I have been a Certified Shorthand Reporter for 34 years. When I got out of school, court reporters were still dictating their notes. There were no computers. When court reporters were first giving out rough drafts, I thought that was crazy. Why would an attorney want a transcript that wasn’t perfect? And then I heard about real-time reporting and thought that would never work. Why in the world would I let an attorney see my raw writing? It would be embarrassing.
Now I give out rough drafts and write real-time weekly, including streaming the transcript to remote sites.
BUT I have a feeling I might be old-fashioned in some of my thinking. The new norm is many court reporting firms are owned by non-court reporters, and new court reporters are trained how to punctuate by proofers. My old-fashioned thinking is they need a court reporter to read their transcripts and teach them the nuances of punctuating a transcript, what to Global, and how to use parentheticals. Modern reporters who wish to be great will go to seminars put on by their state associations and NCRA, and also might choose to learn online from the brilliant Margie Wakeman Wells on her website Margie Holds Court. Margie’s website is a tremendous resource with webinars and one-on-one trainings available. I didn’t know Margie’s website existed until a young reporter asked me if I thought that would help her with her English grammar. I said, “Absolutely, yes.”
Another old-fashioned idea I have is that court reporters who become licensed shouldn’t put themselves out to be real-time reporters until they have at least two years under their belt. I believe most real-time depositions or trials are going to have complex, sophisticated subject matter, and a new reporter needs time to build speed, stamina, and a sophisticated dictionary. I understand a new court reporter might have the knowledge to connect computers and send real-time, but my current belief system is that writing thousands of pages and having on-the-job experience would be a prerequisite to successful real-time reporting. Maybe I am wrong.
As of three years ago, I thought that a court reporter getting out of school had to decide between working in court or freelance and report depositions. With the laying off of court reporters in civil courtrooms in California, the reporters have any option to be a hybrid and do both. I find many court reporters are still choosing court or depositions, but as time goes on, I have met many young reporters who have a desire to choose court or depositions on any given day.
It has struck me in the last couple of weeks that there are a lot of new ways of doing things, and I am behind. I know a lot about real-time technology, electronic exhibits in depositions, and trial technologies. I know about social media, connecting with LinkedIn or Facebook, but I am wondering what I don’t know.
My goal is to search out what I don’t know, and my plan is to talk to court reporters around the country at the NCRA convention in Chicago next month and ask them, “What’s happening?”
Kramm Court Reporting – Facebook