March is Ethics Awareness Month. As a court reporting firm owner, this is reason to celebrate and educate regarding ethical court reporting!
Celebrating Reporter Excellence
Since the dawn of transcription, court reporters have had two primary roles in the legal process:
- To accurately capture legal proceedings and provide a true and complete record
- To uphold an unbiased, truthful, and ethical role in the litigation process
Quick Education Regarding Unethical Practices in “Our Big Box World”
Unfortunately, many large corporations are hampering both of these important roles resulting in incentive gifting or “kickbacks,” reporter partiality, loss of the hiring attorney’s choice of reporting firms, and even illegal service contracts.
Integrity and ethics go hand-in-hand. I came across a quote from Warren Buffett that seemed relevant to the ethics discussion.
Court reporters have always been and should always be trusted officers of the court. It is the reporter’s legal obligation to remain impartial and treat all parties equally.
Some large insurance and corporate clients are using illegal tactics to seize control of the deposition and discovery process. This is unethical and illegal. This problem has the inherent risk of tarnishing the record in thousands of cases each year. Don’t let your case be impacted.
Another area of equal concern is the practice of incentive gifting to paralegals and other staff members in exchange for their reporting business. This amounts to an unethical kickback, almost always without the client’s knowledge or consent.
Ethics Awareness Month – Embrace Ethics!
During March, and every month, you can maintain the integrity of the legal process by working with reporting firms that support Ethics First and openly commit to:
- Maintain impartiality in all aspects of their business.
- Offer equal treatment to all parties.
- Respect and obey all laws and regulations established by NCRA and the Board of Court Reporting, including anti-contracting laws.
- Refrain from incentive gifting
- Provide time-honored values of reporter qualifications, transcript quality, dependability, integrity and trust.
Not sure if your reporting firm is ethical? We’ve created an informative brochure which will help you make an educated determination. To receive a free copy of this valuable resource, simply complete the form below, and we’ll drop it in the mail. This is our way of celebrating and educating during Ethics Awareness Month.
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Yours for ethical reporting,
Lori T. Donovan, RMR, CRR
Certified Court Reporter