I visited a Facebook group designed for court reporters and a scenario came up involving communication in court reporting that went like this:
Attorney A requests a deposition on Thursday with transcription delivery on Friday. Trial starts on Monday. Attorney B is present for the conversation, hears the request by A for expedited transcript, and B requests expedited transcript. Both attorneys are charged for expedited delivery. B is upset they were charged and says only the attorney who requested should be charged. What should the court reporter do?
Feedback is requested from the group and the answers boil down to the law, custom, and ability to deliver the transcript prior to trial start date.
Because A requested the transcript within one day and B wanted the same, B should be charged the fee that A is also charged. Regular delivery would have taken up to ten days and in this case, it just doesn’t make sense because of the timeline of the case. It should be noted that when you’re involved in a scenario like this, it’s important to consider state laws governing what and how court reporters can charge clients along with the logic of the request.
If Attorney B had not been present to hear the request and immediately reply, then Attorney A should have contacted B and asked their preference for delivery. If it was expedited, then they pay that fee or wait for regular delivery without fee.
The overriding factor in the example is that it was a Thursday deposition, Friday delivery, for a Monday trial date, a highly compressed deadline even for the best legal teams.
We can learn about communication from this example, including the importance of asking the right questions at the appropriate time.
Don’t assume your court reporting agency has asked the same questions of the client that you would ask. Instead, follow up with them to clarify and then ask the attorney for their preferences. That way everyone is on the same page when it comes to what, to whom, and how transcripts are delivered.
Be clear when setting expectations and consequences (charges for expedited transcripts, extra copies, etc.) if the scope of work changes.
No one likes to be surprised with extra charges especially if they feel like they’re being charged after the fact for something they thought was within scope for the work. Have a system in place for tracking client requests so that you’re not left covering fees that the client should be covering.
If you’re a Sacramento area court reporter seeking more clients or an attorney or business person seeking a court reporter or transcriptionist, contact us today!