The People You Should Know In A Court Setting

If you are involved in a legal case, there are numerous people in numerous legal roles that could have a major role in your case.  As such, today I dedicated this article to looking at who these people are, and what they do.  Below, I take a look at some of the key roles of those involved in legal proceedings.

Judge:  A judge is the person who presides over the court matters.  There are many different types of judges, and they can either be appointed or elected. Judges are also responsible for writing their opinions, called Court Opinions, once a final decision has been made.

Jury:  A jury is a group of people selected for a criminal or civil trial.  The jury will hear the facts of the case and the arguments by the lawyers and make a decision, or verdict, in the case.  Juries generally consist of 12 people, although there may be exceptions. A jury will usually elect a foreman or presiding juror who will be responsible for presiding over discussions and speaking for the group.

Attorney:  The attorney is the person who can legally represent a particular party, either the plaintiff or a defendant.  To represent a person, the attorney must have attended law school, and be a member of the State Bar Association. Each state has its own bar association because attorneys are required to understand the rules of the state in which they are practicing law.  In a civil case, the party they are representing typically hires attorneys.  In a criminal case, the prosecuting attorney is usually a District Attorney, who is represents the state.  A District Attorney is a public official who is either appointed or elected.  Also, in a criminal case, if a defendant cannot afford to hire their own attorney, their attorney may be a Public Defender.   The government provides a Public Defender.  The States and Federal government are required to provide Public Defenders in criminal cases with the possibility of imprisonment.

Bailiff: The Bailiff is typically charged with the responsibility of helping to keep order in the court, much like a security guard.  During a criminal case, if the defendant is in jail, the Bailiff may be responsible for bringing the accused defendant too and from jail for during the court hearing.

Court Clerk:  The Court Clerk is the person who is responsible for filing papers with the court and keeping court records.  If you need to file a paper with the court, you typically do this through the Court Clerk, who in turn files it with the court, which will then become part of the court record.

Court Reporter:  The Court reporter is responsible for recording all testimony during a trial to create an official transcript.  Being a court report requires an ability to type (or write) very quickly, as they required to dictate every word spoken in court, in real-time.  The requirement from the National Court Reports Association is for court reporters to type 225 words per minute.   The information collected by the court reporter during a trial will become part of the record.  Often, the Court Reporter is a transcript, which may be given to the attorneys of the parties.  Attorneys generally like to review transcripts of their court proceedings to prepare for further stages in the litigation process.  The Court Reporter is usually required to swear under oath regarding the nature of the transcript.

Court Recorder:  A Court may also choose to use a Court Recorder.  Instead of typing or writing the events of the court process, the Recorder actually electronically records the proceeding.  In today’s world of technology, this is often one of the most trusted means of getting a verbatim accounting of the trial.

Court Artist:  The Court Artist is a very interest position because they can provide an intimate visual of the happenings during a court proceeding.  The Court Artists typically sketches the courtroom scene, during the actual hearing.  The images these artists create are often copyrighted and owned by the artist, but used as part of the court record.

To learn more about courts in your area, or to access court records, visit

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