Seems like I'm running into this a bit more lately...............

Plaintiff's attorney doesn't order a copy and says to send a copy to the witness to read and sign and of course then the plaintiff's attorney gets a free copy.   If the job is for an out-of-state agency, they don't have an office for the witness to go to.  I believe there are read only copies that can be sent electronically that can't be printed, but they can be forwarded to someone, right?

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I am not in California.  Do they allow you to charge the taking attorney for an O&2?  Are you restricted on what you can charge by the code?  

It's an automatic O&1. The only time we have an auto O&2 is in Workers' Compensation - but that's because the Labor Code effectively requires that defense provide the applicant a transcript at no cost.

I am under the impression that L.A. page rates are supposed to help cover the fact that you likely won't see a copy order from the other side (along with understanding the insane cost of living out here). That's supposed to "even it out."

And it's not just P.I. where people don't order. I've had med-mal, construction, business with no copies - so I've had any number of 250 to 300 page depos that are just an O&1. Entices you to do the small stuff if you won't make copy money anyway! Ha! Most reporters who make the extra bucks out here are LiveNote, I think.

And I don't think there are restrictions on what can be charged, but the current market is such that agencies have to be competitive to keep clients. I can't imagine people raising rates right now. I have to be realistic - even though it's frustrating the rates have been static since I began reporting in 2008. In fact, many California law schools have had to cut enrollment because there is so much underemployment and unemployment of new law grads. The overall economy has been rocky, AND we have a lawyer glut. A lot of lawyers are fighting for jobs and competing for clients themselves, and the you-know-what flows downstream.

So those are my musings for the day...

Inflation does not diminish jury verdicts.  Juries deliver verdicts in present-day dollars.  The attys who are working, representing their clients, doing their jobs, receiving settlements and verdicts are not working for decades' old salaries and on reduced pay scales.

So I have no sympathy for that argument.  It's a way of brainwashing the reporter.

Deanna, I think you are correct that attorneys who get paid from jury verdicts are making a good salary equal to the current cost of living.  But I wonder how many attorneys today who have contracts with insurance clients are making less per hour than they would like to charge?  I'm not defending anything here because having reported for 35 years, I feel reporting is much more difficult today than it was 20 years ago, yet we hardly see any raises in what we make.

Reporters are more educated, better trained, better skilled, knowledgeable in all issues of technology . . .

???

Reporters are more educated, better trained, better skilled, knowledgeable in all issues of technology . . .

Than who?

Sorry.

Reporters are more educated, better trained, better skilled, more knowledgeable in all issues of technology than 30 years ago.  

Reporters are highly-trained professionals and deserve appropriate compensation.

Someone needs to remind these cost-cutters of these facts, and, if the agencies don't start waking up and standing up for certified reporters, they won't have reporters to work with anymore, because smart, intelligent people are not going to want to become reporters.

If somebody doesn't start caring and realizing this, the profession is doomed.

Just being very honest here.

Well, not everybody gets to work on cases that go to trial - I'm under the impression that many never see the courtroom. And newer reporters like me aren't always going to be blessed with the constantly winning attorney. So I'm simply in a different boat of opportunity, I guess. A lot of people are also settling today to avoid the mess that our court system is in out here.

I certainly wasn't saying we don't DESERVE to be paid a crapload more and appreciated. That is painfully clear. But you can't force it on the legal industry if they don't want to hear it. I just work to find those jewel clients (agency and/or their clients) who appreciate me and then keep a good personal relationship. At least as a freelancer, I can determine what rate I will and won't put up with and vote with taking or not taking the work. And if I do a good job and somebody wants me back, then they should pay fairly. And I actually avoid the nameless, faceless corporation agencies that pay dirt - but, truth is, my reporter-owned "mom and pops" I adore working for are struggling too, and I try to remain understanding and diplomatic for them. And I do need work. 

The research I have on the environment right now for lawyers is actually (oddly) consumer advocacy info I found re: getting a good deal in litigation right now if you need a lawyer. I looked at that along with the discussion the regional law schools have been having regarding class size , which schools are placing grads, and future employment. We also have the constant court budget issue at the legislative level. So these are just trends that I was looking at on my own to gauge some of the market we're dealing with.

Hi, Cynthia, 

It doesn't matter if one has high-end work or on the lower end.  Settlements are still being made, and in present-day dollars.  Verdicts are being reached, and in present-day dollars.  I'll leave it there.

Brava, Deanna--very well said.

IMO, what reporters need to start doing is stop finding out what they will be paid and start dictating what their rates are and their payment terms.

Cynthia, Have you ever considered moving out of California?  I have relatives that live in California and the taxes they make you pay out there are insane.  In Texas there is no state income tax.  Kansas had just instituted the same policy, not state income taxes if you have your own business.  The cost of living here is much cheaper.  Houses are very reasonable.  Traffic is not bad.  We don't have the Southern California stipulation.....  LOL

Y'know, I've definitely thought about it regarding "retirement," etc. - whatever that will end up being! I have thought about Texas and Washington (state). I personally dig Colorado too and have a great friend there. I hear you on the cost of living. My parents still live in Indiana, but I can't imagine moving back there. In the past I've lived in Boston, NYC, New Orleans, Atlanta, and a couple places in NorCal while working in sports and television. So my old meanderings have helped me created a pros and cons list about regions and states. I've been able to stay in SoCal for 12 years now, and at least I'm finding work in L.A. (Court reporting has been more stable for me than entertainment!) I suspect I'll make some sort of move eventually, but I also have other "irons in the fire" out here and a network of old friends from my past career - so that would be hard to leave. But I do shake my head when I compare L.A. to Carmel, IN! If I had kids, I probably would leave this joint.    :)

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