How much do court reporters make?

I had this conversation with one of the staff at a law firm where I was reporting out of this past week and while in the heat of the moment I didn’t respond as optimally as I could have to the blatant ignorance of some people and how rude that question actually comes across as, here’s what went down: 

Blah blah, walking to the subway station together; small talk about reporting; found out she regularly sees reporters from my reporting agency and other ones come into their law firm to cover hearings:

Her:  How long have you been reporting for?

Me:  Six, seven years.

Her:  Are you doing this part-time and finishing school on the side?

Me:  Um, no, I do this full-time as a freelancer.  I went to school for court reporting. 😐🙄🙄🙄🙄🙄 (my eyes started to narrow as I later realized how rude that question was.  Would you ever ask that question to a teacher?  An accountant?  A police officer?  You would never ask that question to someone in any professional field so why do you think it’s okay to ask someone that?)

Small talk about schooling and I said I had two university degrees and that the moment I found out about court reporting, I dove straight for it because it was something I felt challenged by and was very passionate about.  Honestly, it’s like these people don’t even know how lucrative a court reporting career can be.  You can make up to six figures in a year, way more than a law clerk.  You can make $1,000 in a day, $2,000 in a day, or more depending on how many realtime connections you have on a job and how good your steno skills are.  You don’t need to work five days a week and still make more than someone makes in two weeks.  She probably thinks court reporters just sit there, push a button to record proceedings, and that’s it. 🙄

Again, in the heat of the moment, I didn’t educate her further about transcript order lucrativeness or question her point-blank: “Why the hell would you even ask me that question?!”  I didn’t feel the need to “flaunt” how much court reporters make because I didn’t realize she was actually that ignorant.  Next time if a conversation like this ever come up again, you bet I will educate that person.  Now it’s not just about people not understanding that we actually write shorthand on a machine to take down proceedings but people actually thinking we get paid scraps for sitting there staring into space.  Uh, far from the truth!

Seriously, folks, court reporting is not a “hobby” career and it can pay way more than you can ever dream of.

About stenoodie

I'm a stenographer, foodie, avid traveller, and new mom who loves to share her experiences with the world.
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2 Responses to How much do court reporters make?

  1. Danice B says:


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