5 Mistakes To Avoid When Hiring A Court Reporter

mistakes hiring court reporter courtroom records

Court reporters are not just responsible for keeping accurate records of an entire legal proceeding. They are your essential team members in your quest for justice. They are crucial components of any litigation process, whether recording witness testimonies during depositions or keeping account of another firm's pleadings in a trial. Your chosen court reporter must possess substantial legal knowledge, professional business etiquette, and keen attention to details because of the magnitude of the job. Since you need to rely on the reports' accuracy, you must scrutinize your court reporting candidates. Here are 5 mistakes to avoid when hiring a court reporter because you want to ascertain you are collaborating with the best. 

1. Assuming All Of Them Possess The Same Skills 

Don't ever fall into the misconception that all court reporters are the same. Though they may receive the same education, they differ when it comes to skills, experience, and personality, which all matter when documenting difficult legal proceedings. It would be best if you had a court reporter with a heavy legal background, who can understand the legalese and complex terms used in court. Then he or she must present the collected information with unity, right grammar, correct punctuation, and proper spelling. 

Experienced court reporters can provide real-time transcription of reports where drafts of your deposition can be made available immediately. Although the basic information can be taught, skills and experiences are a different story. When searching for the right candidate, you have to look for a court reporter with the right certifications. Assuming these are no longer essential as long as the person has the education is a fatal mistake. These credentials exemplify the level of experience, skills, capabilities, expertise, and credibility of court reporters. If you want the best reporter, look for the following details: 

· Membership to the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) 
· Registered Professional Reporter Certification (RPR) 
· Certificate of Merit (CRM) 

2. Believing The Larger Agencies Offer Better Services 

A veteran Fort Lauderdale court reporter shared that some clients regret assuming that hiring a reporter from a large agency is a guarantee that you'll get the best service. After all, they have bigger everything: reputation, budget, and pool of reporters. However, don't be misled by the nice branding because this can be a smokescreen for their impersonal, subpar services. Court reporters from larger agencies are disconnected from the local market because they are pressured to churn out large profits. Sometimes, they lose focus on what matters in their mad dash to produce quantity over quality. Watch out for these red flags: 

A. Impersonal service with call center agents that don't know who you are. 

B. Court reporters who don't spend enough time with their clients because they are in a mad rush to maximize their investors' returns.
 
C. High employee turnover rate because of job dissatisfaction due to the high pressure. In turn, this affects the quality of their outputs. 

D. The staff has very little industry knowledge. 

3. Going With A Smaller Agency Because Of Cheap Pricing 

Unfortunately, cheaper isn't always the best choice. Though affordable prices lure you, you must check what services and solutions they actually offer. Many small agencies do not possess the resources or tech to support you. If you need real-time reporting, then you need access to the software. A veteran Fort Lauderdale court reporter shared that small agencies cannot offer excellent customer service support because their staff members are busy multitasking. Here are the other issues to watch out for: 

The owner is also busy court reporting, so no one manages the other court reporters and back end staff. 

Limited cash flow so they cannot wait for you to procure payment from your client. 

They could be relying on older technology. 

Dismal resources to help you out. Think lack of interpreters, skills to facilitate an out of town depo, or trial services. All of these can result in incomplete documentation of the legal proceedings. As a result, you will receive a substandard report that could impact your own work quality. It would be hard for you to make decisions and plans with inaccurate information. 

4. Thinking That Fees Are All Structured Similarly 

When it comes to court reporting, fees vary depending on the state, as well as the agencies. A Naples Court Reporter shared that if you are conducting out of town depositions, you need to speak with your prospective local court reporter so you can manage your expectations. You have to evaluate the following: 

A. Check to see if the local agency has affiliations with other agencies in the country that paves the way for a standardized pricing structure. 

B. Find out if they provide discounted rates if you have a case with multiple parties and copy sales. 

C. Ask if it is possible to have a special package if you are working on a larger case so that the discount can be secured by all the parties involved. 

These are merely examples, so you may have more queries that you want to discuss ahead. For best results, speak to your prospective agencies so you can thoroughly flesh out various options. 

5. Concluding That Everyone Uses The Same Tech 

Tech solutions make a big difference when it comes to selecting a court reporting agency. An expert Fort Lauderdale court reporter noted that agencies that use the latest tech specs are your best bet. Their software and recording solutions assure that your information is properly documented and protected. 

Remember, you want the essential information accurately recorded and safeguarded following the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health) Act's security protocols, so take the time to check and compare what technology is being used by your prospective court reporting agencies

Hiring the right court reporting service is paramount to your legal practice. You should never get a substandard report nor witness lapses inefficiency by an inept reporter. An accredited court reporting agency that has been serving the industry for years with the latest court reporting technology should be able to provide you quality work. You can count on their team of expert court reporters to act with integrity and provide you with accurate documentation.

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