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WHAT IS THE MICHIGAN ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL COURT REPORTERS PRO BONO PROGRAM?
The Michigan Association of Professional Court Reporters (MAPCR) Pro Bono Program is a program where court reporters provide court reporting services for indigent clients represented by the State Bar of Michigan, Legal Services of Michigan, or private attorneys volunteering through approved state pro bono programs. We do not work with individual in pro per litigants.
HOW DID THE MICHIGAN ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL COURT REPORTERS PRO BONO PROGRAM GET STARTED?
In May of 1986, Raymond F. DeSimone, President of the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), stated the following:
“America was founded on the principles of equal justice for all and of legal redress for grievances. But there can be no justice for the poor without access to the courts and legal help.
As significant reductions in the funding of legal services for the poor and disadvantaged have forced those programs to severely curtail their services, there is a great concern that, to our nation’s poor, equal justice for all may become a hollow phrase.”
NCRA addressed this concern when it met with American Bar Association representatives to draft a master plan for pro bono court reporting. A call to action was made to the leaders of state associations affiliated with NCRA to organize and implement the plan.
Heeding the call in 1987, MAPCR, an NCRA affiliate, proudly participated with the Pro Bono Project of the State Bar of Michigan in initiating its first Pro Bono Project.
In 1995, under MAPCR’s direction, the program was updated to run more efficiently with the new demands and needs of pro bono court reporters throughout the state of Michigan.
The goal is for MAPCR to be an equal partner with the State Bar of Michigan to provide equal justice for all.
WHAT COURT REPORTING SERVICES ARE PROVIDED?
Court reporters’ pro bono (free) services shall consist of fifty (50) free pages of transcript and two (2) hours of reporting time, after which the reporter’s regular rates will apply. The format for transcripts shall follow guidelines used and approved by MAPCR in the state of Michigan. No more than two (2) pro bono depositions will be taken per case.
WHAT AREAS IN MICHIGAN ARE SERVED BY THIS PROGRAM?
The entire state of Michigan is served by this program, depending upon availability of a court reporter in the area requested to serve. If a reporter is not available in the requested service area, an advance agreement may be made with a reporter in another area to travel to the requested location, in which case a mileage charge is paid by the requesting attorney.
HOW ARE REPORTERS ASSIGNED TO CASES?
All requests for a court reporter’s services shall be directed to the coordinator of the Pro Bono Program through MAPCR. The coordinator will contact reporters listed in the geographical area requested. Once a reporter has accepted the assignment, the coordinator will notify the attorney with the name of the court reporter that has accepted the pro bono assignment. The attorney and reporter shall file an evaluation form with the coordinator at the conclusion of the assignment.
HOW IS THE OPPOSING COUNSEL’S TRANSCRIPT HANDLED?
The court reporter may charge the opposing counsel, COD or as otherwise agreed, for a copy of the transcript.
WHAT NOTICE SHOULD A REPORTER BE GIVEN?
Court reporters shall be given appropriate notice of the need for service. Such notice shall be given at least two (2) weeks prior to the need for service or when the thirty (30) day discovery notice is filed, unless prior agreement has been made by the reporter and attorney.
WHAT HAPPENS IF SERVICE IS CANCELED?
When a court reporter is not needed or there is otherwise cause for cancellation, notice shall be given to the pro bono director at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to the scheduled time or the attorney will be personally responsible for the reporter’s appearance fee and any travel costs incurred.
WHO PAYS PHOTOCOPYING COSTS?
The attorney shall be responsible for any charges incurred in connection with photocopying of any exhibits, attachments, etc.
IS THE REPORTER PAID FOR ANY OTHER COSTS?
Travel time, costs, parking or mileage charges may be charged by the reporter, where appropriate.
HOW IS BILLING DONE?
Upon completion of the assignment, the court reporter shall submit the billing invoice to the attorney.
HOW ARE FEE DISPUTES HANDLED?
The MAPCR Pro Bono Coordinator will offer mediation of fee disputes, as necessary and appropriate, upon request by any affected party.
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