In the “old days” so to speak, law firms relied on their secretaries or administrative assistants to take dictation before typing out memos, letters, and other documents. Even over the last decade, it’s amazing how things have changed. Not only do we have the world wide web to provide us with a plethora of information (some of which is reliable, other not so much), we also have perhaps the greatest innovation of all for criminal defense lawyers – voice technology!
While some law firms still use the old “tried and true” methods of creating important documents, voice technology is gradually becoming a popular trend in the legal industry as attorneys and their staffs look for a way to capture all information accurately, while making the work environment more efficient. While dictation and transcription is still a much-used way to capture critical information and details, there are many flaws with this almost “antiquated” method in today’s modern world. For one, older dictation equipment is tape-based, which can result in break downs and all kinds of problems. Two, attorneys often have to locate an experienced transcriptionist to transcribe letters, reports, and other documents when an assistant isn’t available. Considering that today criminal defense lawyers in Michigan and across the U.S. as well as attorneys who focus on other practice areas are busier than ever, efficiency and accuracy is more important than ever.
Cost savings of voice technology for law firms
Voice technology is fast becoming not only the most efficient and productive, but the most cost-effective solutions for law firms of all sizes. VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol, a web-based voice service, is a technology that makes it possible for voice paths to be transmitted externally via the web, to multiple extensions. This results in cost savings, the ability to engage in voice conferencing, automated call re-routings, phone portability, and more. For smaller law firms, hosted PBX is one solutions that improves efficiency and enhances reliability, making it possible for staff to access call features whether working in the office, or remotely.
Computers are “old news” today, and although every law firm has and uses computers every day, modern digital voice technology is much faster and more efficient than typing out documents. Many firms use a combination of dictation/transcription to create documents, along with voice technology.
Storage of documents with voice technology
Many law firms prefer to store and transcribe dictations “in the cloud,” a technology not well understood by many lawyers. Essentially, cloud-based storage is a cloud computing model that allows data to be stored and accessed via remote servers on the Internet, otherwise referred to as “cloud.” These clouds are operated, managed, and maintained by service providers on storage servers developed using virtualization techniques.
Speech recognition software
Another option in voice technology today are the various speech recognition software programs that allow attorneys to dictate using a desktop microphone directly into their computers. Examples of this technology include Dragon Naturally Speaking and SpeechExec Enterprise, and both improve workflow significantly as documents, letters, and transcripts can be “dictated” from wherever the software is installed, at home or in the office. Document text is populated automatically in Microsoft Word when speaking into the microphone, or for other documents that aren’t quite as lengthy can easily be dictated directly into SpeechExec, which has templates and routes documents to internal support staff for review automatically.
Essentially, speech recognition software means a quick turnaround time and considerably less typing for assistants
Some attorneys are intimidated by change, and happy to keep using the old methods of dictation and transcribing. However, those who embrace technology will find the workflow is far more efficient, employees happier, and the tedious task of typing almost eliminated. Efficient, cost-effective, and far more streamlined than the “old” way of transcribing. Whether yours is a small or large law firm, consider the benefits of voice technology! You (and your staff) will be glad you did.