TRANSCRIPT CHARGES and RELATED CONSIDERATIONS
This page is not intended to serve as a rate schedule, but it does contain rate ranges for court reporting services in the Kansas City area and should aid the reader with determining if you are paying too much for court reporting services. If you require a quote for an assignment you would like us to cover, please contact our office.
How Fees Are Charged For Court Reporting Services
Fees for services provided by freelance reporters are generally charged by the page, in addition to an hourly or per diem attendance fee billed to the taking attorney/party. It is important to note that transcript page rates reflect the cost of the court reporting service provided, not a duplicating charge you might expect from a copy shop. It is also important to note that freelance court reporters are not employed by nor subsidized by state or federal governments for the services they provide. Therefore, page rates for transcripts provided by freelance reporters are usually higher than page rates charged by court reporters employed by state or federal courts who are provided with a base salary and benefits.
Charges to the Taking Attorney/Party (original costs)
Original page rates charged to the taking attorney/party are traditionally higher than for other attorneys/parties wanting to order a copy of the transcript. For the past decade or so in Kansas City and many other regions of the country, the original base page rate has remained virtually unchanged, with some increases coming in the form of hourly rates and administrative fees. One of the reasons that base page rates have stayed as low as they have is due to the influence of large national and regional court reporting agencies that contract with insurers and large corporations for real or perceived lower rates, but then they sometimes shift those reductions in fees, assuming there are any, to other parties in the litigation. See Networking, Insurance Contracting, and Cost Shifting. As of December 2021, the base page rate for a certified original transcript of a deposition in the Kansas City area generally ranges from $4.25 to 4.75/pg., with some firms also charging a per-page fee for word index pages1.
In addition to the original page rate, the taking attorney/party is also invoiced an hourly or per diem attendance fee. If per diem, the charge in the Kansas City area can be expected to be about $100 per half day, with proceedings over four hours typically incurring a full-day rate of $150 to $200. Hourly fees are now more common than per diem charges, ranging from $30 to $50 per hour, with either a two- or three-hour minimum, depending on the provider. It is important to realize that if the transcript is not ordered to be transcribed, the hourly charge is typically two to three times the standard hourly rate, as high as $150/hr. for at least one area firm.
Other charges specific to the taking attorney/party may be incurred for the preparation of notices, subpoenas, subpoena service, cost certificates if applicable, and for obtaining signature of the witness.
Charges to Other Attorneys/Parties (copy costs)
The page rate for a copy of a transcript in a proceeding has historically been a fraction of the rate charged to the taking attorney/party. Thirty years ago, it was about a third of the original; more recently, it is about half. But many large court reporting agencies are going a lot further and increasing copy prices to extraordinary levels, adversely affecting petitioners to a greater degree than large companies and insurers. See Networking, Insurance Contracting, and Cost Shifting. As of December 2021, the base page rate for a certified copy of a deposition transcript in the Kansas City area generally ranges from $2.00 to 2.50/pg., with some firms also charging a per-page fee for word index pages1.
Additional Services and Charges
Freelance base page rates on the original and copies can increase with additional services requested and other factors, including but not limited to:
- Expert Testimony
- Arbitrations and Hearings
- Video-Recorded Proceedings (videographer fees additional)
- Participants Appearing by Phone/Videoconference
- SOFTGHAOS (sustained overly fast, technical, garbled, heavy accent, and/or overlapping speech)
- Interpreted Proceedings (interpreter fees additional)
- Rough Draft Delivery (same day or soon thereafter)
- Realtime Translation (live text feed of proceedings)
- Expedited Final Transcript Delivery
The above charges vary from firm to firm, with the most significant increases tied to rough drafts, realtime translation, and expedited delivery. A same-day or next-day final can sometimes double costs; so it is definitely better to plan ahead if at all possible so that you do not need to order an expedited transcript. This can save you and your clients hundreds of dollars! Learn more about Additional Services and Charges.
Ancillary Charges To All Parties
It is not uncommon for there to be charges to all ordering attorneys/parties for the preparation of an electronic file package*, exhibit handling** (processing and archiving exhibits marked and used as part of the record), and delivering hard copies of transcripts and/or exhibits. Some firms also charge an “electronic delivery fee”; we do not.
*Our electronic file package contains the transcript in multiple formats that attorneys and legal pros desire, including PDF (.pdf) (full-size and condensed), page-image ASCII (.txt), Summation ASCII (.txt), TextMap (.xmef), E-Transcript (.ptx) and other popular file types.
**See Exhibit Handling Procedures and Charges.
Buyer Beware: Unequal weights and measures and other questionable practices
Because transcript page layouts – margins, indentations, characters per line (“cpl”), lines per page – are not set by statute for freelance court reporters in most locations, comparing prices from one service provider to another can be a challenging endeavor.
Several of our competitors use page layouts which produce 2 to 5 percent more pages from the same testimony. While this can be fairly insignificant if you only take one or two depositions a year, it can really add up when you need to take multiple depositions in a case. Years ago, we verified the page layout on a transcript of one competitor produced over 20 percent more pages from the same testimony, and that competitor is still in business today. So just be aware that the same testimony can produce more pages of transcript – sometimes a lot more – depending on the page layout.
Additionally, some court reporting firms have chosen to increase their bottom line by charging for word index pages at the same rate as transcript pages.
Each of the above practices, by themselves, can cause costs to balloon by double-digit percentages. So while a page rate may be the same or lower than ours in any particular case, the number of pages may be significantly greater, resulting in much higher costs overall. See Transcript Comparison Study to discover how much more you may be paying with firms that charge for word index pages at the same per-page rate as transcript pages.
If that were not enough, some court reporting services providers prepare unnecessary pages, include filler-text pages that have historically not been a part of the official transcript, or will expand text on standard pages causing them to spread across multiple pages. These practices increase costs to you and your clients in small ways but can add up to significant dollar amounts.
Conversely, Cornerstone Court Reporting Company and a few other locally owned court reporting firms and solo practitioners do not engage in these practices and can therefore provide much better value. Our expenses can be significantly lower than large national firms while offering the same or even better client services, including nationwide scheduling and other value add-ons.
Get Extra Value With Cornerstone Court Reporting Company
No jurat fees
No duplicate title pages
No excessive admin fees
Single-page reporter certificate
No unnecessary filler-text pages
No per-page fees for word indices1
No mileage charge under 80 miles round trip
No additional charge to make scanned exhibits OCR searchable
Standard page layout with 52 cpl/25 lines per page, regular indentations2
From time to time, we are asked to consider offering a discount off our standard rates. Although our hallmark is quality rather than discounts, we strive to be very competitive, and we are always willing to consider a case discount if all attorneys/parties agree to use us for all depositions in the case.
We hope this information is helpful to you and your clients in evaluating your court reporting provider options. At Cornerstone Court Reporting Company, we plan to continue a tradition of providing quality court reporting services at fair and competitive rates to all parties with an average turnaround time on transcript delivery of seven to ten business days.
If we can answer any questions or be of further assistance as you consider our services, please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to the possibility of working with you.
CORNERSTONE COURT REPORTING COMPANY, LLC
Myles Megee, Owner, CCR-KS-MO-IA, RPR, CRR
Certified in Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa
Registered Professional Reporter
Certified Realtime Reporter
(913) 375-8637 (Cell)
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1Read the “Buyer Beware” section for important information regarding page layout and charges for word index pages. For more detail, read the Transcript Comparison Study to discover how much more you may be paying with firms that charge for word index pages at the same per-page rate as transcript pages.
2Checking the page layout of court reporting service providers can be important when comparing rates. Just one character less per line can result in an increased page count of 1 to 2 percent