It’s Court Reporting & Captioning Week 2018!
As I’m reflecting this week on this important time for all court reporters across the nation, I am distracted by another important event for the world — the 2018 Olympic Winter Games! As of the writing of this post, the United States has a total of six medals: three gold, one silver, and three bronze. All of these young athletes have much to be proud of, for sure!
We court reporters and future court reporters can learn some very valuable lessons and habits from our Olympic athletes when it comes to our daily reporting functions, duties, and success.
- Approach both success and failure thoughtfully. A court reporter’s job is a strenuous one. Each day we face something new and unexpected. Of course, that is probably the top reason why I still love this profession today. There is never a boring day for the freelance reporter. There are the lows, though, that we face at times: the fast talkers, the interrupters, the realtime fear of imperfection, the realtime mistrans, and others. Athletes accept their success and/or failures with an eye toward looking at what matters most and not one single event. They more often than not critique their performances in a very constructive way and state how their performance could be improved upon. Be kind to yourself and don’t be overcritical when we face those small “failures” from time to time. Remember, we are providing an extremely valuable service to the legal professionals and their clients.
- Never stop learning and be a student for life. Olympic athletes not only train physically to maintain their stamina for competition, but also train their minds to tune out distractions and reduce stress and anxiety. They are diligent about critiquing their performance with their coaches and watching the replays. Every day we produce transcripts for our valuable clients in a timely manner and more often than not on an expedited basis. We should take a hard look at how we can improve our writing and realtime skills so that we can work smarter and not harder to meet the deadlines we are faced with. Realtime is and has been an in-demand service for attorneys for several years now. Court reporters (of all experience levels) need to understand that in order to stay relevant in today’s legal environment, we must maintain and continually hone our skills each and every day. From a previous blog post: Being realtime-capable should be the goal of every court reporter now! My realtime goal is to always strive for 99.8% translation rate on every job. The prep work is essential to maintain or exceed that goal. My writing is constantly evolving (even after 30 years of reporting). Writing short is paramount to the success of my translation rate, for keeping up with the fast talkers, and also being kind to my body — specifically my back and hands. You can read more here to learn some secrets to memorizing brief forms.
- Be tenacious. Athletes never give up on their goals and keep moving forward without regard to obstacles that present at times. We court reporters should invest in our careers and have attainable goals for moving forward in our profession. What is your next step to move forward? Is it that new NCRA certification? Being realtime capable? Writing shorter? Starting your own firm? The steps and path toward these goals may be time-consuming and difficult but so worth it in the end. Additionally, we have so many resources and colleagues to help when needed for advice, technology tips, realtime tips, and general help. I’ve found that court reporters are an extremely giving community; one just needs to ask for assistance.
- Embrace your passion. The official slogan of the 2018 Olympics is “Passion. Connected.” The games are all about bringing everyone together for their shared passion of the winter sports. Passion is important for court reporters too. Technology is my passion! The field of court reporting has changed from when I was a student so many years ago. It should be noted that there are some fantastic tools available to assist court reporters to be more productive, efficient, and valuable to attorney clients and legal professionals. Court reporters should keep in mind that in order to be effective and stay relevant, we must keep abreast of technology, embrace it, and never be skeptical of the newest innovations.
I have grown and evolved because of this profession and the amazing people I’ve met during my career. It has pushed me to soar and reach that next certification. It has helped me conquer my fear of putting myself out there when meeting new people. My goal for the coming year will be to continue to strive to be a better reporter each day and will seek inspiration from our amazing Olympians in order to attain that goal!