Court reporters and paralegals are expected to stay up-to-date on everything in their fields, including technology. Here are five skills that are essential for professional court reporters and paralegals.
1. Word Processing, Spreadsheets and Presentation Software
Whether you're a court reporter working on a deposition transcript or a paralegal preparing a discovery request, document creation is a large part of your day-to-day responsibilities. Microsoft Office is the most common software suite used in the legal community, but a good number of court reporters still use WordPerfect. You'll also want to know the basics of using Open Office and Google's word processing and spreadsheet apps.
2. Electronic Scanners & Apps
It's rare for physical documents to be mass-copied and distributed these days, so it's imperative to know how to use electronic scanners and smartphone-based scanning apps. For court reporters, having a smartphone-based scanning app at the ready ensures you'll be able to "copy" exhibits if the witness wants to retain the original (assuming counsel agree) and to keep up with business cards.
A videoconference is a live visual and audio connection between two or more people who are in separate locations. It's increasingly common for depositions to take place by video conference to eliminate travel time. Both paralegals and court reporters will be called upon to operate video conferencing equipment and software fairly regularly.
4. Electronic Case Filing
Many courts now use electronic systems that allow case documents, such as pleadings, motions and petitions, to be filed with the court using a computer and Internet connection. This process gives the courts a way to easily manage electronic files. Court reporters are sometimes asked to file deposition transcripts directly with the court, so be sure you understand what is used in your jurisdiction.
5. Internet Research
As a legal professional you'll come across lots of unfamiliar terms, whether they're legal, medical, technical, or even proper names. Understanding how to use Google and academic research tools will give you a leg up and keep you from looking not-so-smart.
In addition to possessing these skills, it's vitally important to become familiar with and proficient in using new technologies as they emerge and to update/upgrade your equipment regularly. You don't want to be the person having to learn Windows for the first time in 2019 because you haven't updated your DOS computer.
At Durham Court Reporting, we are committed to staying on the cutting edge of technology. To schedule a deposition, conference room, legal videographer, or videoconference, use our online form or call 919-682-7757.