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Rethinking You Digital Dictation Strategy: Tips, Tricks, Software and Hardware

I recently wrote an article for Law Technology News which is republished on Law.com called Legal Dictation Needs to Talk Digital. Here is an excerpt:

Cassette-based desktop dictation machines and portable hand-held cassette recorders using minicassette tapes have dominated the market for the last 30 years…

What's changed? For starters, digital dictation technology helps lawyers dictate and immediately route the dictation to support staff 24/7 from any location in the world. While a portable minicassette recorder lets you dictate anywhere, using cassettes requires physically handing a cassette tape to support staff before transcription can occur…

Many of our best ideas come when we are in the car, lying in bed, exiting court or getting out of the shower in the morning. Being able to quickly dictate and route information helps us manage cases and team members in real time…

This reduces lawyer stress, increases efficiency and will no doubt impress clients. And law firms focused on profits and the bottom line will be impressed by the return on investment…

Comments

sfberglund

Your readers may be interested in this blog - How to Select a Digital Dictation Solution http://audiorecorder.wordpress.com

Michael Brown

Hi Enrico:

I first wanted to say your blog has been of great assistance and inspiration to me in setting up my own practice and blog- thanks!!

Regarding dictation, I wanted to mention the cell phone-dictation service at Jott.com. My guess is that you've heard of Jott, but figured I'd mention it just in case.

Jott is a free service that allows cell phone users to dictate short, 15- or 30-second, messages via their cell phones. The messages are transcribed by Jott and posted on a secure internet location (pay-versions of Jott allow you to receive the transcribed messages more directly, via email).

I have found Jott extremely helpful- particularly for action- or reminder- type notes I want to send myself in a pinch. It's a great way to record notes from a client phone call, or remind yourself of an idea to explore or action item to follow.

Jott does have limitations - it's not good for transcribing longer documents (articles, briefs etc) due to the 15- second limit (for free plan) or 30-second limit(pay plan). Also, the transcription accuracy is far from perfect. However, despite these limitations, jott has really helped me out in my legal practice, letting me document phone calls and action plans without having to scramble for paper or forgetting things.

Anyway, thought this info may be of interest in conjuction with your article. Thanks again for all of your very helpful advice and inspiration.

Mike

GAL

Michael:

Thanks for the kudos. I have not in fact used the Jott system. I love the model, however. What people fail to realize is that there is a tremendous benefit to be able to do a "data dump" out of your brain as things pass through. While it seems like you are "always working" when you step aside to dictate something that just popped into your head while your on the soccer field with your kid, it actually relieves the stress of having to try and remember, or worrying it will never get done. Moving things forward is a tremendous stress reliever.

Of course, our model uses real human beings to capture the audio dictation for either transcription or action. Most of our dictation is delegation. This allows me to manage personnel in ways I could not previously have imagined.

Most naive people think that technology is all about reducing the amount of staff that you have. Sure, make lawyers type their own pleadings. Clients really want to pay for administrative work at a professional hourly rate!

The real beauty of technology is it allows a single lawyer to engage in far more high function, strategic, professional level activities. This works best if there's people behind the scenes ready to make things happen. This is where our virtual worker model really comes in handy. We can roll out our effort based on need and we always have someone waiting in the wings to execute.

Audio Transcription

You are absolutely right with what you have stated. Having a digital recorder makes life for lawyers so much easier. I have found that http://www.wescribeit.com offers an even better solution for these situations. They have an 800-number that you can call from any phone, landline or cellular. This provides for quick audio transcription and at an affordable rate. WeScribeIt is highly recommended among lawyers.

Joan

As a paralegal, let me suggest that when using digital dictation systems, especially outside of the office, you remember that a human being still has to listen and transcribe the work. So, if you are dictating in the car, while relaxing in bed, hanging out at home, etc., please understand that traffic noise, background noise, etc. can be very annoying and make your work difficult and unpleasant to transcribe. In other words, I don't want to listen to you eating and smacking on food or candy, burping in my ear, using the toilet or splashing in the bath or your kids arguing/dog barking in the background, and yes, this happens. A LOT. Just because you can dictate anywhere does NOT mean you should.

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