More Court Reporter Stuff: The New Agency Dance

by cathrynbauer

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Last March, this thriving little fig tree was an eight-inch-long stick!

So I have lots of extra time this week.  I had a three-day job scheduled, but it canceled yesterday, leaving me high and dry, so to speak.   This is really somewhat unusual since they had nine witnesses scheduled over three days.  Cancellations do happen, and usually, the appropriate response is to be a sport about it and promptly notify every agency you know that you are suddenly available.  Other things that happen are being given the wrong address or time; arriving at a job to find the case has just settled or that the noticing attorney brought a court reporter who by custom is the one to stay; getting there and finding out that the witness said they spoke English, but an interpreter really should have been hired.  If you are working with the right reporting agency, these will be extremely rare events.  Mistakes happen, but there should not be a pattern of them.  Some of the items I’ve listed are firmly in the agency’s control.  Others are not, but the agency is not necessarily blameless.  In a situation like the one I find myself in, it might well be that the problem lies with the attorneys to whom they’re marketing, those who think nothing of canceling at the last minute, are poorly organized, and do not treat reporters well despite expecting a low rate and lots of freebies.  I don’t know; these are the first depositions I’ve scheduled with them.  But the yellow caution light is flashing with regard to this agency.  My personal policy is “Three strikes, and you’re out.”  Three such events in a relatively short period of time, and I’m not going to lose any more time and money on this bunch.

A reporter friend of mine recently told me about working with another agency who would book her for long, lucrative realtime jobs, then call her to say that they had gone off calendar.  However, they just happened to have a doctor depo that they needed covered for the same time.  I think the second time that happened would be bad enough for me.  This particular agency did contact me once.  The rate they offered was far below standard.  Agencies — and people, for that matter — reveal themselves all the time.  You don’t need to stomp off, figuratively speaking, if you encounter an error or something you don’t like.  Just keep it in mind and watch to see if patterns emerge.

Onward.

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