One of the most horrifying experiences a court reporter can experience is the inability to complete a transcript on time. Besides angering a client and employer, court reporters that fail to produce a transcript can face any number of penalties, including sanctions, loss of license, contempt of court charges and jail time. Such occurrences are rare, as court reporters earn their money by completing jobs and earn clients with a solid reputation of accuracy and reliability.
A Texas court reporter of 20 years spent a week in jail at the end of May for failure to turn in a transcript and narrowly escaped additional jail time by finally completing the work in June. The subject of the 10-volume transcript was a dispute over an apartment complex sale from 2008. The trial transcript was ordered on appeal and the court reporter was given a deadline of July 31, 2009. The freelance court reporter missed the deadline and received four extensions over an 11-month period. According to the court reporter’s attorney, there were a variety of circumstances that led to her inability to complete the transcript as ordered.
From time to time, all court reporters face a difficult transcription. This can be due to any number of reasons, such as health problems, a death in the family or having to restroke, or retype, a proceeding due to equipment failure. Sometimes an overwhelming number of pages are ordered during a very busy stretch, making it a challenge to complete everything in standard turnaround time, seven to 10 days. With a large job, such as a 10-day trail, many court reporting firms will help out their employees by splitting up the number of days in a row they are taking down testimony when giving out assignments. In the event that a transcript is ordered on appeal, this reduces the number of consecutive days of proceedings that must be produced by each court reporter. This also helps the client receive the transcript faster, as multiple volumes of the transcript are being produced simultaneously.
Another avenue available to a stenographer when they have an overwhelming workload is to hire someone to help them. Scopists and proofreaders can be valuable assets with large volumes of transcripts.
One advantage to working for a court reporting firm like Huseby is that when one of our court reporters experiences a deluge of legal transcription orders, they can take off a few days to work on the transcripts. We are here to support them and help them so that they can always deliver transcripts to the client without missing a single deadline. When a court reporter is a freelancer on their own, there is no one available to provide relief and pick up any new jobs so that the orders can be transcribed.