Many law firms hire freelance court reporters who do not have much experience, usually because their rates are significantly cheaper that those of well-seasoned reporters. If they are certified, novice court reporters can still do a fantastic job taking your depositions, but will not have the “in the room” credentials of lifetime reporters; however, they may have more recent experience with high-tech reporting equipment than others.
You are under no obligation to keep any freelance court reporter on as a permanent fixture in your firm, but a novice reporter could be a great fit for your depositions if he or she commits to:
- Testing. It is not unprofessional to request that a freelance court reporter submit to a short test of his or her skills. Even a five-minute dictation session can be a good test of a reporter’s merit, especially if you are reading case notes that contain complex medical terms, occupational jargon, or other “insider” language.
- Day-to-day performance. Since one deposition may take multiple sessions, new reporters have essentially been given multiple job interviews. Each session is a chance to grow as a reporter, but also to build referrals for his or her services—so he or she must perform well in all aspects. How does the reporter interact with clients? Is she punctual and professionally dressed? Is he polite to your staff members? When assessing a court reporter’s work, you should look beyond the transcript.
- Constructive feedback. You may have taken on freelancers before, only to be burned by their lack of professionalism or knowledge of court procedure. Instead of letting them go on their way with an unspoken intention of never hiring them again, you may try offering some constructive guidance on how they can improve for the future. Novice reporters are often hungry to learn, and will welcome any feedback (even if it is not all positive). Some seasoned court reporters offer mentoring services to novices to give them a more solid grasp of what is required of a good reporter; a novice who is rough around the edges could benefit enormously from peer help.
Our Reporters Have the Benefit of Certification and Experience
At Casamo & Associates, we have gathered a competent staff of certified court reporters with a wide range of experience to fit our clients’ needs. If you have a special request for a reporter in your next deposition, simply fill out our Online Scheduler form and we will call you to confirm within the hour.