Court Reporting Job Description

Court reporters – also referred to as short hand reporters – are responsible for keeping written records of legal proceedings, whether in government, court, or private settings. The verbatim documentation in criminal, civil and other court proceedings requires professionals who are highly skilled and trained in court reporting, which usually involves stenography.

Court reporters may also find a wealth of professional opportunities in the fields of closed and realtime captioning services, webcasting, and Communications Access Realtime Reporting (CART) reporting, all of which require expert stenographic skills. Voice writing, which involves speaking into a computer that then translates the words into written transcripts, is also another important field within court reporting.

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Job Description in Specific Areas of Short Hand Reporting

A licensed/certified court reporter will have the knowledge and skills to serve in a number of capacities within the profession, as the majority of court reporter programs offer a comprehensive education in court reporting, from deposition/courtroom procedures and computer-aided transcription to closed captioning and real-time reporting.

However, depending on the needs of the employer or the technology employed, a court reporter job description may have the title of: court reporter; closed captionist, webcaster, CART reporter, or voice writer.

A job description for a court reporter may appear in one of many ways, including:

  • Court (judicial) reporting: Involves taking records of court proceedings, depositions, and administrative hearings; it may be a freelance or employee position (may be stenograph court reporting or voice writing)
  • Closed (broadcast) captioning: Involves working for talk shows, news, and sports for national broadcast companies, local television stations, or television/movie studios
  • Realtime captioning: Involves providing realtime captioning for television broadcasts, sports events, weather disasters/emergencies, and other live television events
  • Communications Access Realtime Reporting (CART): Involves providing specialized services to deaf or hard-of-hearing people in live situations, such as college classrooms, lectures, speeches, cultural presentations, religious services, civic events, and seminars
  • Webcasting: Involves providing realtime reporting services for Internet-based events, such as corporate sales meetings, press conferences, product introductions, and training seminars

Although there are a number of careers within the field of court reporting, all of which will require their own, distinct set of requirements, there are a number of standard requirements and duties:

Standard Requirements Among Court Reporters

While job descriptions for court reporters will, of course, depend on the industry in which they work, they often have very similar standard requirements, including:

Court reporters must have proficient knowledge of:

  • Principles, practices, methods, and techniques of court shorthand reporting
  • Clerical and legal recordkeeping practices and procedures
  • Legal, medical and related technical terminology
  • Advanced spelling, punctuation, vocabulary and grammar skills
  • The English language

Court reporters must have the ability to:

  • Operate a stenographic machine at 200 wpm
  • Read back verbatim records
  • Work independently
  • Perform legal clerical work with a high degree of accuracy and speed

Court reporters must be able to successfully:

  • Follow oral and written directions
  • Remain seated for long periods of time
  • Concentrate for long periods of time
  • Communicate effectively in writing and orally
  • Establish and maintain working relationships with coworkers, supervisors, and members of the public
  • Operate a variety of equipment, including transcription machines, computer terminals, audio equipment, and printers


Typical Court Reporter Duties

A court reporter within a courtroom or legal setting must be prepared to:

  • Attend courtroom proceedings and other proceedings to make verbatim official recordings and to record formal and/or informal meetings
  • Read back transcripts during trial and courtroom proceedings
  • Prepare transcripts according to standardized formats
  • Review and certify the accuracy of printed transcripts
  • File transcripts with the county clerk in a timely manner
  • Review court calendars and making arrangements for other court reporters to provide services when needed
  • Provide administrative and court management support, as needed
  • Take court notes during hearings to note significant events and to locate and present prior testimony
  • Perform clerk duties, which include administering oaths, marking documents, maintaining logs and other forms, transferring stenographic files and notes to authorized personnel for reference
  • Coordinate meetings and maintain the calendar for the judge and/or court
  • Schedule trials and other court proceedings (in cooperation with the clerk of court)
  • Perform administrative tasks, such as: answering phones, purchasing office supplies, maintaining law library, and preparing expense vouchers

A court reporter working in a closed captioning, realtime captioning, webcasting, or CART must:

  • Be punctual, dependable, and flexible
  • Have extensive knowledge of world-events, sports, business and entertainment
  • Maintain a flexible schedule, particularly for realtime captioning
  • Possess extensive job dictionaries
  • Possess stamina, concentration and endurance for commercial-free and/or intense programming

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