Transforming the verbal communications in legal settings into written documents requires transcribing; a task both court reporters and legal transcriptionists perform. However, the two positions vary greatly when it comes to skills and education. Both are used by attorneys, law firms, courts, and other enterprises, but where and how they transcribe legal discourse is very different.
Court Reporter Transcribing
Court reporters are physically present at the legal proceedings when they transcribe; done in real-time as it occurs. During court proceedings, legal depositions, and other legal interactions, a court reporter will be expected to use their skills to take down word-for-word what is said by all parties present. This is a complex and specialized skillset that involves extreme attention to detail and focus, along with professionalism to work with other legal professionals.
Court reporters often have at least two years of college education. Some states require a specific degree to become a court reporter and certifications to ensure their competency level. Court reporter education requisites often include proficient grammar, legal terminology, medical terminology, and a general knowledge of legal proceedings. In addition, many court reporters must also be notary publics to certify transcripts and oaths during proceedings.
Legal Transcriptionist Requirements
Unlike a court reporter, legal transcriptionists are not usually present during the legal proceedings they transcribe. Legal transcriptionists, like medical transcriptionists, create written documents from audio recordings. This can be done anywhere and many will work from home or in an office. While court reporters must be able to accurately and quickly transcribe verbal communication as it occurs, legal transcriptionists have the luxury of listening to a recording that can be replayed for clarity, if needed.
There is not a set education level needed for legal transcriptionists, but a comprehensive understanding of grammar and legal terminology is expected. Most states do not require any type of formal certification or ongoing education, as is needed for court reporters.
While the end result may look the same, the skillset between court reporters and legal transcriptionists is very different. Court reporters also can own the legal documents they transcribe and have the opportunity to make extra income selling copies of the testimony they transcribe. Expert Depos invites court reporters to join our network for free and learn more about selling copies of their transcripts to increase their earning potential.