I have had the opportunity this year to work with two very talented recently graduated court reporters, who I am personally training. Every once in a while a new court reporter calls, looking to sit in and I try to speak with all the new court reporters, recent graduates of court reporting schools. I get many calls a week, probably because my name comes up on the internet and also my court reporting firm is one of the few New York court reporting firms that will take the time to train a new recent graduate of a court reporting school. Actually, I haven’t had a new court reporter that I was interested in working with for quite some time. Now I have two extremely talented court reporters. So what makes these court reporters so special from the ones who call every day and get nowhere?
They have a passion for learning; they have a passion for perfection. They are meticulous about their work and are like a sponge for knowledge. When I correct something, I will never see the same mistake twice. They fill out every piece of paperwork perfectly and turn their depositions in very fast so there is plenty of time to proofread and correct them. And they are working, making excellent money, and on their way to a wonderful career in court reporting.
Toby Feldman Inc provides nationwide court reporting services for many law firms. Therefore, we have an opportunity to reach out to court reporters and court reporting firms to cover our out-of-state work. Our court reporting firm gets many resumes each day from court reporters, radiographers and court reporting firms looking to cover our out-of-state depositions. How do we choose the ones we give depositions to?
Well, we certainly are persuaded by a court reporter or court reporting agency that is familiar with our name and reputation and the type of work we do. It certainly doesn’t hurt to mention that you would like to work with our firm for such and such reasons. Not all court reporters and court reporting agencies have the same clients and type of work. It helps if you are familiar with the type of work we do and the type of clients we have and what our clients’ needs are. When a court reporter or court reporting company makes references to the type of work we do and they too are able to do this type of work, it really opens many doors. There are all levels of court reporters and court reporting companies and best to connect with firms that are good matches for you. You will make a much better impression and surely get a second look.
Still blogging away on jobs in the New York City court reporting world. I try to answer all emails regarding jobs in New York City court reporting agencies and court reporting nationwide personally. It takes so little time each day and means so much to the court reporters who are in desperate need of information about how to go about securing court reporting positions. Here are some of my pet peeves and is so telling about why somebody gets a court reporting job or opportunity and the next one doesn’t. If I take the time to answer your emails and calls, you don’t have the time to send a brief thank you? That is a no-brainer. It sure will get you into my court reporting firm’s door. What is so difficult about that concept? Thank everybody for everything and see what happens. And what about the emails I answer and ask for a little more info so I can better answer the questions raised? Amazing the amount of people who never take the time to answer. And, yes, we keep a court reporter database and note all this stuff because if you don’t have the time to answer on this round, you probably won’t have the time to get the work out on time and you will probably be one of the court reporters we have to hound for our transcripts, paperwork and, yes, invoice. We can’t bill without an invoice and, yes, some reporters just don’t get their invoices out quickly and we spend much too much time tracking them down. I think it would do everybody good if the schools put in a required class on good business practices. Just as important as getting the words down right!
Still on my favorite subject, jobs in new york city court reporting firms, how to get them and how to lose them. This is a tale of two new new york city court reporters, both anxious to get work and connect with a new york city court reporting agency. As I have mentioned numerous times, I am probably one of the few nyc court reporting firms who will train new court reporters personally. Just my way of giving back to the court reporting world which has been so good to me and my new york city court reporting firm as well as our nationwide court reporting business.
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I have been working with three, yes, three new reporters. Here is how it goes. I have two very bright and meticulous court reporters, interested in learning whatever they can and producing as nearly perfect transcript as possible. From my prospective, both will be good. However, this is what ultimately happened. One has begun to spread herself among many court reporting agencies and has made herself somewhat unavailable to me by committing to work weeks in advance. In essence, I have to conform to her schedule, not her to our needs. This doesn’t quite work for me since we like to keep the same reporters with our clients and she has made it impossible for us to do that with her. Unfortunately, she had a toe in the door for a very good court reporter position down the road but the door is gradually closing in favor of the other one who is giving me more preferential treatment.
The lesson here is, if you get a break with a good court reporting firm, with good work, be careful how you handle it. These opportunities don’t come around that often in the court reporting field. Many people just don’t recognize opportunity and miss the boat because their minds are just too cluttered.
There are various things I look for when I am looking to begin a relationship with a court reporter. All court reporting agencies how their special transcript format and forms which they like filled out and followed. We always email our court reporting agency’s forms and formats. If a court reporter doesn’t understand what is required, what is so difficult to email us and ask. It is a waste of somebody’s time to have to go back and forth after the fact about this type of court reporting procedures. Also, when a court reporter is finished and sending in their transcript, most court reporting agencies have billing systems tied into the court reporter’s invoice. We can’t invoice for the court reporting services provided without knowing what we are being billed for. Why can’t a court reporter get their invoice to us in a timely manner? Once these invoices are submitted to a court reporting firm, we certainly do hear a lot about when this invoice will be paid. Just some pet peeves today.
Unfortunately, recently my New York City court reporting agency had submitted to it by a stenographic court reporter by far the worst transcript I have seen in my 30 plus years in the court reporting industry. Why did we learn of this? The transcript was sent back by a diligent paralegal who sent pages and pages of corrections. When we looked further into this, we realized these are some of the things, yes, hard to believe, that we found. Most proper names were misspelled. There was no spell check done. How in this digital world a court reporter doesn’t take the minute or two to do a spell check is beyond my comprehension. But the most amazing thing this court reporter did was make up words. Our resourceful court reporter would put sounds together and form a word. Actually, this court reporter had quite the imagination of making up words. The damage a court reporter like this does to our court reporting industry is devastating. I personally am horrified and cannot understand how somebody can have such a lack of responsibility for her work product and the profession she represents. I can only imagine how she conducts the rest of her life and in a way anybody which such little respect for her work must have very little respect for herself. And, yes, we did look closely at the next transcript she handed in and it was the same. We sent it to two proof readers because one could not possibly catch all the errors. What a sad day for all the wonderful court reporters who take such pride in their work and have the image of our profession and our work as court reporting professionals tarnished by such an irresponsible person who claims to be a court reporter.
We always try to help a new court reporting get started in the court reporting world. Not surprisingly, most new court reporters in New York City are not familiar with the appropriate procedures in picking up work from different court reporting agencies. Each agency has their own guidelines and their own thoughts on punctuation. Best to ask for a court reporting agency’s format or any guidance they can give you regarding how they like their transcripts prepared. Things that vary in different court reporting agencies are how many lines per page, margins and indentations for Q & A and colloquy. Most court reporting agencies like to have conformity in the way their transcripts. Plus I am sure the court reporting agency you are working for will appreciate your interest in using their format.
We often get calls from court reporting schools about students sitting in with our court reporters. Most New York court reporting agencies get calls like this frequently. When I am contacted by a New York court reporting school, I am always willing to let a student sit in with one of my court reporters. However, and I don’t know if other court reporting agencies in New York follow this procedure before sending a student court reporter out with one of their court reporters, we call our client to make sure that they don’t mind having the student sit in. We also pick cases that would be appropriate for a new court reporter to sit in on. There is no sense in sending a new court reporter to a deposition that is way above their skills and which really does not present an accurate picture of what they as new court reporters will be doing.
How does a new New York court reporter get that toe in the door of the court reporting agency they have called and sent resumes to? This is what I would do if I were a new court reporter trying to break into a tough New York court reporters market and New York court reporting firms, when there are so many experienced court reporters looking for work and with whom you are competing?
What I would do is express how much I want to work with a particular court reporting firm and why I wanted to work with that firm. First thing is making an impression on how much a chance with this particular court reporting agency means to you. Then I would find out who to call and when and how to stay in contact with this particular person. Everybody likes something different. many court reporters just email their schedule every day to let you know availability. Others call. You should also be honest about your skills. The last thing you want to do id take a court reporting assignment that you are not ready for. There may be certain types of court reporting assignments that you love and that are particularly difficult to cover. For example, some reporters love meetings. Others hate them. We are always interested in a court reporter who will help us with our meetings.
How to get your resume read when applying for a New York City court reporter position? I talked about the cover letter, now usually an email. Briefly, do a little upfront research about the court reporting agency you are sending your resume too. Personalize the cover letter to that particular court reporting agency. Mention something special you honestly feel about them and why you are interested in being considered for them reading your resume. I very rarely get anything personalized. If I got a personalized inquire, the court reporter’s info would be front and center in my mind. This court reporter is really interested in getting a shot at work at our New York court reporting agency and knows something about our history. Very few people personalize their cover letters. The resume should be up-to-date. I got one recently that was really for a job before she finished court reporting school and her interest and experience in court reporting was almost nonexistent. When I questioned more information on the court reporting side of the puzzle, I got, I haven’t had a chance to update my information. How could anybody shut a door so quickly?
I can’t stress enough how important it is to do your research on court reporting firm you are applying to, who the owners are and what the court reporting firm’s type of business is. Once you know the type of business they do, you can emphasize in the resume why you are interested and qualified to do that type of court reporting.
Hope to get some real good court reporter cover letters and resumes for our New York City court reporting agency.