Court reporting is a competitive industry. Firms have many different fee structures and some may attempt to attain business without divulging all the facts. So how do you know what you’re really paying for your deposition services?
Before you book a court reporter, ask the court reporting firm these four questions:
How many lines per page will the transcript be, how wide are the margins, and what size font do you use?
If you take a moment to compare different court reporting firms’ transcripts you will probably notice some transcripts are 22 lines and some are 25 lines even though the word count is the same.
Does that mean you are getting more bang for your buck at 25 lines? Not necessarily.
You may be paying more for a transcript just due to the margins on the page. Wider margins force more lines – which you will be charged for.Likewise, paragraphing plays an important role in the cost of a transcript.
For example, if the court reporter transcribes the following exchange like this:
- Did you go to the store?
I don’t like that store.
Transcribing the exchange like this (“I don’t like that store” as a new paragraph), the court reporter gains an extra line, even though the additional paragraph is unnecessary. Doing this multiple times throughout the deposition will increase the number of pages and, thus, the cost to you
Will I be charged an appearance fee as well as the cost of the transcript?
Some regions charge an appearance fee plus pages for depositions; however, you might not be told that up front. If you are quoted what seems to be a low page rate compared to other court reporting firms in the vicinity, ask if there is an appearance fee in addition to the page rate.
Is there an extra cost for a condensed transcript or word index?
This is a great question to ask! Not only do many firms charge extra for this add-on service, they charge a per-page rate for it. This means that, instead of paying a flat fee to deliver the condensed and index, you could be charged an additional sum for every page of transcript.
How will exhibits be handled?
It is important to hire a court reporting firm located where the deposition will be conducted when it comes to exhibits and cost. Why?
At the conclusion of the deposition, if counsel wants exhibits attached to the transcript, the court reporter becomes the custodian and retains the exhibits. If the court reporter resides in Washington, D.C. but the firm you hire is headquartered in California, the court reporter will have to send the exhibits there, incurring additional costs for shipping.
Asking these questions before you hire a court reporter will save you from unpleasant surprises when you open the invoice. At Misty Klapper& Associates we believe hidden fees are bad for our clients and for us. That’s why we always deal with our clients with transparency and we never “pad” our bills. Ask and we shall tell! Our clients always know up front what they’re paying for.
You should expect nothing less when you hire a court reporter!