Professionalism is in the Details

It’s the little things that make you stand out as a valued court reporter. You know, the pesky things that you’d just as soon NOT do because you’re in a bad mood… or tired… or sick… or for whatever reason.

The things that you sometimes don’t do because you’re distracted by something in your life – you know, smiling and saying “good morning” to the bailiff or the clerk or the secretary. How hard is it, really, to smile? I think there’s a statistic somewhere that says it takes more muscles to frown.

Offer to get a cup of coffee, a water, whatever – when you’re up. You’re not the only one who’s busy, you know.

Do your paperwork. Really, whatever it takes – even if it’s a few extra moments at a break or at lunch. Go over the calendar (or the notice of deposition) and make sure you have all the names correctly noted. Keep track of what cases were heard, in what order, what time each session started and finished.

Don’t be afraid to ask that witness to speak up – really, when you’re listening to a playback because your notes are scrambled, you don’t want to have to guess.

These little things you think are tedious make YOUR record that much more complete than someone else’s.

Meet deadlines. Don’t procrastinate and think that you’ve got more time than you have. Invariably, the weekend before the deadline, something really important will come up.

Always… always work as a team player with the folks around you. You know the ones – the clerks, the schedulers, the paralegals, everyone; these are the people who can make your life run that much more smoothly. And, really, there’s no cost to being nice.

Be aware that every little thing that you do on the job, in your paperwork, in the follow-through, is a reflection not only of you, but on all of us in the profession.