Many people have a preconceived impression of what a court reporter does based on what they see on television or in the movies. One of the funniest portrayals I’ve seen recently depicting the role of court reporter was on the television show, Franklin & Bash. Then, there are those who truly know and understand the complexities, challenges, and stressors of a court reporting professional.
There are so many facets to our daily tasks as a court reporter. One would think that providing realtime or daily-copy requests would be most daunting. Not so, in my opinion! Managing the calendar, I believe, can be one of the most stressful aspects of our job duties. The calendar is constantly in flux and we, as court reporters, overbook knowing a certain percentage of bookings will cancel. Inevitably, there are days when one needs to reach out to other court reporting professionals to look for coverage. Of course, as the referring court reporting firm and/or court reporter, it is imperative to know we are working with a reliable reporter and one who will represent the firm well.
Building relationships with court reporters is analogous to building relationships with attorneys and paralegals. In our marketplace in Memphis, we have an excellent community of freelancers that are willing to cover jobs when needed and I am proud to work with them. The following tips will ensure success in building a client relationship with a referring court reporting firm and/or court reporter.
- Keep in mind a court reporting firm is your client, just like a law firm, and deserves your time and attention as well.
- Once you make a commitment to handle a job, stand behind it, even if a seemingly better job comes along. The referring reporter will not take kindly to last-minute cancellations. You wouldn’t cancel on your attorney client, so don’t cancel with the referring reporter client either.
- If a firm has certain requests because of their business model, always adhere to them; such as, arrival time, transcript formatting, delivery time, etc.
- When you receive a voicemail, text, or email request for availability, respond to said request regardless of whether or not you can help the firm. Whenever a reporter emails me that they cannot help on a specific job, I appreciate it so much because they took the time to let me know and, thus, I am assured that reporter values me as a client. Those reporters that reply to me, no matter their availability, will be my top choice when looking for coverage.
- If a request comes in while you’re on vacation, upon your return, send a polite thank-you to the court reporting client and explain the tardiness of your reply.
- Follow the rules of business etiquette re: response time to a request. Let the date of the engagement be your guide as to how quickly a response is needed. Generally, emails require a 24-hour response time.
- When committing your services to another court reporting firm, make sure you understand when you may expect payment and billing procedures. The firm will always be glad to share this information with you so there is no misunderstanding.
Client, as defined by Merriam-Webster: a person who engages the professional advice or services of another