I've come across many schools of thought when it comes to how much cleaning up to do on a rough draft before sending it out to attorneys.  I've met many reporters who simply send it as is, untranslates and all, and I've met reporters who practically finalize it before sending it out because they feel embarrassed if their clients see steno or misstrokes.  Where do you stand?

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I am in the middle.  Definitely no untranslate and definitely run spell check.  Also good to at least spell check starred portions.    Sometimes I will go through it a little more.  Depends how clean it is and how much time I have, how long it is.

I'm in the "clean it up" crowd myself, however, on the standard rough draft disclaimer from the Texas Uniform Format manual it states the rough draft may contain untranslated stenotype and/or nonsensical word combinations from mistranslations or computer transmission errors so many reporters feel comfortable sending it out raw, so to speak.

Different agencies pay different amounts for rough drafts.  Gasp!!!  I know.   

So depending on the agency and the rate that I am paid for my rough draft, I might clean up a little bit more or a little bit less.

That said.   I had a truly heinous deposition.  Witness had some kind of speech problem (defect, impediment, I don't know nor do I care) and he spoke fast, liked to speak over other people, and videotaped.   The attorney did his fair share of talking over.  So at the end of the day of course the attorney asks for a rough draft.  But since it was Easter weekend, he said, oh, you can get it to me by Wed of next week.  I mean, he was obviously aware he was going to get a very rough draft if he didn't give me a little extra time.  

I told the agency the attorney wants a rough draft but it's really, really rough and the attorney said I could get it to him by Wed.  

No, they want it that night.   It is past 5 p.m.  I have to get home w/Easter looming.  So I pretty much sent it out.  If they had let me keep it at least over the weekend, I could have  cleaned it up a bit, but when it's all about turnaround and not quality, then they get what they get.  It's a rough. 


 I feel I if everyone speaks at a reasonable pace (even a little on the fast side as long as they're not on top of each other), no problem.  The rough will not be hideous, I can go through fix spellings and marked areas and send it out.  If they insist on being speed demons all day long and talking on top of each other, then I might get a tad annoyed and not send out the cleanest rough, especially if they have been ignoring my admonishments.

I don't understand why the agency "had to have it" right then, when the client was happy to get it Wednesday, especially for that kind of hard depo.  Makes no sense to me.

All of the time I email the rough to the client myself and I work out arrangements with the client, not the agency.  Seems to be stepping on the bounds of independent contractor legalities to demand so much.   And you would think a court reporting agency would understand the variables of depositions and how the quality can differ.  This "one size fits all" approach is not farsighted.  

I am so lucky to work for the type of agency I work for, where I am allowed to use my own brain when it comes to the work I want to put out.

as far as my rough drafts, I usually get rid of all untrans, do spell check and go through rough patches.  I spend a bit of time on it really.

If the attorney was fine with Wednesday delivery of rough, my cleaned-up (but not final by any means) rough would have been delivered Tuesday night, either to the lawyer directly with a cc to the agency or in the case of certain agencies who want to send the rough to their client, directly to the agency.   I would not have complied with the demand to send it that night.  For what purpose?  If the attorney was fine with Wed. delivery, then he/she must have had a busy calendar and didn't need it before Wednesday.    So why send subpar work.  Don't get it.  

Exactly, Marge--I would not have complied, but I would have gotten their agreement to Tuesday p.m. or Wednesday a.m. (I would go with Wednesday a.m.) delivery in an email.  Refused to agree to that?  I would consider that situation toxic.  At that point, things would change when it came to delivery and payment.

I rarely write for other agencies; but on the rare occasions I do, I try my best to steer clear of those that put such unreasonable demands on a reporter without proven necessity.  This agency got a reduced-quality product for their client simply because they just had to have it according to policy.  Not good business sense and smacks of hourly.

There is always a silver lining, though: reporter didn't have to work on it anymore and got the same money (did bare bones compared to what might have done) and this agency with that ridiculous, shortsighted demand got a lesser product for their client.  Actually, I think it's a good thing all around, considering.  Lol!

Lots of agencies now require roughs same-day and some even in two hours, something like that.  An agency in D.C. has a policy of two hours (two to four, maybe--can't remember).  I've heard of others, too--large agencies and brokerage houses.  I always want to run the rough through my office, but I never demand it prematurely just 'cause.  I want the best possible product for my client.

I would always prefer sending it through the agency instead of me sending it just because I don't want to then have attorneys replying to my email with questions that need to go to the agency; however, the vast majority of my experience, the agency's policy has been that I send it and cc the office so they have confirmation that it was sent.  I also just naturally assume turnaround time on a rough draft is the same day it was requested.  I had an occasion this week where a client called the office the day after the depo and asked for the rough and at the time I was already in a morning job and not able to do it within two hours, but they still had it well before the end of the business day.

Yeah, true--I have seen where agencies want you to send it directly, too, and copy them.  Probably more like that than otherwise; but we all know there are those who do not want the reporter to have any contact whatsoever with law firm, you know, like Paranoid Reporting, LLC.  Maybe it's where I live (or my mindset), but I never consider a rough is same-day unless ordered same-day.  Of course, if they want same-day, the price goes way up and I'm happy to do it :-).  If they want to wait a day or two or three, it's regular rough rate.

Yes, there are some agencies out there that don't want you to have any contact with the clients.  They would have you report the depo over the phone if they could, LOL!  I don't mind complying though because I have absolutely no desire to have my own personal clients, as in, I do the production/billing/collections/etc.  No thank you.  I've worked for a firm before where if a client calls and requests you, you will never be set with that client again because they don't want the clients and reporters getting too close.  I have yet to come up with a good way of convincing them that I don't want to steal their clients.  Working through the firm is just the way I like it, thank you very much!  I have a lot of respect for those who are able to successfully run a court reporting firm.  It's a big committment and very time consuming, more than I'm willing to commit to after having worked inside a firm when I was in court reporting school.  There's no way I would want to do all that on top of what I do as a reporter.

I hear you, Allison.  I worked for two agencies simultaneously, when I was in school back in the late '80s.  I learned how to run an agency from them, for the most part--and two years after certifying, I was off and running with my own.  The challenge for me has always been working for agencies.  On two occasions I have run my clients through agencies, and both times I drove 'em crazy because I am very hands-on in every aspect of the process.  It's what court reporting is, to me: A to Z.  I have tried the just-write way.  Bores me to tears :'(.

Maybe you could try to convince them with "Oh, good grief, so-and-so is probably going to request me on this case.  I mean, I'll go if you insist; but I'd really rather go on one of y'all's clients that doesn't request me and no small talk.  And I just hate it when counsel want my direct line or email address.  The last thing I want to do is spend time doing anything other than pages."  Ha!

My years working behind the scenes definitely left me with a more hands-on approach, but for me, it's taken the form of writing more detailed notes and instructions for production than other reporters and reviewing invoices more closely than other reporters I know.  Some firms use the RBWeb or some other online reporter portal where you can see what phase of production your job is in, whether it's been received be the office, if it's been sent out or not and when it gets billed.  When I have that type of access, I do tend to watch the process like a vulcher.  If I see that a job I turned in isn't showing as received by the end of the day, I'll pick up the phone and make sure they received it.  And if it shows as received and a couple days later it's not showing as being sent out, I'll call and see what the deal is, or if something is wrong on the invoice I'll call to see if it was a production error or a billing error.... but that's as far as I need to take it for my own peace of mind.  I'm okay with "internet portal supervising" ;)


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