So I’m in a deposition yesterday. Nothing unusual. See, it’s not unusual to receive a spur-of-the-moment panicked phone call from a law firm looking for a court reporter to cover a deposition in the Chicago suburbs that started 30 minutes earlier. Yeah, not unusual at all.
I obliged. Because the thought of having five attorneys assembled around a conference room table at x-hundred dollars an hour each, totaling over, I’m guessing, a thousand dollars an hour, goes against my grain. It’s like seeing a building on fire. You don’t just walk away.
Now, mind you, it was my alleged day off. Alleged, because most my days off are torpedoed by attorneys who forgot a reporter or, sometimes, as in yesterday’s case, a reporter from another agency who…just didn’t show up. Seriously? Seriously.
I arrive at the proceedings within 45 minutes of being called. Sure, I violated a few traffic laws. But it’s for the greater good, right? Right.
And what’s the payback for my heroic deed?
ME: Counsel, would you like a copy?
COUNSEL: Nah. I’ll just get one from them (indicating the guys that hired me).
Okay. Little backstory. That same attorney praised me for showing up with no notice on my day off. And while I was setting up for the deposition, he went on to tell me that the court reporting agency he once used when he had a downtown Chicago office had effectively fired him when he moved to this off-the-beaten-path location.
Or did they?
Maybe they fired him because he expects court reporters to work for free. Yeah, there’s that possibility.
Well, I don’t work for free. And I’ve read statements by court reporters on social media who get all hacked off at attorneys who engage in this practice and expect them to work for free. I get it. But I decided not to get hacked off. Not at all.
I simply informed the law firm whose arse I saved yesterday that my agency frowns on copy sharing; that it really does disincentivize reporters; that if reporters get wind that your law firm sanctions copy sharing, they’ll just opt out of future work for you, which is their right as independent contractors.
My new client’s response:
“I saw and heard the whole thing. We won’t share a copy. Thank you again for all of your assistance yesterday. You saved us.”
Proof that there are still decent attorneys out there who value our services and aren’t into giving away transcripts.
As for the guy in the dilapidated house-turned-law office in the middle of nowhere. . .
Good luck getting a free transcript. Oh, and good luck getting reporters to help you. Just like you, we don’t work for free and we’re not into giving our transcripts away and shit like that.