Court reporting services play a critical role in our legal process. Regardless of the nature of the legal dispute, the testimony of witnesses involved in the case is generally the skeleton for with the case is built upon. It is the job of the court reporting services who record the depositions to accurately capture every word of the testimony, either through transcription or by legal videography. The intent of the witness’ testimony could misrepresented by opposing councils can impact the entire outcome of the case. This is why the court reporting services used while depositions are made is incredibly important.
One question that frequently arises while court reporting services are being coordinated for a case is how much a court reporter costs. The answer to this question is hinged on a number of factors, including the type of documentation needed and even the area of the country the legal exchange is taking place. However, most court reporting services calculate their fees based on the following factors:
- Appearance Fees
Sometimes, the lawyers do not actually need the transcription of depositions after the fact, and so the appearance fee is set to ensure the court reporter is fairly compensated for their time. Whether or not any documentation is requested after the fact, the court reporting agency has a base hourly rate charged for the time that the court reporter is physically present for testimonies.
Sometimes, if neither council requests documentation of the testimonies, the court reporter may require an additional “non-write fee” so that the time they spent recording depositions is worthwhile.
- Page Fees
When one or both legal councils request a print out of the testimonies that were recorded by the court reporter, a page fee is applied to their bill. The page fee is determined by the number of pages and the number of copies being made.
For example, the court reporter might charge a rate of $3.00 per page for the original copy of the depositions. Each additional copy of the depositions ordered usually costs approximately 66% of the original. This means that if both lawyers request documentation of the testimonies, one will pay the higher “original” cost and the other will pay a reduced rate. In other words, if the testimony results in 100 pages of documentation (in industry-set text size and fonts), then the first copy of documents would cost $300, and each subsequent will cost $200, plus appearance fees and any additional fees that apply.
If the nature of the testimony is technical and requires added subject knowledge to properly record, there may be a higher per page fee for both the original text and any copies that are requested. This most commonly occurs in medically-related cases.
- Additional charges
A few additional charges that might arise when doing business with a court reporter includes:
- Sometimes, the transcribed documents are needed immediately following testimonies. If daily deliveries of transcriptions are required, the court reporting service will add an expedited fee.
- During the course of the testimony, sometimes evidence is referenced, and need to be included in the transcription. The court reporter will make copies of evidence and add them to the transcribed packet for a nominal fee of a few cents per copy (of course this is higher for color or over-sized copies).
- Some attorneys need documentation in specific formats in order to research and build their case. This might include an index of keywords mentioned by witnesses to quick reference, or a condensed transcript that only includes the important points, or paper copies of digital testimony. Some court reporting services do not charge for services like this, while some add a small fee for each additional service requested.
If the page rate that a court reporting service charges seems extremely low, it’s a good idea to ask about these added fees. They may be recouping this discount by nickel and diming every other aspect of their service. The best way to calculate the best deal is to make sure you are including every added charge you’ll be subject to.
Have you ever paid for court reporting services? Were you billed for any additional expenses that we didn’t mention? Please share in the comment section below!