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View Full Version : How much do Court Reporters earn?

02-12-2007, 10:46 PM
If scopists are earning typically $1/page, more or less, how much are court reporters earning per page?

Just curious!

Edited by: stew

02-13-2007, 09:57 AM
I've heard from court reporting firms that the pay is usually around $3-$4 per page, maybe $5 per page.Officials reporters start off, in my area, making around $40k a year.

02-14-2007, 08:37 AM
Don't forget, they also get an appearance fee and get paid an additional per page amount for copies as well.

02-14-2007, 10:28 AM
Perhaps, but don't forget they are also freelance reporters, so their pay is based on how much they work. I don't think we need to have the attitude that reporters make sooo much money that they should pay scopists$3 or more bucks a page, unless the scopist is doing full audio that is so difficult that they are pretty much writing the transcipt.

02-14-2007, 10:40 AM
I certainly don't have that attitude. But I also don't want scopists to think that the reporters are giving them a third of their pay either because it's not the case.

02-14-2007, 02:22 PM
It's also wise to keep in mind that the reporters that scopists are looking for are people who are making a good living at reporting.

"Freelance" doesn't mean "not trustworthy." The reporters I worked for through the years were freelancers, for the most part, and they worked very, very steadily -- as did I for them.

The glass is half full or half empty, depending on your general view of the world.

It's also smart to remember that "my area" doesn't have a lot to do with it anymore. Scopists are working for court reporters all over the country who are not in their area. In many cases, scopists live in areas where the rent is half what it would be in a major city, but they can work for court reporters who live in those major cities, or even smaller cities, where the page rate is higher than it is in "Nowheresville."

02-25-2007, 10:42 PM
Don't forget, they also get an appearance fee and get paid an additional per page amount for copies as well.

Being a court reporter and happening on to this site, I figured I'd set you straight in my neck of the woods. I live and report in the Southeastern portion of PA, Phila and the outer portions. I'm currently freelancing for several agencies, and I get paid $1.95 for an original and 1. If I get another order for a copy, that's another $1. Having 20 plus years experience, I was getting paid these prices 15 years ago, but for whatever reason, competition driving the prices down, or whatever, from my end of it, my salary has never gone up. If there's anybody out there getting paid a lot more than that, please let me know. Maybe it's time to move. But, to be honest,I'm not making a million dollars in this line of work. And as far as appearance fees, that's rare any more. Hearings, where there's no transcript, yes. Or traveling outside the city, yes. But if you have to go in the city, there's never an appearance fee and so the reporter depends on their pages that are produced.

02-26-2007, 06:36 AM

I'm sorry that your rates haven't changed in 15 years. That's absurd! And to not get an appearance fee seems to be against the norm amongst the reporters I've worked with and post with on various forums.

I hope your situation will change!


02-26-2007, 04:33 PM
I know that all 3 of my reporters make almost $4 per page plus $1.50 per page extra per copy. They also get an appearance fee anywhere from $62.50-100.00 per day depending on the length of the deposition or hearing.

02-26-2007, 05:58 PM
A bottom page rate 25 years ago for depositions in California was $3.50 for 0&1. And back then, it was $1.25 per page for copies. And that was for fairly easy PI work. Expert witnesses commanded an even higher rate.

In California, and in other states (although I'm most familiar with the situation in California), insurance companies began seducing CR agencies into accepting a lower page rate, in exchange for a "guarantee" of all the work that insurance company could send their way. Many reporters looked at that scenario as a sellout on the part of the reporters. There have been discussions of banning the practice through the NCRA.

However you look at that, it is a fact that just as scopists have a choice about who they will work for, court reporters, likewise, have a choice to turn down work that pays a low rate and go looking for something better.

Some court reporters really can't afford a scopist, if they are really new and perhaps not yet established with a regular income, or if they choose to take low-paying work. Scopists should not expect that a reporter's income level will have a "trickle down" effect on their own earnings. The scopist should set their own reasonable rates, and not lower them just because a reporter says they can't afford normal scoping fees.

When reporters work through a court reporting agency, that agency functions much like a real estate brokerage -- they find the work, assign it to their reporters, and take a hefty cut in the page rate because they did the work to establsh the accounts with attorneys.

Many reporters decide to go out on their own and freelance, and that way they keep the full page rate, but they also have the responsibilities of copying and delivering transcripts, keeping their own calendar, etc. THey make enough money to be able to pay a scopist or two.

And, of course, people working as officials in the courts receive a salary for being there, and an additional page rate. I think it is very much the norm across the country for depo reporters to get an appearance fee in addition to their page rate.

There are *always* entities trying to get both CRs and scopists to cut their rates. My question to my students is always: "Who are you doing this work for -- you and your family, or the court reporter and his/her family?"

It takes some energy and determination to maximize earnings, but it's well worth bothering! smileys/smiley2.gif

02-27-2007, 07:47 AM
Very well put, Judy!!

I have had a couple of reporters tell me that my rates are just too high. smileys/smiley36.gif Then I send them the copy of the latest rates poll to show them that, in fact, I'm average!

02-27-2007, 01:55 PM

For everyone who does what you do, another reporter becomes more aware that we aren't the cleanup crew but professional editors.

Some reporters could take a lesson from that when dealing with attorneys: Reporters are, likewise, not the low-paid cleanup crew, making an attorney sound heroic when he/she can barely frame an intelligent question.

Before audio came along, we used to be asked to do just that: Make the attorney look like an English professor, while the poor illiterate witness stumbled along. I refused to do more than cursory deleting of false starts. After all, the witness is responding to the question he *hears*.

Now, with audio capability, some reporters are concerned that they get every "ummm" down, for fear they'll be accused of not being competent writers.

02-27-2007, 02:08 PM
Thanks, Judy! I know there are some scopists out there who would gladly take anything they can get for a pittance, but I'm not one of them! LOL And the more reporters who know about what is 'average' in our community, the better!

This reminds me, I had a scopist from Florida call me last week to ask what the scoping rates were in Virginia. I told her I would charge the same regardless of where I lived or where the reporter was. She really thought this was a peculiar idea.

02-28-2007, 08:19 AM
In response to KCLisa A, just wanted to know where your reporters are from that are making $4 a page. Are they freelance writers working for agencies, agency owners or officials? Being a freelance reporter, I started out with a 70/30 split. In networking with some other reporters in my area, and in working with multiple agencies, I am told what they will pay me. It's been suggested to me by other reporters that they believe it is more of a 50/50 cut, or even 40/60 cut anymore, and I'm not sure why. I know there have been problems in collecting from attorneys, and I'm just not sure why my neck of the woods is making so low an amount in such a higher cost of living. I've networked with other reporters in middle PA and western PA and the are making more money than Iam, and the cost of living is mostdefinitely less out there. So . . . any input from anybody would be appreciated.

07-29-2013, 11:34 PM
they usually charge 3-4 $ per page but also take an additional appearance fee extra..