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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I just say no roughs. I'll give you a final and you need it when? Oh, yeah, the final for day after tomorrow is marked up 90%.

YOu don't have to give a rough. And if the agency complains, tell them to send someone else. What i do and it works for me.

AllenS

I like that, Allen.

"I can't think of how they'd make any money on the rough unless they're just looking to "cash in" on the favor later..."

Maybe... just maybe they think we're overpaid typists that don't deserve to make that type of income. I mean, we certainly can't be in their income category, can we?
I read the posts and couldn't pass this up without responding to it. With the way things are going (across the board!), everyone needs to make a stand against this. We're all suffering from this very thing. The cost of gas is rising (again) every week, but page rates aren't. Everything has gone up, even shipping costs with their added delivery fuel charges, food, paper...

I think we all need to band together and consistently raise page rates.

I also feel that the rough ascii has wrecked us from being paid expedite rates (what we really should be charged to begin with given what we do). I think that this practice should be discouraged (the allowance of rough asciis and the e-mailing of those rough asciis and certified transcripts to anyone and everyone they choose), and the only way to do that, I think, is if we charge fees that are over what the cost of expedite would work out to be, plus adding the cost for each counsel present, since we all know they're sharing it, may or may not be charging a little copy fee which is not given to the court reporter, and probably putting it on some website to sell in the future, all the while not following the rules as we court reporters must and should and do follow.

Now, I know there are good counsel out there who actually ORDER a certified transcript, but I'm running into less and less and less of them. I know some of this sounds negative, but it's a reality that we all are facing.

Some people have their own firms; some do not. For those that do not, I just don't see the great benefit in wanting to provide that rough ascii since reporters (that I have experience in) only receive 70 % of that extra dollar that's added for a rough ascii. Does anyone have anything to add?
This was not a situation with a rough draft, just a situation where defense counsel was sharing copies. Four defense counsel all representing different parties, one copy order--you know the setup. I was alerted to this fact when a non-ordering counsel called asking for an E-transcript because she needed the full-size transcript and only had a paper copy of the condensed. After phoning her and telling her that no copy had been ordered and I couldn't comply with her request without payment, I followed up with plaintiff's counsel and the defense counsel who I suspect distributed my work product with the following message (redacted, of course, but these were some of the larger more reputable firms that were involved in this, for context):

Ms. Secretary

Thank you for inquiring about obtaining an electronic copy of the above-mentioned transcripts. However, you have already obtained a copy from co-counsel and no previous order has been received from Mr. Jamison with your firm. Without payment, I cannot provide a copy of these transcripts to you for ethical reasons. A certified copy of the deposition transcript of Mohammad Zenga can be purchased for $131.00; Sindag Gupta is $122.10, a cost of $xxx per transcript page.

We attempt to keep our prices on the lower end of the scale by not engaging in gifting practices to the taking attorney that artificially inflate our transcript prices. Additionally, we do not charge full transcript page rates for the inclusion of word indexes with our original transcripts. When compared to the [$xxx (.50 higher rate for context)] per page that some of our competitors are charging who engage in these practices, oftentimes coupled with additional expensive add-on services, I'm sure you can see the cost savings of dealing with reporting firms who choose to follow a Code of Ethics and believe in upfront pricing and full disclosure of rates.

However, with the advances in technology that allow for easy sharing of transcripts among the parties, be mindful that this practice does not allow us to fairly split the costs of our services among the parties to the lawsuit. Should this become a prevalent problem that affects our bottom lines as reporters, there will likely be a resultant market shift that results in higher costs for all involved.

Best Wishes and thank you for calling this matter to my attention,
An extra dollar for rough draft is way too low. The going price for MANY YEARS NOW is $1.50 and 70% of that (and really the CR should make 80% on rough draft since there's no production involved) is $1.05/page per order and if you can sell multiple roughs, it turns an average job into a very good job. And of course everyone knows that a signed order form committing to buy a copy is a prerequisite to being offered the opportunity to buy rough draft.
Very true. But when you have the scenario of the rough ascii and then copy attys say: Can you forward that, Bob..., and Bob says: Sure. That eliminates the copies being sold, whether they're getting the roughs or not, they get the transcripts, for sure, from the ordering atty. It doesn't make any sense to me. They're paying for it. Why would they not want everyone else to pay for their own?

I keep thinking, wondering is there something I'm just not understanding as to this thought process? And can anyone please tell me why there are still so many attormeys out there who think we all make a grand amount for an income?

There was an attorney one time making some really disparaging comments to me in front of his client and all counsel about court reporters and how overpaid we are and how he wasn't going to contribute to it by ordering a copy. Getting a lot of this more and more. And while I normally will politely smile and not get involved into a debate or try to "change" the way they're set in thinking, when I couldn't stand it anymore, I politely let him know that I wouldn't presume to speak for anyone else's income, except my own, and that I had to disagree with him. He went on again... and then made a comment as to a car I probably drive. I told him that I think his perception might change if he realized actual facts versus untruths. He did not like that. He continued and then asked me in front of everyone what kind of car I drove. I replied and said that I drive a Toyota Corolla. He quieted down after that. Who knows if his perceptions ever changed.
I drive a nice car, and I work my ever-loving butt off for it. I work the same amount of hours as a new attorney, 80-100 a week, and I make half the pay of these attorneys with no health benefits, no 401k. If I choose to drive around in a nice car and let that luxury consume a larger portion of my income, I think that's nobody's business but my own.

Given that attorney's response, I would have kindly invited him to attend CR school, just as I could have chosen to go to law school.

I'll be adding language to my signed order sheet that copies should not be shared among opposing counsel, language similar to something like an end-user agreement, and should copies be provided, counsel distributing my work product will be responsible for the charges. Hell, they can go to the courthouse and retype this crap into their pleadings, but don't insult me by asking for me to forward my work product along to make your job easier.

The more I think about MY situation above, the more angry I am. Are you telling me that with three defense attorneys sitting around the table charging anywhere from $450 to $900 an hour in combined fees that they want to save $253.10 in my fees for many hours of work on heavily accented witnesses? How generous of them to be concerned about costs
Exactly.
You're all so right. It's been my experience, as well, a few attys think we're overpaid. I've received comments about how much we make, what we (probably) drive...usually, it's in good humor, though.
When they order a rough, they think we go home, turn on the computer, hit "send" and out goes the rough. (I wish it were that easy) Well, for me, they might as well order an expedite, because I stop everything else and pretty much edit the whole thing entirely. Several years ago, while working on a CD case, I made "friends" with this young atty while sitting outside a condo complex awaiting the arrival of our next homeowner witness. He asked me (politely) where do court reporters get off charging so much for their transcripts, to which I replied (equally politely), where do attys get off charging a client $250.00 or more for a pre-printed form that just requires a signature, or $250.00 an hour a phone call that may last five or ten minutes. This was back in the 80's so our rates were very low compared to now.
He laughed. I explained what goes into preparing a transcript and how time-consuming it is. This was before all the technical stuff, by the way
I think most attys just don't have any idea how much work goes into getting the transcripts out after we leave the actual depo. On the other hand, there are those attys who are so appreciative and grateful for a quickly-received rough or expedited transcript, whatever it is they're requesting. Who hasn't been really satisfied with a simple "Thank you" reply from an atty you just forwarded a rough to?
Maybe there needs to be a class in law school to educate incoming lawyers about court reporting, "The court reporter isn't a fixture or an inanimate object."
Hi, Lynn. You made a very interesting statement. You said, "This was back in the '80s, so our rates were very low compared to now." I've read and heard a lot of reporters say that rates have been stagnant for years, are nowhere where they need to be, and most often, that they're working for 10-year-old rates. Looking back to the '80s, and considering what you're paid today ... it's not confrontational, it's only a question ... do you believe the page rates you receive nowadays, today, are nice and high compared to then?

Second, of COURSE there should be classes in law school to educate attys who wish to become litigators about court reporting. I do believe Anita Paul would go into any law school who asked her to present what would be a very informative seminar, or even teach a class to attys, on who we are, what we do, and why we are worth every cent they pay us!

M.A.
Hi Mary Ann,

No, you're right. I should have put "very low" in quotes. As a matter of fact, around 10 years ago I wrote a letter to the CSR Board inquiring about what, if any, recourse reporters have when a court reporting firm doesn't pay you for several months for transcripts, and I went into the whole spiel about how we're the only profession I'm aware of that goes backwards. We used to get an hourly or a per diem PLUS a swearing-in-the witness fee, PLUS the page rate. What other profession pays a newbie the same wage as a seasoned reporter; we don't get raises for years, we can take a job and not know when/if we'll be paid, and we didn't just walk in off the street and start reporting; we went to school and learned a very specialized skill--not to mention all the expenses that go along with the job, i.e., computer, paper, disks, parking, bridge tolls, scopists, etc., not to mention the stress. Can you imagine getting your hair done and telling the stylist you'll pay her later on some time down the road, or having your car fixed and doing that?
Needless to say, I never got a response to my letter.
Point being, no, I don't consider a $2.00 a page rate increase in 24 years exactly rollin' in the dough.

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