Welcome to CSR Nation
Looking for advice. We took depos last week of 4 witnesses, 5 attorneys (2 for plfs and 3 for defendants). All the attorneys were pretty blatant that they didn't want to "order" a copy and they were going to share amongst themselves. Suggestions on how to handle billing or calling attys?
You have reached a very political situation. I am assuming the four witnesses were all ONE CASE (one case number). How many plaintiffs and how many defendants are there in this one case? How many different law firms are representing the parties? How big of a litigation matter (moneywise) is it? All of these are significant questions to determine how to proceed.
How many of these attorneys are co-counsel? (Myself, as a legal assistant, we got the original and 1, paid for them, then made our copy for our co-counsel).
Do you think you will get additional work from these attorneys? Keep that in mind too. Depending upon the number of different plaintiffs and defendants, you could send them all a global email regarding the situation, and offer them a discount rate.
Yes, same case. 2 separate plaintiffs represented by 2 separate counsel - 1 copy of transcript ordered. 3 separate defendants represented by 3 separate attorneys - 1 copy ordered & they said they would share. We don't bill co-counsel for copies, other than a very minimal cost for paper if they want additional printed copies. They said they had additional depos to come, but are from out of state. I was not there for first depo where they told first reporter what they wanted. I took later depos, didn't ask what they wanted because I assumed first reporter would get that. But two def. attys on second day did clarify that they both only wanted reduced and no full-size transcripts. In my eyes, the correct way to do it is to bill 3 def. attorneys taking the depo for 0+3 and split it by thirds; bill the two plf attys ea. for a copy. All attorneys from totally different law firms. Nobody represents anyone but their own client, no co-counsel.
Which attorney "noticed" the depo with you? They are responsible to pay for the original. If they want to "share" the transcript then, yes, like you said, they can "share the cost" across the board with the ones they are sharing with. I agree, because they aren't co-counsel, then technically "sharing" isn't offered. Remind them that you don't get paid by the hour, like they do, but only by the page and selling the "certified" copies.
Emphasize the "certified" word; otherwise, they think a "photocopy" is all they need. In California, it's in our Code that if they want a copy, they must purchase it from the court reporter. Please stick to your decision, because every time a court reporter gives our product away for free, attorneys will continue to take advantage of us. I notice they never pipe up offering a "discount" from their hourly rate to their client, instead, they constantly remark about how much "money" we make!!
If I were you, I'd suck it up and move on. It's the fly-by-night, cheap attorneys that pull this type of behavior and you don't want to work for firms like this anyway.
I 90% of the time get big cases with well known attorneys, Gibson Dunn, Kirkland & Ellis, DLA Piper, Latham & Watkins and firms like that would never pull a stunt like this; they always represent companies or people with plenty of cash so reporters don't get taken advantage of.
I say move on and look for better work and don't go after the bottom-of-the-barrel work.
Then why not "stick" it to the "bottom-of-the-barrel" feeders? Just simply charge them all a copy and call it a day, since you're not going to take any more jobs from them anyway...that's one way of burning your bridges...but I wouldn't suck it up for nothing...charge them and then move on!!
Thanks for everyone's input. You have all expressed my thoughts. Decided to double-check with each via phone about their orders. It might present the opportunity to "politely" remind them that they are required to pay for their own copies. Depending on how conversation goes, I may just tack a bit onto the original for their copies, or I may block print from E-tran and print on paper that you can't copy. Been saving for a day like this.
It sounds like an O&5 to me.
I'm just wondering are those attorneys splitting their hourly rate too? LOL. Are they cutting one hourly rate into thirds and that's what they are making b/c that is what they are asking you to do.
Good luck on this one.
I don't see how you have a lot of ground to charge for more than an O & 2. Did these attorneys ask you to split their bill? If not, then they just mentioned in front of you they planned to share. If they ask you to split it, then do the O & 5--no copies, no splits. If no splitting on your end, you can always add X amount to the cost of the copy for each party sharing, and the same to the cost of original for sharing there--I have done that before, or at least tried (agency spineless after I had it set up). I told two attorneys once that said they were going to share that I would add a "sharing fee" of $1.00 per page to the copy. That was less than the copy page rate and just fine with them (one copy to be sent out, one email--just a fee for sharing).
You can also think about putting the law firm's name as the header on their E-Transcripts and printed copies, maybe even "Property of Skru, Ewue & Royally" or "Property of the Defendant XYZ Corporation"--dunno. That is extra work, but, eh, maybe. Also, you can send emails out through Microsoft Office that will not let the recipient forward the email. I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA how this works--just read about it today.
Amanda just hit on a good point. At the bottom of your Index Page, you could include something like:
Certified copies ordered and paid for by:
Joe Smith, Law Firm X, attorney for X
Susie Jones, Law Firm A, attorney for X
Dennis Doolittle, Law Firm B, attorney for X