Entering the specialized service of court reporting can be exciting and nerve-racking. Even with
extensive training and preparation, there will be situations that may be confusing for newly licensed
court reporters. It can help to know some of the common issues other court reporters have
encountered and overcome. Here are some tips that can make the transition into the real world of court
Planning and Preparation are Key
Everyone, regardless of their tenure or position, has to go through a first day on the job and learn the
nuances of their profession. The same is true for every court reporter. To make it easier, be prepared
and plan ahead for those first days and assignments. Research the court or law firm you will be working
at; know the lawyer, deponents, judges, other names, and research the location. Plan to be early to
avoid feeling rushed.
Common Court Reporting Errors
Attention to detail is important for all court reporters. However, there are a few details that are
commonly missed by those beginning their careers. Plus, court reporters will find that unlike their
training, court and depositions can vary greatly depending on where they are held, and the other
professionals involved. Here are a few common errors made by court reporters you’ll want to avoid:
- Possessive grammar. Court reporters need to be grammar experts, but possessive punctuation
can be tricky. Remember that “it” does not use an apostrophe for possessive; only “it is” is
written as the conjunction “it’s.”
- Use Ms. Women, married or single, should be referred to as “Ms.”, unless specifically referred
to as “Mrs.”
- Certificate page date. When the court reporter signs the certificate page, the date should be the
date the page is signed, not the date of the assignment.
- Attorney tables. While it is common for plaintiffs to sit on the left and defendants on the right in
the courtroom, this is not always the case. Assign the left or right tables based on where the
attorneys sit—never assume the seating is standard.
There is so much to learn as a new court reporter, but with experience will come confidence and
improvement of skills. Another tip for new court reporters – there also comes an opportunity to add income
by selling transcript copies on Expert Depos. Check out the site to learn how to join for free.
Meta: As a new court reporter, there are bound to be some errors made. Use these tips to avoid
common mistakes and improve your skills as a court reporter as you gain experience.