Legal Transcriptionist Job Profile

A legal transcriptionist job is one of the most technically demanding of all professional transcription jobs and very highly regarded in the legal sector.

A legal transcript is in many senses a legal document, and accuracy of information is absolutely essential. Court reporters are the classic case of legal transcription in its most literal sense recording spoken testimony. The transcription forms part of a complete and accurate legal record, and is therefore part of a legal process at all levels.

The Work Environment

Legal transcriptionists work in legal offices, courts, and law service environments. Their work skills are derived from a range of basic skills:

  • Training in court reporting: The best and most appropriate form of training for legal transcription.
  • Dictation: Familiarity with taking accurate notes from the spoken word.
  • Legal terminology: Essential knowledge in all forms of legal transcription, including terminology which doesn’t exist in normal usage.
  • Grammar and language skills: Important for quality control and nuances of information.
  • Composition: Gives skills in formatting content, and other fundamental skills.

They use a range of materials and methods to assist in creating their transcriptions:

  • Audio records
  • Computer aided transcription
  • Audio visual records
  • Real time transcription

In some cases, international and remote transcription services use commercial recording facilities to provide basic records of verbal materials. Much of this work is done on deadlines, and may involve considerable effort in processing large amounts of materials. Law services which are providing these services may employ several transcriptionists.

Quality control is so important in legal transcription that accuracy is an actual qualification. On the job, it’s the critical difference between doing a job properly or not.

Other relevant skills include making sense out of verbal information. A common requirement for legal transcription is good hearing, and the ability to distinguish words.

Wages: Median wage $45,610

Hours: Standard business hours, but variable according to terms of employment for contract workers and related to deadlines.

The Career Environment

Legal transcription is one of the most portable of all skills in the legal sector. The demand is continuous, and experienced, reliable transcriptionists can expect appreciation for their work. Demand across the sector also includes the court reporter work as a natural career advancement with appropriate certifications and qualifications.

This job also includes the potential for senior positions in legal administration. In organizational roles, management of legal transcription is a particularly important role, which requires effective professional oversight. The natural progression for legal transcriptionists can lead to significant opportunities in the administration field.

It’s important to recognize that transcription as a career is a very wide ranging field. Working in other fields can be very lucrative for trained legal transcriptionists. A less obvious career position for legal transcriptionists, because of the exceptionally high standards of their work, is that they also have a lot of job mobility in other areas of transcription. The most notable commercial areas are business, publishing, and related work.

Some legal transcriptionists can work as freelancers, both in law and other areas, creating a series of job and career options, often working remotely in the commercial fields.