and specific conversations of engineers, lawyers, and doctors of every type while at the same time accommodating for the variations on the actual English language which the “world without borders” has made inevitable.
Over and above these skill sets, court reporters must also have an up to date knowledge in regards to technology as well as have an understanding of the potential application and impact in the litigation processes, especially when it applies to a recording, and then archiving or retrieval of these records.
According to the NCRA (National Court Reporters Association), the initial step involved in becoming a recognized court reporter that has a certification that is nationally recognized would be to pass the examination for the RPR (Registered Professional Reporter) Certification. To complete this task, the candidate has to be able to take diction in regards to the literary matter at a minimum of 180 wpm (words per minute), and jury charge based on 200 wpm, and questions-and-answers or testimony of 225 wpm. These candidates are allowed 3 and half hours in which to transcribe these notes and will need to achieve at least 95% accuracy to pass this entry level.
This is followed by taking and as well as passing a written skills and written knowledge test. Once the candidate has achieved the certification, they are required to participate in the NCRA’s education program (continuing) to stay certified.
The next level is known as the RMR (Registered Merit Reporter). Once the person has become an RPR and maintained this status for a minimum of 3 years, the candidate will be permitted to take the RMR exam. This examination involves various components that include the written knowledge testing.