One career option for those looking for a flexible job opportunity is legal transcription. Legal transcriptionists listen to audio recordings and transcribe them into written records. The materials include recordings of hearings, interviews, and depositions; dictation by legal professionals; and sometimes written documents such as handwritten communications, notes or other legal documents. Much like medical transcriptionists, the majority of legal transcriptionists are working from home, either freelancing with their own clientele, or working for a legal transcription service provider.
Part of the growing need for legal transcriptionists is due to courts looking to cut costs. One key area where major cuts can, and have been, made is in recording court proceedings (hearings, trials) in lieu of having a court reporter taking down live testimony during these proceedings. When attorneys or others need a written copy of those proceedings, they find that outsourcing them to legal transcriptionists is far more economical than having their own legal secretaries transcribe these recordings. The majority of these jobs are outsourced to legal transcriptionists working remotely.
Work from home legal transcriptionists can choose their level of independence. Those preferring a more job-like structure (employee), would be served by working for a transcription service. For those who are not adverse to performing additional organizational tasks, opportunities include working as a sub-contractor for a transcription company, or working as a freelance legal transcriptionist and building their own client base. Most freelance legal transcriptionists would be performing their assignments outside a regular office.
Typical educational requirements are a high school diploma and a strong grasp of understanding the written word, grammar, spelling, proofreading, as well as a strong knowledge of legal terminology. A key skill requirement is the ability to type fast and accurately. Time and speed will have a significant impact on income. Additionally, legal transcriptionists working from home must have great self-discipline and a strong work ethic. A legal transcriptionist’s ability to meet deadlines is of utmost importance.
These educational requirements and skills can be attained by completing an online career program. The length of these programs is typically 6 to 12 months. Upon successfully completing a legal transcription program, a legal transcriptionist will have a certificate that will increase their marketability.
With millions of court proceedings in any given year and huge backlogs reported for many courts, there is a strong outlook for legal transcriptionists in the future. Additionally, as a result of new federal legislation, there is a growing demand for captioning services. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, legal transcriptionists are expected to experience a 10% job growth between the years of 2012 and 2022. The median level for those in the field is approximately $48,000.
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