There is a high demand for professionals with court reporting skills and there are many opportunities for freelance court reporters. If you are looking to start a new home-based career, or you want to add to the services you currently offer to your clients as a virtual assistant, court reporting can allow you to expand your service menu and grow your client base.
To get started, you must have the proper equipment. Many freelance court reporters purchase a speech-to-text software program. You will also need recording equipment to record testimony in the courtroom, as well as comments from the judge or magistrate and arguments from all attorneys. This can be expensive, however, you can sometimes find great deals on second-hand equipment.
Before you start marketing your services, you must make sure you know how to operate the equipment you have purchased. Showing up to a deposition or court hearing and having technical difficulties with equipment makes you look unprofessional and inept. The legal world is a very small world, and one misstep can cause you to lose clients and your good reputation. You should also practice at home with your equipment and transcribe some hearings or television programs to increase your proficiency before you take your first job. There are many training programs you can obtain online. In addition, many community colleges offer certificate programs and single courses for aspiring and veteran court reporters.
Once you have the proper equipment and training, it's time to market your services to potential clients. You can have promotional brochures, pamphlets and fliers printed. You can then send these to your local courthouse and the offices of attorneys in your area. You may also wish to add a personal touch and visit these locations in person to introduce yourself. Just remember to wear a suit that is appropriate for the courtroom when you are out networking. You want to show your professionalism from the minute you meet potential clients. You can also advertise your services online. Local websites and media outlets are great places to start. You can also advertise on websites for court reporters. And finally, you should also create your own company website that has the appropriate keywords to draw in potential clients that are searching for court reporters in your area.
Freelance court reporting offers an opportunity to do a job that you enjoy while being paid well. This job offers slightly less flexibility than other freelance jobs, as you operate on the same hours that the courts do in most cases. However, you have the flexibility to take time off when you need it. The biggest drawback is the startup cost, but this expense is quickly covered once you start bringing in clients. Contact a business, such as Farrell Court Reporting, for more information.