The term 'legal transcription' is not so popular as 'medical transcription' since it is comparatively a new trend in the legal field. Duties and responsibilities of a medical transcriptionist and a legal transcriptionist are more or less the same, only the fields are different. Although no particular degree is required to become a legal transcriptionist. The candidate needs to have a perfect understanding of legal terminology and a good command over English language.
Legal Transcriptionist: Duties and Responsibilities
Legal transcription job description involves typing the legal documents while listening to dictations from legal professionals. This helps to store the documents in correct form and produce them when required. Documentation involves correct use of legal terminology which is quite different from common language. Grammatical or typing mistakes are not tolerated. Accurate legal records help the lawyers to provide more protection to their clients. Lawyers can go through these documents and can prepare well to win a case. Some companies prefer to outsource their work for a quicker turnover while some prefer to rely on in-house transcriptionists. Those have been in medical transcription for a year or two, may be selected by the employing facilities to work as legal transcriptionists and may be provided on-job training.
A legal transcriptionist is expected to analyze the data on his own. He/she is supposed to retain what is essential and to remove what is not required in written documents. He/she should know the proofreading techniques as well. He/she needs to pay attention to details while listening the recorded court proceedings or information. The transcriptionists may be required to make written documents of court proceedings with the help of notes or recorded audio tapes. Sometimes, the transcriptionist himself has to record the court proceedings by speaking into the microphone (without disturbing the others). The microphone is covered by a mask which helps prevent disturbance. The transcriptionist is expected to record everything going on in the court, including the reactions and hand gestures of the witnesses, lawyers, plaintiffs, defendants, etc. noticed during the arguments. He/she is expected to write down the detailed report of the legal proceedings by listening to the recorded information. Good knowledge of the legal system, various laws plays an important role in legal transcription process. A legal transcriptionist would be expected to have good research skills, language skills, computer skills as well as management skills.
Legal Transcriptionist as a Career
At the entry level, you may work in the office of a private practice attorney who has large number of cases. Then depending upon your experience and excellence, you may get a chance to work in larger firms or larger corporations. You can also work in government departments, insurance companies and banks. All these employing facilities require accurate legal records for various purposes. Those who have a good command over English, solid understanding of legal terminology and excellent listening, writing and typing skills may think of becoming a legal transcriptionist. The demand for legal transcriptionists is growing day by day. Legal transcriptionists can make good money as they are in demand. Certain career institutes offer training courses for legal transcription. Those who have a certification for legal transcriptionist training will obviously be offered good salary at the entry level. You may be offered 'on the job training' as well. Your earnings will grow with experience. Even retired lawyers are working in some companies as legal transcriptionists as they find it easy to write up legal records.
These days, plenty of jobs are available for legal transcriptionists as there is very little competition. The labor bureau is expecting an overwhelming increase in the demand for legal transcriptionists for next few decades. As a legal transcriptionist, you can even work from home. Once you have some experience of working in large firms, you can work independently. So this is a good career option for young and aspiring students who have a keen interest in legal proceedings.