Legal Transcription and Opportunities

Legal Transcription and Opportunities
Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy


In recent times there has been an increase in the demand for legal transcription for accurate and easily read legal records. Therefore there is an abundance of work available in this area. There are many different types of legal transcription work such as court reporting, legal documentation, legal coding, litigation support, legal scoping, legal research, legal animation and immigration paper work.

In recent times the litigation process has increased many folds. The administrative law (local, state and federal government) requires massive record-keeping related to transcription of recorded hearing from trained people is a welcome alternative to attorneys. There is a huge vacancy for legal transcription in the areas such as law firms, corporations and corporate legal departments, financial institutions, insurance companies, real estate and title agencies, state and  federal government agencies, courts, public defenders’ and prosecutors’ offices, public utility companies and community legal service programs.

The most important aspect of this work is that you can work from home and have flexible working hours. It is a golden opportunity for them to create an income. The earnings can range anywhere from $15 to 25 per hour. As the experience and proficiency increases, the income also increases.

What does it take to become a Legal Transcriptionist.

The basic requirements are knowledge of legal terminologies and good typing speed. In addition,’ certified’ candidates are preferred. It means such candidates have completed an accepted legal transcription course. This is a professional-level program leading to a Legal Transcriptionist Career Diploma. You may also enroll yourself in some legal transcription courses available online or at home or in a school. These courses include easy-to-understand lessons, supplements and special learning aids. The duration of these courses ranges from 8 to 12 weeks.

This on-line distance learning program is self-paced. It is divided into various modules. The information given in a module is first tested and the next module is presented only if one fully grasps the concept of the first one. The state-of-art home training program is divided into two modules and practice hours for dictation. The exam may be taken online or through e-mails. If one has a doubt, the instructor is just one call away.

The course will also include some knowledge about the criminal proceedings, life cycle of a crime, difference between criminal proceedings and civil proceeding and trial by jury process. Special laws to be studied are personal injury, family law, administrative law and litigant, business organizations, wills and real estate, contracts, bankruptcy and patent & trademarks. The skills of a stenotype and the phonetic language of a court reporter are also a part of the course material. There are some software that one need to master and some others which are handy for Legal Transcription .They are Hotdocs, WordPerfect and MS Word. You also learn how to build your own Cybrary (Cyber Library) which is very helpful in legal transcription.

All this sounds easy, but it should be remembered that self study and self learning requires extra commitment and patience. In addition to the online and college courses, many employers allow individual to train while being on the job and also train the new recruits if they have to work in the field of Legal Transcription.

Now let us discuss the actual process of legal transcription services. The most basic type is the transcription of audio files (mini cassettes, cassettes, CDs and DVDs) of legal proceeding in a digital format by attorneys or law firms. These audio files are recorded in a digital format and send via e-mail from the client to service provider. The Transcriptionist will download the files and play them and basically type them out as they listen to the files. The general rule is the more information the client gives, the better is the final Transcript.

There is software which may be used for transcription purposes. These state of the art dictation and transcription software is a state of the art system which provides for computer based recordings, storage, transmission and transcription of all the voice dictation. There are some hardware such as headset and microphone which help in this process. Legal Transcription has various shades such as Court Proceedings transaction, Trials transaction, Wire Trap transaction, Legal letter transcription, Proof reading, Legal Pleadings, Witness Statements, Advice Transcriptions, Instructions to Counsel, Affidavits, Probate Forms, Particulars of Claims, Leases , wills Contracts, Disciplinary Hearings, Tribunal Transcriptions, Adjudication Panel Hearings,  Reports, Briefs, court transcripts, Court proceedings, and so on. Transcription  is not limited to any one special law but all law including real estates, criminal, family, personal injury, business, corporate family, Patents, trial laws and so on.

The need for Transcription of Medico-legal documents is on the rise these days. The other transcriptions related to medical and legal fields are Psychiatric Evaluations, Expert Witness, operative and procedure notes, drug trial studies, Outpatient and Inpatient summaries.

The normal speed of a Transcriber is that he will take about one hour to transcribe a clear 15-20 minutes of quality digital audio. Generally the transcribed material reaches the client after 24 hours from the time it is send to a Transcriber; this time also depends upon the client’s needs, state of the audio and the volume of work. The Transcription services provider customize the services as needed by the clients.

Lastly, let us discuss the companies & service providers and opportunities in the field of Legal Transcription (LT) and the job opportunities in this field.

There are numerous US legal outsourcing companies that offer highly professional legal outsourcing services and undertakes long term and short term LT jobs and contracts from legal communities and clients in the US, Canada, Australia  and UK. They provide round the clock services that too at competitive rates. They offer lowest turn around time, encrypted secure file transfer, delivery in desired format and friendly customer support.

Law Offices also need assistance with LT jobs. One can often find the advertisements about Transcription Assistant who are required to transcribe the digital voice recorders (machine) into a Word document and check for spelling/grammar. The only job requirement is that he should have worked for a law office.

Similarly there are other Law firms which are continuously on the look to find out more support in form of legal secretaries and assistants for their attorneys. These profiles include LT job. One more potential employer in LT field is the Websites. They advertise and chose the appropriate candidate who can work from home or office for a certain number of hours and is paid on hourly basis depending upon the number of words and the quality of work done.

In addition to the above jobs, a Legal Transcriptionist, later on May also chose to join the paralegals. Then one may even join the government sector. Para Legal who is also known as the Legal Assistants help lawyers prepare legal material for activities such as hearing, trials, and corporate meetings. One more paralegal is a Court Reporter whose job is to take verbatim reports by using abbreviations of what people say during the proceedings of the Court which is later on used in LT. Sometimes a court reporter does real-time transcribing too! For this job one has to be familiar with the legal as well as the court lingo and proceeding in detail. Also one has to continuously update own computer dictionary.

Also Read: What You Need to Know About Legal Transcriptionist Career

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Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy is the Cofounder & President of GMR Transcription Services, Inc., a California-based company that has been providing accurate and fast transcription services since 2004. She has enjoyed nearly ten years of success at GMR, playing a pivotal role in the company's growth. Under Beth's leadership, GMR Transcription doubled its sales within two years, earning recognition as one of the OC Business Journal's fastest-growing private companies. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids.