It seems the industry standard for MANY years has been $1.00/pg to the reporter for realtime hookup and something less than roughs.  Although in the last 5 to 6 years the payment to reporters for roughs has come up to $1/pg as well, but I haven't seen an increase in the realtime hookup fee paid to reporters. 


So my question is do you think it's right to charge more for realtime hookup with a cleaned up rough afterwards than just a rough?


Also, it seems I get more and more requests to provide a laptop for the attorney to view so they don't have to either bring their own or use their own and can use their laptop for something else.  Does anyone charge an extra free for providing a laptop?  I figure I have to buy one that I wouldn't normally, but just curious if anyone does.




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Hi Sam

I usually see Realtime for 1.25 and then 1.00 for a Rough.  And then if you are providing both realtime AND a cleaned up version of the realtime feed at the end of the day, or evening, then I've seen that go for 1.75.  Most firms do pay for BOTH since they are two separate services...but not all of them, at least locally where I am, which is one of the reasons I choose not to work for them.


But as far as charging like a one-day rental fee for the loaners, no.  That ship has sailed, as they say.  You can get a decent netbook for 250.00 and you'll pay for it in no time if you do realtime all the time.  I don't know of anyone who charges for it.


Hope this helps.

It does help.  However, here I've been told that the agencies charge the client $1.75 for realtime and they are giving the reporter $1/pg of that charge.  Don't know if that's true.  Since I work for multiple agencies I don't know what anyone charges, but the norm has been 41/pg just for roughs and realtime both, and I think it's a lot more to worry about doing realtime than roughs, but my thought was the realtime should be at least .25 cents more per page.   There's only one of the firms I work with that pays me for both, and I'm talking maybe 20 firms.  Thanks.

I always bring two netbooks to my jobs and throw them down on the table for both sides.  No, I don't charge for this service.  I also get 1.25 for RT and 1.00 for rough.  That is the standard in my area, although, U.S. Legal pays 1.50 for RT I think. 


I think you are seeing more and more reporters just providing the computers.  That actually makes sense because I know my computers work and I can get them up and running right away.   If I have to mess with someone else's computer, I don't know what their issues are going to be.  I don't want to mess with it.  Then I just send them a rough when I get home. 


I do think reporters should get more for the rough when providing realtime because the attorney is paying for the RT and then you have to go home and clean up the rough, which takes extra time, and we should be compensated for that.  I guess back East they charge for both but not here in California, or very few firms charge for both here.

I'd say a good percentage of the agencies I work for charge and pay the reporter for both the rough and realtime, but like Donna, these are out-of-state agencies for me.  Our local agencies will not pay the reporter for both.  Local Chicago agencies pay one price for the realtime and say that it includes a rough for that price.  Some are the same as just a rough; some are just slightly higher than the rough, which makes the value of the realtime basically 15 to 25 cents a page.  I'd say 85% of the agencies I work for, though, pay separate line items if an attorney wants a cleaned-up rough after receiving realtime, making it much more attractive for me to work for out-of-state agencies.


I have 6 extra laptops for the attorneys.    I don't take them all on all jobs.  I usually have two at all times unless I think more are needed.  I do not charge a fee for "rental" or anything like that.  One hookup on one job would pay for one computer.


I get excited when I see an agency is charging more than a buck for RT.  I thought that was fair and standard, but a couple/few that I work with are a buck ~ plus!

I don't like the RT/Draft combo ~ especially when I'm providing the laptop because there is no way that atty has access to the rough when I pack up my netbook and take it home, sans a rental charge.

I do realize an atty shouldn't be double charged if it's his/her laptop and it's good/clean RT ~ they should just walk away with it and pay attention to the RT quality during the session.

I've had many attys ask for a rough sent to them afterwards and for years thought it was because they were using a boot-leg copy of LiveNote and couldn't "save" the tran and export and email it to their experts.   So I didn't say anything.  Plus, I don't want to short my agency by "volunteering," "Hey, you should just read your RT file ~ That's your rough."

Maybe some attys got annoyed when they realized it's the same thing.   And so the trend is evolving into a squished service.   IDK.

A "cleaned up" rough is not an issue most days as the file was written in realtime and I simply send them what I have when I have an instruction of "immediate rough after depo" or "same day rough."

Don't get confused when your atty says, "Can I get a cleaned up rough tonight?" when he/she hasn't looked at the screen all day ~ it just means they've probably been sent hard-to-read roughs in the past.

I nod my head, "Certainly, Counsel.  Of course!"  knowing he/she is getting exactly what I have because I wrote my a$$ off all day long ~

I'm even thinking of carrying spare flash drives to hand to attys rather than get a dedicated Internet access card, but I'm not sure which will cost me less at this moment ~ still deciding...

"What does everyone do" is your Q, and I guess that includes me ~ I have 5 netbooks but carry 2 at all times.  Don't charge extra but the trade-off is being able to cover cases where having this Reporter tool is required = Priceless!

Yeah, I definitely wish it would change around here (Northern California) to pay for both.  Only makes sense.  There is a big difference between RT and a rough.  An example, I went on a RT job yesterday that I had not been on before.  I got a prior transcript but what was being talked about was not what was coming up on my job.  There were tons of company names I had never heard of coming up. I was only given one name ahead of time.


I was on cleaning up the transcript on the breaks and putting in all the names I could get off of the exhibits.  I don't care what any reporter says; you are not going to have every name in the entire universe in your dictionary and you have to clean that stuff up.  The rough was way cleaner than the RT feed.

I really think California needs to get into the act of one charge for RT and one charge for rough drafts.  Especially all the tech jobs that are here, you work your butt off for those.  I do know of one reporter that she has a rates sheet she sends to firms and hers are two separate charges.  Maybe it's starting to become the norm s.l.o.w.l.y.


I think it's the other way around.  I work for firms all over the nation, and there's ONLY one firm I've ever worked for that allows me to charge them for both rough and realtime hookup to the same attorney.   I think there should be some additional charge, even if it's not a full $1.00/pg, for example, for the cleaned up rough.  Let's say I finish a job at 5:00 p.m.  I either stay at the law firm where the depo is going on, go to the library, or go home and clean up my rough and email it out that night.  Depending on how much time I had to edit during the job, the speed of the job, the length of the job, the technical nature of the job, a 250 - 300 pg transcript is going to take me anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hrs to clean up, and that's just double checking for untrans, my notes to myself, conflicts, spell check, job dictionary entries - no line by line editing like I know some non-realtime reporters do and stay up half the night to deliver it to them the next morning or even the next afternoon!

Of COURSE realtime is worth more than a rough draft.  A rough draft reporter is not a realtime reporter.  Realtime is RIGHT NOW!  And there are no do-overs in realtime.  You deliver the realtime service instantly and the rough draft product separately, later.  There are two things here:  (1) realtime feed and (2) rough draft.  My clients get get either one, or BOTH.  When they get either one ... a realtime feed on MY computer, or a rough draft, they are charged one fee.  But when they get both, they are getting TWO THINGS, and my fee reflects that.  It's not only business sense, it's common sense ... at least for those who respect realtime for the specialty that it is.



I hope Cali doesn't get a bad name for this... Let the record be clear {for new reporters}:  I only know of ONE agency that doesn't charge ANYTHING for the draft/w RT combo and one that charges a combo rate.   I dislike the combo rate.

I do not work for the former and find myself working less and less for the latter.   And that's on my list of reasons.

Everyone else is a buck plus!   {Which is an exciting trend!}

And who will I reserve my days for?   Hmmm...

Didn't mean to imply that every company name was in my dix.  Certainly not!  {And I actually prefer not to know what the case is about and/or get a word list because in those cases, most times, I overly-anticipate and it messes everything up! 

I think I prefer to hear my ATTY say it and phrase it and I can hear the tone and inflection as said in context and "fall in" to write.  I'd rather, in the words of Anthony Frisolone, "Write organically."  But I do use what I like to call "insta-briefs" where company names or unfamiliar terms are double stroked their first initial ~ Then lo-and-behold the ATTY says, How about if I just refer to it as NPM {for example, I had a case a week or so ago with Nicodemus Plumbing & Mechanical}  So then I quickly write myself {MIFL} a quick note "initials only" or "written out"    There's all kinds of short-cuts, which I'm sure Kellz is already aware of since she takes the big hard-hitting super-hard all-dayers, highly-technical:  But for others who may be reading this... Use your AB {Auto Brief} by Eclipse or {Brief It!} = Case Catalyst for those long company names.  

Then global just once and it trans all the way through.

We pay good money for our software.  Let it do its job.

Leave yourself a note {check point} of (DEFINE!) or whatever suits your fancy.

You're going to be asked for this service over and over for the life-time of your career... Don't spend HOURS on it!  And not for FREE!

That's my "real-timers" opinion...


* Note:  For newbies:   Most attys who get realtime and draft transcripts "know" when they see, for example, NPM in my DRAFT that means Nicodemus Plumbing & Mechanical (Or whatever company name, if abbrieviated) ~ They know how to read them as they have been entrenched in the case for weeks, months, and years before I came along to write "NPM."   They eat, sleep, and breathe it and could probably offer you a better brief!   lol!  ;).


It is interesting to hear how you realtimers do it.  I am so in awe of you.  It takes real guts and a lot of talent to put yourself out there.    I am an okay writer but there are always several times in a depo where I mess up and it comes out wrong, and that's on a good day.  After you get tired and/or it's  a fast job it can get real ugly.   It just seems too stressful for me.   So all kudos for you. 


How do you handle it when you know you screwed up and everyone can see it?    I know some of you are perfect writers you claim., or 99.9%    I'm speaking to the mortal court reporters out there who aren't perfect.

@ Martha;  I don't "play by numbers," Martha.  I know I'm unconventional, and you'll probably prefer to hear from others.

But the most basic and real thing I can tell you is that {for me} there is a different reality that washes over you when your in "real time."  It's a must-do situation.  That pushes you.  That challenges you.  And it's an awesome rush.

I was one of the lucky ones, I always like to think, and compare/contrast w/ other Reporters' stories because I didn't have a fear.  I was approached by my first agency out of school to be on their RT team.  I didn't know what it was.  And looking back, my RT was pretty much crap back in the '90s.  But I didn't know any better.  

I never thought I'd be the type of Reporter I am today.   Haha!   I used to be late all the time and would mow-over my untrans not taking the "precious" opportunity" to define them.  Such a mistake. 

I missed sooooooo much money.   In the early years.

Fill in the attys' names before we go on record.  Bahh-humbug!

Take a scan of the caption w/ my scanner or BlackBerry.  

Arrive 30 mins early.

Mark my file left & right w/ notes to myself of {SPELL} {DEFINE} {MARK} {CHECK} {J-DEFINE} {NAME ON SIB} or {CHECK EXHIBIT 15}

What!!!   No way.   I wasn't doing it.  

Now I'm every part of it and love it.  {And continually look for more ways to improve and expand}

A Vitamin B-Complex {calms the nerves} and blasting my favorite song in the car on the way to the setting aren't a bad idea, either, in MIP {my opinion!}

And as for the "screwing up" part... I can just say it happens less and less when you know at any moment the ATTY can look into your outlines. 

It's AOK {automatic}

Pick your battles.

Drops happen.

Pick inconspicuous ones.  But better be prepared, nonetheless, to read like Maya Angelo, if requested with all confidence, inflection, and an attitude of "That's what you said, Dammit!" if all else fails.

Be prepared to read after breaks.

Be prepared when ATTYS or WITS get quizzical looks on their faces.

You just feel it.

After objections.

Trust your notes. 

And write.

And even if they say nothing when your notes were beautiful ALL DAY LONG, know you provided the service they ordered.

Then offer the rough draft.... just because!   And insinuate they "need" it in front of the other guys!  Haha!


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