ARE YOU a locavore? Throughout our country, people are rediscovering the benefits of buying locally produced foods. They are generally fresher, tastier, and more nutritious than foods shipped from distant states and foreign countries. Being a locavore is also good for our local economies. Buying directly from family farmers helps those small businesses generate profits, as well as their local employees’ incomes, that are then available to be spent within our communities on other goods and services, some of which incur State, County, City, and local sales taxes that fund public projects and governmental services. Rethink Local explains how localism builds communities that are healthy and sustainable.
The same principle for locally grown food is true for locally owned professional businesses. Using local companies helps our economy here in South Carolina. Additionally, as litigators, you recognize the personalized service benefits of scheduling from a local court-reporting firm. CompuScripts’ reporters and staff live and play in South Carolina: Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, Hilton Head, Lexington, Mt. Pleasant, Myrtle Beach, Florence, and elsewhere. As active court reporters, attorneys, and paralegals, we run into each other at the baseball field, restaurants, school events, and even the grocery store. We care about our reputation and make every effort not to disappoint you.
You can effortlessly schedule state-of-the-art and dependable services through our website, a telephone call, or a Notice attached to your email. We offer realtime transcripts; digital legal video services, which includes video editing; depository/repository services; expedited delivery; online scheduling; video syncing; and digital exhibits. Our friendly staff is experienced in handling complex and multi-party actions. Being immersed in South Carolina’s legal community, we are keenly aware of local rules and deposition transcript requirements. As good stewards of our planet’s resources, CompuScripts can support your office’s green policies, including paperless transcripts and invoices.
Localism does not exclude global services. CompuScripts connects with other local court-reporting firms from around the United States and across the world through various face-to-face networking and educational meetings. Deborah Dusseljee and Bruce Balmer have spent years developing relationships with other professionals so that you can receive the highest levels of service when your litigation needs fall outside of the state of South Carolina. In addition to scheduling premier court reporters and legal videographers anywhere you need deposition services, CompuScripts can schedule and coordinate a videoconference for you and your remote video-conferencing sites. When we manage your deposition schedule, whether a small or large case, you will notice Southern graces along with competent skills being administered in an efficient and timely manner. Case materials will be securely accessible for quick retrieval utilizing the latest technology.
You might ask, Doesn’t scheduling with a large national agency reduce litigation costs through efficiencies and administrative reductions? Not necessarily. You will want to conduct some due diligence and determine if there is any real cost savings for you and your client. Some practices may actually increase your fees. Do you know how many line numbers are supposed to be in a South Carolina deposition or court transcript? There should be 25. Some states have fewer line requirements, and a company may reformat the transcript to reduce either the number of lines or the number of characters per line, or both. Not only does this practice increase fees paid by litigants, it may adversely affect your transcript by invalidating the court reporter’s certificate. Another way some companies add revenue is to invoice for the word concordance pages. One more way to increase profits is to invoice parties for services they haven’t requested.
You will want to determine if the court-reporting provider is under contract with any party having a financial interest in the proceeding. Some states, like Georgia, have disclosure rules for court reporters and prohibit certain contracts; other states completely ban the practice. At this time, South Carolina does not require disclosure, nor does it ban the practice of private contracts. If a contract exists with one or more of the interested parties, you will want to know if your client is carrying the burden of any fee shifting. This is the practice of giving the contracted party a preferential pricing structure and increasing the standard rates to litigants not under contract to make up for any lost revenues. Typically the types of entities having a contractual relationship with a court-reporting vendor would be those that purchase large quantities of services, such as insurance companies and corporations. Contracts that give only one side a deep discount call into question the impartiality of the involved court reporters. Court reporters are officers of the court, and as such, the legitimacy of the United States legal system is dependent upon a fair and impartial environment where disputes can be resolved and justice administered. As guardians of the record, it’s imperative that court reporters’ ethics and practices are beyond approach.
Saving money is a desirable goal, but look at the total package you are buying. Does the court-reporting company offer quality services that you can depend on? As large regional and national companies grow their court-reporting offices, the pressure to grow their bottom line may lead to staff reductions that, quite simply, impact the quality of transcripts and video services being delivered.
Remember, national companies use local court-reporting firms or local independent court reporters to perform work in a given location. So while the same reporter may show up in your conference room, a significant amount of money leaves the state when a deposition is booked with an out-of-state company, reducing the disposable income of the firm owner, the small business, and potentially the local court reporter.
According to Alignable’s Main Street Insights, small businesses and small business owners give closer to home. At year end 2015, 90% were planning to give to local organizations. Of the small businesses surveyed that planned on giving, 81% planned to give donations in the form of cash.
Your investment in CompuScripts has sown money into our communities not only through everyday commerce, but your investment has also been responsible for CompuScripts’ long-standing support of charities such as Harvest Hope, the Oliver Gospel Mission, Pets, Inc., and many more. Professionally we are sustaining members of the Palmetto Paralegal Association, the Charleston Association of Legal Assistants, and the South Carolina Upstate Paralegals Association. We regularly sponsor events for the South Carolina Bar Association, as well as the South Carolina Association for Justice, and the South Carolina Defense Trial Lawyers Association.
We want to thank you for being a loca-paralegal or legal assistant. We are honored to be your local court-reporting professionals and look forward to seeing you around town and in the conference room!