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Do You Have What it Takes to be a Court Reporter?

Do You Have What it Takes to be a Court Reporter?

Court reporters face all kinds of challenges on the job. Like so many jobs in the legal profession, many of the tough situations court reporters experience raise ethical concerns in addition to determining what the law requires. Do you think you could navigate these situations? 

These dilemmas can be especially tricky for court reporters. Reporters are usually hired by an attorney or the court, but they’re also expected to obey specific laws and industry standards. When attorneys, judges or other court officials ask court reporters to bend the law or industry standards, the reporters have to make a judgment call and decide if they can say no to the people who are paying their fee.

The ethics of court reporting can be complicated (source)

The ethics of court reporting can be complicated (source)

What would you do?

The National Court Reporters Association helps its members make the right calls in those difficult situations. To help with that, the NCRA has created an online game called Courting Disaster. From the NCRA:

“The game will be free to play and will offer a one-of-a-kind interactive learning experience for court reporters, students, and anyone interested in the reporting profession.”

Courting Disaster is a court reporting game from the National Court Reporters Association (source)

Courting Disaster is a court reporting game from the National Court Reporters Association (source)

The game presents half a dozen scenarios in which the player has to decide the right course of action based on a given scenario. A few examples:

  • Dial D for Depo: A typical deposition presents unexpected challenges when a witness needs to appear via videoconference at the last minute.
  • Gone with the Transcript: A former employee left town years ago, but your client wants someone to transcribe old notes.
  • Full disclosure: A job offer from a firm owner friend quickly gets complicated, and you have to decide what information to share, and what to keep to yourself.

For each game, three of the scenarios focus on client relations, while the other three cover core job responsibilities.

For instance, can you sell a transcript of a deposition from an old case to an interested party? (The answer: Never, unless the transcript has been made a public document).

Players are offered 6 "Quests." (source)

Players are offered 6 “Quests.” (source)

Here’s another one: A trial is about to begin and the attorney is requesting a transcript. However, that attorney has yet to pay the court reporter for work on previous completed trials. Can the court reporter withhold the new transcript until he or she is paid, even if the judge is demanding the transcript to keep the trial on schedule?

After completing the game, players are awarded a trophy (example: the “slow and steady” trophy, which means you know the laws but need to improve skills working with clients) and given a chance to purchase an e-seminar and earn continuing education credits with the NCRA.

Courting Disaster is a fun way to simulate the ethical challenges facing court reporters.

Bottom line: The best court reporters put their clients’ needs first, but have an understanding of the legal ins and outs of court reporting requirements, ensuring fast and accurate service without the risks of unethical or illegal complications.

Looking for a reliable court reporter?

If you are looking for a court reporting agency that is the right fit for your needs, I invite you to contact us. www.phillycourtreporters.com has been serving lawyersd and law firms in Philadelphia for more than 30 years. Come see the difference that we make for our clients.

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