Court Reporters Share Their #WritingWayBackWhen Stories
During Court Reporting & Captioning Week 2020 we asked court reporters to share photos and stories of how they got started – here they are!
After graduating college with a Business Education degree I decided to wait a year to teach. I went to work for an advertising agency instead. One of my duties each day was to go through newspapers for relevant articles for the agency. One day I noticed an article about court reporters in Tarrant County getting a big raise. I had never even heard of a court reporter, but immediately started researching. I enrolled in night school and loved it from the beginning! The photo attached doesn‘t show my machine, but early in my career I got to take Elvis Presley’s deposition (on Elvis time) at 3:30 in the morning. One of many highlights in my career. Didn‘t get photos, but also took Dennis Rodman’s deposition and Zsa Zsa Gabor’s deposition. Absolutely love this job!
A court reporting school visited my high school two weeks before graduation. It sounded so exciting to me. I had planned to be an elementary education major, and my mother, a teacher, had been discouraging me because of the hours and the pay. My dad, an aeronautical expert witness, was very excited when I approached him about it. And the rest is history! This is a picture of my friends and I getting ready for class back in Texas in 1989.
So here I was in 1986, 16 years old and out of high school 2 years early! My older sister was in court reporting school and my mother was a court reporter! My sister suggested I go to court reporting school with her and that I’ll obtain my associate’s degree and I can always further my education if I so choose! After 2 years of court reporting school, I was out in the field basically making my own schedule and making pretty good money! I ended up never going back to get my bachelor’s degree! However, my education never ceased as I learn something new everyday out in the field from medical to construction to insurance! It’s a never-ending education but I’m getting paid for it! I was able to be home with my kids and work part-time also! It ended up being a great career! I meet new people all the time!
My mom is a court reporter. She started school when I was about 8. So I was very familiar with the industry when I started school and I had a lot of support and encouragement at home which allowed me to move quickly through school. The picture is of me at Bryan College the morning after I passed my Qualifier!
I started off as a paralegal in San Francisco for McCutchen Brown & Enersen. Our client was one that 30 years later I was the court reporter in three trials.
I am actually a second generation reporter. My mother is a retired pen writer. The joke in the family is I came out dictating (if anyone remembers what that is!😊)
I babysat for a court reporter when I lived in Maryland. My mother “made” me go to his courthouse to see what reporting was all about. I was 14. I graduated from high school in ‘75, went to court reporting school in San Francisco in ‘76, and 42 years later I am still an RMR reporter and have never looked back!
This May will mark 40 years that I am in this industry and it was the BEST decision I could have made professionally. As all good things that have happened in my life, I chose court reporting after a gentle nudge in its direction after I shared with my Mom I was hesitant about going to law school. As a business teacher at a private school in Philadelphia, my Mom saw court reporting showcased for many years in the school‘s Career Day program. I am so happy to have found a profession that I love and that I continue to enjoy even after all this time. While I don’t have a photo of myself writing at my machine, I do have this picture that I have hung in my office for about 30 years. While clearing out some boxes in my parents‘ attic during one of the family cleanouts, I came across a box of things I had accumulated in my room while I lived there that my mother had saved for me. Apparently at some point in my youth I had clipped this article in a magazine and saved it in a folder of things I liked or found interesting. It seems like I ended up right where I at one point dreamed of being. How amazing is that? #WritingWayBackWhen #I’llAlwaysLoveMyMomma
I was actually a theatre major. Was tired of trying to hold a job and maintain school and nighttime rehearsals which none of my jo s worked around. I decided that I needed a profession that I could embrace that matched my personality. I was always OCD about being organized and efficient in my studies. Court reporting seemed a good idea. I literally made a snap decision that 28 years later has been beneficial, is never boring as each day there is different testimony to hear and take down, and let’s face it pays the bills. The only thing lacking would be to have a guest appearance on Law and Order as the court reporter to fulfill my desire to act; although, it wouldn’t be acting any longer!
Penny Pennline at Duff’s Business School reading steno notes!
I quit my office job when my second son was born, and started court reporting school at night.
My high school had a federally-funded pilot program of "touch shorthand" with manual steno machines. This was back in the 1970s. My mom thought I would be good at stenotype, and since I was already a fast touch typist, she encouraged me to try it out. I fell in love with the steno machine and had two years of it in high school and then went on to a local community college, completing my education and earning an associate’s degree in court reporting. I have been a court reporter ever since, now in my 41st year.
I was at Cal State Northridge, unhappy with my physical therapy major, and my friend told me about court reporting school. I never looked back! After 32 years in the field, I still think it’s the best job ever!
I had my first steno machine sighting at a Career Day event. I was truly fascinated with its functionality. Within six months, I enrolled in the Court Reporting program at Stenotype Institute in New York. In the midst of my studies, Stenotype Institute closed its doors. I then transferred to Berkeley College and graduated the program. Upon graduation, I worked full time, being mentored by very senior and esteemed court reporters at the top of their field, shadowing them, always seeking their advice. During this time, I also decided to go to night and weekend classes so I could sharpen my speed even more and build greater confidence. All this dedication and practice really paid off. I felt comfortable accepting all kinds of jobs.
My mom and dad were in court and my mom spent time talking to the District Court Reporter. I enrolled in the next night class at Del Mar College. There were 27 girls that started, 8 showed up for the final, and I was the only one to move to the day classes. The bank I worked at accommodated me so I could attend day classes. I started in 1980, got divorced that summer and took the summer off. When I went back in the fall, they said I had to take classes as they came, so I had to wait a year to take the summer classes I missed (crazy). I took my State test in October of 1983, passed with 98.6, 98.9, 99. I got my notification that I passed on my 25th birthday. I am now 61 and have been doing this for 36 plus years. I even put my husband through school and he has been with his judge for over 21 years!!!!
Needed a real job after a BA in anthropology. Checked out a court reporting school open house and seemed to have a knack for the machine.
Back when I was a junior in high school, my parents had told me about this "very interesting job" as they were involved in a court case and found the court reporter‘s job fascinating. That very year, my high school English department brought in some brand-new Stenograph machines for those interested in learning as part of a new program building office skills and dictation. Our teacher made it so fun while she played music from the Eagles and other bands while we wrote the words on our machines. I absolutely loved it! I loved writing and building speed. My senior year I told my high school counselor I planned to be a court reporter, and she tried to discourage me from it as it would soon be obsolete. This was in 1976, mind you! I defiantly enrolled in court reporting school for the following fall semester, finished school, and passed the CSR my second try in November 1978. When I started, we used dictaphones to read our steno notes into a Stenorette machine, a typist would type the transcript onto carbon copy paper with the appropriate number of copies, and we would do corrections by hand. Well, thankfully, I soon moved on to a notereader which made life much easier, as she read and typed from my steno outlines. It was 1984 when I went to computer translation, and I have watched our profession change and become even more fun as technological advancements have made it that way, while also boosting my skill level and realtime quality. It has been an amazing adventure, and I’m just extremely grateful to work in this field! Never thought to take a picture of me at my machine, but a co-worker did take one many years back 🙂
55 years ago I took my first deposition in Clyde, Texas. I went to work for the 18th District Court which comprised Johnson and Somervell Counties. My first trip to Glen Rose, my Judge (who was born in 1900) said, "Sturgess, don‘t you be going up in those hills. They make corn whiskey up there and if you stumble onto one of their stills, they’ll kill ya. I took his advice and lived. My first recording device was a reel to reel that weighed about 60 pounds. The paper trays were a hoot thinking back. I had boxes and boxes of notes, and that‘s what I transcribed from. Well, a jealous husband shot the only doctor in Glen Rose and the jury found him Not Guilty by reason of that he lived in Somervell County. Whenever we’d to leave Cleburne heading out of town for Glen Rose, my Judge would say, Goodbye, God, we’re going to Glen Rose.
My father owned a general merchandise store in the heart of Chicago‘s downtown loop in the same building as a court reporting agency then known as Wolfe Rosenberg. He often came home and told me about the nice girls that shopped in his store and were court reporters. I was a sophomore in high school at the time that he mentioned I should think about becoming a court reporter. By junior year the girls that shopped in his store had given him an NCRA Journal for me to look at, and listed in the back were all of the accredited court reporting schools. I wanted to have a college experience and not go to a technical college for my degree, but I didn’t want to go too far from home. I was fortunate at the time that Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois had a program. I applied, got accepted, made lifelong friends, joined a sorority, and received my AAS in Court Reporting in 1990. While I was attending SIU, Fred Rosenberg was kind enough to lend me a steno machine to use. Once I graduated, Fred and Seymour eagerly awaited my passing the CSR so I could come work for them. I began working for them in September of 1991, and currently work for Esquire Deposition Solutions f/k/a Wolfe Rosenberg. I worked in the Chicago office from 1991-2018 before my moved to Austin, Texas, where I still work for Esquire. I was lucky enough to be mentored by the nice girls that shopped in my dad’s store when I was a young girl. Two of them even attended my wedding in 1996. My dad passed away in 1995, and Fred, Seymour, and many of the Wolfe Rosenberg employees came to his funeral. They would often share stories with me of shopping in his store and how much they loved being around him and how often he spoke about me and my love for typing and how he knew that I would make a great court reporter. Court reporting has been an amazing career for me and I am so grateful that my dad chose it for me
My mom worked at the courthouse and thought it would be a good idea...first time I ever listened to her she would say God rest her soul, lol.
My first job was a motor vehicle hearing calendar in Utica New York. I was very nervous and in order to be sure that the letters would be visible on the paper, I over Inked my machine and all that came out were these blue dots. The letters were indistinguishable. I am very glad that those paper notes are somewhere hidden in a landfill. That was in 1962.