Preparing For That First Court Reporting Assignment

Planet Depos, LLC
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Planet Depos wishes to share with court reporting interns the following tips to help them transition from their student role to the official reporter on any assignment:

  • As you begin your internship, prepare to upgrade from your student version of software to a professional version (Case CATalyst, Eclipse/Advantage, ProCAT, StenoCAT, DigitalCAT).
  • Learn how to run the Audio Synch feature of your software. Create a practice assignment and listen back to the Audio Synch to ensure that it is running and that the volume and quality are satisfactory.  If the quality is not sufficient, consider adding an external omnidirectional microphone to your equipment and use it on every assignment.
  • After your assignment, practice reading back as though you were the official reporter.
  • While interning, edit every assignment you take to hone your editing and proofreading skills.
  • Learn the benefits of creating and using auto-include files and how to create templates for title pages, appearance pages, certificate pages, etc., and perfect those during this internship opportunity.
  • Check your state’s notary public rules and get your notary certification and seal in preparation for becoming the official reporter, if your state requires these.
  • Memorize witness oaths/affirmations as you will need to administer one or the other before each witness. Here is an example of a combined oath/affirmation that you may wish to adopt:
    • “Do you solemnly swear or affirm, under the penalties of perjury, that the testimony you are about to give, shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”
  • Seek advice from your mentor on the job about marking exhibits so that you will be familiar with how the process should be handled when you are the official reporter.
  • Learn when to interrupt and know that even veteran reporters find they may have to interrupt from time to time.
  • Always dress the part of the professional that you are.
  • Continue to practice every day and remember to practice before each and every job – even when you become the official reporter.
  • Feel free to ask your mentor questions. If you are in need of a mentor, please consider Planet Institute and simply fill out an application.

These tips are intended only as a brief guide for students entering the court reporting profession.  The National Court Reporters Association and state reporting associations can provide more extensive guidance in these areas.

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