Three Things You Probably Didn't Know About Professional Court Reporters And Their Job

Posted on: 27 October 2015


Professional court reporters play a major role in recording what happens in a case or trial. However, they are not present for every case, hearing or trial. This may be surprising to many people, but court reporters are only required if they are needed and asked to appear. Otherwise, a judge may record some of what happens in a court hearing, while lawyers will file paperwork to outline the events and outcome of a hearing, which means no court reporter is necessary. Here are three other things that you may not have known about court reporters.

It Is All Shorthand

Even with the advancement of the computer age in court reporting, most court reporters are still trained to type in shorthand. It allows them to keep up with the rapid dialogue and verbal exchanges in major trials, although most court reporters can type a minimum of 180 words per minute (wpm). The courses they take in college teach them not only how to type in shorthand, but also to read and interpret it so that they can read it back to the court (if need be) and later translate and type out the full documents for the case on which they are reporting.

Some Court Reporters Are Forensic Artists

Since it may be difficult to catch all of the affects of the faces in the room and/or describe the evidence presented in a case, some court reporters are not stenographers but artists instead. This special type of court reporter, often referred to as a "forensic artist," may be working in conjunction with a stenographer so that both the visual and written aspects of a trial are recorded for posterity. While the stenographer works part-time to full-time and is hired by the county and state, a forensic artist may either be a police officer with artistic skills or a freelance artist hired to document the occasional courtroom scene/trial.

Court Reporters Are Required to Swear an Oath of Confidentiality

Due to the nature of many of the cases in which a court reporter records courtroom proceedings, they are required to sign an oath of confidentiality. Like the lawyers and the jury (if one is present), a court reporter cannot talk about a trial or publish details about things that happen in court. If the court reporter signs the confidentiality agreement/oath and then shares anything about the case on which he or she is working, it could mean the loss of his or her job temporarily or permanently.

For more information, contact companies like G & M Court Reporters & Video.