If you’re considering a career as a home-based transcriptionist, the legal industry may have caught your eye. Legal typists offer a key service to the legal services niche, and it can be both lucrative and fun field to consider. As industry specialists, Legal Typing has some key tips to offer you, so keep reading for more information.
What is home-based transcription work, anyway?
We’ve touched a little on the idea of home-based transcription work before in this blog, so feel free to discover our other great resources. However, let’s take another look at the field.
Firstly, of course, you are working from home here. This gives you a host of additional flexibility not present in a traditional 9-5 working environment. You’re free to adapt your schedule around other needs and distractions you have in your life and work at a time and place of your choosing. Of course, this doesn’t mean you’re free to slack off! You will still have to meet deadlines and turn-around times on your work. But no one is actually dictating when and where you do this work. So if you need a little time to, say, pick up the kids or even breastfeed, there’s no one hanging over your shoulder with a stopwatch.
Transcription-based work involves taking someone’s notes in one format and presenting it in a different, finished format for them. Mostly, this means taking audio files and converting them to the written word, but there are many other types of transcription. You could be recording video output, or taking ‘note to self’ type notes and reworking them to a specified format ready for end consumption.
This is the largest bulk of work legal transcriptionists do. You will take the notes of a legal professional, assimilated and format them, and return them in a specified format. This could be for use as ‘file notes’ within the legal practice, dispositions, interviews, or a document between the legal professionals and their clients, or other legal counterparts.
Working in a specific legal niche can be a rewarding and well-paying option. So what does one need to do this style of transcription work from home?
What experience is needed for a legal typist?
Firstly, it’s important to realise that this is somewhat of a specialised niche. That means your experience and skillset needs to be a little different from normal, too.
That doesn’t mean you necessarily need to have legal experience, or legal qualifications, to get the job done. These will be incredibly favourable, of course! Many who undertake this line of work have worked as paralegals, legal secretaries, and even legal professionals themselves. If you happen to fit those categories and are looking for a more relaxed way to make money from your experience, then this could be perfect for you.
So, I can’t be a legal transcriptionist if I don’t have legal experience?
While existing legal experience is certainly favourable, that doesn’t mean you are necessarily excluded if you don’t have any. Easier legal transcription work can be done without strict legal experience if you’re willing to work hard and learn. So what matters in a legal transcriptionist?
- Commitment to work: This may be a flexible job, and you may not have a fixed office, but it’s essential you enter with the right mindset. You will have deadlines and need to produce quality work. It isn’t a ‘mess around’ way to earn cash!
- The right setup: Most legal typing work is done digitally. So you will need, at the very least, a PC with a stable internet connection. You will be using word processing software for your work. As you gain experience, you will find that investing in some transcription software will be to your benefit. These allow you to easily add timestamps, rewind and improve audio quality. Items like a comfortable, high-quality headset and foot pedal will also be beneficial over time.
- Willingness to learn: You will have to become familiar with the industry-specific jargon over time. The legal industry is different from others, and you will have to be comfortable getting up to speed with this. Each client will have slightly different formatting and requirements. They don’t want to ping-pong data backwards and forwards for endless revision… so you must be quick to learn and deliver what the client expects, be it verbatim transcription or more ‘intelligent’ editing.
- Dedication to quality: You will have to proofread your documents. You will also need to follow good grammar rules and meet client expectations. Again, clients want to receive their work timeously, hassle-free and without errors. They don’t want to waste lots of time requesting edits and edits again. You should be invested in producing quality work first time, every time.
- Enjoyment of the work and subject: It’s important you enjoy your work, so an interest in the legal arena helps tremendously.
For some types of legal typing work, this is all you will require- so are you ready to get started?
How can I find home-based legal transcription work?
As this is somewhat of a niche industry, it is often easier to use an agency like Legal Typing to help you find work, unless you have many connections in the industry. This ensures you (and the client) have some legal safeguards in place to ensure payment. You also get the advantage of their established client base and a guarantee of a steady stream of work.
Does legal transcription sound like a field you would be interested in? Do you enjoy a challenge, have a great work ethic, and an interest in the law? Then you could be the legal transcriptionist Legal Typing is looking for! Why not get in touch with the team today?