Let’s get started!
Tell us about yourself and why you decided to pursue this career.
Prior to being a legal transcriptionist, I was a Criminal Investigator with my counties’ Sheriff’s Department, a Police Officer in a nearby city and also a legal secretary. I quit law enforcement after I got remarried and we started the adoption process to find a child to adopt because I did not want to be in law enforcement and raise a family.
I was already raising goats on our farm and was finding it hard to be at home for them because I was at the Sheriff’s Department before the sun came up and was still there when the sun went down.
Shortly after I left law enforcement, my husband and I adopted our son, who will be 11 in December. And when he was 14 months old, we found out that I was finally pregnant! And when she was born, I had been trying to get pregnant and deliver a baby for 17 years! Our beautiful baby girl just turned nine years old this past Wednesday. So I guess you can say that I have my hands full with raising our children and taking care of our cattle farm.
But I still had the pull to be involved with the law field. So, I attempted to start a transcription business (both general and legal.)
However, I could never find legitimate work and I was just fumbling through the process. So, I shelved the idea and dream. And it wasn’t until this past May, I was sent an email detailing Janet Shaughnessy’s new Legal Transcription course through Transcribe Anywhere. And I knew that I had to take the course and that was going to be my way into the world of legal transcription.
What is legal transcription?
Legal transcription is where you take an audio, video file, or notes and type out what is said and put it in the proper format, depending on what the file is (i.e., deposition, attorney’s notes for file, interrogations, etc.)
Why did you choose Legal Transcription: Theory & Practice?
I chose Legal Transcription: Theory & Practice because it was the only course that I could find that offered course work specifically for the field of law. And I’m really glad that I did!
How long did it take you to complete the course?
I finished it in about two and a half months. I was traveling off and on during that time as well with my husband for his job. So, it took me a little longer than it should have if I wasn’t traveling.
How long after finishing the course did you get your first client?
Less than a month.
How much do you make a month? Do you work part time or full time?
My base rate is $1.50 per audio minute. On average it takes a good transcriptionist four hours to transcribe a one-hour audio file.
So, let’s say that you are transcribing a file that is five hours long.
Your five-hour audio file (which is 300 minutes) multiplied by my base rate of $1.50 would bring in $450. If that file took you 20 hours to finish, you just made $22.50 an hour. And if the client needs a quicker turnaround time (say 48 hours or overnight) then your rate doubles or triples! There is money to be made in legal transcription.
I work when I work. I honestly don’t know that I would call it part time or full time. I put a lot of hours into my business, but some days I don’t work as many hours as other days. When I have a job to do for a client, I like to work as hard as I can to get it done. I don’t necessarily spread it out over many days just because my turnaround time is five days.
What are your expenses (business-related expenses)?
You have to have internet, a transcription program (there’s several out there but I use and love the StartStop OmniVersal program), a computer, a transcription pedal, and a good headset specifically for transcribing. There are other things that are good to have but not a requirement like an email address for your business, a website, business cards, flyers, etc.
What are your duties? Can you describe a day in your life?
My day may not be typical because I start out my day with homeschooling my two children. But, once they’re done schooling, I then start on my transcription work. I open the transcription software. Then I load the file that I want to transcribe into the transcription software. Then I open up Microsoft Word. And then I start typing the audio file.
What is your least favorite part/hardest part of being a legal transcriptionist?
I would say that the hardest part of being a transcriptionist would be trying to listen to people with accents. Sometimes it gets frustrating trying to figure out what someone is saying because of their accent.
What is your favorite part of being a legal transcriptionist?
I love being able to still be connected to the field of law. I love listening to all of the case work. It’s really interesting to me!
What traits do you feel are necessary to being a good, successful legal transcriptionist? Which ones are taught and which ones are inherent?
I feel that to be a good, successful legal transcriptionist, a person needs to be attentive, a good listener, someone with a strong grammar background is helpful, and that can type. A fast typing speed is not a must have when you first begin because it will come with practice.
Do you have any advice for someone considering this career?
My advice would be to take the course! If you’re serious about taking making a career in the legal transcription field you should start it off right by gaining the skills of the trade. And the best course that I have found is from Transcribe Anywhere with the Legal Transcription: Theory & Practice course!
There are so many valuable things about this course! Janet threw in everything that you could ever possibly need to do the job at hand no matter what the scenario is. She gives you assignments in every discipline related to the legal field and she gives you the templates that you will need to do the job.
How have you benefited from Legal Transcription: Theory & Practice?
I would have to say that completing the course has given me the confidence to start my own business because it equipped me with the skills and the templates that I need to do the job. I am now able to make money to help out our family’s finances while being able to still be home to raise our children and to homeschool them.
Any final thoughts?
I was a little skeptical at first as well. But my skepticism went out the window once I made the decision to sign up for the course and began doing the assignments! All I can say is, “JUST DO IT!”