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 think that's a great idea to have Anita Paul go into law schools to give a seminar on court reporting. Maybe then attorneys will know all of the work that goes into producing a final transcript. Attorneys think that when the deposition is over that we're finished for the day we just go home and download it on our computer and send it in.
What an utter jackass you encountered. I would have spoken up immediately. "Excuse me? Where are you getting this impression? I'll compare my 1099s with your W-2 anyday and believe me, you'll keep your W-2. Are you paying $600/month for health insurance just for yourself? Do you pay double the SS taxes as I do? Are you chipping in to help me pay my bills when one of your colleagues cancels a dep, leaving me to earn zero on any given day? How about when another of your colleagues has a 1-hour deposition? My health premiums are not getting paid on with that income either. And the court reporters who are doing nicely, why do you begrudge that? They have extraordinary skills and work their butts off. Maybe you should consider going to court reporting school!"

I know you spoke up, Jennifer, and I applaud that. I'm not implying that you took this sitting down. I think I would have shown more indignation at the disrespectul garbage coming out of his mouth. The GD nerve. (I know it's easy to say all this; it's another thing to gather ourselves to say stuff at the right moment!)
I appreciate that. I still think there needs to be more done in the way of charging for things though.
I have also had attorneys make the same comment that court reporters make too much money. My reply to them is along the line of The bill you get is not the actual amount I'm paid, and also "I HAVE NOT HAD A RAISE IN THE 12 YEARS I'VE BEEN WORKING AS A REPORTER." They don't say too much after that.
excellent comeback, Rosalie. "Let me disabuse you of the notion that I am receiving the full amount of any invoice. Any agency gets and is entitled to a sizable part of that bill. And when was the last time you got a raise? Because I haven't gotten one in about a decade." such doofusses.

Sweet!  I drive a 2007 Ford Focus (that has since lost its ability to electronically open the trunk.  I have to use the key.)  Sure, I look nice at the depo - always wear a suit with a conservative neckline bought on super sale at Banana Republic or whatever.  But when they see my car (especially at valet), the lawyers are always a little baffled and bemused.  I'm like, "Hey, I got my license in 2008.  Times have changed.  This is how I roll, yo!"  Of course, I don't drive the Focus to engender pity.  It's what I can manage.  In fact, I got rid of a 17-year-old Nissan 240SX from high school to get the Focus.  Now, THAT car would really mess with them, but the old 240SX is also one that could have actually made the wrong impression - like I'm irresponsible.

$5.00 pp for rough just kind of jumped out at me....

Well, I would charge her for all five of the copies of the rough ASCII, that should put a stop to it. Is she also giving them a copy of the final transcript? This is your work product.
Did you at least get certified copy orders out of some/all of the other 4? Don't know who you were working for, but do you know what your agency is charging the attorney for these services they decided to share? The reason I'm asking is because a client of mine recently ordered a rough ASCII and a certified copy from a reporter working for a national deposition agency and he is being charged $3.30 per page for the certified copy and $1.50 per page for the rough ASCII. Excluding exhibits, his bill for this 200 page depo copy and rough is $1055.00. He's a good guy, usually orders copies of depositions even if he is getting the original because he thinks reporters' should be fairly compensated for their work and he likes all the electronic perks he can get with a copy order, but with charges like this I imagine he will be less likely to order a copy if possible. How much are reporters getting from these large national agencies on copies? $1.50+ per page?
Uuugh.. you guys should start a union or something.
why are court reporters so unorganized (as in no union)? I have seen millions of workers unite under one union, why cant 60k reporters do the same thing? where is the NCRA?

like sharing movies and music, sharing transcripts should be illegal.

all transcripts should be password protected, if every single reporter starts password protecting their product no one can complain.
you have to jump through 100 hoops to use livenote. tokens, passwords...etc
why cant reporters do the same.

P.S: many attorneys post the transcript online for anyone to download. yikes!
I have so much to say on this issue... You're right, it is frustrating! I went to a particular seminar recently. I figured I would pose a question (at the appropriate time, of course, during the Ethics portion) regarding ways to change an already (now) existing Rule that totally harms the court reporter out of proper payment for certified (copy) transcript(s). I did this only after having listened as to the speaker saying how important it is to get involved..., question things..., know your organization..., trust your lobbyists..., not able to get a desire to help with this change through e-mails or other previous conversations... After giving the why you should donate money to your PAC to help the lobbists, I posed the question if those lobbists were currently working on that situation. After dancing around the issue and gaining curiousity from others, I asked it again more directly. The speaker at the time said "No" and appeared to leave the room.

My question wasn't to try to upset anyone, merely to find out the answer(s) and what I or we (as a collective group) could do in order to go about making a change for the better. I interpret it as though I'm met with lots of resistance.
Monti, if you really wanted to generate some back-and-forth, create a buzz, but also open CSRNation to a lot of strongly worded responses, that would be a thread about court reporters forming a union. There was recently a vote held at a captioning company -- Caption Colorado -- and the little bit of conversation on another board that was attempted to get information out to the reporters who were voting yea or nay ultimately provided a lot of negative comments about union membership past the sentiment that was expressed often of, "There's good a bad in a union ..." The vote failed, by the way.

I think it's a VERY hot-button issue for so many reporters, because we've seen our rates go to sh**, and, as mentioned in Jennifer's post, it seems we are fighting every single day JUST to be paid what we are due ... and that fight is, very sadly, against those in our own profession, the very firms we work for. With the economy such as it is, work dwindling in many markets, we've also now got a glut of reporters looking any and everywhere for work.

Consider the litigation reporters who can't get a job and want to "go into" captioning. Consider the captioners who are seeing their hourly writing rates getting cut again and again and AGAIN and are gearing up to move over to the litigation side and "do" realtime, because they'll make more money than in captioning. They're ships passing in the night, each side thinking the grass is greener over THERE when, in fact, it's the same all over. Consider those who left reporting years ago and now, because they've been laid off from their regular jobs, are looking to return to the reporting field JUST to survive. There are posts here and on other boards from ex-reporters who are doing that very thing, so add them into that long line of reporters looking for work. This glut of reporters, coupled with lack of work due to layoffs in law firms, and ... adding insult to injury ... the low page rates we've experienced for many years now due to low-ball contracting practices, has put us in a very bad place.

You ask, Monti, "Where is the NCRA?" NCRA is not a union. They don't have the power of a union. Yes, NCRA has a lot of guidelines and recommendations ... but are they laws that must be followed? And what happens if you don't? Jennifer talks about "making a change for the better," and I think we are ALL in favor of that. But short of union representation, or a very strong and powerful national association working for the good of each and every member ... short of that, it's then up to each and every reporter to fight those battles on their own.

When reporters stand up for themselves, they know who they are fighting for, they know what they are fighting for, and they will directly benefit from victories both large and small. I LIVE here in Washington DC, and while I agree with the suggestion to question things, and most definitely to know the organization tasked with representing YOUR best interests, PAC money to help lobbyists is something I'd have to think about some more.

Just a few thoughts, Monti. Instead of starting a thread about a union, you could start a thread called "Fixing what ails us," or something like that, to get some ideas on how to fix the problems we see in reporting nowadays, and how NOT to let it happen again!

Regards,

M.A.

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