Much of the world gets excited about having the newest and latest tech gadgets and apps to make their life and work easier, however, the legal profession is historically one of the slowest to adopt new technology. Some attorneys are still using dictation to create documents, and many still use dictation machines or even some form of cassette tape recorder. While these methods might work just fine in the context of the tried-and-true workflow that you have adopted, their efficiency is paltry compared to new digital and mobile technology.
These days, there are smartphone apps specially designed for the legal profession, apps that many attorneys use to create documentation, summaries, letters, and briefs while on the go, in the office, or on their way to client meetings. These handy software applications are integrated with speech recognition, so that when the recordings are transferred to the legal assistant or secretary, the app transcribes it, so the assistant only has to proof and format – saving a whole lot of time and money that would otherwise be spent on listening, typing, and creating a document from scratch. This creates more time for your assistant to spend on other things, boosting productivity and helping you get things done faster, and more efficiently than ever before.
Since some offices may be resistant to adjust their normal workflow, a gradual process of implementation might be the best strategy. Test the waters slowly, and let your attorneys see how much easier and faster the work gets done; productivity will rise, efficiency will increase, and the ultimate result will be that the attorneys will have more time to serve more clients, thus sending great value to the bottom line all around.
Adopting Mobile Technology
Even established firms can learn new tricks from time to time. The first step, if you haven’t already accomplished it, would be to migrate from using analog voice recorders (such as cassette tape) to using a software-based digital application. The quality of today’s smartphone dictation apps is on the rise, and it will be easy to see very quickly how much better this technology is than whatever you were using before. You are likely to see immediate benefits in many areas:
- Ease of use
- Record, edit and send from your mobile device
- Instant transcription
- High quality voice recognition, leading to fewer transcription mistakes
Implementing a New Digital Workflow
As with most things, if a technology, an application or a workflow gets in the way of productivity, or if it’s difficult to use, unintuitive or if it slows you down, attorneys will be resistant. Try testing out your new workflow on one attorney first. If he/she is enthusiastic about it, and wants to continue using it, that will go a long way towards convincing the rest to get on board.
As for choosing the right dictation app, you need to consider one that will handle the volume of work you might throw at it. It should be something that offers the ability to database and create a hierarchy of multiple files, as some attorneys may be working on more than 100 cases or more at a time. Since mobile apps are housed in the cloud, files are always accessible to the user, who can return to, edit, transfer, transcribe and send as needed. The assistant receives a notification from the app when a new file is sent, showing who it came from and what case it pertains to. The document can then be created, reviewed and shared with the client, providing them with an appreciably shorter document turnaround time.
Save Time, Money & Run a More Efficient Law Practice
Dictation apps are becoming more and more efficient all the time, having the ability to ‘learn’ the speaker’s voice and diction, and most being able to transcribe in real-time. It’s as simple as speaking into the microphone, either on a smartphone or through a desktop computer, and directly editing the result once it is completed.
Some of the immediate benefits you will see include better compliance with electronic case filing standards, and reduced costs as you will no longer need to outsource your transcriptions. Additionally, your attorneys will love the efficiency of the process, and the ease with which they can manage their database of recordings. The mobile application gives them the freedom to work on the go, and frees up more time to serve existing clients, and drum up new ones.
Helping you work smarter, not harder, electronic and mobile voice dictation and transcribing technology will change the way you do business, providing immediate results that you can take to the bank.