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Tuesday, December 05, 2017



As a court reporter myself, I cannot believe how uninformed people are about my profession. The rates set by the Code applied to county employees when we had a SALARY, health benefits, holiday pay, sick pay, retirement program, et cetera. Pro tem court reporters are hired privately and not only are we not afforded any of the above-mentioned, we are responsible for all of the costs incurred with producing the transcripts. Private court reporters no longer make a salary. We are dependent upon that page rate. By the time we pay a scopist or a proofreader, for for our errors and omissions insurance, health insurance, all the fees incurred with keeping our technology up to date to comply with the needs of the attorneys and judges, hopefully you're now picking up on what must actually be left. I was sent a check for $2.00 for a copy order. I was nearly in tears. That is my livelihood. Have you EVER been sent a check for $2.00 for your services? It cost me more to print, bind, and ship the transcript. I lost money, of course, because that attorney insisted on paying me per "Code."

Without fail, I am hired for a trial - where I type all day from 8:30 to 4:30 or sometimes 5:00 - and then I am asked to produce a rough draft that evening or a final transcript by the next morning. I work through lunch, I skip dinner when I get home, and I edit until 2 and 3'o clock in the morning to get the attorneys the 200-page transcripts they need by 8:30 the following morning. If you're doing the math right, that's about 19 hours of work for one times that by a 3-week trial. And don't think for one second we aren't all working on the weekends as well. I ice my hands at night because I'm in so much pain sometimes - and I'm working this hard for people like you.

I paid $25,000 a year to go to court reporting school to learn my skill. It took me 3 years (which is on the faster side); that amounts to $75,000 of student loan debt. Not to mention, the pass rate for California's state tests to become a court reporter hits as low as 7% at times. Lawyers charge exorbitant amounts for their services. What is the difference between you and I ? You learned your skill just like I learned mine. We should be working together and we should have the support of attorneys.

If you're encouraging individuals to look back at their court reporter invoices, please do. However, encourage that they look in order to support a raise in our prices. Our page rate has not changed since at least 1995.

As lawyers, you should be the ones standing up for us and for our profession, considering how hard we work for you. Lawyers should be standing up for court reporters and what an integral part of the legal system we are.

Kimbelry A. Kralowec

Thanks for taking the time to share your perspective on this. You raise some good points. It sounds like a legislative solution is needed, given the change in circumstances that occurred when the state trial courts stopped providing reporters to litigants in civil matters.

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