I was passed a transcript excerpt by a source that wishes to remain anonymous. As a note, the redactions weren’t done by me. It was a short deposition, and looked like any other.
There were three parties and a videographer.
Now, maybe some of my Texas audience can fill me in on this, but apparently there’s a certificate in Texas that tells us how much the deposition officer gets. I do not know for sure if the deposition officer is verbiage for the reporting company, the reporter, or something else. I tried to connect to the court reporter on LinkedIn, but she didn’t respond. This certificate listed, on a 39-page transcript, a grand total of $1,457.31. That’s about $37.37 a page. Even if we assume the videographer took half, that’s about $18.69 a page.
I can’t figure out how the cost gets that high. I have to look at New York officials for comparison. Assuming a daily of $6.50 and two copies of $1.25, they’d be looking at $9 per page. Freelancers out here have been doing about a dollar a hookup, so even if we assume there were three hookups, we’re still talking about $12 a page — and there’s no evidence to suggest any of that is true. I’m just trying to add calculations to get to $37 a page.
If nothing else, I hope this annihilates the argument that court reporters are in danger of pricing ourselves out of the market. Such a thing is often said to break our newbies into accepting very little money for the important work that they do. It’s a disgusting corporate tactic to make the bottom line look better. Maybe the middleman model has outlived its usefulness to our profession.
Notably, Veritext also seems to be normalizing adding a kind of corporate certificate that doesn’t actually certify anything. What’s the point of this?
I’m done chasing people and companies for answers. If they care to comment on the blog, I don’t censor comments. But good luck explaining $37 a page to a field of stenographers that are often told lawyers won’t pay more than the measly $4 or $5 we pull in.
6 thoughts on “Veritext Apparently Charged the Equivalent of $37 Per Page in Texas”
The purpose of the Veritext “Company Certificate and Disclosure Statement” is that Veritext is placing themselves in the “Responsible Charge” position. Court Reporters are the Responsible Charge. By Veritext’s asserting their position as the Responsible Charge, it takes away that position from the reporter, making us worthless. It frees up Veritext to be able to move to their digital reporting model, getting rid of stenographers altogether. Do you all get it now? We are the Responsible Charge. We need the NCRA to adopt a Responsible Charge Statement, ensuring that court reporters remain in control of the record. We cannot let agencies usurp this control from us. We need to take back every inch of control of the record from agencies like Veritext.
Christopher, I can partially answer your question about the cost on the Further Certification page. We have a requirement in Texas to file the deposition certificate with the court clerk. It is to include whether the deposition was returned by the witness, whether any changes were made, the cost, and which party is to pay the cost. The further cert includes information that was not known at the time the deposition was delivered. Firms in Texas are required to be registered and follow the same rules required of reporters. Legislation passed in Texas last session so we as firms can handle that administrative task because we have the information of return dates and billing details. I would not comment on the amount or trying to figure out what the detail is by reading a number on a certificate. We have lots of rules here and some are antiquated. However, an attorney may request an itemized statement from a firm if they did not receive one, and our rules would require that the firm provide that upon request. They can dispute the cost or file a motion with the court. Reporters are busy enough without having to do administrative tasks. I know mine are happy for us to take care of it, along with all the other production-related tasks. Like it or not, big box firms are here to stay. Reporters should just work toward laws/rules promulgation in their states to ensure firms are playing by the same rules. I fought the fight against big firms 20 years ago; that fight is over. NCRA can only make recommendations for its members to follow. State legislation and rules promulgation is the only answer moving forward.
I have to disagree with you vehemently that the fight is over, but I appreciate you chipping in some information very much.
Great blog. I just found it recently because I’ve been learning steno with Plover. I’m a transcriptionist for transcription company that Veritext uses. They just tape the depo and send the file to us to transcribe. Never thought I would do legal transcription, but sure enough, Veritext is a consistent customer. Is this normal, for court reporters to outsource to transcriptionists? Just curious since the theme of your blog seems to be calling out poor practices in the court reporting industry, and I always assumed a stenographer took down the depo. But in my transcripts, the reporter seems to just be taking some notes, noting speaker changes, and going on and off the record.
What is occurring in our industry is they’re trying to bump us stenographic court reporters with digital court reporters. The notes you’re seeing sound like log notes from a digital court reporter. In years gone by, the companies exploited stenographic court reporters by pitting them against each other. “If you don’t take this for this price, someone will do it cheaper.” It was all a game to get court reporters to accept less. Now we are watching the same occur where digital court reporters are being pitted against stenographers. Meanwhile, digital court reporters would make great candidates for stenography.
To answer your question directly, it is uncommon and poor practice for stenographic court reporters to outsource to transcribers. We do use scopists, but we’re not supposed to be leaving large gaps for them to fill. It is very common for digitally recorded testimony to be outsourced to transcribers.
I really think you’re going to love Plover and the Open Steno community. I wish you lots of luck and success.
STOP CALLING THEM DIGITAL “COURT REPORTERS.” They are digital court RECORDERS. Words matter, people, especially in the legal field. Nobody knows that better than a real court reporter.