Real-Time Rules And The Good Old Days, Part II

Realtime Rules And The Good Old Days, Part II

By Monette Benoit
Copyright by Monette Benoit, All Rights Reserved.

Part II in IV

The good old days some people chat about is when court reporters were paid more. Really? Maybe. Maybe.

There were (limited) ‘x’ number of courts, ‘x’ number of positions for reporters in jurisdictions, courthouses, venues and firms (run by court reporters). When numbers were met (typically by males in really old days) we often were wait-listed.

Remote work was not a conceivable idea. Traveling (on the road by car) was typical for beginners. Many court reporters worked to avoid traveling. (I did travel – never a dull moment – without cell phones, a challenge for single women.)

The good old days stenotype of work typically was court, freelance depositions, FBI, CIA, United Nations, government or state agencies. The plethora of categories we now see were not possibilities. Captioning, CART, TTY, remote financial calls? What’s that?

No tape backup was another standard. Many states outlawed tape recorders. I was warned, “If you have it on you, you will be arrested. Why would you need it?”

When I relocated to Miami and was instructed to purchase a tape recorder for my first assignment, a federal magistrate and international maritime appeal with multiple lawyers and multiple expert witnesses (oh joy), I thought they were joking. I had never been permitted to use a tape recorder in any other venue (many). Prior to court, I was accompanied to a store to ‘buy’ a $79.99 General Electric recorder – a huge dent in my food budget.

Remarkable moments also include numbering steno pads for the steno machine. (We documented flap numbers when witnesses began and finished.) We had to handwrite ‘flap’ number on the top of each page of each steno pad (300 turns to a pad), so we readback “faster without taking up time” to do our job. This was required. Mornings were spent flipping pages, pen in hand, before work began.

Research? Not by Internet. We used large books and telephone. We became very good friends with telephone operators, research university librarians, and pharmacists in teaching hospitals.

We learned to juggle the telephone with long cord in one hand (no headsets back then), book on one knee, slim steno pad on other knee, to accurately produce a verbatim record. Case files, documents and exhibits (which varied) were additional items for the desk or chair on which we sat.

We now access information by pushing buttons, work with IMs, instant messaging (another wonder tool) sharing information and real-time with consumers and peers. We display text to large screens, small screens or to straw huts across the globe.

“Realtime Rules And The Good Old Days” is continued on

About the Author:

Monette Benoit, B.B.A., CCR, CRI, CPE, is a JCR Contributing Editor for the National Court Reporters Association, NCRA.

She is the author of multiple books and Test Prep for the Court Reporting & Captioning Industry to include the national and state RPR, RMR, RDR, CSR ‘Written Knowledge Exam’ Textbook, Workbook, Companion Study Guide, ‘The CRRT WKT’ CD Software Program, Advanced SAT, LSAT, GRE, Real-Time Vocabulary Workbook and ‘CATapult’ Your Dictionary CD Software Program series.

Books, CDs, private tutoring, mentoring services and articles may be referenced

Monette is an experienced consultant, instructor, real-time court reporter, tutor, life coach, CART provider, columnist. She teaches, tutors and coaches home-study students, college students, court reporters and professionals. Monette speaks to groups at state, national and international conventions about motivation, technology, expanding skills and Deaf, Oral Deaf, Hard of Hearing.

Monette Benoit, B.B.A., Certified Court Reporter, Certified Reporting Instructor, Certified Program Evaluator, Paralegal, may be reached at: and All American RealTime/Captioning Services, Inc.:

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