If you’re looking for a line of work that will remain impervious to a receding economy, then you should probably become a mortician. But if you don’t have the stomach for embalming, there are some other lines of work that are doing well during the current recession, such as food delivery, nursing, plumbing and even court reporting. Unlike other highly specialized occupations that companies are deciding that they can do without, court reporting remains strong for a very simple reason: you can’t delegate court reporting work to someone that isn’t a court reporter.
According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the occupation of court reporting isn’t just holding steady; it’s growing, with employment projected to grow nearly 25 percent in the next eight years. In addition to court reporting’s specialized nature, another reason for its for its projected growth is that it helps law firms save money by reducing the number of employees that handle legal paperwork.
Court reporters are regularly hired by organizations other than law firms, but law firms usually hire them for deposition reporting. A deposition is where witnesses give testimony in response to an attorney’s questions before a case goes to trial. Recorded by a court reporter, the testimony helps attorneys develop their case and can used during trial. To become a court reporter, you have to pursue basic court-reporter training, which is offered by universities and business colleges alike. With basic training complete, most court reporters then specialize in certain aspects of reporting, such as real-time reporting, where a reporter’s recordings are viewable in real-time over the Internet by appropriate parties.
In many cases, law firms hire court reporters by contracting with a deposition services agency that offers reporters specializing in various case types and types of reporting technology. While most deposition services verify court reporters’ credentials and past work performance before hiring them, the most trusted agencies put reporters’ through a rigorous screening process that focuses as much on whom a reporter is as person as it does on his or her credentials. The validity of evaluating court-reporters by their personal characteristics is well founded. Because witnesses are commonly on edge or withheld, a reporter with an adversarial attitude, quick temper or prejudice against certain types of witnesses can risk ruining a deposition, and with it an attorney’s chances of presenting a compelling case.
As the legal industry branches out into new areas of law, the need for specialized court reporters only figures to increase. Like paralegals, court reporters offer attorneys essential legal support that often has a direct bearing on the outcome of a case, and in some instances determines whether or not a case can move forward. If you relish the prospect of playing an essential role in court cases and having a recession proof job, court reporting may be the line of work for you.