We’ve all had our first days and weeks on the job. While some of us may have had ours many years ago, we still remember the nerves and feeling of not knowing exactly what was going to happen. Whatever you’re feeling as a new court reporter, we probably felt it too.
Here are our suggestions of how to prepare yourself for your new venture. Congratulations! You’re entering an exciting and growing profession.
Establish a Routine
Do you remember having to get up at a certain time to be ready for school as a kid? You may think a routine like that is just for kids but it’s not. It can help you in your career as well.
Ask yourself what you want (or need) to accomplish daily.
Factor in family obligations, personal time to get ready at home, traffic, weather, preparation of the conference room and tech check and set your alarm accordingly. Some reporters estimate a couple hours before your appointment time but we know in Boston that may not be enough time!
What if you arrive early to the deposition?
Do a little happy dance in your car and then check (and re-check) the conference room to make sure everything you need for the day is in place. If it’s going to be a long deposition, ask your client if they’re bringing in lunch or if you can help make that happen. It may make the day go faster if no one has to leave the building for a meal.
You may also ask for the pleading or interrogatories to further familiarize yourself with the case. It can help your process to understand how each side is arguing their case.
Don’t let them treat you like the new person.
As a new court reporter, it can be intimidating especially when you start working with a new client. Dress in professional business attire. Hold yourself confidently and don’t let anyone treat you like the new kid who doesn’t know what they’re doing. You’ve gone to school and trained for this day. You deserve to be treated with respect, even when the attorneys are fighting with each other.
If you don’t know, research and ask.
This is especially important when you have expert witnesses like doctors and other medical professionals. Understand what their degrees are and some about their area of expertise. And yes, ask your client for a witness list prior to the deposition or court date. It’s standard practice and if you have it, the day will likely run smoother for everyone.
Whatever it is, we encourage you to not be afraid to ask. Reach out to your client, your court reporting agency, or social media group for reporters. We want you to find the resources to help you succeed!