There has been a great deal of mud-slinging around this issue lately on other forums, and I, along with many others, would like to read the names of these agencies.  If it's legal in their state and they engage in it, then there shouldn't be a problem with naming names; right? 

And this is NOT intended to debate the issue but merely to help some reporters make an informed decision.


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I don't work for these agencies, so I don't know that much about it.   I know Veritex contracts because they tried to get one of our clients and we (the agency I get all my work from) reduced their page rate to match Veritex's for that one client.   And honestly it's terrible, and the agency barely makes anything on an O & 1.      






What exactly is your definition of "contracting"? 

Lowering their rate in exchange for all of their business?

Bidding a specific multi-copy, multi-depo job for a reduced price?

Buying their business with gift cards or other incentives?


And I'm not trying to debate the issue either, just trying to understand the question.



I, for one, absolutely love Veritext.  They are my main agency and have been very good to me.   I don't know anything about if they contract or not.   Since they are by bread and butter, I would appreciate it if people would not mud sling about them on this website.  Thank you.
I am certainly not mudslinging Veritex and frankly resent that I'm accused of it.  I am just stating the facts from my personal first-hand knowledge.  These facts will or will not speak for themselves, depending on your point of view.
That is actually a good point.  What does contracting mean exactly, as Judy said?  I thought it means you contract with insurance companies for a crazy low rate, such as a base rate like 300 a depo or something.

I was curious to read if anyone actually knew who the so-called offenders were, and maybe that would lead me to a definition of "contracting" because frankly I'm not clear anymore on what it is.  And I'm not the only one.

I had always thought when others were complaining about the contracting agencies, it was regarding auto accidents, Workers Comp, slip-and-fall type of depos.  Am I wrong?   Fortunately, I'm a realtime reporter and that's not the kind of work I get asked to do.  But I understand that for some smaller or even medium sized agencies, that could be a good chunk of their clientele. 

If a reporter wants to work through agencies such as Veritext, Esquire, Merrill, US Legal, or Atkinson-Baker, I don't have a problem with that.  They have the cheap work but they also have great work!

" Bidding a specific multi-copy, multi-depo job for a reduced price?"  No, I do not believe this is the type of contracting people are complaining about, but I could be wrong.  This particular business practice has been going on since the beginning of my career over twenty-four years ago.  The four or five agencies that I work with across the country all have MDL or case management type of cases and I'm happy to do those any day of the week.  But I don't believe "MDL" or "managed cases" are what the anti-contracting crowd has a problem with.  Again, I could be wrong.



Hi, Donna.  I think the problem is that it's all about the money, but NCRA (for example) isn't going to touch the money aspect of "contracting."  They absolutely must go after the impartiality aspect of it.  Also, there's an adjective issue.  Who would have a problem working for an agency who could lock up superior quality work at absolutely beautiful page rates all the way around?  Not I.  Here's the adjective:  "Lowball."  The issue is not with contracting.  The issue is with lowball contracting.  As with you, I could be wrong.



I, for one, have gotten a little tired of all the "contracting" issues and put-downs.  A reporter takes a job and is basically an officer of the court and is supposed to be impartial whether there is an agreement, no agreement, contract, no contract.  Our state recently passed an "anti-contracting law".  That means reporters are not to work for CR firms who have a "deal" with a third-party.  What I think sometimes is overlooked is the fact that these firms accused of contracting (I can't comment, because I don't know if they do or not), also have jobs that come completely from direct sales.  I took a job not long ago for a national 800 firm where the attorney was local to my area.  I was assured there was no contract.  I got to the job, asked the attorney if he had a contract with the CR firm, and he said, "No, my secretary couldn't get anybody local at the last minute, but firm ABC did, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate you being here."  In my state, I've heard of reporters being threatened if they take work for a National firm and let them produce the transcripts.  So it wasn't enough to get an anti-contracting law in place, now some are wanting to tell us how we can send the final transcript.  Red Flag, they say, if you let another firm produce your transcript.  In some instances, I believe that the reporter is expected to do way too much due diligence in order to discover if there is a contract with a third-party.  I honestly hate to hear of gouging rates by these nationwide firms, but they are in business to make money.  Unlike me, I'm just in this business to pay my bills.  I never have a profit!   I see no problem whatsoever with the CR firm who wants to do the production.  They want to maintain a good relationship with their local attorneys.  They offer nationwide service, and they want to be able to provide that service in order to keep their clients happy and coming back. 



Debbie, you say you never make a profit!   It might be because someone else is taking your profit.


One of the national firms is owned by a private equity fund out of Bahrain, which is a firm that makes investments in companies for their client, who are super-rich Arabs.  I believe they are the ones taking your profit!!


I realize things have changed over the past 20 years, but way back when, it was the reporters who had the agencies, the reporters (you know, the ones with the real skill) who were making a profit.


You gals that do realtime  are very talented, and I'm not sure you realize your worth.  You should be making super good money and the rest of the reporters should be making very good money.  Somehow what used to go into our pockets and enabled reporters to make a very good living, now is going into someone else's pocket.  That's the way I feel about it.


If reporters can't make a very good living then no one new will come into the profession and it's doomed more quickly than we all imagined.


Considering reporters need to pay for their own health insurance, which is lots of times $700 or more a month, plus equipment and other expenses and high taxes, they need to be grossing 100K or more easily for the basic reporter.   



Martha, I think I know who you're talking about wh'en you say:

One of the national firms is owned by a private equity fund out of Bahrain, which is a firm that makes investments in companies for their client, who are super-rich Arabs.  I believe they are the ones taking your profit!!

I don't work for that particualr firm.  I'm not running a large firm, just me and a part-time reporter who takes overflow.  My profit margin is small if at all.  I look at it as my job, just like anyone else who goes to a job every day.    I do real-time and know my worth, but in my market area, people don't want to pay much for real-time.  I probably charge more than a lot of people in my area, but a whole lot less than other parts of the US. 


Some reporters that I know don't want to work hard enough to make 100K a year.  Some are just as happy making $30K.  Amazes me.


I agree that they're taking too much money and we have always had problems getting people into this profession in the first place.  If I didn't know that I would make good money at it, I probably wouldn't have gone to school for it 19 years ago.  I just talked with an attorney last week who could only say bad things about Esquire, who is doing some of the contracting in my state.  I don't know that these big firms are helping themselves when, at the end of the day, the attorneys and paralegals cannot say one thing nice about the firm. 


I personally refuse to work for one of them and always have.  If they can't find the good reporters, because we stick together and say we're not going to work at those rates, who are they left with?  The reporters that obviously Esquire is sending out here who can't even read back.

Nicole, are you in Florida?


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