If you remember what we discussed in a previous post about jobs that require good typing skills, we mentioned medical transcription as one job where excellent typing will set you apart, but we didn’t talk about the other job that people think about when they hear the word “transcription” – court reporting. That’s a job where someone types every word that’s spoken in a courtroom during a hearing or trial. You’ll often see the court reporter sitting up front just underneath the judge’s bench where they can hear everything clearly. However, you’ll also see that they don’t have a typewriter in front of them or even a laptop, but instead a special small machine with fewer keys than a standard QWERTY keyboard. A court reporter presses these keys in specific combinations to represent the syllables, or sounds, in a word, rather than the letters.
Learning to be a court reporter requires special training and equipment, but good typing skills on the computers found in any law office will give you the edge when looking for jobs in that field. For example, even though many of the transcripts of court proceedings are done by the court reporters, a legal secretary is often asked to listen to recordings of sessions or interviews and make a transcription for the lawyer to refer to later in cross-examination. And of course, as in any office, there are hundreds of letters that go out to clients, courts, and other law offices each week; many of those letters are dictated into voice files or microtapes by lawyers and given to the secretaries to type up and mail out. When you’re doing transcription, your fastest speed will come when you can keep your eyes on the screen and correct any mistakes as you go, rather than looking down to see where your fingers are on the keyboard.
The second way that typing skills help you in a law office is by increasing your efficiency. The legal field is one that generates a lot of documents, and the faster you can put them together the better the office will function and the more you can get done. This is especially important when there are hearings or trials coming up, because most courts only have a limited number of judges and times available. If a lawyer doesn’t have all the documents they need, they might have to postpone the trial, and that may not benefit their client.
Finally, learning to touch type significantly increases your accuracy in typing, and accuracy is of critical importance in any legal document. Something that is filed in the court can have the force of law behind it, and if you’ve missed a word in a document there could be serious consequences. Just think about typing a will, and accidentally changing the directive “I do not want my jewelry to go to my sister” by forgetting the word “not” – that would probably spark family feuds that burn for generations!
Don’t get burned in the legal field or any other, but start improving your typing skills today!
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