Know What You Are Being Billed for Court Reporting Services
Court reporting invoices can be confusing. Comparing “rate sheets” from different providers include variables that can make it difficult to compare apples to apples. However, understanding each line item and the charges associated with those items on your court reporting invoices saves you money. What’s more: comprehending these invoices help you make a more educated decision as to which court reporting service you should hire. Let’s start with the charges you might see on your court reporting invoice.
An appearance fee is the rate the court reporter receives for attending the deposition. This fee is often billed in one of two ways: (1) an hourly rate in which time is rounded up to the nearest quarter hour or (2) a half day fee that covers up to 4 hours with a daily fee that covers up to 8 hours. Please also note that many court reporting service providers charge significantly more for depositions that begin before 8:00 am or after 5:00 pm.
Legal Eagle charges its appearance fees on an hourly basis instead of a half or full day rate. Paying a half day appearance fee for a one-hour or less deposition does not seem an ethical option. The hourly rate is much more equitable for our clients, resulting in savings for you.
Page or Transcript Fees
The page or transcript fees are the largest cost associated with using a court reporter. The court reporter will prepare a written copy of the testimony. A per page fee is then assessed. The per page fee can vary greatly depending on the deponent as well as whether you are the ordering attorney, who receives the original, or the opposing attorney, who receives a copy.
In many cases an expert deponent, hearing, or an examination under oath will cost more per page than a typical deposition. Additionally, the ordering attorney is always charged slightly more than the opposing attorney since the ordering attorney receives the original transcript and a copy.
Know the per page costs for your deposition, as well as whether the court reporter is using industry standard fonts, lines, and spacing on transcripts. Some court reporting service providers will use larger fonts, narrower margins, and fewer lines to increase the page size of the transcript; thus, charging you more as the page count increases.
Legal Eagle uses the industry standard for all depositions. 25 lines, 50 to 60 characters per line, and standard margins for transcription pages. Having unquestioned credibility with our clients is a paramount goal for Legal Eagle.
Most depositions will have exhibits, ranging from a simple black and white copy to video and audio recordings. Copies of these exhibits are kept for the record by the court reporter. When the transcript is produced, the exhibits are attached. Court reporter service providers will charge a per exhibit fee for copies of these exhibits.
Legal Eagle will always give you the option to decline the exhibits associated with the transcript. Please be sure to ask about any multimedia exhibit copy costs. Multimedia exhibit copies can be expensive and often surprise clients when they see the charge on their invoice.
Shipping and Handling
Shipping and handling costs are related to the postage used to mail the transcript. A hard copy should be shipped to the ordering attorney with the copy emailed to the ordering attorney and opposing attorney. Some court reporting services will charge for ancillary costs related to the transportation of the transcript to attorneys. Some of these costs might include the time it takes to ready the transcript for mailing, supplies for mailing, labor for packaging or emailing transcripts, and (in larger cases where there are many exhibits), there may be an additional binding fee or fee for transferring video or audio files to a USB.
Legal Eagle’s shipping and handling cost is a fixed rate, regardless of transcript size. Clients are not charged more because the transcript is 300 pages. Additionally, we offer hand delivery in the Upstate. It is wise to ask how much you will pay for shipping and handling, as it can vary widely among reporting firms.
Most court reporting firms will have conference rooms available for client use at no additional charge. Be sure to ask your court reporting service what facilities they have available and, most importantly, what services they provide in their conference rooms. For example: do they have Wi-Fi? How many chairs? Power or outlet availability? Videoconferencing capabilities? Do they provide beverages?
Legal Eagle’s conference rooms offer complimentary Wi-Fi and video conferencing capabilities as well as plenty of power outlets. Bottles of water are provided for every deposition.
Cancellation fees are charged by most court reporting service providers. These fees can encompass court reporter costs, room costs, and travel expenses, among others. Be sure to ask your court reporting firm about their cancellation policies.
Legal Eagle will never charge a cancellation fee for a deposition that is cancelled regardless of lead time.
Video depositions are becoming much more prominent in today’s digital age. The advantages of a video deposition are enormous, but also costly. Fees often associated with a video deposition are videographer costs per hour, higher per page transcript rates, set-up costs, and synchronization fees.
Legal Eagle will clearly lay out all fees associated with a video deposition prior to booking. We believe in transparent pricing and invoicing.
Other Important Notes
While line items are an important part of understanding your court reporting invoice, other charges exist that you should consider, since these will make a difference in what you ultimately pay. Keep these items in mind when talking to your court reporting service provider:
Ask for line itemed invoices that break down each service’s cost.
Ensure your invoice is sent with the transcript to verify the pages charged equate to what is on the invoice.
Ask for a pricing sheet that lists each service's pricing structure. Once you receive the pricing sheet, ask if any services are not represented on the sheet, such as administration fees.
Inquire about the regular turnaround time for receipt of the transcript, as well as what expediting costs you might incur if the transcript is needed quickly.
Legal Eagle prides itself on adhering to these core values: integrity, professionalism, and trustworthiness. It is our goal to be the legal support services provider on whom the legal profession can count for straightforward pricing and unmatched quality. Legal Eagle provides the information within this article so that you might become more aware of the industry standards for court reporting.
Please also keep Legal Eagle in mind for your next court reporting job. We offer a network of highly skilled court reporters and language interpreters with vast court reporting experience. Each Legal Eagle court reporter is materially aware of the duties and rules involving state and federal proceedings in South Carolina and North Carolina. The court reporters scheduled by Legal Eagle for attorneys and law firms appear on time and are available for different types of proceedings.