The short answer, is yes, you can work from home as a legal transcriber. Almost 70% of people doing legal transcription work from home as independent contractors. The key is as independent contractors.
Very few legal transcribers work a normal “job” even if it is from home. This is true of court reporters now as well. More and more we are seeing large agencies filling the roles of court reporter and legal transcriber with independent contractors. Many court reporters and transcribers will work for multiple agencies, some as many as 30 agencies at a time! This may be difficult to understand but once you understand how the work load is assigned you begin to see why this trend has happened.
If an attorney is scheduling a court reporter for a deposition, they usually do not know how long it will take. They may have a general idea, but it could be shorter or longer than they anticipated. If an agency has assigned a court reporter to a deposition, and now they get another order for one at the same time, they have to find another court reporter that is available. If you work for an agency that doesn’t have any orders for one day, you don’t work, so it is better to work for multiple agencies in order to work consistently.
This same idea is how most legal transcribers work from home for multiple court reporters or attorneys. Working from home allows them the ability to work for clients that are not local. So while their local attorney may not have a transcript for them one day, another client across the country may. Keeping overhead low for courts and attorneys by using transcribers that work from their own home office is essential for keeping costs low. If they have multiple audios one day, they can use more than one transcriber working from home to have someone working on all of them. This is especially helpful on larger depositions or hearings with quick turn around times. Transcribing 8 hours of audio may take one person 20 hours, so if it is needed in the morning, multiple transcribers would need to be working on the file.
Working from home as a transcriber is the norm these days, and works well for most parties involved. You do need to ensure you have the ability to make yourself to the work of course!