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 mentioned this in another discussion, but a couple of weeks ago, I had a SOCAL attorney unfailing try to stip away the original. Thank goodness the NorCal attorney refused the stip.

He asked me for a rough at the end of the depo. I told him, "You're aware that there's an additional charge for that, right?"

He: "Well, how much?"

Me: "I don't know. I just know what the firm pays me, so it's going to be more than a dollar a page for you."

He (with total shocked look on his face): "You mean it's not free?"

Me (with a look of total disgust on my face, I'm sure): "Uh ... no. NOTHING is for free up here."

He: "Well, it's free down there."

Then he had the audacity to ask me to e-mail him one for free anyway, behind the firm's back. Like, duh, if the firm doesn't get paid for it, neither do I. Why would I want to send you a rough for free? Geez, the nerve of some people.

It was a wage and hour case. I asked him why he does the stip and does he even realize that he is giving my work away for free, because that's exactly what he's doing by proposing the stip. I said, "That's how I make my money, by selling copies, and you're giving it away." He said he didn't think of it that way. I told him we haven't gotten a raise in over 10 years. He vowed to never do it again ... but he's from SoCal, so I KNOW that's a lie. His answer to why he does it is because the other side will do it for him in turn.

See, it's the firms' fault for giving everything away for free. It's up to them to change this practice. Or charge for and the the reporter for a full copy when a copy is stipulated away or pay the reporter in full even when the firm decides to give anything away for free.
He's full of hot air. I don' t give out rough drafts for free. I get paid for them and I'm SoCal. Sounds like he was trying to pull one over on you.
There was a conversation on Depoman a while back that touched on this, and the consensus seemed to be that it should be as difficult as possible (if not outright impossible) for an attorney to purchase the rough without also purchasing the final.


As the naive project manager that started that thread, what do you all think? If we made it actually impossible to purchase the rough as a standalone product, would most attorneys bite their tongue and do it? Do you think it would hurt your future relationship or chance of purchase? Are they likely to pitch a fit and not order anything?

On the one hand, the customer is always right... but on the other, the customer is also doing things that are obviously morally wrong (or at best dubious!) by giving your work away for free or using unofficial versions of the transcript to build their legal briefs.

It seems like trying to straddle the line between making the client happy and standing up for your rights seems like one of the toughest parts of the job. There must be a way for technology to take on some of that headache without getting the attorneys all worked up about the hassle of DRM or 'artificially inflated' charges for roughs... but I haven't found anything that looks like the magic bullet yet. < :/
Hi, Brooke. As I hope I said on Depoman, there IS no rough draft without a final transcript. If I was working for my own clients, directly for attorneys -- which I do not do -- IF I had my own client and was at a deposition representing myself, Mary Ann Payonk, I would turn to the offending lawyer and say loud enough for everyone to hear, "PLEASE don't do that! You're taking money out of my pocket, and this is how I earn a living." I'd point out the error of his ways for everyone to hear ... if it was my client. Unfortunately, I am always on the record representing a reporting firm, and all I can do, and all I EVER do, is report back to the agency what's going on. Some agencies are very angry about this, and they contact the client to set them straight on not only rough draft sharing, but copy sharing as well. Other agencies I work for weenie-up, shrug their shoulders and say, "We don't have any control over what our clients do, Mary Ann."

Artificially inflated charges for rough drafts? I haven't heard that one before. I guess they mean because the reporter can write it right the first time for realtime that that rough draft, since it's already done and nearly perfect, should be distributed for free. That's the thing you have to remember about lawyers. All lawyers. Give them an inch and they'll take a mile. Every time.



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