Month: July 2018

Attorneys Caroline Song Lloyd and Alex Borchert to Speak at National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) Convention


Attorneys Caroline Song Lloyd and Alex Borchert to Speak at National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) Convention & Expo in New Orleans, LA

NEW ORLEANS – Caroline Song Lloyd, General Counsel/Partner at Expert Depos, and Alex Borchert, Customer Relationship Manager for RealLegal, a Thomson Reuters company, have been been invited to speak at the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) Convention and Expo, to be held August 2-5 at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans in Louisiana.

In a joint seminar, Ms. Song Lloyd and Mr. Borchert will discuss technologies that are emerging to change the practice of litigation, how it affects court reporters, and the need for new safety measures to protect their electronic work product. Specifically, Mr. Borchert will discuss how to safely adapt to the changing world of legal technology and the benefits of using electronic safety measures so court reporters can further protect against sharing of work product. Ms. Song Lloyd will discuss how court reporters can take advantage of changing legal technology by utilizing new revenue streams opening up in the court reporting industry. Specifically, Ms. Song Lloyd will discuss ways in which the court reporting industry can ethically take advantage of technology for new revenue in a manner that faithfully adheres to the rules and regulations that govern the court reporting industry.

In addition to her role at Expert Depos, Ms. Song Lloyd is practicing as a defense attorney in the greater Los Angeles area and continues to serve on the editorial board of Los Angeles Lawyer magazine, a publication of the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA). Additionally, she is a member of the NCRA Committee on Professional Ethics (COPE).

Mr. Borchert is a licensed attorney with a background in Personal Injury and Immigration law. Prior to working with Thomson Reuters, he worked with a small Personal Injury firm while also giving his time with Legal Aid (non-profit affording professional legal help to those who traditionally lack funds and access to the American justice system).

The National Court Reporting Agency (NCRA), is the certification entity of the court reporting and captioning industry. The NCRA Convention is the largest annual gathering of court reporters, captioners, scopists, legal videographers, trial presenters, and other legal services professionals. ###

Pictured: Caroline Song Lloyd, Alex Borchert

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What the Music Industry Can Teach us About the Future of Court Reporting

The music industry is dead.


Technology has killed it!

Some artists work incredibly hard learning to play instruments and perfecting their craft, but most of the time, the people getting the most attention have a MacBook and synthesized sounds. Or they coat everything in autotune to get by.

Not that it really matters. Not even the most popular DJ can make money when record sales are dwindling due to rampant piracy. Who’s going to pay for music when they can get it for free from so many sources?

If this type of fear resonates with you in your career, it shouldn’t. The music industry is doing just fine, and despite some people claiming that court reporting is dying, it’s doing just fine too.

We’ve already debunked the technology takeover of court reporting here and here, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t changes to be aware of or that you shouldn’t be thinking of alternative ways to make money from your hard work.

The way the music industry has adapted over the last several years can teach court reporters a lot.

Work With Changes in Tech, Not Against Them

Record sales used to be the gold standard to measure how an album performs. And there was a time when a big artist could go multi-platinum in the first few weeks or even days of releasing something new.
Times have changed.

Almost no one buys physical CDs and few people want to spend the same price on a digital product, especially when they can buy one song for a few cents on iTunes or stream the whole CD for free.

But major recording artists and their managers are still millionaires…at least the ones who have learned to adapt to the changing landscape. Anyone still trying to figure out how to make CD sales go back up isn’t doing so well.

It’s the same with court reporters. Of course, the job doesn’t look like it did 20 years ago; the world is changing at lightning speed and the court reporters who are still making good money are the ones learning to change with it.

Even though you don’t have to worry about tech replacing you, you do have to worry about becoming a relic. New technologies can simplify your daily tasks and provide better optics to the people looking to hire you.

In an interview with Lifehacker, Cassandra Caldarella answered, “I stay current on all technology. I have the latest software, hardware, tech gadgets, and gizmos,” in response to a question about how she makes her job easier.

Beware of Pirates

There’s no way around it: hundreds of sites make pirated music available to the masses. While trying to take them all down is like playing an unwinnable game of whack-a-mole, taking out a few of the most egregious offenders can help stem the tides and show that labels are willing to act.

Similarly, keeping an eye out for listservs that provide illegal copies of your depositions can help you keep the money you deserve for your work in your pocket.

Simply ask these sources to remove your property. Since they likely also work in the legal field, they probably know it’s in their best interest to do so when you request it.

Additionally, depositions are not meant to be public record. Maintaining control over them will help you protect the privacy of the individuals you’ve worked with.

Offer the Best Service

Sure, there are a lot of people illegally downloading music from the internet. Probably most people. But there are also a lot of people with paid, monthly memberships to services like Spotify.


Because in addition to providing virus-free music, Spotify offers a service that people enjoy.

They have a massive online music library that you can access from anywhere, you can download music when you don’t want to stream, and you can create your own playlists to share online or listen to hundreds of pre-made playlists.

Essentially, the extra benefits make it more convenient to pay for music than to steal it.

As a court reporter, you own your depositions. And ensuring they remain profitable after the initial creation means that accessing them through you has to be the most convenient option. Luckily, the internet makes this easier than ever.

Help attorneys find you and the depositions they need by creating a solid online presence. It will help to also explicitly state what you can offer. And of course, you can take advantage of the Expert Depos platform to simplify the process even further.

The added benefit of having the proper certification requirements to be able to use the deposition in court to help them win a case will outweigh the temptation to get the deposition from other sources.

And you get to decide what you want to charge for your new and improved service!

We hope this has made you think about how you can keep adapting to changes in your job and even use those changes to your financial advantage.

If you have any stories about the changes you’ve made, please let us know.

Let’s take this conversation to Twitter!

You can tweet us @expertdepos and/or use the hashtag #expertdepostech

The Court Reporter Pay Scale: What Affects Earning Potential?

Court reporting is a stable profession that allows qualified members to earn a good wage. But with so many variables influencing the pay scale, it can be difficult for court reporters to determine if they’re being paid what they’re worth.

According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, in 2012, the median salary for a court reporter was $48,160. At the same time, the bottom 10 percent of earners were making $24,790 or less and the top 10 percent of earners were making $90,530 or more.

This is a massive difference.

So what places you on this broad spectrum and how can you get to the top?

Type of Employment

If you stick to working in the legal profession, there are two primary types of employment: official court reporter and freelance court reporter (you can also work in captioning, but that is beyond the scope of this article).

Official Court Reporters

Official court reporters work in the same place day to day and are generally provided with the tools and software needed to do their work. They are paid on salary, but are also paid a page rate for the transcripts they produce (both salary and transcript fees are set for you by your employer).

The highest paid official positions are in the federal court. You can expect to make from $64,278 up to $73,920, depending on your experience.

Freelance Court Reporters

Freelance court reporters can set their own fees and hours, and they tend to work in different physical spaces day to day depending on the jobs they book.

While freelancers set their own rates, they usually work within a standard. For example, deposition appearance fees for jobs under four hours generally range from $50 to $75. For a full day, the fee is usually $100 to $150. And for other proceedings like arbitrations, court hearings, board meetings, etc., you can charge much more.

Freelance court reporters also need to consider the costs of running their own business. While official court reporters have everything provided, freelancers need to purchase all of the software and equipment they need to work. The startup cost is about $7000, but will vary greatly depending if you buy new, what brands you buy, etc.

Additionally, freelancers need to consider costs like self-employment tax, insurance, transportation, other office supplies, not getting compensated for time off, etc. However, the ability to control your fees and hours means you can still earn a good living as a freelance court reporter if you put in the work.


Where you live will have a big impact on your earning potential as a court reporter. Relocation isn’t always possible, but if you’re in a position where you can move to create the career you want, there are a few things to keep in mind.

The first thing to consider is which states have the highest wages in your field. A 2011 study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that Oregon offers the highest wages for court reporters, with an average of  $85,670. New York, Maine, and Colorado are also high on this list.

The second consideration is the actual demand for court reporters in the region. There’s no point moving for high court reporter wages if the market is already flooded in the region. States with dense populations like California, Florida, and New York usually have consistently high demand.

The third consideration is the cost of living in the region you want to live. If a state or town has a particularly low cost of living, making $50,000 there could create a better quality of life than earning $60,000 somewhere else. For example, the cheapest city to live in in 2018 is McAllen, Texas, which is 23.9% below the US average cost of living.

Skills, Certifications, and Experience

What you bring to the table will have a large impact on your earning potential. Unfortunately, gaining experience will just take time, but there are other things you can do to show off your skills in the meantime.

Taking certification tests like Certified Shorthand Reporter (CSR), Registered Professional Reporter (RPR), and Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR) will show your dedication and prove a certain level of proficiency.

Selling Transcripts

Court reporters own the work they produce, and every party who wishes to use that work must pay for each page they wish to access. The average ‘per page’ price for a transcript is $2.50 to $6.50, but it can be much higher for the top court reporters in the profession.

These fees add up quickly. As one Canadian court reporter noted in an interview with the Globe and Mail, “That’s where the real money is made. It’s in the transcript fees, not the hourly rate. She also stated that the top 5 court reporters in her agency make well over $100,000.

No matter where you stand on the pay scale today, there are ways to move yourself to the top. Be dedicated, learn everything you can, and make strategic decisions that prove your worth as a court reporter. Good luck!

Now we want to hear from you! Are you working on ways to improve your earning potential as a court reporter?

Let’s take this conversation to Twitter!

You can tweet us @expertdepos and/or use the hashtag #expertdepostech