If you’re interested in transcription work, and as you explore the field, you’ll probably come to notice that there are many niche fields of transcription. One large niche is that of ‘legal typing’. What does it mean? What will you do? How will you do it? Today Legal Typing answers all these questions (and more) in this handy basic guide to legal transcribers and their work.
We are talking ‘legal’ as in the law, right?
Yes, you are completely correct. Legal transcribers offer their services to those in a wide breadth of legal industries.
Did your mind jump straight to the courts and your favourite cop show? While criminal law is certainly one of the fields a legal transcriber may find themselves working in, it’s far from the only one. Many legal-centric fields require quality transcription work. These may also encroach on other specialities- like property law. No matter the legal firm’s field of speciality, however, you will find a lot of overlap in what you do.
So, what do legal transcribers do?
Every practising legal firm, regardless of their end clients, generates an awful lot of paperwork daily. These will range from letters to other legal practitioners and their clients, through interviews, depositions and other testimony, right through to the meticulous ‘file notes’ each professional must keep. Yet, for these practitioners, keeping up with the administrative side of their caseload can be a huge drag. It takes away time from their clients, and the paying side of their business.
This is where legal transcribers step into the breach. You will take their notes, often in audio format, and convert them to the end documents needed. This provides you with lucrative, steady work, and them with the outsourced administrative work they require (and peace of mind it is done consistently and professionally). It’s a win-win for all parties.
How do legal transcribers do this work?
It’s common for legal transcribers to work through a specialist agency like Legal Typing. That way you have a steady source of work, and some extra layers of protection between you and the end customer. You are also able to leverage their expertise and experience to help you do your job better.
Once you have signed up with a service, you will begin receiving work. At Legal Typing, we work through our bespoke portal, making it easier for clients to communicate with their legal transcriber. You will receive a set of instructions, and some raw data. Sometimes this will be in the form of written notes, be it scanned or typed. Mostly, however, you will receive audio files you will need to transcribe.
At this point, it’s over to you. You will be required to take the raw data, and render it into the end format needed by the client. Most often, you will be required to render the work ‘verbatim’, recording each and every thing you hear. Sometimes, however, you may be required to format it according to instructions. Regardless, you will have the responsibility of capturing the information, reworking it, proofing, and submitting back to the client.
What tools to legal transcribers use?
At the heart of your toolkit as a legal transcriber is a stable, fast internet connection. You will, of course, need a PC and word processing programs to do the work. And, as you will have to be contactable for your work team, a reachable phone number is a must too, although end clients will not receive this.
To whet your appetite in the field, that’s all you will need to start with. Over time, however, you will find the setup a little slow and clunky. That’s why we strongly advise aspiring legal transcribers to invest in some specialist equipment, too. Audio transcription software will take a huge load off of your shoulder. Not only are they easier to stop/start, rewind and more, but it will also make the process of adding timestamps to your work super simple. You will also have the opportunity to tweak poor-quality audio to be more user-friendly. A comfortable headset, and a foot-pedal to take the strain off of your wrists, will also make for great investments.
Is legal transcription right for me?
Only you can truly answer this question, of course! Could you enjoy the field of law, and have an interest in working on its fringes? Do legal matters (and jargon) interest you? Are your grammar and proof-reading skills strong, and can you work precisely and speedily to achieve the client’s aims? Remember that long hours in front of a PC screen will be involved.
If so, then this could well be the enjoyable and challenging work-from-home opportunity you have been waiting for. While deadlines will still be around, you will have ultimate flexibility of when and where you work. Working as a legal transcriber is the perfect alternative for those with experience as paralegals, legal secretaries or other legal-field roles who want a more flexible, gentle career change. Or, of course, the keen-to-learn go-getter who’s interested in working in this field and its challenges.
Does becoming a legal transcriber sound like the job for you? Legal Typing is currently looking to expand its team. Why not consider putting in an application today? You will be working with a skilled, experienced team with decades in the field and an established customer base. We look forward to welcoming you on-board.