What Is a Freelance Court Reporter?

December 14, 2022

Did you know that the vast majority of court reporters work outside the courtroom? According to the NCRA, over 70% of America’s 35,000-plus court reporters do so.

Freelance court reporters are independent contractors who work for courts, corporations, and legal firms to provide arbitration, deposition, and other court reporting services. Here’s all you need to know about freelance court reporters.

What Is a Freelance Court Reporter?

Court reporters are classified into two types: freelance and official. A freelance court reporter is an important member of the legal system, responsible for making accurate and thorough transcriptions of legal events. These experts often work on a contract basis, giving their skills on an as-needed basis to courts, law firms, and other organizations.

Even though they occasionally work in a courtroom, freelance reporters play an important part in the judicial process. Take, for example, depositions. A court reporter is required not only to accurately record a witness’s spoken testimony during a deposition but they can also administer an oath to the witness and swear them in. They, too, ensure that the proceedings are accurately and completely recorded.

Devices Used to Record

Freelance court reporters record legal processes in real-time using specialized technology such as stenography machines. This enables them to create verbatim transcriptions of everything stated during a court hearing, deposition, or other legal action.

Qualities Expected in a Freelance Court Reporter

In addition to technical skills, independent court reporters must be well-versed in legal vocabulary and procedures. They must be able to record and transcribe complex legal arguments and testimony accurately and should also maintain composure under stress.

Freelance court reporters must have high attention to detail and the capacity to work autonomously. They must be able to swiftly and precisely produce high-quality transcriptions, especially in fast-paced and complex court processes. A freelance court reporter must have technical competence, concentration, and the capacity to work under pressure.


Freelance court reporting gives reporters a large amount of flexibility. Because freelancers work as independent contractors, they have complete control over which contracts they take and decline. Unlike official court reporters, freelance, court reporters do not report to the same site every day. Many operate on an on-call basis and travel to local, regional, and occasionally international job sites as needed. Some reporters love this element and would rather not work in the same place every day. After the initial record is taken, freelancers have the added luxury of finishing transcriptions from the comfort of their own homes.

Final Words

Overall, freelance court reporters perform an important role in the legal system by ensuring that court cases and other legal proceedings are appropriately recorded and preserved. Their abilities and professionalism are critical to ensuring that the judicial system operates correctly and fairly.

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