11 Key Questions to Ask Your Next Court Reporter

Ensure the accuracy of your transcripts and the success of your case by hiring the right court reporter.

Choosing a court reporter is a task that should not be taken lightly. The key to winning a case is a precise and accurate transcription, and if you don’t hire a qualified reporter, you may be risking your case. Since you’re dealing with confidential or sensitive information, you want to make sure that the person you hire is reputable. You want to choose a reporter who will become a trusted partner and can positively answer the following questions.

1) Do they service your area?

Find out if the court reporter services your area. It’s possible to bring in someone from another state or county if no local reporters are available, but it’s not cost effective.

Many companies are able to cover several counties, or even multiple states, due to the number of staff they have on the payroll and how many offices they have around the country. Smaller companies, however, may not have the same desire or budget to branch out.

2) Do they have an excellent reputation for quality service?

It’s very important to investigate a potential reporter’s reputation. Are they highly regarded in the area? Are they reliable? Ask courts or attorneys that have used them in the past to find out if they would use them again.

A good reputation normally means the court reporter is dependable and provides quality service. They’re willing to go above and beyond what is required of them while they’re on the job.

3) How much experience do they have?

It goes without saying that you want a court reporter that has a respected reputation in the industry and a long record of happy clients. Make sure to ask for referrals from current or former clients, and do your research online to learn more about potential hires.

4) How are their court reporters certified and trained?

Many states require court reporters to pass a state certification test before working in the field. It’s a good idea to make sure the court reporter that will be scheduled for your proceeding is state certified. The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) offers similar certification. If your state doesn’t require state certification, request a court reporter who holds the NCRA certification.

This internationally-recognized association is the premier educational and informational resource for its professional members and for the public. Court reporting agencies that belong to the NCRA are committed to adhering to the highest standards and ethical best practices in the industry.

5) What kind of litigation support do they offer?

There’s no question about the importance of finding a court reporting firm that offers crucial litigation support, including: real-time reporting, the choice of rough disks and/or transcripts, overnight, daily and/or condensed transcripts, word indexing, and audio-transcription.

6) How many court reporters are on staff?

While you may likely only need one court reporter at a time, it helps to choose an experienced professional to ensure that you can always get service when you need it. Working with court reporters who can come in and take over on short notice means you won’t be left without a qualified reporter to do the job.

7) Do They Handle All Aspects of a Court Reporter’s Duties?

It’s helpful to hire a court reporter who can handle all aspects of a reporter’s job. At any given time, the reporter may be asked to sit in an interview or to hear a private testimony. They must also be willing to travel for their job, if necessary

8) How much advance time do you need to schedule a court reporter?

There may be circumstances in which you have only a few days to schedule a court reporter. You’ll want to be sure that the reporter you’re working with is able to schedule last-minute proceedings if necessary.

9) How much will it cost to hire a court reporter and order a transcript?

A good court reporter will be able to quote you a page rate for your transcript, appearance fee, as well as other services that may be provided. Don’t be afraid to ask for details of rates and fees that you’ll be charged before scheduling a court reporter,

10) When will I receive my transcript?

Most court reporters can tell you the normal turn-around time they offer for transcripts. Be sure to ask about expedited transcripts. Each reporter can vary on what they consider to be an expedited or rush transcript. Some will have varying prices depending on the length of time they are given to produce the transcript. Ask if they are capable of providing transcripts on a rush or expedited basis if needed.

11) Do they have insurance?

Don’t take a risk by hiring a reporter who’s not insured. Being insured shows that they take their reputation and their commitment to accuracy seriously.