How To Become a Legal Transcriptionist


Becoming a legal transcriptionist may seem tricky at first.

However, throughout this article, we’re going to talk you through everything you need to know to about how legal transcriptionists become legal transcriptionists.

And, after reading this article, you’ll have a much better understanding of how a legal transcriptionist career works.

What Is a Legal Transcriptionist?

A transcriptionist is a job title of someone whose main responsibility is to transfer audio recordings into written text.

A legal transcriptionist is the version of this job in the legal/law field.

However, because of the nature of the legal field and that it can be more complicated than other industries, there are also often other tasks involved for legal transcriptionists.

These include:

  • Preparing legal documents through revision and proofreading
  • Drafting legal documents such as pleadings and discovery
  • Revising previously created legal transcriptions as needed
  • Preparing legal documents and paperwork for filing

Plus, as Law is a specialist industry, there is also a lot of legal terminology and research involved too.

For all of these reasons, legal transcriptionists are also a higher-paid position than regular transcriptionists.

This is simply because of the additional work involved in the job, and the preparation.

How Much Are Legal Transcriptionists Paid?

To help you get a better understanding of how much you could earn as a legal transcriptionist, we have gathered some statistics.

Legal transcriptionists earn an average of around $60,000 (≈ £44k) per year. (Transcribe Anywhere)

You can earn anywhere from $25 ( ≈ £18) to $45 (≈ £33) per hour as a legal transcriptionist (Transcription Certification Institute)

Although these statistics and estimates are American, they should still be able to give you a good idea of the legal transcriptionist career and how much it pays.

If you are transcribing as a freelancer you can also usually charge anywhere from £0.90 to £2. As a legal transcriptionist, it should be towards the higher end of this range.

What Skills Are Needed For Legal Transcription?

For the career of legal transcriptionists, there are various skills needed. Some of these come from the transcriptionist-side of things, while others come from the legal side. Below, we’ve given you a detailed description of what they are.

Spelling, Punctuation, and Fluency – To work in a legal transcription job, you need to be able to have a sufficient understanding of the language you are looking to transcribe into. This means you should have good spelling and punctuation as this will allow you to deliver high-quality transcripts that are needed in the legal field.

Typing & Hearing – Legal transcriptionists will of course need to be able to type quickly, and also have good hearing. With this career, you will also be able to earn more the faster you type. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should be flying through your work and sacrificing the quality. But, if you can type fast without sacrificing the quality, it will pay off.

Legal terminology – Of course, in the legal field, you are going to need to know about the terminology. That’s why, if you want to go into this career it would probably make sense that you have some interest in law, and are eager to learn about it. Otherwise, you might just be stuck in a career that you don’t enjoy at all.

How To Start a Legal Transcriptionist Career

Becoming a legal transcriptionist isn’t something that you can do overnight. This process can take a long time, as you must learn the needed skills first.

Once you have started learning the needed skills, you’ll have to start gaining experience. You can do this by practicing legal transcription for yourself, or applying for entry-level jobs.

If you are trying to land a legal transcription job without any previous experience, it may also be easier to aim for a standard transcription job first.

This way, once you do go for the legal transcription job, you can show that you already have some experience in transcription.

Doing so will increase your chances because now the company you want to work with knows that you have just had to learn the legal terms instead of legal transcription from scratch.

Is There a Certification Needed?

While there isn’t an official certification needed to become a legal transcriptionist, it varies from job to job as they all have different requirements.

Often, they will just make sure that you have at least a high-school diploma. Plus, you will also have to be able to pass a test that is created by the company for legal transcriptionists.

Taking a Training Course

While there isn’t an official certification required, it still makes sense to take some type of formal training program online.

Because just like with any other profession, there are still things you need to learn to be able to do this work.

You can find various of these courses online that will help you understand how to complete the work which includes everything from acquiring the skills to legal research. You could try looking for legal secretary training or court reporters courses, or perhaps a career diploma about the legal system.

Often, they will also show you places where you can land freelancing work from home, part-time, or even full-time jobs.

Legal Transcription Equipment

The equipment needed by a legal transcriptionist is mostly the same as any other transcriptionists.

This means you won’t need anything special compared to when you are normally transcribing.

You can even get started without any special equipment, although some tools will help you transcribe faster and more accurately.

Transcription Software – There are many pieces of software out there that can help you transcribe more efficiently. Some of them help you manage everything from one tab, while others help you manage the audio better.

Some transcriptionists also just use Word which is okay too. If you are looking to learn about what these tools are to help yourself transcribe more efficiently we recently covered them in Best Transcription Tools.

Headphones – Having a pair of headphones that sounds nice and clear is an essential piece of equipment for transcriptionists. It doesn’t only let them listen to the audio closely, but it also lets them block out background noise which is very important too.

Footpedal – Last but not least, there is also the foot pedal which helps transcriptionists control the audio file without taking their hands off the keyboard. This is useful because it allows the transcriptionist to continue typing without having to take their attention off the keyboard.

Quite often, transcriptionists describe this piece of equipment as a “game-changer”, although it does take some getting used to.

Finding Places To Land Your First Job

One of the easier ways to land your first job is probably to become a freelancer. This way, the company or law firm you are working with does not have to make any long-term commitments.

Because of this, it will be easier to get law firms to hire you as there is less risk involved for them.

Don’t get us wrong, we still suggest that you go through a training course first and make sure you have learned all the required skills mentioned throughout this article.

Once you have done so, you can use some of these ideas to find work as a legal transcriptionist:

  • Online freelancing websites
  • Job openings & Websites (Indeed, etc.)
  • Specialized Transcription Job websites
  • Our Social Media (More on that later on)

All of these can work well and can help you get your first job, whether it’s part-time or freelancing.

You will usually want to charge per minute for the transcription of court proceedings etc.

Don’t Miss Out On Career Opportunities

We hope you have enjoyed this article on how to become a legal transcriptionist and its benefits.

As we mentioned earlier in this article, there are also frequent legal transcriptionist opportunities on our social media.

This is because we are an international transcription agency who are working with clients from all over the world.

Because of this, we are often looking to hire new talent to help us with our clients’ projects.

That’s why on our social media channels we also share our transcription jobs with our followers. From there, anyone can go ahead and send us a message to get more info.

Follow Us For Career Opportunities

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