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I'm old school, so I'm wondering if anyone knows a sure way to protect ourselves for called-in future copy orders.
I recently attended a seminar, sitting next to a firm owner who was getting copy orders on his laptop during the presentation. He jokingly commented on whether he would pay the court reporter for them or not. I jabbed him in his side, trying not to show my indignation, but thought later how completely wrong that is.
I have also heard from other firm owners to beware, if you haven't gotten a future copy order within the last few years, you are obviously not getting paid for called-in copy orders.
Sharing the Wealth...
I always wonder now when agencies are so uptight about you speaking to an attorney or contacting them for any reason after the deposition, even to get a spelling! Maybe they're afraid the atty will say, "When am I going to get my copy?" and you will say, "What copy? You ordered a copy?"
I don't like it either when firms won' t allow you to talk directly to the attorneys. I know there are some reporters out there who will steal clients, however I wonder how prevalent that is nowadays with contracting. I would never steal someone's client, and have been contentious to a fault about that. I just want to be able to communicate about a job when it's necessary. Plus, you DO get the call when a copy is wanted later and the attorneys have your card. What's the problem for the firm about who calls that copy in? They're still making their cut. I think most of the firms that I work with are really good about paying me for late-ordered copies. And NONE of them ask that I not communicate directly! Hmmmmm.
I am an old-timer, been reporting 25 years and traveled all over the world taking depositions. In recent times, I have noticed unscrupulous agencies not paying copy orders to reporters. I recently worked with a plaintiff attorney, who told me his newest client is a court reporter, and they are suing a large, well-known agency here in Southern California for $200,000 in back copy orders that the agency never paid the reporter. I guess my two cents is you have to trust the agency/agencies you take assignments from. Luckily, I take assignments from an agency who is very moral and pays we reporters for copies even when copies are ordered after the fact. Unfortunately, I think this is going to continue with agencies. Try to always get copy orders on the record or bring paperwork the attorneys sign at the depo for their copy order. It is not foolproof, but it is a protection.
There really is no protection at the moment. I have been working since 2008 in Southern California and can count on practically one hand the copy orders I have received subsequent to the initial orders - I'm talking over the last 7 years. (I have also seen agencies ask for a new cert and resending of the ASCII for their own client who lost the original - with no intention to pay the reporter. Apparently it's considered a courtesy to the client?)
I have business cards with ONLY my name and CSR number that I then fill in with a given agency's contact info. That is what attorneys get unless I have been given cards by the agency. I have been told it is an absolute no-no to give attorneys your personal information unless warranted - an example being when they need to e-mail me an exhibit at the depo. You will burn bridges for just handing out your own card with personal information in my area. And, yes, I know of a wonderful agency owner just this year who had her client stolen by a reporter. So it still happens.
MY SUGGESTION is for notification of copy orders to be required by CODE (which would likely take a Herculean legislative effort) via CSR license number. If a lawyer orders a transcript, he must send quick notification "ping" with the license number to the Court Reporters Board, who will then notify that reporter that a copy has been ordered. At least that way the reporter is aware. I mean, I don't know. Something like this needs to be implemented. Just like we are required to notify lawyers of services ordered by others by CODE. Trying to authenticate the certs or going further would be too troublesome, I think. But, yes, it's true there's too much of a black hole right now.
I'll tell you this, though - the agencies that have sent me a copy order out of the blue get big hearts and stars next to their name! Of course, they're all mom & pop style, reporter-owned businesses - no surprise there.