One of the agencies that I know sent out a job offer to Massachusetts for a three-day job that needed covered.  This reporter, who I won't name, picked up the job.  She's had the job for over a month and not turned it in.

Finally, she turned in the first two volumes with multiple mistakes.  She still has not turned in the last transcript.  She turned in a rough because the court reporting agency had to have something to give to the attorney because he's going to trial.  The rough ASCII was literally unreadable. 

Now, I don't understand why a court reporter would take work through this website if they are so incompetent that they cannot turn the work in.  I wish there was a way I could filter all the bad apples off of here.

The agency owner called me and wanted to know if there is a way that I filter the qualified reporters from the incompetent reporters.  I told her no, I have no way to do that.  Once I hear someone has done a poor job, I ban them immediately from the website.  I'm a full-time reporter myself; there is no way for me to filter through thousands of reporters.

I'm just very frustrated about this situation.  This is not the first time it has happened either.  There must just be a lot of lousy court reporters out there I guess.  Unfortunately, it looks like it cost this agency their client.  Unbelievable. 

Reporters:  Please don't take work from this website if you can't handle the work.  You're giving my website a bad name!!

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Shanna, that's just horrible.  Since you couldn't turn yours in until she completed hers, did you have to wait to get paid?  I would have been up her ass constantly trying to make her turn the job in so I could get mine turned in, were it me.  LOL  And I hope that firm owner didn't use that reporter again.  That's unacceptable.

Yup. I had to wait to get paid. I asked them if I could just paginate it normally. They said no. I was bummed. I bugged them so they would bug her. I even went in personally to talk to them. When I asked the calendar person, she looked it up, realized who it was, and whispered to her colleague, "It's so-and-so," in a resigned tone as if they would be lucky if they got it back from her. They must have been desperate to cover it if they used someone that they knew turned their jobs in late. I was worried about the money, but I was more worried that the attorney would think that both of us, that other reporter and myself, were bad reporters. I was seriously stressing. 

Shanna, I understand that's what the agency wanted you to do.  I, personally, couldn't live with that.  In a case like that, I'd turn it in with 2-1, etc., for the page numbers.  I'm one of the A-type personalities you mentioned.  That would bug me to be so late, never mind that you now are so delayed in getting paid.  If the agency insisted that you change it to consecutive numbering three months later, it would take five minutes or so to change the numbering on the index page.  I'm in no way faulting you.  I'm surprised the agency doesn't care about when the job is turned in.

 

Good idea, Janet. I used to get hung up like this all the time for this one agency in LA, Shanna. Wonder if it's the same one.

That was going to be my suggestion.  I used to do that a lot -- Volume II would be numbered II-1, II-2, etc.

It's very easy to go on the CA CSR board's site and verify a CA reporter's certification.  I've never tried to do it for anybody from another state, but I can't see it being much different.  

 

Kelli, if you want you could have a disclaimer on your site, as in "This website has not vetted any reporter," etc.   But even if you don't want to do that, it's not up to you to verify the skills of a reporter, and no one should expect you to.

Regarding ill-qualified reporters, the office I work out of gave a job to another agency in another city.   But that agency farmed it out to a reporter they didn't know so well.  After repeated requests for a transcript for about 2 weeks, the attorneys were angry.  There were so many excuses why it wasn't ready. The agency even asked for her notes and they said they  would transcribe it.  Her notes were horrible and unreadable but there was audio.

Finally, about over a month in, the reporter produced a transcript.  I glanced through it and it looked good, but it looked like it was produced from transcribing a tape,  too much minutia.   Somehow you can just tell.  

My agency refused to pay her for the original and didn't charge the attorney for it.

With all due respect, I think folks are missing a very important point here.  Just because a reporter is certified does NOT mean they are a qualified, professional, conscientious reporter.  Having a reporting firm for 29 years and employing many reporters over the years plus proofreading for a lot of certified reporters, I am utterly shocked and appalled at how horrible a LOT of transcripts look.  It's an embarrassment to our profession.  I just can't believe these reporters put out the trash they do and continue to be employed.   So my point is, just because you can provide a certification number does NOT mean you're a competent, professional reporter.  And, yes, I have two different state certifications and the RPR.   I wish I wasn't so anal about letting typos bother me, then I wouldn't get so upset all the time.   LOL   

So true!

Believe me, I know.  It's just a starting point.  The onus is still on the reporting firm, the Court, whoever is doing the hiring to make sure the reporter is qualified.  It's no different than a chef, a teacher, an engineer, a nurse, etc.  The prospective employer needs to perform due diligence.  Seeing the teacher's/nurse's (for example) certificate, degree, whatever, is only the beginning.  So we're not missing the point.  Just a *starting* point.

Good point, Linda.  Very good point.  I, too, have seen my fair share of ridiculous mistakes made by credentialed and what I thought were really excellent reporters - and some really outrageous things, too, like steno left in transcripts!!!!  

Hey, just like there's a group called "Have you ever heard of this agency?" you could have one called "Have you ever used this reporter?"  This is sort of discouraging because I've always said the only thing I have control over in this business is my good reputation.  I have worked hard to keep it that way for 25 years.  I just find it hard to believe that someone like that would even get work.

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