Work from Home as a Legal Transcriptionist

“Transcriptionist” is one of those work-from-home buzzwords often associated with online job scams. However, legitimate at-home transcription work is available within the legal realm. If you are an experienced legal secretary or assistant who wants to work remotely, or if you are a professional interested in training for a new telecommute job, consider telecommuting as a legal transcriptionist.

Description. The primary responsibility of a legal transcriptionist is to listen to recorded dictations, depositions, testimonies, or attorneys notes and accurately key in data onto a computer, thereby transcribing voice information to typewritten information. Additionally, legal transcriptionists may be required to format transcribed documents under specific directions from their employer, prepare legal pleadings, track deadlines and monitor schedules, file documents, and provide proofreading services.

Education. Formal education as a legal transcriptionist is not required; however, some transcriptionists earn certifications via online training programs or they receive an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies to help familiarize themselves with legal concepts and terminology. Most at-home legal transcriptionists have a high school diploma or GED and have received onsite on-the-job training through work with attorneys’ offices before beginning remote assignments.

Equipment. Depending on the contract or employment agreement arranged between a legal transcriptionist and his/her employer, the transcriptionist may be provided with job-specific equipment to use while working from home. Alternatively, the responsibility of obtaining proper equipment may be the sole responsibility of the hired candidate. Every trade has its tools, and these are typically the ones required to work from home has a legal transcriptionist.

-Home computer
-High-speed Internet access for downloading and/or streaming digital files
-Foot pedal capable of manipulating sound (e.g. starting/stoping, slowing down/speeding up)

Necessary Skills. Working from home as a legal transcriptionist requires expertise necessary to perform the legal work demands, as well as skills demanded of a telecommute worker. Ensure that you are prepared for work as a legal transcriptionist by measuring yourself against this skills checklist.

-Advanced and accurate typing skills
-Strong attention to detail
-High-level command of the English language, including proper spelling and punctuation
-Outstanding ability to self-edit and proofread
-Working knowledge of common legal terminology, pleadings, and procedures
-Keen listening ability
-Excellent ability to multitask
-Capable of working independently under minimal supervision
-Follows instructions completely

Salary. Legal transcriptionists who work from home earn comparable rates to those who work in a traditional office environment. If an at-home legal transcriptionist is hired as a full-time, regular employee then the transcriptionist an be expected to earn salaried income. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, legal secretaries, assistants, and paralegals earned an average annual salary of $46,680, as of May 2010. Legal transcriptionists who work as independent contractors are paid on a per-project basis, and can earn between $15 and $25 per hour, depending on skill level and experience.

Hours. The time spent working as a telecommute legal transcriptionist will depend on your employment classification. Regular employees will work a full-time or part-time schedule similar to in-office legal transcriptionists. Freelance legal transcriptionists are in charge of securing their own projects, so hours will vary based on a given contract. However, like many remote workers in other fields, work from home legal transcriptionists may find themselves working evenings and weekends to complete complex assignments.

Are you an experienced legal transcriptionist who wants to make the transition to working from home, or are you searching for a new and challenging at-home career?

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