U.S. Legal Support was founded in 1996 based on a single, somewhat audacious goal: become the first nationwide, all-inclusive litigation support company.
Over two decades later, we have over 1,000 employees, a network of nearly 5,000 independent court reporting professionals and more than 85 locations around the country. We cover more than 350,000 depositions each year and retrieve more than 400,000 records. That works out to a deposition and a record retrieved roughly every ninety seconds, around the clock. To date, we’ve acquired over 25 companies — 15 in a 3 year period alone. In light of those accomplishments, here’s what we’d say about our original goal:
We’re off to a solid start.
The vision of our current CEO, Charles F. Schugart, is easy to follow: Create a transparent culture of excellence where the corporate division supports the field operations. Transparent: no typical corporate bureaucracy. Excellence: outstanding work, everywhere, all the time. And a company that, above all, prioritizes the day-to-day work for which clients hire us. No matter where a client is, we will work to deliver the litigation support services needed. Period.
Litigation support is an intensely demanding, competitive field. Results at trial can turn on the tiniest detail, and success demands incredible levels of focus, commitment and work by attorneys under immense pressure. At U.S. Legal Support, we support our clients so they can do what they do best.
Progress towards this goal is, in turn, driven by our values. Here’s what we believe in:
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of service. We obsess about it. Litigation is an incredibly demanding, high-stakes undertaking. The last thing an attorney trying a case should need to worry about is support issues. They need to focus on their case.
Our role is to help them do that. From the CEO to our newest employee, when it comes to providing support to our clients, we all are committed to eliminating words such as “no”, “can’t” or “impossible”. Whether this means finding a reporter and location in Fargo, North Dakota for a deposition on Christmas Eve; serving an out-of-state subpoena and retrieving vital records from an obscure location in Juneau, Alaska; outfitting a Federal courthouse with secure video and text streaming between the USA and Iraq for a high-stakes terrorism trial; staying up all night to execute our client’s revisions to a presentation or simply making sure an attorney has a highlighter at hand during a trial, our job is to make it happen. And we do. Every time.
National Presence with Local Expertise
We have more than 85 locations for a reason. Our clients do not deal with some centralized service desk staffed by anonymous voices on the phone. They deal with people they know, in locations near them. If you’re in Austin, we’re on Brazos Street. San Francisco? Mission Street. Madison? Mifflin Street. Although it’s considerably costlier than simply setting up a nationwide service center, we believe personal relationships, continuity and local presence matter a lot. Our clients work with people they know, who in turn have at their fingertips all the firepower of a very large, well-resourced company.
Innovation and Technology
We are constantly searching for better, smarter, faster ways to do things. Technology is a major driver of innovation – we have an IT development team of over 30 people. That’s bigger than many companies – no other litigation support company even comes close. We strive to develop capabilities that will enhance our ability to serve our clients, ideally before they even realize a need exists. We’ve built a long list of technical capabilities, such as a proprietary, cloud-based management portal for our clients. As another example, our SOC 2 Type II security systems, our business practices, offices and workflows are second to none. Innovation is a force multiplier for us, and a priority.
Transparency and Operations
Much of what our clients experience is powered by how we run our company internally. We serve our clients because we serve one another. Values come from the top down: ours are transparency, service and integrity. For a company of our size, we have a remarkably flat structure. We’re extremely nimble and decisions are made quickly.
Everyone is encouraged to push limits when it comes to innovation: if you’re not making mistakes occasionally, we believe you need to push harder. Information moves around freely internally – there are no silos. Our senior management routinely travels to different locations and meets with staff at all levels – they know what’s going on because they care, they engage and talk to their people. At one of these meetings, it would be very difficult to an outsider to tell the difference between a C-level executive and someone we just hired. Everyone talks, everyone listens.
That’s a good start.