Niki Robinson always wanted to be a court reporter. It didn’t happen right away, however. A native of Tallapoosa, Georgia, her first career was in accounting. During that time, court reporting remained in the back of her mind. When the timing was right, she enrolled at Brown College of Court Reporting (BCCR).
She started taking classes in the stenography method in the summer of 2012. She soon changed to the voice writing method. “My goal was to be a court reporter, not a stenographer or voice writer,” Robinson says.
Like many others in Georgia, Robinson’s choice of BCCR was an easy one; Brown is the only NCRA-approved court reporting program in Georgia. “The process was easy. I passed the online test, talked to someone at Brown College and away we went,” Robinson says. As a student at BCCR, Robinson loved the English classes, vocabulary in particular. “Learning new words is so much fun for me,” she says.
She also really enjoyed the theory classes, in which she learned how to use voice recognition software. In the voice writing method, court reporters use verbal shorthand to transcribe the proceedings. It’s a verbal equivalent of the shorthand their stenographer counterparts use. One word is used as a code for a phrase. Some of the codes she uses when voice writing include “yellow” for “credit card financial transaction fraud” and “dewski” for “Do you understand?” “You can take one word and turn it into something else,” she says.
Much of BCCR’s voice writing program is learning how to work smarter, not harder, such as, mastering the computer-aided transcription software. “Everyone has things that work better for them,” Robinson says. It’s also common for court reporters to communicate with each other when someone comes up with a code that is helpful.
Brown College of Court Reporting’s instructors were helpful during Robinson’s time as a student. “I had really great instructors,” Robinson says. “I’m one of the people where you get out of it what you put in.” After a year and a half of classes, Robinson graduated the voice writing program in December of 2014. “Brown set me up to be a successful court reporter,” Niki says. She’s still in contact with the staff and has been invited to BCCR as a guest speaker for students.
Niki says she was really fortunate to have a job lined up before finishing school. One of her acquaintances was elected to serve as a chief judge in a Georgia circuit court. “I figured I would just start freelancing. Since he won, he reached out,” she says. Her advice to court reporting students is to not give up and to find a mentor: “It’s a beautiful, rewarding career. Don’t give up; you can do this.” She says that to succeed in court reporting, you need to be disciplined and self-motivated.
On days when court is not in session, she doesn’t have to go to the courthouse and can work on something else, such as freelance work from home. She supplements her income with freelance work such as depositions and other court work. “You’re only limited by yourself.
How much you make depends how much you work,” Robinson says. The variety is one of the biggest perks of her career in the courtroom. “I love the variety. No two days are the same,” she says. “You never know what you’re going to get.”
Robinson has enjoyed the freedom and the income that came with her career change. “It’s allowed me to pursue other things,” she says. When she’s not in court, she likes to travel and experience new things. “My boyfriend travels for work. When I’m not in court, I go with him,” Robinson says. She is also working toward achieving her life coach certification. “Some days it’s hard, but I love what I do,” Robinson says. “I’m amazed at what I get to do for a living.”
Niki changed her life when she enrolled at Brown College of Court Reporting. If you’re interested in talking or typing your way to an in-demand career, Brown College might be the perfect fit for you.
With more than 47 years of experience in court reporting education, Brown College’s passionate and knowledgeable instructors will help guide you toward transcribing at a 225-words-per-minute (wpm) clip. At BCCR, you can learn the voice writing method, like Niki did, or the stenography method. Day and night class options are available on campus and online, making it easy to fit a court reporting education into your schedule.
Enrolling at Brown College of Court Reporting will prepare you to be a highly trained professional in our legal system. For more information contact an admissions representative at (800) 849-0703 or visit online at www.bccr.edu.