Career Story: Court Reporter In A State Superior Court

Court Reporter In A State Superior Court

Job Title: Court Reporter

Type of Company: I work for the Massachusetts Superior Court system.

Education: Certified Court Reporter

Previous Experience: I started out as an administrative assistant but wasn't satisfied. I then took a class in court reporting.

Job Tasks: I am a court reporter working for the Massachusetts Superior Courts. I float from court house to court house. Every day is different and exciting. Court reporters are assigned to a particular judge for the day and take down everything that is said in the courtroom. When a transcript is ordered I transcribe the testimony that was given and create what amounts to a little book of what was said in the courtroom.

I can be assigned to either a civil courtroom or a criminal courtroom, listening to testimony about a drug deal, a murder, a rape or something lighter, like a real estate deal. When I'm not transcribing testimony, I mark all exhibits in the case. When the judge calls a side bar I also go and take testimony there. (That's where we hear everything that the jury's not allowed to.) Very busy job. Some days I work without lunch and get maybe five minutes total for a bathroom break.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I love my job. The best part of my job is no day is the same. Every day I go to the courtroom and never know what to expect. I could have an all-day case or I could hear twelve different smaller cases. The days fly by because I'm so busy.

The worst part of the job is if you have a few days in a row that nothing is going on. It makes for a very boring day.

Job Tips: You need to have a very good understanding of the English language. When preparing a transcript you have to transcribe exactly what is said. So if you don't understand a word you have to look it up, make sure that's the correct word and then spell it correctly. This part of the job is time consuming. So taking a few extra grammar classes would be helpful. You should also take a class that has legal terminology. This would be helpful because of all the legal terms the judges and lawyers use.

Additional Thoughts: Being a court reporter isn't for everyone. The judge cannot proceed with the trial until you are ready. So you have to be on time. If a trial is going on you are working 100% of the day, BUT you still have to get the transcripts out in a timely manner. Court reporting is very satisfying and you can make about 85K a year. But it is a lot of work and a lot of hours.

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