U.S. Legal Support Charged the Equivalent of $4.90 on a Copy Sale in CA

Thanks to my amazing network of sources, I got my hands on another document that gives us a more complete picture of what attorneys are dealing with.

In brief, US Legal wanted $550 for a 112-page transcript copy. That boils down to the equivalent of $4.90 a page. The lawyer wanted to pay $0.25. The court more or less split the baby and said $2.50 was reasonable.

Three major highlights: Herein it talks about US Legal charging for things the attorney did not explicitly order. I cannot think of anything that would support my contention that the company has an honesty problem more. But since over a thousand people have liked my Tweet about Giammanco, I guess that’s old news.

But more than that, reporters making less than $2.50 on a copy should realize that a court just came to a conclusion that $2.50 is reasonable. Guess what New York companies have been paying reporters for the last decade? About 25 cents. Hey, New York, it’s time for a raise. Even our court copy rate of $1.00 falls well short of what California calls reasonable. This isn’t greed, it’s basic math and economics.

But more than that, we now have good evidence of the cost shifting I wrote about. By undercharging original clients and inflating copy costs, the larger companies in my field are overcomplicating the market. Add that to the despicable lies of Veritext and US Legal, and you have a pretty compelling reason to never do business with either.

And in its own defense, US Legal wanted to make the argument that all the court reporting companies charge inflated prices, an argument which was, thankfully, flatly rejected.

They’re not alone though. I’ve reviewed documents showing Naegeli attempted to charge about $11.50 a page on a copy sale in Washington State. But that story is for another day. In the meantime, court reporters, remember that your worth is what you are able to negotiate. It is not tied to what anyone dictates to you. Don’t believe me? There are plenty of other role models to look at.

Though not too many of them are fighting for you the way you could.

PS. For anyone feeling a little lost, court reporters tend to charge by the page. Original transcripts tend to be more than copies of that same original. Depending on the market, we are about 30 years behind inflation. So while systematically underpaying court reporters, companies like USL are actually charging ridiculous amounts to satisfy their bloated management overhead. Because we stenographers are a heavy ethics culture and fairly connected to each other, the companies have an interest in breaking us and replacing us with digital reporters despite evidence that utilization of digital reporting disproportionately impacts minority speakers.

7 thoughts on “U.S. Legal Support Charged the Equivalent of $4.90 on a Copy Sale in CA

  1. In California though we are required to charge each party who orders the same amount. It has to be monetarily fair to each side. So lawyers don’t get cheap copies here. 4.90 is fair. That similar to the original. New York has been screwing reporters on copy rates. All attorneys should pay the same. I’m a CA reporter. We have these require mats in place to make access fair to all.

    1. I dunno. I’ve spoken to reporters out west that say they don’t make or charge quite that much on copies. And if they do, then it’s important for the rest of the country to see that, because that would be why we are having a shortage issue.

      The court said 2.50 and one reporter quoted me 1.50. That’s the information I have today.

    2. Also, I am curious why USL didn’t argue that, or I missed it. Seems pretty open and shut if they were mandated to charge the same original and copy price. Somehow the court brought the charge down to nearly half.

    3. One attorney is paying for the original to be prepared for the court (which the cost of is always higher than a copy) as well as paying for a copy for him/herself, though.
      The other side is only paying for one copy. So there should be a pretty good price differential.
      One example would be, if the original is charged at $3.50 to produce and each copy is $2.50, the O&1 person would get charged $6.00 and the copy $2.50.

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