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The First Famous Freelance Court Reporter...
Perhaps the most famous court reporter is English novelist Charles Dickens, author of A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist and Great Expectations, among other classic books. He started out as a law clerk in May 1827. Dickens managed petty cash, ran errands, delivered documents and other similar tasks.
Instead of becoming an attorney, he turned to court reporting. Dickens learned the Gurney system of shorthand, something that often took people three years to learn, but he mastered it in about three months. It has been said that his outstanding memory is how he learned so quickly.
By 1828, he began working as a freelance court stenographer and kept the record with a quill instead of a machine. Court reporting exposed him to many kinds of people whose personalities and accents he later captured to create memorable scenes in his well-known novels. Dickens produced 15 novels in his lifetime, including the unfinished book The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
Dickens died of a stroke on June 9, 1870. He is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era, and his books are still widely read today.