It was suggested by a firm owner I ran into at NCRA firm owners that I blog about a court reporter’s appearance when in the field. This is a tricky subject. I believe geographically there are differences in what is considered appropriate, common sense, and stylish. There are dozens of web sites that offer suggestions about looking professional for men and women. The mantra in all of them is “neat and clean and nice shoes” (no beat-up looking shoes).
As blogger Dawn Rosenberg McKay writes, “Maybe it is unjust to judge a book by its cover, but we all do it. It’s human nature. While the person in jeans may be as competent and as intelligent as the one wearing the formal suit, or more so, we do assess these attributes based on appearance.”
As working court reporters, we are judged the moment we walk into a deposition room, courtroom, or meeting room. The attorneys may not say anything to us, but they are looking us over and making a quick judgment about our competency. Like Ms. McKay writes, “It’s human nature.”
I know I judge the attorneys when they walk into the room. A person’s posture, suit, accessories, and shoes say a lot about that person. I decide in my mind quickly if a person is successful or not. Is that fair? Probably not. It is just the way it is.
If you think about it, when you look good, you know you look good, and you walk into a room, you feel better about yourself as a professional. I would go so far as to throw out the comment you even write faster and are more accurate. Court reporters work hard getting out expedites and huge transcripts. It may be easy to stop caring enough about appearances after awhile when you are tired. That’s when we need to really get our groove on.
I am using this blog as a reminder to myself to “pay attention” and always look sharp. People are watching me and deciding what kind of a court reporter I am before I even start writing.