Veteran Court Reporter Appears In Breaking Bad Spin-off ‘Better Call Saul’
Spin-off television show “Better Call Saul” is a prequel to the popular and award-winning Breaking Bad,” The Albuquerque Journal writes, and it is also a glimpse into the true-life responsibilities and importance of court reporters. Albuquerque woman Jennifer Bean appeared on the very first episode of “Better Call Saul.” Bean worked as court reporter, and she is now retired. The steno machine Bean uses in the episode is 100% genuine, and it’s the same one Bean used during her years as a court reporter.
The show’s co-creators, Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould, had nothing but praise for Bean’s performance: “She played the role very nicely, and added both to the reality of the scene and the humor. That look of exasperation she gives the three defendants is priceless.”
And Bean has good news for people who want to follow in her path. That is, others who wish to be court reporters or otherwise work for a court reporting agency, not aspiring extras. Although it varies, those working in professional court reporting and for court reporting services earn an average of $100,000 per year. (Extras, for those who are wondering, make just $10 hourly.) Moreover, Forbes lists the profession as one of the top careers that can be attained without a four-year college degree. And it’s true. Instead of going through a formal degree program, those who ultimately work for a court reporting agency must earn a certification and test into the profession. A Certified Verbatim Reporter (CVR) must type 250 words per minute and boast a 95% accuracy rate, for example.
The outlook is promising as well. Although there are just 21,200 court reporters (according to 2012 data), the industry will grow by at least 20% by 2020. The specifics may change somewhat. As the years progress, courts are likely to adopt electronic and/or digital recording methods, and court reporters will have to adapt accordingly.