Tips for New Court Reporters

When I started as a court reporter I was unsure of things like what to charge, what to wear, how to find clients, and invoicing. There’s more to reporting than showing up and taking a deposition! It was a bit of a challenge and I don’t want it to be the same for you so I thought I’d share my tips for new court reporters.

Find a Mentor.

What’s a mentor? It’s someone you trust as a guide or resource. Don’t be scared to ask a fellow court reporter about their experiences. There’s a wealth of knowledge that can be passed to you! For example, I wish I had known what to charge on invoices when I first started - copies, conference room charge, and waiting time are among the items that were costing me but I wasn’t charging back to clients. It took a toll on my bottom line until I figured it out; would’ve been easier with a mentor!

Know Your Worth.

Ultimately I asked a number of reporters in different markets about their rates and found it varied. Larger markets with more demand can charge more than other areas though with a court reporter shortage, it has become a bit of a guessing game again. The bottom line is to understand your worth and what is customary to itemize; that can come from talking to an experienced court reporter like me or in groups on social media.

Be Social.

I’ve learned a lot about the industry through groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. Typically closed to our profession, groups offer engagement with reporters across the nation. Not only can you get your questions answered, you can offer your expertise. And who knows, you may even land a new client!

Stay Sharp.

To stay at the top of your game in this demanding field, I recommend ongoing education. Real time Reporting is fast becoming popular so it’s worth your time to explore and learn this and other technology.

Dress the Part.

Years ago someone told me to dress for the job you want, not the job I have, and I still go by that saying. You’ve spent money on court reporter school and are a professional. Skip the t-shirts and baggy jeans in favor of crisp, ironed shirt, skirt or dress pants, and blazer. (I am so passionate about this I will be sharing more on this topic next month.)

As a new court reporter it can be intimidating to enter a field filled with so many seasoned professionals. Rather than being overwhelmed, think of it as an opportunity to be mentored and develop your skills!

Want to learn more about Oklahoma court reporting? Contact us today!

1 Response

  1. I could not have said that better! Professionalism is KEY! And knowing your worth is CRITICAL! I encourage young reporters to please get a mentor, don't be afraid to ask questions, and try to attend court reporting conventions where you can network and communicate with fellow court reporters in the area. Understand your market and don't let others destroy it. Don't take jobs that pay little to nothing because we are highly skilled professionals and professionals aren't cheap, by any means. Carry yourself as an Officer of the Court because we are. Dress like it. Don't wear strong perfumes, flip flops, or jeans to a deposition! Represent our profession with pride and earn the respect we deserve from others. Take pride in your transcripts; that is your product and a complete representation of your skill set. Thank you, Anne, for putting my thoughts into a wonderfully-worded post. I look forward to the next one as I'm sure it will continue to reflect my sincere feelings about this wonderful profession!

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