2024 Vertical Market Case Studies: Speech Technology in Legal Services

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As the legal world evolves, like most business sectors, to include more remote and hybrid work arrangements, it’s important for lawyers and support staff to have all the feature functionality that’s available to them at their desks ready to go from any device or platform while out of the office.

It’s no surprise, then, that in early 2020 some attorneys and transcriptionists at Lynch & Lynch, a law firm based in South Easton, Mass., began trying out Philips’ PocketMemo 8000 Digital Portable Voice Recorders and Philips SpeechLive. SpeechLive is a browser-based dictation and transcription solution that converts speech to text. The PocketMemo recorder features a 3-D microphone, a color display, file encryption, PIN-based security, barcode scanning, remote management, a docking station for device charging and uploading voice files, a motion sensor that detects when the device is placed on the desk or held in the hand and selects the microphone to suit the recording situation, and Philips’ SpeechExec dictation and transcription software, which also offers workflow and communications automation, data management, job routing, and more.

The attorneys and support staff were growing weary of the challenges posed by using tape recorders with audio cassettes. Besides necessitating the transfer of physical tapes to paralegals and transcriptionists to keep workstreams flowing, the inferior audio quality of recordings meant support staff often had to stop their work to listen repeatedly to portions of files and sometimes clarify content with the attorneys. This prevented full optimization of employees’ time across the entire organization, a key concern in an industry that is centered on client billings.

Further, there was the issue of cost. As tape recorders broke down, the price of repairing or replacing them started outweighing their value, and tapes were becoming increasingly expensive and difficult to find due to many businesses moving toward more digital data storage options.

At the same time, the firm, which was founded in 1967 as a general practice law firm, was evolving into a midsize firm with a specialty in all aspects of litigation, representing individuals, professionals, insurance companies, corporations, and nonprofit organizations. Its practice spans many types of law, including criminal, personal injury, real estate, employment, corporate, malpractice, personal and professional liability, and insurance.

The firm employs 18 attorneys and five legal counselors who advise business clients on incorporation, contracts, leases, employment agreements, employee and consumer claims, and business litigation issues.

Amid that rapid and robust growth, the firm also opened a satellite office in Providence, R.I., and now attorneys of the firm have tried hundreds of cases in state and federal courts in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, won numerous multi-million-dollar verdicts, and successfully defended through trial dozens of multimillion-dollar claims, all of which put even more strain on the documentation process.

The attorneys and paralegals using the Philips solutions were immediately impressed with the ease of use and outstanding performance of these advanced tools. Attorneys could easily record voice files from their recorders and smartphones and send them for transcription and further processing right away rather than waiting to return to the office to hand off physical tapes.

This enabled them to use their time more effectively. It helped them capture and relay fresh ideas and notes that needed to be typed by the office team the moment they left court or a client’s office, increasing their work output.

With the Philips solution’s ability to retain the same functions as a tape recorder, there was literally no change for those dictating. “With the unparalleled clarity produced by recording digitally, paralegals quickly took to Philips SpeechLive as well and were able to type more accurate transcriptions than ever without having to ask again what was said,” says Gail Gianunzio, a paralegal who has been with Lynch & Lynch for more than 15 years.

Besides that, the ease of transcription via the intuitive web-based user interface from any computer and the notification of new incoming dictations have proven to be a huge advantage for workload planning and distribution.

Onboarding was also fast and easy with minimal disruption. This came in super-handy during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when in-office employees worldwide suddenly went remote. Many firms struggled to adjust to this shift, but the Lynch & Lynch team was able to handle the change in work arrangements seamlessly.

The office could be anywhere, and business hours could be anytime, thanks to Philips SpeechLive. Though coworkers weren’t collocated, the firm was able to operate just as it had pre-pandemic, company officials said.

Today, more than three years after the introduction of Philips SpeechLive, Lynch & Lynch has continued to reap numerous benefits. The firm can now produce a large number of letters and pleadings (which account for a large percentage of the total documents produced), delegate tasks efficiently, and complete transcriptions an estimated 30 percent to 40 percent faster.

The Philips technology is also an effective way for attorneys to communicate with their support staff concerning various tasks and reminders. Ultimately, this allows everyone in the organization to put more focus on their core business, driving higher-value work and client service.

“For legal professionals looking into a digital dictation and transcription solution, I highly recommend looking into Philips,” Gianunzio says. “With a minimal investment of time and effort, it will be a significant help in doing your job. I can’t say enough good things about the Philips solution and really think any firm will be satisfied with the results.” 

The Payoff

Since rolling out Philips SpeechLive, SpeechExec, and PocketMemo 8000 Digital Portable Voice Recorders, Lynch & Lynch has seen the following results:

  • The ability to produce letters and pleadings, delegate tasks, and complete transcriptions an estimated 30 percent to 40 percent faster.
  • Fast and easy onboarding, with minimal disruption, even for remote employees.

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