The Basics: Court Reporter Page Rates and Appearance Fees

Across the country, court reporter page rates and appearance fees are as varied and unpredictable as a herd of cats. Based on many factors, these well-guarded figures differ among regions, states, and even within court reporting companies themselves.

The Page Rate – Lifeblood of the Court Reporting Industry

Court Reporter Rates

Court reporters earn their living by producing transcripts; that’s just what we do. Lots of accoutrements are involved with taking down the record these days, but the heart of the production is still the page rate.

– Freelance court reporter rates

Freelance court reporters work with a vast array of page rates. Freelancers who accept assignments directly from attorneys, paralegals, and legal secretaries set their own page rates based on the local market and charge their clients accordingly. These court reporters generally charge the same rates across the board, regardless of who hires them. Court reporters who accept assignments from multiple court reporting firms will be paid a variety of different rates, sometimes even within the same firm.

Unlike independent freelance court reporters, court reporting firms many times have page rates based upon the particular client. These firms enter into contracts or agreements with insurance companies or law firms to produce transcripts at a certain page rate. Obviously these rates are usually lower than the customary market rate because they’re based on volume of anticipated assignments. The court reporters who cover these assignments agree to accept whatever page rates have been agreed to between the court reporting firm and its clients.

– Official court reporter ratesOfficial Court Reporter Rates

Official court reporters usually have their page rates set by the state legislature. If this wasn’t the case, there could be many questions as to the appearance of impropriety or unethical behavior levied at the court reporter by the parties involved. Court reporters are sworn to be unbiased recorders of the record and are not to be influenced in any way, especially financially. Like anyone else with a job, court reporters have to earn a living, but, with the page rates of official court reporters being set for them, there is less of a concern as to fairness and integrity.

What Is an Appearance Fee?

Like page rates, appearance fees vary across the court reporting industry. Court reporters receive appearance fees to compensate them for the time required to make the necessary preparations before the job, to set up and take down equipment at the job location, and to participate in the proceeding itself.

Many variables can come into play when determining the appearance fee. The principal factor is the type of proceeding the court reporter is covering. Depositions generally have the lowest charge, followed by court hearings and agency meetings. The time of day, length of the proceeding, and client contracts can also affect the amount of the appearance fee for a freelance court reporter. Official court reporters have no appearance fees because they are state employees and are paid a salary to be available when they are needed.

Court Reporter Page Rates

Different Strokes for Different Folks

For those readers who don’t know, the downward action of pressing the keys on a stenography machine is called a “stroke.” Knowing that fact should help my clever little heading make a lot more sense. Court reporter page rates and appearance fees can differ widely depending on a number of factors. The best way to find out the scope of rates in your area is to contact a local court reporter.

12 Thoughts to “The Basics: Court Reporter Page Rates and Appearance Fees”

  1. Tom


    This is a very informative and insightful article. I didn’t know about court reporter page or appearance rates whatsoever. With the information you have provided, I think you will benefit so many people around the world.

    Thank you for sharing, and keep up the amazing work on your site. You are an expert in a very important niche so keep it going.

    All the best,


    1. admin

      Hi, Tom, and thank you for your kind comments. I’m so glad to know you gained some new insight from my article. Court reporting is one of those fields most people never have to think about much, until they realize they should have hired a court reporter. By that time, of course, it’s too late. It’s my hope to help people with some information on the front end.

  2. Willow

    I recently had an experience with a court case in a neighboring state, and I thought a court reporter was always in the courtroom during the proceedings. When calling the courthouse to get a copy of the transcripts I was told that there was no court reporter during that hearing.

    It’s great that attorneys can hire a court reporter to be in the courtroom, and I’m sure it saves money in the long run. Since there was no court reporter during the hearings, we had to get a Bystanders report which required another trip to court.

    Court reporters may sit on the side and sometimes people may not notice them, but they are an essential part of any court proceedings and provide a very valuable service. It’s good to know that they can be hired, and I know from experience that they’re definitely worth the cost.

    1. admin

      Hi, and thanks so much for your comment. Unfortunately, you are not alone in assuming that all courtrooms have court reporters to take down the record. The law requiring the presence of a court reporter varies from state to state. In Alabama, most proceedings held in circuit court are taken down by a live court reporter, but municipal court, district court, juvenile court, and family court proceedings are generally just recorded on a digital recorder, if that. For future reference, if you know you have a proceeding coming up and you know you want to have a transcript of it, you can verify with the court whether there will be a court reporter present. If one isn’t provided by the court, you can certainly always hire your own court reporter to protect your record.

  3. Hi there,

    Thanks for sharing this information. I have had limited experiencing in studying a few law modules, so your article has certainly cleared up some points for me.

    Is it common for such reports to be requested and what would be the driver for requesting them be?

    1. admin

      Hi, Sharon, and thanks for your comment and question. I believe what you’re asking is whether transcripts are requested and what the purpose of that would be. In short, yes, transcripts of depositions and court proceedings are requested very frequently in the legal community. These documents are records of what a witness (or witnesses) said during a legal proceeding, and many times those records are used by the attorneys of the parties to cross-examine a witness at a trial or possibly impeach a witness if conflicting testimony is given. Also, these are the documents that may eventually be utilized by an appeals court or even the Supreme Court for cases that are appealed.

      I hope that answers your question, and please feel free to comment further or contact me personally if I can provide you with further information.

  4. gary

    This is interesting. I didn’t know you be a freelancer in this area.

    Do you need a certain background?

    1. admin

      Hi, Gary, and thank you for your question. To be a freelance court reporter, it is helpful to have skills with grammar, spelling, and punctuation, though you don’t necessarily have to have a degree in English. Most states now require that you be licensed to practice court reporting, and the training to obtain that licensing usually takes two to three years. The training can possibly be done in less time, but it does take lots of practice. With a little research, you will find many online programs, as well as training and degree programs offered through community colleges and trade schools.

      Thanks again for your question, and good luck if you choose to pursue this career!

  5. Ali

    What a nice post you wrote Suzanne! I really enjoyed reading it and could not be silent about your post so I decided to leave my comment here and say Thank You for sharing this quality post. Actually I was looking for information about the court reporter page rates when I landed on your website and read this post, it answered all my questions in details and it was exactly what I wanted to know.
    I’m happy that you’ve decided to write about this topic and share it with others. It’s very useful post in my opinion and can definitely be used as a great source for everyone who is interested to know about this topic.

    I will definitely come back to your site again to read more posts. Keep up quality articles! 🙂


    1. admin

      Hi, Ali, and thank you so much for your kind comments regarding my post. I’m very happy to know it helped you in better understanding court reporter page rates. Don’t hesitate to contact me or comment here if you have any further questions or need more information.

      Thanks again, and I look forward to seeing you here again sometime!

  6. Raymond

    If I sign an agreement to accept a set fee with a court reporting company and over the years attend numerous depositions, then at some point in time resign from that firm; when contacted to transcribe as prior deposition (that I previously took down while under contract to said former company,) am I bound to the previous rates, or can I legally charge my rates?

    1. admin

      Hi, Raymond, and thank you for your question. Of course, I’m not a lawyer, but I think the standard lawyer response would come into play here: It depends. You mentioned signing an agreement. I would check there first as to how long either party is bound by the agreement after a separation takes place. Also, there should be some language in the agreement that addresses how this type of situation would be handled. If neither of those factors are applicable to you at this point, I would think that the rates for you to transcribe a prior deposition would at the very least be negotiable. For example, if you took jobs through this company five years ago and were being paid a certain rate, and then the rates went up two years ago, if someone ordered the transcript from a job you did five years ago, you wouldn’t be expected to transcribe that job for the rates from five years ago. I do need to say, though, that you may also need to check with your state’s regulations regarding court reporters and confirm whether this type of situation may be addressed there. However, in my “nonlegal” opinion, it would seem to me that, if your previous employer is asking you to transcribe a job for their client, you are your own business now, and you would charge your rates just like you would charge your rates to any of your other clients. I hope this helps, and let us know how things go for you.

Leave a Comment