Okay, I'm just a TAD peeved, to say the least. On a job right now.  I just had an attorney say to me this morning, "I'll take a mini, electronic and regular.  I'll take a rough if there's no charge."

Me (almost speechless in disbelief): "Really? People are giving away free roughs?"

He: "Oh, yeah. It's getting really competitive out there. And we take the rough electronically only."

I asked him which firms were giving away free roughs. He said two firms that he uses all the time. (Please don't use any of the firms I work for -- EVER.) I asked for names.  He wouldn't say specifically, only that they are small firms in San Jose. Well, there goes your argument for small firms being so "ethical" and "righteous," giving away your hard work for free.  Then again he could be simply lying to me to see what I'd/we'd be willing to give him for FREE, if anything.

I mean, is this really what small firms are stooping to, to compete?  "So instead of little gifts, we'll work for you for free."  Sure, it's no sweat off the firm's back; it's at your (the reporter's) expense. I know none of the big, bad, dirty national firms that I work for is giving away free roughs.

Me: "Well, we don't give it away, so I suppose you don't want one."

He: "No."

Good! Then happy note-taking to you, sir.  I hope you brought some extra pens so you don't run out of ink.

I don't know about you, but I'd rather quit the profession the day I have to give away a free rough -- or any work product, for that matter.

I mean, wow!  Just WOW!!!  I have other choice words, but I'm sure they are entirely inappropriate for a semi-private forum.

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I think reporters giving away our work product is worse than contracting.  Stop giving stuff away!!

This stuff has been going on for years in our state.  Just learned recently that a major firm in my area has been giving away real time AND Etrans. 

"I think reporters giving away our work product is worse than contracting." -- I couldn't agree more. Worse than free lunches, doughnuts, bagels, points reward incentives, cookies, even gift cards.  Yeah, I said it, free roughs are worse than gift cards.

Oh my goodness !  This is crazy.  I have not heard of anybody giving away free roughs until today!
Earlier I saw someone posted on the DRA FB that she was at a job where if there were three copy orders, all the attorneys got a free rough, without ordering a copy?  Now I just saw this post here. 

Today an attorney called me and said, words to the effect of, "we want to take a realtime depo (we want live feed) - but we may not want the transcript!   I nearly fell over.  Someone must be doing strange things for attorneys to even ask for something so stupid.  I told him that you cannot have realtime without getting the transcript, just like a rough draft!

I do know of large agencies (won't name them) that are giving roughs to attorneys without them buying a certified copy, they charge a little more for the rough and don't have to produce.   They are ripping off the reporters!!


Also, I heard the latest and greatest is the clever cost-shifting that is going on, so they appear to be offering page rates that a reporter cannot survive on, but really they are putting it someone else in the bill.

This frustrates me to no end.  Personally, I do not know of any small agency giving away things.  There is no competing with the large contracting agencies -

Thanks for sharing this - let's all please stick together and not let this start.   Whoever started roughs in the first place?

I am so old, I remember good old-fashioned expedites!

Unfortunately there are many small firms who have done this to keep their clients.  It's not just the big firms.  And there are a number of different reasons why.  And I agree with the shady billing practices.  The firm owners I work with have seen bills from competitors with a low O&1 page rate, but then exorbitant bills to copy attorneys, exhibit copy fees, processing fees, and delivery fees.  Just a short reply - I should be finishing up my depo I'm working on instead of posting comments ;o

"I do know of large agencies (won't name them) that are giving roughs to attorneys without them buying a certified copy, they charge a little more for the rough and don't have to produce.   They are ripping off the reporters!!"

I would never turn in the rough in this case. I would rather not get paid for the rough at all AND not get a copy order, but I would NEVER agree to selling just the rough without a final certified copy. There is no law or regulation that REQUIRES reporters to do a rough.

Well . . . on second thought, perhaps I would agree to this. It would take more time and extra effort, but I would just have to make sure that it's REALLY ROUGH.  Hey, you get what you pay for.

Why not all steno, Quyen??  Let 'em take that ball and run with it.  Lol.

Hi, Amanda.  ow about this:  For a paid rough draft, I will write against my own dictionary.  For an unpaid rough draft, I will write against my BFF's dictionary.  Choose wisely!

M.A.

TAO fun he!!

Hi, Amanda. I'm certainly not opposed to this. Give 'em their own dose, right? ;)

Hey, Quyen - you got it!

We know all this silliness started not with law firms, but with court reporting agencies (or those who decide to become court reporting agencies--anyone and everyone).  If they must sweeten the deal to get clients, perhaps they can go at it with free exhibits and tabs or free binding--free shipping--no administrative fees.


They can choose to give away my services if they want, but that should have nothing to do with whether I am paid for those services--and I invoice.  But, hey, if they don't want to pay me with legal tender, maybe we could work a deal--I have a hellava lot of filing I need to get done right now and could really use some extra hands in production!!

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