Code of Professional Conduct for Freelance Reporters
- Turn in all work within specified period of time designated by firm or requested by client. Or earlier. Take responsibility when you miss a deadline for notifying the client and the reporting firm and giving them a new date. Then meet the new date, no exceptions.
- Be at least 15 minutes early to all assignments; 30 minutes if it's an interactive realtime job. If a breakdown occurs and you won't be there on time, stop and call the client directly and let them know when you will be there. Then notify the firm.
- Dress appropriately for all assignments. You are not only representing yourself and the reporting firm you're working with, but the court reporting profession as well.
- Treat all the attorneys in the case as if he/she were your own client. Avoid being too friendly even if you are good friends.
- Always have everything you need for an assignment (charged machine, paper, cables, laptop, cards, exhibit stickers, disks, power cords, etc.) Be prepared for a long day.
- Proofread every transcript from a paper copy thoroughly before turning in. Check final after making corrections to ensure corrections were accurately made.
- Call in at time agreed upon with firm daily for assignments with pen and paper. Carry a Thomas Brothers map book in your car and a cell phone in case of an emergency. Allow for that change of address that has not been communicated to the firm. If traveling to an unfamiliar area, ask firm for phone number of location of proceeding and call in advance to get directions.
- Turn in complete work to the office - exhibits, worksheet (completely and clearly filled out), disk, etc. When emailing transcripts ensure file is complete before sending and arrange to have exhibits in the office so transcript can go out in a timely fashion. Don't wait till last minute to turn in an expedite and assume the office will have plenty of time to get it out.
- Inform the firm of vacation and request for days off as soon as practically possible; avoid last minute calls for time off. Be flexible in situations where the case is continuing and you're the natural choice to report it. If there is no way you can go back on a continuing witness/case, provide as much information as possible to the reporter assigned to the job. This may include job dictionaries, caption, exhibits.
- Be familiar with all the services your agency provides so you can discuss the services and how it might benefit one or more of the parties in a case.