Many important professions are involved with legal placement services. Most people know the important ones, such as lawyers, defense attorneys, judges, juries, and others. However, some positions often get confused, those being court reporters and paralegals. Though they both assist law firms in some way, this is where the similarities end. This article will go on to describe the difference, and any additional amount of similarities there might be between court reporters and paralegals.
The Court Reporting career path is a great choice for people who tend to be more on the shy, introverted side but are great writers. If the person gets uncomfortable around large amounts of people, they should not have to worry about doing so with this position. Besides transcribing the happenings of trials, the other tasks court reporters have that involve interacting with people is limited: swearing in witnesses, reading back parts of the trial, or asking certain people to repeat something if it is unclear. “Swearing in” is the process of reading the witness his or her rights before providing testimony.
Court reporters are sometimes called “law reporters,” “shorthand reporters,” or “stenotype operators.” With today’s technology, reporters sometimes require the skills of digital court reporting or voice writing reporting. These are self-explanatory because the reporters record and transcribe the trial at the same time. This may sound easier than it is. The National Verbatim Reporters Association (NVRA) set requirements for reporters to pass typing tests with speeds of 225 words a minute for the United States. This varies by country. This NVRA requirement is often the reason why the dropout rate for this position is very high-nearly 95% for some schools. Training is difficult because it is a very difficult skill to obtain.
While court reporting is a great profession for introverted individuals, paralegals should definitely be more extraverted because it is a people-oriented position. Paralegals have the option of working for a law firm or independently. While most reporters tend to serve some sort of law or government firms (though some do choose to work freelance) most paralegals work independently. While paralegals are involved with some cases-conducting research, drafting documents, working with clients, and managing cases-they are not permitted to provide legal advice to clients directly unless it is permitted by law. One characteristic reporters and paralegals have in common is every state has different laws and certifications that must be completed by both professions, but every state is different.
There are some other characteristics paralegals and court reporters have in common, though they are few. These professionals must have excellent written and oral communication skills, though for court reporters it is mostly written skills that are most important. They must be detail-oriented and portray a high sense of professionalism since they are both working with legal placement services and the government. Though the similarities are few, it is still easy to see how these two positions could get confused. Hopefully, this article has cleared up any misunderstandings for those people who are looking into working with legal placement services.