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Anybody know what's going on in the Los Angeles Superior Courts? I saw that with the budget cuts they will no longer offer court reporters for civil actions. Parties will have to provide their own reporters. I'm so worried for the officials! Does anyone know how the reporters are dealing with it?
You are so right about court being a different animal than depos. I think it's overall faster and very confusing if you are not experienced. I did a lot of per diem work for court when I started reporting and hated it. I loved the casualness and intimacy of depositions. So that's why I decided not to go to court to work. It's something you could get used to, of course, but just being thrown into a situation like that is very tough.
I know so many reporters that are deathly afraid of court. Now, if they are scared of court the way it used to be with the high salary and great benefits, why in the heck would any of them want to go in pro-tem? I was thinking that many of these firms would just hire former officials, but how will the firms know how to contact them? A colleague of mine thinks they would just call their normal go-to agencies, which makes sense to me. And that agency may or may not have any of those former officials on their staff. What a mess.
I also agree, even though some aspects of court appeal to me, that I would just say no. I'm leery of that folio/page rate issue. I'd rather not put my neck on the line. And who wants to do that amount of work for peanuts?
But if so many of us say no, will they then try to get E.R. installed in there? Sheesh, I'm trying not to freak out about all this. I have a job right now that I do three days a week, only two of which are during the week. I do it from home, so a lot of times I am able to work on transcripts. I take depos on the other three days of the week, so I'm essentially doing this part time. I want to go full time, but I just don't see the stability yet to be able to do so. I like having a "base pay" in a sense, and then all my depo work is an added bonus. Anyway, I have digressed from my original idea, but basically what I'm saying is this new development is not helping me to think that I can become a full-time reporter anytime soon.
Freelance Reporters should JUST SAY NO to covering courts, particularly in states where there have been massive layoffs.
Many states which tried "E. R." have discovered the error of their ways and rehired Reporters.
Think Long-term. Think Solidarity.
Don't be a scab:
If court work paid like arbitrations (higher attendance and page rate than deps), would it really be wrong for a freelancer to take this work? It seems to be a non-issue since we're now hearing that these numbnuts think they can get coverage and transcripts for the same low page rate that is OK if you're getting an annual salary and benefits but LAUGHABLE as a freelancer. But if freelancers WITH SPINE (including former officials who are now scrambling to make a damn living) demanded (and got signed agreement on) freelance rates including all the customary surcharges, minimums, delivery, additional hourly rates before 9 a.m. and after 6 p.m. (I do know people who charge hourly after 5 p.m.; I might switch to 5 p.m.), would it be terrible? No free copies to ANYONE, including a judge. It would hit them where it hurts and maybe that would get lawyers to rise up in support of official court reporters?
I'm happy to wrong here. Just throwing it out there.
Not to belabor all the issues, but the amount the Freelancer/Per Diem should be paid is an amount that is equal to their former salary, plus the costs of obtaining benefits.
Court work is not for the faint of heart, nor temperament.
Regular court hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or 8:30 a.m.to 5:00 p.m., not until 6:00 p.m.
Working in court before or after regular court hours is subject to overtime pay.
Solidarity among the former Reporters will help bring pressure on the court to rehire. I would imagine the very strong and knowledgeable DRA is advising and assisting.
Current Freelance Reporters will not run to fill low-paid, per-diem court positions, especially when the days are long, the work is difficult, and the ambiance is challenging. I don't believe Freelancers were running to fill per-diem positions before the massive layoffs.
As Martha wrote, she worked a lot on a per-diem basis and hated it. I've heard that expressed many times before. It seems improbable that Freelance Reporters will run to fill these unappealing-compared-to-deposition-work positions.
Some states have hired inexperienced, uncertified Freelance Reporters, only to later rue the day they ever did, when the inexperienced, uncertified Freelance Reporter could not produce the required transcripts,
Most Freelancers realize working per-diem in court is not worth the aggravation, nor the low pay.
My suspicion is the courts would not want to pay appropriate per-diem fees.
Surcharges, copies - are you kidding?
What may happen is that the current surviving Officials who are presently working in "challenging" courtrooms may be moved to the more desirable positions, opening per-diem positions in the court for the least-desirable positions.
Hopefully, all of the wonderfully-talented, certified, former Officials will be welcomed with open arms into the freelance arena, appreciated for their experience and certifications.
Freelancers, run like the wind. Have faith. JUST SAY NO!!!