You could hit “record” on your smartphone and make a recording. Isn’t that all the court reporter is doing? No. It isn’t. When you attend an examination with a court reporter and order a transcript, you are paying for more than just the paper it is printed on. You are paying for a person, not a computer, to produce a record. You are paying for a person to read it and listen to the record to ensure it is accurate, not only for spelling, but also speaker identification, formatting, meaning, among other factors. The people who transcribe transcripts are highly skilled and the people proofreading transcripts have a comprehensive understanding of the legal world. Proofreaders come from diverse educational backgrounds. They may have a teaching or English degree, have a background in trades allowing them unique insight into construction cases, or they may have even been legally trained in another jurisdiction. Regardless of their background, they all have extremely fine-tuned hearing and vast experience in all areas of the law. They are excellent grammarians who know the difference between possessive and plural nouns.
But you are not just paying for the skills and abilities of the reporting team. For example, when you go to a bakery and buy a cake, it may cost $10. The ingredients make up only a small portion of that cost. The baker has inventory, staff, rent, and other costs that must be covered by that $10. Just like the baker, the court reporter must also cover certain costs as part of the transcript fee. On average, a transcript from the court will take a month to arrive. On The Record gets you the transcript within 10 business days, or sooner! Producing transcripts in that time frame puts pressure on resources and requires all involved to work at a higher level to ensure the integrity of the record.
Judges depend on transcripts. So the next time you wonder how paper can cost so much, keep in mind all the parts that make up that whole.