What can I really say? This goes to everything I’ve ever written on this blog about the need for market transparency. There are claims now that sometimes itemized bills aren’t sent unless requested. Lawyers are apparently dishing out $11.47 on expedites. I don’t know Florida all that well, but I have to point to New York State’s documented official rates. $5.50 on an expedite.
To me it really does look like the larger corporations are simply using the shortage as an excuse to raise prices while pinning the expensiveness of their invoices on us. Digital is fraudulently painted as a convenient solution — and at times the only solution — and yet none of my sources, nor the larger corps, have come forward to say that the prices are going down. So we’re literally in a world where these corps lie to consumers, lie to students, lie to workers, make their bills vague and confusing, shift costs to copy orderers to lock their original-ordering clients in — and everybody’s expected to be okay with that. After all, nobody in leadership can be bothered to draw attention to it. Shouldn’t we listen to our authority figures and be silent?
I think we should look back at the history of securities regulation. Sellers were lying, lying, lying. Anything to make a buck. This takes away trust in the system. It makes people not want to do business in the United States, its states, and municipalities when buyers can just be taken for a ride and the government will let it happen. Well let me be the first to suggest that this whole thing needs its own version of the Pecora Commission. Maybe corporate consolidation of the industry that controls court records is inherently dangerous. I’ve already shown using very simply math and logic that the leadership structure of the entire field is highly susceptible to corruption. I do concede that that’s partially my fault, because idiot me was sitting here documenting that the government would not go after the fraudsters. My bad. But seriously, some people in government have said our work is integral to our democracy years after the court system was told that doing away with us could interfere with access to justice. I begin to wonder if these nice things we say about court reporters are just lip service to keep us working hard or if people really believe them — and it’s a question only time will ever actually answer.
But the point I’m trying to make is that if you’re going to dethrone professional court reporting and go from a culture and society of excellence to the side hustle culture, those new “reporters” are going to be highly incentivized to hustle all the other players (lawyers, agencies, witnesses) to make up for most of their would-be income going to corporate players’ bottom lines. You think it’s not true? Deposition reporters in New York City were highly incentivized to narrow their layout because their page rates wouldn’t budge. Nobody sent a memo. Nobody agreed to it. There was no collusion. It just happened. It happened because human beings can only be squeezed so much before they look for an out. And the agencies generally found that acceptable because they just want money. This kind of a market is not a market at all, it’s a hellscape of who can outsmart who and how. Lawyers play the game by skipping out on bills they owe, sometimes outright lying about copy orders. Court reporters and agencies play the game with surcharges, page layout swaps, obfuscatory bills. Some agencies play the game by changing the court reporter’s layout. Some scopists and proofreaders play the game by skimming instead of scoping. Court reporter education plays the game by telling students about all the money they can make, but then doesn’t really teach them anything about how to actually make that money except maybe — maybe — the magic cash cow of realtime, which will no longer be a cash cow once everyone is realtime — and everyone IS now realtime, because everybody can just claim their AI is realtime. At some point, a rational group of people has to come together and say this is crazy, right?
Someone should do something.
Oh, shit. We’re all that someone.
The invoices were swapped with redacted invoices per the request of a Stenonymous reader.