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Court Reporting: Strong Foundations

strong foundations

If I could go back to the beginning of my court reporting education, there’s only one thing I would do differently: Be better with my theory. I’d spend more time studying it and reinforcing it. And as soon as I finished the theory portion of school, I’d go back to my books and go through them again.

Court Reporting Students: Wild Blue Yonder

wild blue yonder

Over the break, I was blessed with the opportunity to witness my son's graduation from the United States Air Force Basic Military Training. During our four day visit before my son shipped out for tech school, I was sincerely impressed and deeply inspired by the changes I witnessed in fine young son over the past eight-and-a-half weeks. Everything—his verbiage, his attitude, his maturity, his goals, his expectations for his future—had become encouraged and empowered, focused and centered, confident and humble. On our long drive home, I internalized the experience and discovered, through discussions among my family in the car, that every member of my family was equally as affected by the magnificence these young graduates displayed during our visit. 

Court Reporting Students: What We Want Most

what we want most

At some point during court reporting school, there comes a time when we might have to give up a few things, rearrange and reprioritize in order to keep up and move forward. Things like free time, extracurricular hobbies, social lives, might get pushed aside in favor of practice.

The Foundational Element of Court Reporting Firm Marketing

Foundation of Court Reporting

A couple common questions we hear from court reporting firm owners are:

Court Reporting: Deja vu, anyone?

Deja vu anyone?

Hey … didn't we just do this last quarter? I know some things about this quarter may seem the same. (Like the fact that I am still in 100 QA and Lit!)  But, I promise you this quarter is going to be different. This quarter, we are going to be organized. This quarter, we are going to harness those time management skills. This quarter, we are going to practice until our fingers fall off and test until we become desensitized to failure. This quarter, we are going to take every test and transcribe every test (even if we don't submit it for grading). This quarter, we are going to push past the "I don't wanna's," practice through the, "I ain't gonna's," and promote!

Court Reportering Students: SPRINGING FORWARD

springing forward

Welcome to the new quarter! This is going to be an exciting quarter because it’s SPRING quarter, and I’m just so happy to be able to use the word spring in an official capacity. By the end of these ten weeks, we will be well into summer, and the polar vortex that most of us experienced will be a distant memory.

4 Surefire Ways to Success for Independent Court Reporter

success tips

One of the biggest aspects of being successful as an independent freelance court reporter is the ability to bring in repeat business. Whether you’re receiving work directly from law firms or whether you’re receiving work from other court reporting firms, there are some strengths you’ll need to possess in order to keep your phone ringing with clients asking to schedule depositions with you. If you earn a reputation for the following items, you’ll be on a surefire path to success.

Meet Every Deadline
In the legal industry, attorneys and paralegals are often under great pressure meet deadlines. There are times when they need your transcript in order to meet a deadline. Don’t underestimate the importance of this. Deliver every transcript on or before the deadline. Be sure to ask your clients if they have a specific date that they need your transcript. This will allow you to be timely, even if their deadline is sooner than you expected. Once you develop a reputation for being reliable, your clients will call you again and again with more work.

Do Great Work
The goal for any freelancer is to make yourself very valuable to your clients. A court reporter who repeatedly delivers accurate transcripts will be the first choice for any law firm or court reporting firm when they need to schedule a deposition. Make quality control one of your main objectives with any transcript. The truth is that if a client receives a transcript that is not of the highest quality, they will not likely call again.

Market Yourself
Capturing more work from new sources is necessary for any freelancer. There will always be changes in who schedules work with you, so you should be continually looking for new sources of work. To do that, you will want to continually market yourself. Maybe you can have a postcard created that you include with every transcript to opposing counsel. Perhaps you can begin making phone calls to legal assistants in firms you have worked with recently. Maybe you need to consider a website so that you are easily found on the internet by out-of-town attorneys and court reporters. If you regularly work for a court reporting firm, ask the firm owner what you can do to help them market the firm. They may have some strategies in which they’d like their court reporters to be involved. They may even like some assistance with their website or social media. Make sure that you’re not doing anything to take business away from that firm. The result of good marketing is that you will continually get your name in front of new potential clients on a regular basis.

As a freelancer, don’t underestimate the value of referrals. You may already have received referrals from attorneys and legal assistants who recommended you to their colleagues. Maybe you have court reporting friends in other cities who refer you to their clients when they’re in your area. Look at who has already referred you. Now find ways to network with these people more. Also find ways to meet more and more potential referral sources. This may mean attending local Bar functions. Or maybe you should become active in your state court reporters association. Most service-based professionals receive a sizable amount of income from referrals. Court reporters are no different.

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Practice with TED

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to listen to at least one TED Talk a week. In case you are not familiar with TED Talks, they are global conferences on a wide variety of topics having to do with Technology, Entertainment, and Design. Their slogan is “Ideas Worth Spreading.”  Speakers give 18-minute lectures on topics they have researched and have a unique insight on. Some of the subjects listed on their site include human origins, epidemiology, guitar, failure, and happiness. They are so informative and entertaining, thought provoking, many times inspirational and uplifting. I just recently listened to a presentation given by David Blaine, the magician, titled “How I Held My Breath for 17 Minutes.” Totally fascinating!

Freelance Court Reporters: Five Online Retirement Resources

Retirement Resources for Freelance Court Reporters

As a freelance court reporter, you don’t receive benefits that court reporters who are employees may receive. One of those benefits may be a retirement plan, meaning that self-employed court reporters will be required to build their own retirement account.

Guest Court Reporter: Lagniappe


If you're not from the Louisiana area, Lagniappe (pronounced Lan-yap) literally translates to "something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure." Our speed building teacher, Jennifer Chiappetta, gave our class a very special Lagniappe, a guest speaker, Debbie Bridges, who gave her time generously to me and my classmates.

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