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Court Reporting For Beginners: Important Dos And Don'ts

Whether you're currently in school to become a court reporter or are preparing to begin practice, this can undoubtedly be an exciting time in your life. However, there are a lot of nuances to be aware of when you work as a court reporter, and no two cases are likely to be the same. As you prepare to begin your career in court reporting, there are a few important dos and don'ts you'll want to keep in mind.

DO Travel Lightly

In most cases, you will be searched when you arrive at a court. To make this process go as smoothly and quickly as possible, it's best to travel light. This means you should only bring what you need to do your job. This may include your cell phone, a pad of paper and a pen, or a laptop/tablet. Be sure that all of your electronic devices are set to silent so they don't create a disturbance in the court room. 

DON'T Take Photos

This should go without saying, but it's still worth mentioning--especially to aspiring court reporters who are still in school and may not have reached ethics lessons yet. Taking photos in a courtroom is strictly prohibited unless you've been given prior consent as a member of the media. Generally, court reports aren't viewed to be members of the mainstream media. This is why they have court sketch artists.

DO Talk to an Usher

When you arrive at a courthouse to report on a particular case, your best friend is always going to be a court usher. As soon as you arrive, ask to speak with him or her. A court usher can provide you with a lot of helpful information, including the charge sheet for the case, the specific location of the court room, and even any reporting restrictions that may be in place.

DON'T Report the Wrong Charge

Last but not least, be careful about the specific charges you report and be careful not to report the wrong ones. This may seem like an obvious enough tip, but in reality, there are some charges that are easy to get confused, such as robbery and theft. Reporting the wrong charge can have serious implications on your career, and people may find you to be a less-than-reputable source.

As you begin your career in court reporting, be sure to keep this advice in mind. It will serve you well in the years ahead! Contact a company like G & M Court Reporters & Video for more information.