Lost Transcripts Among the Major Problems of Freelance Court Reporters

After over a decade of taking depositions and appearing in front of a judge, you have mixed feelings when it comes to hiring freelance court reporters. Basically, it’s a hit or miss commitment: some are punctual, accurate, and professional, while others have been the bane of your existence. You’ve kept a list of the good ones, but many have moved on or can command so high a salary that you’re willing to try new contenders (usually with later regrets).

Lack of Oversight Allows Court Reporter Problems to Continue

Unfortunately, your list of reputable freelance reporters may be the only way to avoid damaging your case’s transcript. Many attorneys have complained about the lack of accountability for freelancers, making constant phone calls to reporters who won’t pick up—or begging a court for more time if a court reporter is taking too long to transcribe.

Common Complaints About Hiring Freelance Court Reporters Include:

  • Mobile transcripts. While a court reporter is responsible for recording what happens under oath, freelancers will usually take their work home. A court reporter may take the court proceedings home, to an office, or to any other location for transcription, making it more likely that errors will occur.
  • Lost records. Not only do freelance court reporters take their work home from the courtroom, they also keep their own records for as long (or as little) as they want. In one case, a transcript was lost forever because the paper copy was destroyed in a tornado at the court reporter’s house.
  • Freelance fees. Freelance reporters can literally set their own fees when deciding how much to charge to produce a transcript. Even court reporters employed by the government may be paid additional income on top of their regular salary for their transcription work. A good transcript may be worth the price—especially considering how much time it tales to transcribe, proof, and assemble case documents—but many sub-par reporters will charge solely for their time without backing up the quality of their work.
  • Poor professional skills. Attorneys may forgive human error, but it’s a different story when a court reporter cannot (or will not) perform an adequate standard of work. Freelancers may feel less pressure to produce transcripts on time, have no coworkers to hand off work to if they become sick or suffer personal problems, or may just procrastinate to the point of attorney frustration (and potential contempt of court).

Don’t Take a Chance: Call Casamo Today

When your client’s case and professional reputation on the line, you can’t afford to roll the dice when it comes to choosing a court reporter. At Casamo & Associates, our on-staff court reporters have access to the most recent captioning and stenographic technology, and all hold certificates as Certified Court Reporters—and since we offer a five-year digital archive of all of our recorded depositions and written documents, you will never have trouble locating vital trial information. Click the link on this page to request a Virginia and D.C. area reporter using our Online Scheduler.

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