Wanted to inform all my wonderful CSR colleagues, as I've seen many job posts this week from this agency, that there are jobs being offered through this site for flat rate reporting fees.  What does that mean?  You get paid one flat fee of ___ regardless of how many pages you report in 4 hours.  There is nothing illegal in this state about compensating freelance reporters with flat rates, but I do not see any mention of the flat rate pay in the job offer posts, and I think reporters need to inquire before accepting these jobs.  Do the math.  Approximately 50 pages an hour times 4.  Flat rate divided by that number is what you're getting per page if the depo goes 4 hours.  They are WCAB depos, so probably would be less pages, but that is a risk you take by accepting these assignments.

There are a lot of underworked reporters right now.  I think this agency is counting on it.


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I heard about this exact topic yesterday, and according to my source, they said the reporters are getting $200 (after the agency takes their cut).
That's what I make (on a cut) for a CNA--in there and out, ten mins on computer.
There is another company out there called STOPS that is also peddling the flat rate for WC depos.  I have spoken to an agency who posted on this site, and the job was for a flat rate.  They did confirm that it was from STOPS, which is another company that works directly with the insurance companies.  Their site says they specialize in global transportation and language services. and apparently they are driving down the rates for interpreters as well.  I've heard the depo rate is $200 and also heard of newer reporters desperate for work taking $175.
Too many willing to take less and less and less.  Pitiful.  It's not like we're skilled or anything, though.


This is the same company I am referring to, Stops Enterprises, LLC, which also does business under the fictitious business name of Accutext Court Reporting Services, which is in Florida.  Stops is registered in Delaware and is listed as a subidiary of One Call Medical.   Wonder how much knowledge of reporting laws in California these entities have.  My answer is:  not much.  Beware of turning your transcripts over to them directly.   I am informed that one California agency providing reporter coverage for their WCAB flat rate jobs in California is Emerick & Finch, who I have seen posting on this site.   Please ask and preferrably get in writing what you will be paid for these jobs.

The only way these companies make money is off the reporters as Stops adds another layer of profit into the reporting equation:   Stops makes $$, agency makes $, reporter makes $.   Instead of agency/reporter split, now you have a three-way split.  Yet Stops or One Call Medical goes directly to parties to the action and tells them they will save money of they give them all their busines (aka contracting).   You don't have to be a brain surgeon to figure out where the savings will come from. . . . reporters.   While I do understand that work is scarce, it does amaze and sadden me how easily these jobs are being covered right now.   


Even when work was not scarce, jobs got covered by reporters for very low rates, unreasonable conditions, knowledge of bad-pay.  This didn't start with hard economic times.  Lots of warm bodies were willing even back in the day.  We're a gullible, sitting-duck lot, not savvy business people, and the floodgates have opened to anyone and everyone cashing in--and we let them.  Not just freelancers, either.  Large, reporter-owned agencies have been "taken in," too.  As Mr. Mackey would say: "Networking is baaaad."
I agree completely.  We have done this to ourselves.  Any ideas on how we can change ourselves (reporters) to become better business people?   And is it because the vast majority of us are women that we allow ourselves to work for inferior compensation?   Hmmm.
I think we need to stress to students that they are not striving merely to get out of school, become certified (hopefully), and work for somebody ELSE.  We need to teach them management, marketing, office procedures, general business classes, human relations, accounting, anything that can help them to learn to be a business owner, not just a reporter on overflow lists, maybe get an on-staff gig or a court, if they're lucky.  We need to encourage them to do research and share with each other what they find when it comes to what they learn about billing, about pay structures, about bad-pay agencies, about good-pay agencies, reporter-owned, nonreporter-owned, the "middleman."  Many of these students get out of school without having the first clue how to run a business--it's no wonder why so many are content with crumbs.  They need to learn how to run/own a court reporting agency and also learn effective interaction/communication with others and the art of smalltalk--build their confidence.  Empower them and give them more than the promise of maybe, if they really try hard, they, too, can be a worker bee.

I totally agree that we have done this to ourselves, As a small firm owner, I have steadfastly refused to help the big boxes, like Esquire, Veritext..and we all know who they are.  But I am shocked and dismayed when I find that's not the case across the firm owner board here locally.      How  on earth would the fox have gotten into our local henhouses if we didn't open the door for them by providing quality reporters to take work away from us at every corner.    

Firm owner....every time you help a big box...don't be sad when they've taken your client from you and will sell 'em back to you for half the price.      Karen...sadly I think men might have thought of some of the long term consequences of networking before cracking open that door.

My name is Kelly Emerick.  I am the owner of Emerick & Finch.  I want each and every one of you to know EXACTLY why I am trying to provide reporters for this WCAB work through STOPS.  Everyone, please understand something.  I have been absolutely 100% upfront and honest about all of this work.  We have NEVER even attempted to venture into the Los Angeles area.  I KNOW how frustrating this is.  The BIGGEST reason I have tried to cover this work is because one of the largest nationwide court reporting firms went to Chartis and pitched this rock-bottom price.  I DO NOT want this work to go to this nationwide firm.  I would LOVE it if each and every reporter would refuse this work for this price.  However, you have one of the largest court reporting firms just waiting for us to let it go.  STOPS also knows how low these prices are and is trying to get Chartis to understand.  However, the insurance company told them that if XYZ can do it -- and I hope everyone figures out who I am talking about -- then why can't STOPS?  I simply said that I would take the jobs and pay the reporters 85% of the flat rate and 90% of the page rate.  Please,  I welcome anyone to call me and talk to me about this.  I know the rates for Los Angeles have always been higher than in Northern California.  We have had our business in Northern California since 1985.  We have always told the reporters what we charge and what percentage they make. I also want everyone to know who the people are at STOPS.  They were providing services for the injured worker.  Chartis came to them and asked them to also provide the court reporters.  The gal that is managing this work is VERY familiar with court reporting, rates, and what our work entails.  She is as sick as I am, and as you are.  Do we want this work to go to the firms that don't have court reporters as owners?  My daughter is a court reporter too.  Trust me. I was sick to my stomach when I heard this.  I wanted to refuse.  I would love for the work to go back to us, the court reporters.  I just don't know myself how to stop these big firms.  They and the insurance companies are the ones driving the prices down; not me.  If STOPS can't provide a court reporter, don't you think that also is going to have the insurance companies looking toward digital recording to "get a record"? Maybe we have to tough this out a little bit and fight to educate these insurance companies of the value of our skill.  I simply said I would be honest with the reporters and try.  I don't know what the answer is, but I can assure you, Emerick & Finch is in NO WAY even profiting from these jobs.  I am simply trying to keep the work with us, not them.  If anyone would like to discuss any of this with me, my e-mail is kemerick@emerickfinch.com.


Thank you for posting your position on covering the flat-rate work for STOPS in California - your post was very interesting and thoughtful.  May I respectfully suggest you put FLAT RATE JOB in your job posts providing coverage for these STOP jobs? Reporters should be advised of this BEFORE they accept the job since it is a deviation from the customary method of per-page payment in our state. 

All reporters are sickened by the big firms stepping in and making profit off the working reporters' back, but I must respectfully disagree with your decision to enable STOPS to cover these flat-rate jobs in California.  DME-DIRECT is a member company of CHARTIS (owned by Chartis) - IMO, CHARTIS is now going to STOPS and using that entity to get around California laws and regulations for CSR impartiality.   I don't see a difference between a big firm (agency) covering STOPS jobs or small firms (agency) - it's all BAD for the working reporter.   Yes, CHARTIS will heartily support any legislative effort to allow digital recording for depositions in California, as will other large entities and organizations, including AAERT, but I fail to see how facilitating coverage of these low-pay flat rate jobs prevents that in any way.

An equal concern on my part is what is happening with the transcripts?  Is Emerick doing production and distribution on this work?  If not, then do you really think STOPS, a WCAB transportation company, knows California law regarding handling and distribution of transcripts?  STOPS accepted this CHARTIS work for one reason:  profit, and I have NO problem with that.  STOPS doesn't care one iota for the working reporter, CHARTIS is a subsidiary of AIG - a gigantic entity driven by profit.  STOPS called several agencies in California because they need an agency to cover this flat rate work.  Many agencies refused.  Yours accepted.  And reporters are taking these flat-rate jobs every day now in California.   The barn door has been opened.    My goal is not to close the barn door - I'm way too smart to believe I can do that  My goal is to make sure working reporters have the background and information they need to decide whether they will accept these flat-rate jobs and perhaps give then my thoughts as to its effect going forward on reporter compensation.  Thank you, Kelly.  




How dumb!  Who would even accept this job?  If you're considering it, please don't.  You're better than that!


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