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The Top Three Reasons Law Firms Are Not Using Digital Dictation Technology
In my profession, it is common to ask many questions. In fact, it is necessary. A Virtual Assistant is someone who needs to know as much as possible about a particular customer’s systems or way of doing things in order to best configure and use available technology to help them do it better, faster, at a lower cost. — no matter what. the customer is looking to make a profit.
I began my VA career almost eight years ago and have limited my practice to virtual assistance to the legal industry. Over the years, I have asked many attorneys, law firm managers, paralegals, HR managers, private investigators, IT managers, managing partners, office managers, secretaries and others about the processes used at their firms. Some use document management software, some don’t. Some have websites, some don’t. Almost invariably, when asked what attorneys use for dictation, the most common answer: a tape.
That’s good, because dictation is a very efficient process, even with a tape. According to Dictaphone, in 1952 recorded dictation was “saved on handwriting and shorthand among lawyers, doctors and other professionals”. In 1973, the first mini-cassette recorder was sold. Do you believe it? It’s the same little recorder still in use today in most US firms, the technological equivalent of listening to music on an 8 track!
In any case, if your company uses dictation on tape, then it is already understood that recording the actual company work product is a good way to get things done and if your company does not use dictation, you may start with digital do so keep reading. .
Why Upgrade to Digital Dictation?
Although not as old as dictatorship, digital dictatorship has been around for a long time. The medical industry has been using digital dictation technology (portable calling and recording) for over a decade. Why? A digital dictation process innovation has provided hospitals, clinics, medical offices and insurance companies with:
o the ability for doctors to work remotely with nothing more than a phone or portable recorder and an internet connection
o Centralization of document work for multiple users, multi-site services
o the ability to monitor work in progress and overall production
o the ability to monitor and report various metrics and metrics
o the ability to use remote transcriptions and save staff costs
The way I see it, any company of that size stands to gain as much as a medical practice of comparable size by innovating a digital dictation process – so the question remains, with so much to gain, why haven’t they!? (Read that list above again – with that in mind.)
Why Don’t Firms Use Digital Dictatorship?
The main reason, I believe, is that no one has put 2B2% together yet. Because digital dictation technology isn’t “new,” it hasn’t received much attention outside of the medical industry. Recently, however, British and other European law firms have been in the news discussing how reforming the digital dictatorship has been easier and better than expected.
What about here in the US?
Listed below (in reverse order) are the top three responses I’ve received over the years to the question: “Why hasn’t your firm upgraded to digital literacy?”
Number 3: “Digital dictation, isn’t it speech recognition?”
No, speech recognition is not a digital dictatorship. Speech recognition is software. Captures human voice and converts it into text. Speech recognition software requires training for each specific user—hours of training for most applications, making implementation of this technology impractical in most enterprise settings.
A digital dictation is a recording of your voice with software or equipment that provides dictation functions – pause, rewind, insert, etc. However, with digital, the recording does not go to tape, it is saved as an audio file (ie, .wav, .dss). Unlike speech recognition, digital dictation requires a transcriptionist and software to transcribe recorded thoughts.
By the way, one reason I strongly believe that speech recognition software can never replace a good legal secretary/transcriber – no matter how much you train it, it can never pick up when you say “defendant” and you should say “judge”. ” shut off! 😉
So, while you may have heard or read about the shortcomings of speech recognition technology, digital dictation is a different animal altogether.
Number 2: “If it ain’t broke…”
Yes, it’s true that tape dictation works and has worked for decades, but so does a typewriter, an abacus, even a compass. The innovation of digital dictation is not a solution, it is an evolution of a known process. It is the natural evolution of dictation – from human (secy), recorded (tape), digital (sound file).
When it comes to digital updates, what needs to be highlighted is that those recording no longer need to be in the same physical location as the person doing the transfer – or in today’s parlance: can work remotely! Depending on how the closing process is set up, as long as the firm’s dictators have access to a phone or the internet, they can produce billable time.
Because a digitally created dictation file is electronic in nature, it can be manipulated like any other computer file — stored, shared across networks, etc. This makes the dictation file itself much more convenient and user-friendly in today’s electronic environment (networks, multiple offices, document management software, retention needs).
Along with remote work opportunities for dedicated dictators, digital dictation upgrades provide reporting and tracking of each file as it progresses through the process or all metrics that a tape-based dictation system simply cannot provide. Pick up a tape and ask a lawyer what’s on it and see what he says! If it were a digital file, however, you always know the date and time a file was created, by whom, how long it is, what it’s for, what it’s important to, and more.
Therefore, from the perspective of a manager as well as a dictator, digital dictatorship innovation provides an improvement for how work is done.
and… My all time favorite answer from…
“Why hasn’t your firm moved towards digital dictation?”
Number 1: “We don’t like change.”
I’m not kidding! I’ve heard this exact phrase more times than I care to admit!
Except, of course, this answer helps me understand that companies can take forever to reach a decision, it creates a lot of confusion. Why? When the digital update, the process for the dictator does not change much. In fact, Olympus and other major manufacturers also have portable digital recorders in their professional line that have a slide switch. Basically, a digital recorder that mimics the functions of an analog recorder.
So, when properly configured, in addition to the fact that a lawyer does not have to get up from his chair to hand a tape to his secretary (or leave it on her chair), during a digital update, the dictator does nothing “don’t” differ. .
Wrapping It All Up
At some point, every company has to weigh the pros and cons of any technology upgrade. With more and more hardware and software needed to stay competitive, it’s no wonder no one is looking for another “upgrade.” Unlike most technology available today, however, digital dictation technology is not “new.” It is very stable and has been robustly tested, successfully deployed and used in various environments for over a decade.
This should, IMHO, be a digital dictation update for any company’s 2009 technology budget.
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