A few weeks ago, I wrote about a class I took in 8th grade, which was special to me because I was able to select my own classes. For my science class, I settled on Mr. Baldwin’s Marine Biology and Human Biology class, which was an homage to my love for water and science. In the last article, I spoke about the first half of the class dedicated to Marine Biology and learning Mr. Baldwin’s three rules:
- The 6 P’s: Proper Planning Prevents Pitifully Poor Performance
- It is better to have and not need than to need and not have
- Persistence Overcomes Resistance
At the start of the second half of our class, which was focused on Human Biology, Mr. Baldwin introduced a new moniker:
“What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an angel! In apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world! The paragon of animals!”
Of course, this is straight out of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and meant to get us thinking about the complexity, sophistication and capabilities of humans. Now that I am further established in my career, I think about those around me: the court reporters and legal transcribers who work tirelessly to make sure our legal system keeps running smoothly. This has become even more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic, where court reporters from around the country have adapted what was primarily an in-person job to a work-from-home career.
Thinking back to Mr. Baldwin’s class and all that we learned, humans are impressive creatures. We can handle complex tasks with ease. Reflecting on my last six years in the legal support industry, the men and women I have worked with have been nothing short of Shakespeare’s evaluation:
Reporters have the noble job of being a neutral third-party witness to the proceeding. They are present because they can be unbiased and their directive is the protection of the record.
Infinite in Faculty
Every reporter I know has a thirst for knowledge, always looking to better themselves and to perfect their craft. Learning more and gaining a deeper understanding of our civil and criminal justice system is a key driver amongst this group.
Court reporting might sometimes be a forgotten career, but it is one that should be favorably looked upon. These professionals spend most of their day concentrating on hearing everything that is said and capturing it.
These “Keepers of the Record” have the unique task of taking down and protecting the record. Every action they take is in an effort to allow the legal system to move forward and the case to be resolved.
Digital court reporters and their counterparts, legal transcribers, must not only understand audio recording, but they must know the legal system, the applicable Rules of the jurisdiction they work in, industry-specific jargon, legal and medical terminology, and be consummate professionals.
There is nothing more beautiful, in my opinion, than when a judge accepts a transcript into evidence and it is used as an official document of the court. That document is the culmination of what is generally the hard work of a team of dedicated legal professionals.
Paragon of Animals
Although no human is perfect, despite what Shakespeare says, all the court reporters I know strive for perfection and work hard every day to make a perfect record. They take pride in their work.
To those who do the job every day, Thank You. To those who are entering the field, Welcome, and know you are joining the ranks of very dedicated men and women preserving our legal record.
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Benjamin Jaffe is the Manager of Digital Training and Development for BlueLedge