The Internet is full of articles with the title, “What Is Business Attire?” You could argue that the answer depends on the business in question. Business attire for interior designers may be different than business attire for bank officers. The South Carolina Court Administration gives general guidance for its official court reporters in its Court Reporter Manual: “All court reporters are required to dress in a professional manner. Business attire must be worn at all times in the courthouse.” Unfortunately, those are rather unspecific guidelines, so CompuScripts would like to offer three considerations for building a court reporter’s wardrobe.
Court reporters are members of the legal industry. And while they may never introduce evidence to a jury, their dress should be in keeping with that of other legal professionals. The Balance Careers suggests that in the legal field, suits in conservative shades are always appropriate for women. Women may also pair dress pants or skirts with blouses and sweaters or jackets. Closed-toe heels or flats are the order of the day, and court reporters should rely on local culture to decide if panty hose are a requirement. For men, suits are also appropriate, as are dress slacks and khakis with collared shirts and sweaters or jackets. Men should also choose leather dress shoes with dark socks. All court reporters should avoid ill-fitting or boldly patterned attire, and athletic wear is never acceptable. A court reporter’s wardrobe should not distract from the deposition proceedings.
A second consideration of a court reporter’s wardrobe is movement. In an earlier blog, CompuScripts reported that the equipment court reporters use in a deposition may weigh anywhere from 25-45 pounds. This means that men and women will be lifting, carrying, and bending to set up in the deposition room. Therefore, court reporters should avoid clothing that impedes movement. They should also avoid clothing that might expose more skin than considered professional. Court reporters should avoid items of clothing that rise or drop to expose the lower back. Accordingly, when wearing skirts or dresses, women should think about how they position the steno machine when deciding whether or not to wear panty hose.
The consideration of comfort during a long deposition doesn’t mean that sweatpants are suitable attire. Court reporters often sit for long stretches of time, so clothing that pinches or bunches is unsuitable. For women court reporters, Woman’s Day magazine has an excellent article on choosing clothing that fits comfortably, and for men, Business Insider offers a similar guide. The temperature of a deposition room may also be different from location to location. Therefore, a court reporter’s wardrobe should include layers such as blazers or sweaters which can be added or removed.
A comfortable, professional wardrobe that allows for movement does not have to be hard to put together or expensive. NBC News offers tips on building a “capsule wardrobe” featuring pieces that can be mixed and matched to create multiple outfits. Real Simple magazine offers women 14 sites for affordable business clothing, and the Primer Magazine offers similar recommendations for men.
If you are new to the court reporting field, CompuScripts can mentor you in every facet of your career. Founded in 1993, CompuScripts has worked with court reporters in South Carolina and across the nation. If you are looking for a court reporting firm with which to work, contact CompuScripts Court Reporters & Legal Videographers.