Working as a Court Reporter and Court Observer: How to Prepare for This Unique Job

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Court reporters are hired by circuit courts to keep proper notation of court proceedings. However, a court reporter only records what is said, not how things are said or how other people appear to be interpreting them. A different sort of court job hires trained court reporters to act as observers in the gallery and record reactions, facial expressions, and interpret body language for the purposes of detailed case documentation. Here is how you can prepare for such an interesting and interpretive job.

First, Learn Court Reporter Shorthand

Even though you might not be recording every word like the official court reporter, court reporting shorthand is still necessary. It allows you to document what you observe more quickly and preserve the record more effectively. You can teach yourself stenography with an investment in equipment and software (since most stenographers now use computers to do their recording), or you can take night courses at a college that offers it.

Second, Learn to Read Body Language Really Well

Learning to read body language is quite a skill. Those that are really good at it even land jobs working for the CIA and FBI. If you can learn to read others' body language, you can interpret, with reasonable accuracy, what they are thinking, feeling, and to some extent, what their more truthful selves are saying about the events in court.

Third, Practice Your Stenography and Body Language Observance Skills in Open Court

Before you can apply for an official court observer, you should spend a lot of time in open court practicing your skills. Open court is any court session that allows people to come into the gallery and watch and listen to the proceedings. You cannot go into closed court unless or until you are an official observer hired to notate events in a high-profile case. Additionally, all the notes you make on open court cases become part of a portfolio of work you can show a potential employer when you apply for a court observer job. Be sure to record the accuracy of your observations by listing the outcome of the hearing at the end of your notes on each case.

Fourth, Visit Government Employment Websites and Watch for Opportunities

Lastly, you can miss potential employment opportunities if you do not watch for them. Most states offer government-related jobs via a state job website. Check often to see if any openings for a court reporter/observer are available.

To learn more about court reporting, contact a company like Maverick Reporting.