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Business is much better here than in So Cal I think. With the economy down in 2008, that affected us all but things are getting better. Agencies I like: Grossman & Cotter, Barkley Court Reporters, Sarnoff Court Reporters, Veritext, Bell & Meyers, U.S. Legal Support.
A lot of times you get an O +2 up here, even on fender benders. Not as much as we used to but still more than in So Cal. One word of warning is it's much more expensive to live in the Bay Area than So Cal, I believe, for a comparable home or neighborhood. So if you want to buy a house, you will be disappointed unless you have lots of $$$. I think the economy is better here. I can see traffic getting heavier lately! The tech sector is definitely hiring.
Things have been slow for the last couple years but they might be picking up. Yes, those agencies Kelli mentioned are good. Veritext and US Legal are a variety of national low rate companies. But I haven't worked for them, so I don't know how low.