Statement of Facts
A court reporter has requested the Committee on Professional Ethics (the “Committee”) develop an advisory opinion regarding the reporter’s duty under NCRA’s Code of Professional Ethics (the “Code”) in the following scenario: A reporter reports a deposition for Attorney A. At the close of the deposition, Attorney A orders the original and a copy. As required by the Code, the reporter notified Attorney B, who represents the other party, that the transcript had been ordered. Attorney B declines to order a copy at that time. Six months later, Attorney B orders a copy, which the reporter delivers. Does the reporter have a duty under the Code to inform Attorney A that a copy order has been placed?
Provision No. 1 of the Code states that a member shall be fair and impartial toward each participant in all aspects of reported proceedings, and always offer to provide comparable services to all parties in a proceeding. It is well-established that this requires the reporter to inform all parties whenever any orders are placed. In the above scenario, the reporter acted appropriately to notify Attorney B that Attorney A had ordered the original and a copy. As discussed in Public Advisory Opinion No. 22, this duty extends to all types of orders, including but not limited to, expedited orders and orders for excerpts.
It is the Committee’s determination that the reporter’s duty to offer comparable services exists no matter how much time has passed after the proceeding has concluded and when a transcript is ordered. The order must be conveyed contemporaneously with said request. The Committee goes on to note that this duty to notify does not extend beyond the initial offering of services.
In other words, the reporter is not required to notify a party who already has purchased the transcript that another party has now ordered a copy of that transcript. However, if contacted, there is no prohibition on the reporter to disclose the information, if the reporter is so inclined.
Of course, should a party order a new service, such as ordering a full transcript after only an excerpt had been ordered previously, then the reporter would be required to make a good faith effort to notify all other parties that the new order had been placed.
It is the Committee’s determination that the reporter’s duty to offer comparable services as set forth in Provision No. 1 of the Code exists no matter how much time has passed between the conclusion of the proceeding and when a transcript is ordered. The order must be conveyed contemporaneously with said request. However, this duty to notify does not extend beyond the initial offering of services. In other words, the reporter is not required to notify a party who already has purchased the transcript that another party has now ordered a copy.
THIS PUBLIC ADVISORY OPINION REFLECTS THE STATUS OF THE LAW IN MOST JURISDICTIONS. MEMBERS ARE REQUIRED TO CONFORM TO THE ACCEPTED PRACTICES SET FORTH IN THIS PUBLIC ADVISORY OPINION TO THE EXTENT THAT SUCH PRACTICES ARE CONSISTENT WITH THEIR OWN APPLICABLE STATE AND LOCAL LAWS, RULES AND REGULATIONS.