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Court Reporting 101 For Chicago Attorneys

In novels and television dramas that feature the legal process, the stars of the courtroom are always attorneys and judges. But in real life, a courtroom that operates smoothly is the sum of its parts, including the court reporter. A court reporter is a trained member of the court who performs certified reporting, meaning that he or she records depositions and court hearings into official court transcripts that can be reviewed while a case is still being tried or after its conclusion for such purposes as petitioning for an appeal.

There are two kinds of court reporters: machine shorthand reporters and voice writing reporters. Machine shorthand allows the reporter to stay current with the flow of speech so that no words are missed. Voice writing, on the other hand, is when a reporter records verbatim what witnesses, attorneys, judges, etc. are saying.

Regardless of their reporting method, all Chicago court reporters initially follow the same basic academic path. In addition to focusing on the study of English, reporters also study legal language, medical language and business law. However, after completing the basic courses required for certified reporting, machine shorthand reporters and voice writing reporters pursue different areas of study to train for their specific requirements and duties. Voice writing reporters, for example, must be able to understand and use speech recognition engines and computer aided transcription.

Conversely, machine shorthand reporters require less technical areas of study and often attend certificate programs at private business schools. In most cases, both types of training require between two and four years of education that is followed by on-the-job training, after which both types of reporters typically become proficient in real-time reporting. Real time reporting occurs when a courthouse reporter records the language of court sessions for its online presentation while a deposition or court hearing is occurring. A large number of judges request that their reporter be proficient in real time reporting.

In addition to performing court reporting, many reporters also work as freelance reporters outside of the courtroom in situations that require the production of a legal transcript, such as certain types of political summits and corporate meetings and arbitration hearings. One of the newer arenas where court reporters are finding work is the legal services website industry, which is composed of online legal companies that provide, among other things, online and hard copy access to court transcripts.

In such situations, reporters are hired directly by the legal services provider in order that it might ensure the accuracy, clarity and overall quality of its transcripts. In most cases, the websites provide real time court reporting and require that their reporters be real time capable. In addition to providing basic transcripts, the websites also work with their reporters to produce transcripts that meet clients’ specific requests.

Chicago court reporters usually train in either machine shorthand reporting or voice writing reporting, recoding in different formats the language that occurs during depositions and court hearings. In addition to working for the court system, court reporters can also work for legal services websites that specialize in providing real time and other forms of court transcripts.

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One Response to “Court Reporting 101 For Chicago Attorneys”

  1. Chicago Attorney says:

    This law blog posts lines out the tasks of a court reporter pretty well, I think court reporting is a great way of keeping track of depositions to review back at the office. I have to admit they have helped me win a few cases.

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