There are a lot of reporters from California here and I was wondering if anyone could tell me what the rules are regarding an out-of-state reporter taking depos there. Some states give you a year and I was wondering if CA was the same.
You need a license to do a depo here. You have to pass the CSR. As a working, out-of-state reporter, you probably qualify to sit for the exam without having to pass a qualifier like a student would. It's given three times a year now. The website for our court reportering board is courtreportsboard.ca.gov.
There is some stuff you can do uncertified here, but not regular depos.
The Federal Court (at least in San Francisco) is letting uncertified people pro tem because of the reporter shortage. Because it's Federal Court and not State Court they don't have the same rules. To do a depo or work in court you need a CSR license. You can do some hearings without a CSR, but you can't report a deposition or work in a state court. Hope that explains it.
I've heard it said that if a case is a federal case, in other words, captioned IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT OF [blank], anywhere, that an out-of-state reporter can come into California and cover those depositions. I read in another thread that "because of the reporter shortage," CA is waiving the certification requirements to permit reporters to do day work in court. If that's so, CA must be booming with work and rates must be sky-high. (Said with just a bit of sarcasm). So is there such a need for reporters that perhaps your own firms are encouraging out-of-towners to come it to help you cover your work? And is the bending of the rules for day work in court there because of a serious shortage of competent bodies, or is it more like a serious shortage of money that's disguised as a reporter shortage? Personally, I think any perceived reporter shortage ended months, if not a full year, ago in many parts of the country.
I know that people are saying it's slow. This is my personal experience in CA. I am up $6K over this time last year. Yeah, I feel like I am working less, but the money is not showing that nor are the amount of pages that I'm producing. Maybe I'm doing fewer, longer depos. Maybe I'm producing more faster, getting to be a better writer. Maybe I have a better scopist this year. I don't know.
I've also notified a couple of the agencies that I worked for that I raised some of my rates. That may account for some of it. I'm trying to get all the agencies that I work for in the same ballpark on rates that I get paid.
So definitely there is work in California. It ebbs and flows daily, weekly, monthly. Some areas are busier than others. Los Angeles is very busy and has good rates.
As for the Federal Court. I think they do have a shortage. I don't think a lot of reporters want to go into the court system. I know what happens with the Superior Court is the reporters have to work all day and go home and produce transcripts. But that can get very tiring very quickly. As freelancers, we have the option of taking time off to work on transcripts. I think the Superior Court has less flexibility that way.
My friend just got hired on at the Federal Court. It was quick. She turned in her application about a week ago. Had her interview Wed. Is scheduled to start pro tem Monday. I think they wanted her to start yesterday, but she had depos scheduled.
I'll have her write here on what it's like to be a Federal reporter after she's settled in. I've attached the Federal Pay Table. That's what you're making in salary. I don't know about transcripts, what the rate is. As pro tem, you get $300 for a full day, and I think $152 for half day. Might be slightly higher for certified realtime writers.
So it definitely sounds like California is busy. Is the reporter shortage over? I don't know. Maybe in the freelance world it is becase fewer and fewer reporters want to go into court. But in the courthouse, it sounds like we're getting replaced bec. they can't find reporters to take some of those jobs.
The other thing is cost-of-living. Remember, it can be very expensive to live in California. See my blog.