Anyone familiar with how the legal professional operates understands most law firms employ office managers or administrators to handle legal staffing, human resources and the acquisition of vendors and services. However, if one has actually worked in the trenches of a heavy litigation practice, they know that when it comes to deciding on a Denver court reporting agency, a good manager will often go directly to their legal secretaries for input and guidance.
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An example is Marie, a legal secretary with over twenty years experience in an insurance defense firm. She explains the court reporter selection process this way, “I work for four attorneys at the moment – three of which are litigators. These lawyers are much too busy preparing for trial and dealing with clients to get involved in choosing and scheduling court reporters or to follow up on transcripts. That’s what they hired me for.”
In today’s ever-changing legal climate, a Denver court reporting firm worth its salt has a marketing plan focused on keeping and maintaining good relationships with the gatekeepers of law firms: paralegals and legal secretaries.
“If a court reporter I have scheduled shows up to a hearing late, doesn’t perform to industry standards, is unprofessional or fails to meet transcript deadlines, I will hear about it from my boss. If that happens, I doubt I would ever call on that Denver court reporting agency again – it’s just not worth the hassle,” warns Liz, a paralegal in Boulder.
What Makes a Court Reporting Agency Stand out?
Recently an independent survey was conducted and one hundred legal professionals were asked: “What do you look for when choosing a court reporting agency?” The following is a breakdown of the top five qualities they indicated were the most important to them:
#1 – Availability of Reporters
One benefit of using court reporting agencies over independent reporters is availability. Scheduling of depositions, for example, can be a fluid process – quite often cases get continued or witnesses have scheduling conflicts. An agency is better suited to handle these changes because they can draw from a large pool of personnel. Some agencies even keep a number of court reporters on call 24 hours a day to cover last minute hearings and proceedings.
#2 – Qualified Personnel
When a court reporter has the backing of an agency, generally that means they have complied with all state and federal regulations and certifications, as well as met the more stringent qualifications often voluntarily imposed by private Denver court reporting employers. What this means to the client is a roster of high-quality reporters screened by the agency before they are assigned to a client’s job.
#3 – Professionalism
Whomever a firm brings to their hearings or depositions can reflect positively or negatively on that firm – reputation by association is in play here. The professional court reporter is dressed appropriately and modestly, maintains a polite yet somewhat distant demeanor and never discusses the case or their opinion of it with clients, witnesses or opposing counsel. This type of reporter will most likely be invited back for future cases as long as their work product meets clients’ expectations.
#4 – Depth of Services
It’s not enough to just send qualified court reporters to a job – a good Denver court reporting agency will also provide videographers, book conference rooms, hire interpreters, schedule out-of-state affiliate reporters, produce transcripts in a variety of formats and offer scheduling and confirmation of reporters online. In the legal arena, time is money; efficiency and ease are highly desirable to busy law firms.
#5 – Excellent Customer Service
Murphy’s Law dictates that things will occasionally go wrong and mistakes will happen. However, what separates an average court reporting agency from an exceptional one is how it responds to those problems and complaints. Repeat customers and their continued business is the backbone of any court reporting agency, therefore keeping clients happy and satisfied is essential to ensure an ongoing business association.
Finally, after deciding on a court reporting agency using the above criteria, be sure to ask questions, request customer references and testimonials and then do research to verify licenses and accreditations. It’s important to be thorough and meticulous before committing to a contract with an agency because retaining the wrong court reporting firm can cost time and money, but hiring a Denver court reporting firm is worth its weight in gold.
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