Court Reporting Skills

Court reporting is an essential aspect of the litigation process. From depositions to closing arguments, shorthand reporters ensure that a detailed record of all proceedings is maintained for the record. Even the most skilled experts in this field, however, should continuously practice their skills to keep up with the fast-paced environment of courtrooms and depositions. Here are a few tips on how you can constantly improve:

Improved Writing Speed in Court Reporting

Stellar writing speed is one of the most powerful weapons in any court reporter’s arsenal. Both the National Verbatim Reporters Association (NVRA) and National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) only grant certification to individuals with minimum speeds of 225 words per minute (WPM). Even professionals who hit this mark, however, need to work for constant improvement.

Like any other skill, court reporting abilities can diminish when they go unused. The NVRA provides a multitude of resources that can help you hone and constantly improve your technique. Additionally, you can take the following steps to enhance this skill:

  • Take Classes: Advanced typing or stenographer classes will help to improve your speed. Even reading courses can help you expand your vocabulary and learn various inflections and word pronunciations.
  • Practice: Your typing speed will increase with the more practice you get. Exercise your skillset while watching the evening news. 
  • Moonlight:  Having a side job in scheduling, secretarial work or transcription will all translate to the courtroom.
  • Specialization: Certain areas of the law – such as those involving medical issues – use special terminology. Learning these terms will remove speed bumps when reporting.
  • Speed Tests: Taking online speed tests will provide additional practice and show you where improvements are needed.

Maintaining a high WPM is not only beneficial in court reporting – it’s required by licensing organizations. Improving your writing speed will put your skills in higher demand. It will also ensure you don’t miss a thing in the courtroom or depositions.

Improved Accuracy in Court Reporting

While speed is an essential aspect in any court reporting environment, it means little if transcripts aren’t accurate. Simple mistakes in the reporting process can have huge implications for important cases. It can literally hinde