Hi,
Just had a crappy job where one attorney (out of 5) wanted a dirty ASCII. When I asked the other attorneys if they would like one, the ordering attorney said she would just email her copy to everybody. This pissed me off on more than one level. What do you think? Hope this doesn't start a trend, since 14 of my last 20 jobs had dirty ASCIIs ordered. Does anyone know how to get around people just emailing our work and getting out of paying for the rough (and the copy)? Also, are we reallllly charging enough for a rough? Like some reporters, I also think this is a cheap way to almost get an expedite, and it is not worth the buck or so a page to drop everything to get these out. Please let me know your thoughts...

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Plus, the unintended consequences are losing the client altogether if they think their effectiveness is being hampered by some silly court stenographer who's overpaid to begin with. (Their thoughts, not mine.)

Truer words have never been spoken. In my situation that I described above, one copy person in particular threatened my client that if I was not removed from the case, that she would go to the judge to get me removed. Did it work? Yep. I referred my client to a "friend" who tried to steal the client too.

You can do lots of things to protect yourself, you just have to make sure that you don't overdo it and risk complaints from other counsel to your client. Where do you cross the line of "overdo"? That line changes with every client and every job, UFL.
I've had two small situations with these types of companies.

One, as an (albiet small) agency, they solicited me to sell them my transcripts for posting. I inquired whether they thought the agency owned the transcript or the reporter owned the transcript. They told me they would never solicit it from the reporter because they thought the agency owned it.

Two, I had a heavy-hitter partner leave a firm. He called me and wanted me to go back for years and years and years and e-mail him ALL of the depos he had taken. At first I thought, Wow, how anal can you get! Now I realize that since he was starting his own firm, he was trying to cut costs and wanted the transcripts for one of these outfits. And, no, I didn't give them to him, thank goodness.
WOW!!!
I'm almost depressed to hear how long and to what extent court reporters are really getting the shaft on making their money. With that being said, NCRA has been a long-standing, well-known representative of the court reporting field. Therefore, it makes even more sense to me now that every reporter, scopists, proofreader, voicewriter, videographer, instructor and teaching institution become an official member and join forces to generate some laws and legislation setting straight every rule necessary to keep the profession clean and lucrative. Power in numbers can only help and with a strong organization backing us, we should be able to overcome more. I think standardization is the key. By "standardization", I mean set rates for services provided such as:

1. appearance fees;
2. turnaround time/realtime (based on the reporter's credentials (CSR vs. RPR vs. RMR);
2. User agreements limiting distribution from third parties;
3. Standard scopists rates based on services provided and turnaroud time;
4. copy fees;
5. etc...

And I definitely feel that it should be determined, once and for all, that the work a court reporter provides is a protected "work product".

Lastly, NCRA has a general counsel on board so it should be our mouth piece. That way everyone will be on the same playing field. No more crooked deals on the side with freebies here, gifts over there... The better your product, the more jobs you get, the more money you make. Those turning in subpar work get subpar pay or none at all because eventually, their rep will speak for itself.
Indrani, hello. You said NCRA has been a longstanding, well-known representative of the court reporting field, and you encourage everyone down the line to join forces with NCRA to enact laws to keep the profession clean and lucrative. When you mention the term "set rates," you realize, of course, that that's a deal-killer right there. NCRA will never do that. They will NEVER get involved in, quote, "the market" nor anything having to do with money. If someone wants to correct that, I would be extremely happy to know it. But it's not going to happen.

Consider the contracting issue. Our rates have remained stagnant, or fallen, for the last ten years or more because of contracting. NCRA could never, ever, ever say contracting is bad because rates will fall. Never. NCRA can, however, say that contracting is bad because reporters are supposed to be impartial, and we must offer the same services to both sides in a case. But they can't tie it to the money. So you're not going to see NCRA take up any rates issue, ever.

I just smile when I read about leveling the playing field and cleaning up crooked deals on the side and incentive gift-giving. Please go to Depoman and read some of the threads there concerning incentive gift-giving and what NCRA can and cannot do, will and will not do, when it comes to enforcing a no incentive gift-giving policy.

Again, you said that NCRA is long-standing and well-known. So are the great problems that are facing each one of us that affect us in the pocket. NCRA isn't a new organization. They've been around a long time. If they had any power at all to fix what's broken with the profession, one would think they would have done it by now. Actually, one would think they would have prevented it from happening in the first place.

M.A.
MaryAnn,

So why do you use their status initials after your name at times?

Sorry for being flippant, but apparently they've done something that you find productive for your use. Correct?

As many complaints that you have with NCRA, I'd have thought that you would have given up their certifications long ago.

Judy
Judy, those initials are important to the people they're important to. That's it.

M.A.
Kinda vague.
Veronica,

How about just the fact that you did, once upon a time, pass them, does that make any difference to you about keeping your certifications current and up to date? I mean, as long as you could legally say, I've passed the RPR, CRR, RMR, but I've let them lapse, isn't that all you really need?
Would you feel the same way about NCRA and your certifications if you found out that they were considering testing and certifying other methods of making the record along with machine writers, thereby making them your equal?
Veronica,

Nah, I'm just picking your brain because of all of your certifications. Sorry if I confused you.

When I say "other methods," I mean voice reporters, ER (tape recorder pushers), typists, etc.
Oh, gosh, no, not mocking you at all. And I certainly don't hope you were serious. I think I heard a bit of sarcasm there. I'm an empty-nester, so I know what you mean. I was just wondering what you thought of -- oh, gosh, go look at Bill Parson's blog. It should be the first one in line still in the Blogs.
Nope, just means you have better things to do with your day than reading posts all day long! Me, I'm trying to avoid 300 pages of video testimony.

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