What is a court reporter?

Wrongful Death Lawyer

A court reporter, or stenographer, is someone who documents legal proceedings in written form. The most common place a court reporter is found is in the courtroom where he or she is hired to document all that is said. The court reporter is typically hired for the different phases of court cases such as depositions and arbitration hearings. They are sought after anywhere that a legal official transcript is necessary. The purpose is to have an accurate and unbiased written account of all that occurs during the proceeding.   

The job of the court reporter

The job of the court reporter is to document an unbiased and accurate account of all proceedings for which they are hired to report on. The court reporter is also referred to as a stenographer or a shorthand reporter.

Qualities a court reporter should have

Speed and accuracy are important qualities in a good court reporter. Since it is imperative that they capture all that is said during the proceeding, proficiency in shorthand and typing skills are essential.

Proficient in English. An in depth understanding of the English language including grammar and punctuation is essential. Since the court reporter is responsible to relay all that happens during the proceeding, it is imperative that it is written well.

Neutrality is key. The ultimate purpose of having a court reporter present is to have an unbiased written report of the court proceedings available for review immediately and in the future. A good court reporter will record the proceedings exactly as they occur. He or she will not add his or her own thoughts or interpretation of the information. Instead, he or she will record a verbatim account.

Confidentiality is crucial for the reputation of the court reporter and the integrity of the legal proceeding. This person is exposed to the intimate details of a situation. Some cases may be very sensitive and sought after by the press. It is imperative that the court reporter is able to maintain discretion and confidentiality throughout the process.

Should a court reporter be present during a deposition?

Yes. The purpose of a deposition is to discover all facts and opinions from witnesses prior to going to trial. Some depositions can actually lead to an agreement to settle outside of court. However, for those cases that go to trial, it is helpful for the attorneys to be able to refer to transcripts from the deposition. There are numerous benefits to this but primarily in having access to written witness accounts, the attorneys are going to be better prepared for trial. An unbiased written account of all witness deposition enables the attorneys to build a case based on the facts that are brought to light during this phase. There is also opportunity to go back and look at testimony that may work against the case and prepare any damage control. In addition, hiring a court reporter for deposition services enables the attorney to focus on his or her job without worry of making his or her own notations during witness testimony.



Thank you to our friends and contributors at Veritext Legal Solutions for their insight into court reporting and what a court reporter is.