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What to Expect as a Court Reporter Intern

Updated on November 10, 2013

This goes through my brain and out my fingers?

An Elan Mira Steno Machine
An Elan Mira Steno Machine | Source

The Story Of My Internship

When the time came for me to start interning, I was petrified. I had no clue as to what to expect. I was going to learn how to be the Keeper of the Record, and, oh, my, how that intimidated the heck out of me. I felt that to be responsible for that was like being held responsible for the Holy Grail. Well, I am sorry to say that I did my share of procrastinating.

After a few weeks of talking myself in and out of calling firms about interning, I finally settled on one in Gainesville, Florida. I spoke with Candace Arens from Verbatim Court Reporters, and she seemed thrilled to death about my interning with her. "At least somebody is excited about it," I thought to myself.

My first day was nerveracking to say the least. I wasn't really sure of what I'd be doing. She had told me the deposition would be easy. I was hoping she was right. Well, I know my way around Gainesville pretty well, but for some reason I couldn't find her building on a street that I'd been down countless times. I called her twice trying to find the place. I felt like I'd come to town on the egg money or something. I didn't want to put her through any trouble. Finally, she said she would just go stand outside the building. Now, normally this wouldn't have troubled me, but on this particular day it was raining cats and dogs. I was mortified.

Once I got inside and apologized profusely, she showed me around her office. It was really quite nice. We sat in her office and we had a nice chat. It was then when she told me that the deposition I was supposed to go on had been cancelled, but there was another one scheduled with another reporter. I wasn't really worried. Hey, my teachers at school had told me that reporters had to be flexible. I was willing to go with the flow until she tol dme that it was an expert witness. My brain reeled! I kept thingking to myself, "I can't have an expert witness on my first day out!" But, alas, it was true. And it had set a pattern in my interning experience up to this point. My motto now is: "A layman, a layman, my steno machine for a layman."

It Always Counts!

I have learned that no matter what, a court reporter must be prepared and treat each job as if the Justices of the Supreme Court were going to read my transcript. I've also learned that I must not be afraid to speak up if for some reason I don't hear something right or it is too fast. These lessons are illustrated beautifully by my experience with the Florida Coastal School of Law.

They needed a student to do a pro bono case for them, and by process of elimination I was elected to be responsible for the record. My teacher assured me that it wouldn't be too bad. They attorneys would be students as well. It would more than likely be slow. Boy, was she wrong.

My teacher, Diane, went over everything with me beforehand, providing me with exhibit stickers, a tape player, and tapes. I had it all. Except self-confidence. She also gave me some words of advice. She told me that if for any reason I didn't hear something or they were going too fast, to not be afraid to speak up. Well, simple enough advice to follow. Too bad I didn't heed it.

The boy must have eaten his Wheaties that morning. He was off like a shot from th every beginning. I knew I must have had that deer-in-the-headlight look. How a man can talk that fast is beyond me. I kept thingking to myself, cough, clear your throat -- breathe! The man must have had an iron lung.

It was bad, but I wasn't really sweating it too much. The witness for the deposition hadn't shown, so they decided to do a mock deposition. Since it really wasn't for real, I considered it practice and wasn't too worried about getting everything down. Diane later told me I should have said something to him about his speed. I told her that I was going to, but I felt awkward speaking up. I learned a big lesson here: ALWAYS treat it like it's the real thing. At the end of the deposition the professor asked for a copy of the transcript. Thank the lord for that little tape player.

All in all, I wish I had started interning sooner. It really wasn't that bad and has been a good experience for me. I learned a lot of things. I have learne dto be flexible; to make every job count; to be prepared; and to be bold. After all, I am the keeper of the record


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