It is a safe assumption that you are familiar with the role of a court reporter. What you may be less familiar with is how those court reporters get assigned to your depositions and court appearances. Here is a story based on an interview with one of our employees at Atkinson-Baker who works in Reporter Calendaring. It provides a behind-the-scenes look into how court reporters do their jobs efficiently.
The Role of Reporter Calendaring
Reporter Calendaring is a department tasked with assigning various court reporters to jobs across broad swaths of the US. The employee interviewed assigns court reporters in cities like New York, Boston, Cleveland, and Washington, DC, for example. He noted that, while the job is extremely enjoyable, the position is not without its fair share of difficulty. Working in this role since 2009, he indicates that the most difficult part of the job is when a court reporter is needed immediately.
The reporter calendaring team at Atkinson-Baker fields calls at all hours of the day, including the early morning hours. The workday starts at 6:00 a.m. for some to effectively place court reporters in the early morning, as needed. Though the job is far from easy when legal professionals need a court reporter “right now,” this employee takes satisfaction in the fact that he is able to help lawyers, paralegals, and their firms receive the services their cases need.
The Worst Day on the Job
Becoming a skilled employee on the reporter calendaring team requires the ability to separate the work from emotional displays that can occur when a client is under stress. It can happen that reporters are needed immediately, but sometimes unavoidable obstacles get in the way of that need.
For example, this employee recalls receiving a call from New York at 4:00 p.m. where the lawyer expressed his desire for a reporter the following morning. The deposition in question was located at the far end of Long Island, a sprawling area. However, no reporter was available to take the job.
Eventually, late in the evening, a court reporter did become available, but this employee had to work with this particular court reporter, as she had another job lined up for later in the afternoon.
Still, the morning job she was placed on was only scheduled to last two hours, which fit everyone’s schedule. But, as sometimes happens, the morning job ran over the scheduled two hours, which resulted in the need to find an immediate reporter replacement – and, unfortunately, in the process he missed his nephew’s birthday party.
While days like these are tough, employees in court reporter calendaring tough it out because it is satisfying to provide legal professionals with the help they need in a timely manner. That said, our employee notes that a thick skin and a certain amount of toughness is needed, in his words, “I work this job; the job doesn’t work me.”
Little-Known Facts about Reporter Calendaring
While court reporters show up on the day of a job, Reporter Calendaring personnel are the unsung heroes who go unnoticed when they save the day. This doesn’t go unnoticed by court reporters themselves, however.
Our employee notes that the regular back-and-forth while placing court reporters has helped him develop meaningful rapport and relationships with court reporters he works with regularly. Part of this rapport is due to the fact that court reporters know too well just how invaluable Reporter Calendaring can be.
At times, the placement skills that go appreciated by court reporters and fellow employees can create unrealistic expectations from clients. While it is easy for clients to assume quality court reporters can be found nearly instantaneously, it can take exhaustive effort in many instances to locate an available reporter in the exact location that is needed.
A Final Word of Advice
Our employee recommends viewing Reporter Calendaring as party planners, with the party being the deposition. The analogy works because the team is essentially working with freelancers to fill a job based on the legal professional’s needs.
Like party planners, then, it is ideal to give Reporter Calendaring as much advance notice as possible. While the team can often work magic under tight deadlines and pressure, just like a good party planner, it needlessly creates the potential for undesirable outcomes. The very best court reporters are high-demand individuals. With advance notice, the team has more time and options to find the best fit.
Contact Atkinson-Baker for more information about court reporting and the benefits of putting our skilled team to work for you.