Legal Transcription Training

The demand for legal transcriptionists, legal assistants and court reporters is exponentially on the rise. Performing legal transcription is however more than just being able to type fast or without typos. You can complete legal transcription training at your own pace or in a matter of months to gain a career at a law firm, corporate office, government agency, court office, community legal services agency or as a freelance transcriber. According to Rutgers University, as a legal transcriptionist, you can typically make between $27,000 and $40,000+ per year; as an independent contractor, the average charge is between $20-25+ per hour.

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Legal Transcription Training Online

Several colleges and universities offer legal transcription training online courses so that you can complete them at your own pace and convenience. Upon completion, you will receive a transcription diploma or certificate and will be armed with the skills to make you a worthy candidate for work in the public, private or freelance sector. Legal transcription courses may be pursued full time or a few hours a week; they generally range from 4 to 12 months in duration.

Legal Transcription Courses

You will learn many valuable skills in a legal transcription training course that will prepare you to transcribe court reports, compose legal documents (including pleadings, discoveries, court proceedings, evidentiary notes) and perform legal research. You will become familiar with all major areas of law, including the judicial system, family law, contract law, civil litigation, criminal law, contract law, business law and legal issues related to real estate, insurance and medical claims – that way you will be able to recognize pertinent legal terms easily while transcribing, composing and researching. Generally, courses cover:

  • The role of a legal transcriptionist
  • Legal and medical terminology
  • The law office and major types of law
  • Laws and regulations – how they are formed, enforced and interpreted
  • Practical legal dictation exercises
  • Typing, grammar and phonetics
  • Stenotype – how to transcribe court reporters’ short forms
  • Legal research and citations
  • Composing and formatting transcripts, pleadings, discoveries, proceedings and evidentiary reports
  • Using relevant technology including a foot pedal device, word processing software and other audio equipment

Transcription Training FAQ’s

What’s the difference between a legal transcriptionist and a court reporter?

A court reporter, also referred to as a stenographer, is the person at the front of the court room typing in real time all of the verbal proceedings during a trial or hearing. Court reporters also carry out other duties, such as performing research and acting as a notary public. Certain states require court reporters to be licensed within that state. On the other hand, one of the role’s of a legal transcriptionist is to take the stenotype that a court reporter has produced and to transform it from short form to regular text. Many of the duties of a legal transcriptionist do not take place inside the court room, such as transcribing audio recordings of witness testimonies, interrogations, 911 calls or preparing reports/letters for a lawyer or company they are working for.

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Can I work at home as a legal transcriptionist?

You have the option to either work for a public, private or non-profit firm or to become a self-employed legal transcriptionist. Just like you can complete legal transcription courses online, you can also work as a legal transcriptionist from the comfort of your home.

What other jobs will a legal transcription program help me qualify for?

The skills and practice from completing legal transcription training will also help qualify you to become a legal secretary/assistant, administrative assistant, legal researcher, docket administrator and possibly a medical transcriptionist (depending on if your program offers related courses). A certificate and experience in legal transcription can also pave the way for you becoming a court reporter.