Demystifying Court Reporter Billing

Deposition and EBT billing has always been an enigma in New York City. Everyone’s paying and charging something different for originals, copies, expedite this, or realtime that. The prevailing method of charging for the reporter’s time is the page rate model, which places heavy value on the time it takes to transcribe, and almost none on the reporter’s actual time at the deposition. To make up for this, reporters often charge an appearance fee.

The problems with the page rate model are numerous. It makes it pretty much impossible to know the cost of court reporting services until well after the proceeding because every court reporter’s page margins are a little different, and therefore pages per hour vary. The page rate model also has a nasty habit of leaving attorneys feeling nickeled and dimed as charges are piled on for every little thing. Court reporters are financially incentivized to play with the margins to produce more pages. The worst offense of the page rate model is that it often thwarts splitting the bill and reducing costs. Let’s say Law Firm A is getting a sweet deal on their originals at $4.00 per page. Law Firm B and C might be charged $5.00 or higher on a copy, meaning that splitting the bill can paradoxically raise the cost of deposition transcripts. Ultimately, the law firms are incentivized to simply copy the deposition transcript and share it with each other, splitting that $4.00 original cost.

This creates some whacky pricing. Court reporting firms end up in the position of having to raise original prices to make up for the lost revenue.

A New Model

After thinking about this problem at length, I reimagined deposition reporting. As things stand, reporting firms rely on copy sales for the bulk of their revenue. That means they’re relying on multi-party litigation to keep them afloat. It’s basically gambling, and I firmly believe there’s got to be a better way to do business. It’s an open secret that a good number of stenographic court reporters in New York City receive a miniscule percentage of the copy sales. That means there’s lots of money spent on depositions that court reporters never see and don’t care about, and therefore a chance to do better for the legal community. What REC Reporting, Inc. brings to the table is charging by the deposition hour. The model simply takes average court reporter pages per hour, multiplies that by a fair page rate, factors in estimated company overhead, and arrives at a single figure that can be used to reliably quote prices before a deposition ever happens, with simple percentage increases for things that make your court reporter work harder, like expedites, rough drafts, and realtime.

Transparency is key to the model. Under the page rate model, your court reporter may never be aware of the final price you pay. Imagine a scenario where you are charged $11.50 per page on a copy while the court reporter only gets maybe a third of that. In this scenario, the court reporting firm is charging a hefty fee for finding the court reporter and printing the transcript. It’s a model built to profit off of deception. Imagine if the stock market had been designed in such a way that you didn’t know the price of a stock until after you bought it and the brokerage could subjectively and retroactively add fees. What REC Reporting brings to the table is upfront and honest pricing, currently at $516 per deposition hour as of March 2022. When you split the bill with REC, you know you’re saving money. Call us at 971 268 6792 or contact us to confirm your deposition today.

Published by Christopher Day

Stenographer that cares about people over money.

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