Although their work sometimes goes unnoticed or gets overlooked, court reporters do highly important work in the American justice system. They ensure the accurate and factual transcription of legal proceedings such as trials and hearings without bias or prejudice toward one side or the other. In addition to these official duties, court reporting in America also includes legal support services that court reporting companies can offer to law firms and attorneys to assist them as they prepare for trial or make their cases in court. Many court reporters across the nation work with litigious lawyers, helping them build strong cases for lawsuits.
Court reporters in California “protect the public by ensuring the integrity of the judicial record,” according to the Court Reporters Board of California, a Board established by the state in 1951. The Board sets professional standards for court reporters in the state and provides oversight of the court reporting profession in the Golden State. To become a licensed certified shorthand reporter (CSR) in California, one must pass a three-part licensing exam, typically after attending a court reporting school, approved by the state.
Court reporting firms across the country assist lawyers and law firms with a broad range of support services. These include remote deposition services for lawyers who need to record testimony of witnesses for use as evidence in trials or lawsuits. These services also include legal videography, the production of trial presentation media such as computer animation, PowerPoint presentations and printed trial boards. Court reporting firms also perform transcription services and, in some cases, translation services for legal clients. Court reporters can help lawyers overcome language barriers with witnesses and potential clients.
While court reporters who work for the courts ensure the integrity and accuracy of the judicial record, those who work in the private sector work for the advancement of justice.