The Adoption of Voice Technology in Law Firms
With the legal industry becoming increasingly competitive, law firms need to adopt workflows that allow lawyers to do their jobs with maximum efficiency. Maximizing document creation is a perfect example of a workflow process that can be streamlined.
Lawyers who have been in the business for many years may find it more efficient to continue to use the dated tape recorders they are comfortable with to dictate. On the other hand, younger attorneys who grew up with computers, likely believe it is faster to type documents rather than speak into a recorder.
Both are right in that they should use workflows that allow them to be productive based on their skill set. However, they are wrong to think they should just stick with the same processes they have used for years simply because it appears to be effective. With small adjustments to their current workflows and the adoption of some simple but powerful voice technology solutions, most lawyers can vastly improve productivity and efficiency.
How digital recorders can help streamline dictation
The seasoned attorney may seem to be quite productive, yet the analog tapes that most of the older devices require are expensive, lose quality over time, and are increasingly difficult to find. Also, if the equipment itself breaks, it is often costly if not impossible to repair.
Adopting a handheld digital recorder jointly with digital transcription tools can offer a more streamlined workflow that is similar to former workflows, making it easier for an attorney to use. They are designed for ease-of-use and allow for blind operation with the familiar slide switch. Digital recorders are also optimized for speech recognition as a next step in a new digital workflow.
Rather than trying to organize, transcribe and store analog tapes, digital recorders integrate with transcription software to offer security and easy management of voice recordings. With less interruptions between tasks and clearer digital sound quality, transcriptionists are able to improve productivity, accuracy, and turnaround time.
Why voice technology is faster than typing
Now consider the young lawyer who grew up with technology and may be a fast typist. These lawyers can often generate dozens of words per minute and quickly send a document to support staff through email.
Despite these skills, younger attorneys could also benefit from the mobile voice technology options currently available. Studies show that people speak seven times faster than they type. In addition, a mobile app that turns a smartphone or tablet into a wireless digital dictation recorder could be integrated into any existing workflow and help lawyers be more efficient.
A major concern for lawyers is the lack of security when sending a voice file through email. Therefore, users should look for mobile applications capable of encrypting files and uploading them directly from the smartphone to the firm’s network where the recordings are identified by author name, date, client name, etc. and automatically sent to the correct transcriptionist.
Smaller firms may also appreciate digital dictation solutions that are configured for speech recognition software, further automating the transcription process. Transcriptionists then only need to proofread the documents transcribed by the software, significantly speeding up turnaround times.
Forcing lawyers to adapt to voice technology solutions that do not mesh with their current workflows can be disruptive, causing a negative impact on productivity. Instead, firms should consider tools that require minimum training yet deliver maximum efficiency. Adopting the right solution that aligns with a lawyer’s current work style will not only lead to more productive attorneys, but also more satisfied clients and a growing, successful firm.
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