Court reporter

Court reporter article illustration


Court reporters type in word processors or any other software each one of the words mentioned in the courtroom. They transcript the hearings that take place in court to issue the official hearings of the legal case. They allow the parties to study the case in an accurate fashion further.

The duties of a court reporter typically include, but are not limited to:

  • attending courtroom hearings, proceedings, and other events to produce an official written record
  • using a stenograph to prepare transcripts in shorthand
  • reviewing transcripts for accuracy and clarity
  • interpreting speakers’ gestures or tone to provide an accurate representation of events
  • providing transcriptions to clerks, lawyers, judges, and other court officials promptly
  • monitoring court calendars to provide transcription services as needed
  • performing other related duties, such as administering oaths or taking court notes
  • organizing and storing shorthand notes, transcript files, and related information securely.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to court reporter:

court recorder
certified shorthand reporter
court transcriber
official court reporter
law reporter
courtroom reporter
deposition reporter
shorthand reporter
court stenographer

Working conditions

Many court reporters are self-employed but may also work for court reporting firms, private law firms, or government agencies. They typically work in courtrooms and office buildings, spending long hours sitting in proceedings, focusing on the activities, and creating transcriptions. Depending on their employment type, these professionals may work a standard 40-hour weekly schedule with no weekend work. They may work some evenings if the court schedules sessions during these times or goes over their scheduled time.

The occupation is typically a sedentary role, requiring lots of time sitting and using a stenograph. It’s important for court reporters to take consistent breaks and stretch to avoid becoming stiff or mentally fatigued from their job duties. These professionals may also use ergonomic typing equipment or blue light glasses to protect their bodies and eyes from fatigue or work-related injuries. Court reporters usually have tight deadlines to meet each day, making it important for them to be efficient and accurate in their work.

Minimum qualifications

Court reporters usually need to earn either an associate degree or post-secondary certificate upon completion. Some states require a professional license to work in this field, meaning a written exam may be necessary.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Court reporter is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Court reporter career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to court reporter.

case administrator
legal administrative assistant
court administrative officer
court clerk

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of court reporter. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of court reporter with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

court administrator
lawyer linguist
legal consultant
copy editor

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of court reporter.

  • Transcription methods: The methods to quickly transcribe spoken language into text, such as stenography.
  • Spelling: The rules concerning the way words are spelled.
  • Legal terminology: The special terms and phrases used in the field of law.
  • Grammar: The set of structural rules governing the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language.
  • Court procedures: The regulations which are in place during the investigation of a court case and during a court hearing, and of how these events occur.
  • Stenography: Capture of spoken words in its entirety, especially meanings and relevant details into written form.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of court reporter.

  • Type error-free documents: Type documents and written content in general avoiding any grammatical or spelling errors. Type documents in a fast pace without compromising the quality of the outcome.
  • Use stenotype machines: Recognize the setting of keys in stenotype machines and understand the phonetics of words and syllabes represented in these kinds of machines to allow high typing.
  • Digitise documents: Load analog documents by converting them into a digital format, using specialised hardware and software.
  • Use free typing techniques: Know, use and write documents, texts and content in general without looking at the keyboard. Use techniques to write documents in such fashion.
  • Use shorthand: Apply shorthand as a method to capture spoken words into written form. Use shorthands in written texts to reflect acronyms and relevant information required to be expressed in such fashion.
  • Record court procedures: Record all the information necessary for proper record maintenance during court hearings, such as the people present, the case, the evidence presented, the sentence made, and other important matters which were brought up during the hearing.
  • Observe confidentiality: Observe the set of rules establishing the nondisclosure of information except to another authorised person.
  • Use shorthand computer program: Employ shorthand computer softwares in order to write and translate shorthands and put them into traditional legible transcripts.
  • Apply grammar and spelling rules: Apply the rules of spelling and grammar and ensure consistency throughout texts.
  • Provide written content: Communicate information in written form via digital or print media according to the needs of the target group. Structure the content according to specifications and standards. Apply grammar and spelling rules.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of court reporter. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Medical terminology: The meaning of medical terms and abbreviations, of medical prescriptions and various medical specialties and when to use it correctly.
  • Legal case management: The procedures of a legal case from opening to closing, such as the documentation that needs to be prepared and handled, the people involved in different stages of the case, and the requirements that need to be met before the case can be closed.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of court reporter. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Compile legal documents: Compile and collect legal documents from a specific case in order to aid an investigation or for a court hearing in a manner compliant with legal regulations and ensuring records are properly maintained.
  • Write meeting reports: Write complete reports based on minutes taken during a meeting in order to communicate the important points which were discussed, and the decisions which were made, to the appropriate people.
  • Develop documentation in accordance with legal requirements: Create professionally written content describing products, applications, components, functions or services in compliance with legal requirements and internal or external standards.
  • Perform office routine activities: Program, prepare, and perform activities required to be performed every day in offices such as mailing, receiving supplies, updating managers and employees, and keeping operations running smoothly.
  • Manage data for legal matters: Collect, organise and prepare data for analysis and review during investigation, regulatory filings and other legal processes.
  • Ensure proper document management: Guarantee that the tracking and recording standards and rules for document management are followed, such as ensuring that changes are identified, that documents remain readable and that obsoleted documents are not used.
  • Use dictionaries: Use glossaries and dictionaries to search for the meaning, the spelling, and synonyms of words.

ISCO group and title

3343 – Administrative and executive secretaries

  1. Court reporter – ESCO
  2. Court Reporter Job Description: Salary, Skills, & More –
  3. What Is a Court Reporter? | Canada
  4. Featured image: By Eilmeldung 2003. Die konkludente Zustimmung der Abgebildeten liegt vor – Transferred from de.wikipedia to Commons using CommonsHelper., CC BY-SA 3.0
Last updated on March 26, 2023

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