Rose Saucedo: L.A. Superior Criminal Court Court Reporter

"See, when I was young, if anyone was catty or raised their voice or was sarcastic, I'd just cry. And now that I'm older, if anyone tries to do that, I stop them in their tracks and won't tolerate it. So I'm better off in my very independent-type job."

From the start, Saucedo knew her strengths lay in the secretarial field. And after meeting with a guidance counselor, she immersed herself in her school's "new" court reporting program.

"I knew I didn't want to be like my friend's sister who'd been at a J.C. for six years," she says.

"After a year of general courses in 1975, I decided not to continue with pre-selection activities of a sorority," Saucedo continues. She instead focused her time and attention on classes, "whizzed through the program in almost record time, and [received] [her] A.A."

Her ambitious work ethic continued, helping her pass the court reporting tests in both Nevada and California.

"[I] accepted a job offer and worked in Clark County's justice court in Las Vegas hoping I'd have an edge over others with a few months' experience to present to California employers."

However, a hiring freeze throughout California forced Saucedo to look elsewhere. Fortunately, she landed a job at Union Pacific Railroad as a steno clerk assisting with employee investigations.

"I loved it," she says. "But deregulation six years later forced me to decide whether to transfer to Philadelphia (I was now married with two daughters) or take a year's salary as severance pay."

She opted for the latter and returned to court reporting as a deposition reporter in 1985.

"In '89, '90, and '91 I taught court reporting at my old J.C. on a part-time basis. It was great. In 1991 I job-shared with another reporter in a municipal court as an independent contractor two or three days a week and loved it because I rarely had to produce transcripts."

Then, continues Saucedo, in 1997 she accepted her first full-time position in a high-volume transcript court.

"Very hard, but I'm very responsible and coped with it. In 1998 muni and superior courts unified, and we lost our independent status and were forced to take the superior court testing, and I passed, and since January 1999 I've been an official with full benefits."

Being an "official" means working a 9:00-to-5:00 job in the courthouse and earning a salary, as opposed to being a deposition reporter who works as an independent contractor.

Her responsibilities are numerous and include taking down records verbatim, producing transcripts, and submitting them to the criminal clerks for pay. And while her career is both mentally and physically taxing, she continues to thrive and grow, admitting, "My whole career has been a great experience because I've branched out within my field doing [depositions], teaching, being in the court system, [all of] which makes me feel so complete as a reporter."

"You learn a lot about the law, be it criminal or civil, and have a better understanding of what's occurring in the court system," she adds.

Q. What do you do for fun?
A. Go to the movie theater, garden, and love cruising. Pretty simple, huh?
Q. What music is on your iPod right now?
A. What iPod?
Q. What is the last magazine you read?
A. Westways by Triple A. (I know, I know.)
Q. What is your favorite TV show?
A. I rarely watch TV, but Sunday I do watch Desperate Housewives with my girls.
Q. Who is your role model?
A. My ex-husband's mother, who passed away...without her even knowing it, she taught me how to keep a family happily united, how to have a close-knit family. To me she'll always be my mother-in-law and a role model.

And one of the biggest lessons Saucedo has learned from court reporting has been not to judge the defendant for what he or she is accused of.

"I used to catch myself glaring at a defendant when I'd read the awful charges. [Now, however,] I know there are two sides to each story and not everyone is guilty of the charges they are accused of."

As a seasoned court reporter, Saucedo encourages other independent and ambitious job seekers with her advice:

"It's a well-paid career, but it's quite taxing mentally and physically. I recommended to my students and do recommend to anyone who asks to start off part-time in the field because it's a lot of responsibility, and you'll definitely burn out in six months if you don't start off slowly, build up the experience. It certainly helped my daughter."

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