When I began my court reporting career in 1981, I was interning in criminal court and found myself face to face with alleged murderers, rapists, and angry people. One day I cried in front of a jury feeling empathetic towards a victim testifying on the stand. That is when I decided to choose the freelance world of court reporting and only came to court for judgment debtor exams.
Now I have the opportunity to report hearings in the San Diego Superior Courthouse and am proud to be in a courtroom and report before a judge.
The challenge of reporting in court is waiting outside until the doors open and having to set up quickly, being organized with paperwork, and getting appearances. I have found every courtroom to be a little different. The bailiffs and clerks have their likes and dislikes. Many freelance reporters are reluctant to go into court. It is not familiar to them.
The California Certified Shorthand Reporter license is the same for officials and freelancers. The writing skill is the same. Some of the verbiage is different from what a court reporter would hear in a deposition, but court reporters hear topics of different subjects every day. If a court reporter is not used to court, being prepared is the key to success. Look up the case online. Get the tentative ruling. Have your equipment organized and ready to set up quickly. Be professional and nice to the bailiff and clerk. They can be of tremendous help, and you don’t want them to be an adversary.
Being a great court reporter means being versatile and ready to report wherever needed. I truly am proud to go to court and be a part of the judicial system.
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