If you work in law, chances are you deal with a computer a lot. Emails, plea drafts, briefs, your (probably overly full) calendar, research, and plenty more tasks take up the bulk of the time you spend outside the courtroom.
What if there was a way to speed up your interactions with your computer, and make you even more organized and efficient at the same time? Good news: there is.
Voice recognition programs can take your speech and turn it into text on your computer, letting you speak your emails or documents instead of type them. This technology has been around for years, and has been improving constantly.
Today, it is powerful, accurate, and intelligent. The top-of-the-line software for this kind of work is Dragon Naturally Speaking, Legal Edition. How could Dragon help you, as a lawyer? Here are a few ideas.
Transcribe Client Meetings
When you meet with clients, you probably record some of the conversation. While audio has its advantages–hearing the client’s tone, or the pauses between words, for instance–it has one major drawback: it cannot be searched or skimmed.
If you have several recordings all related to one case, or a single recording that is extremely long, it can be hard to ‘glance’ through it to find something specific. You know, for example, that someone mentioned a particular detail, you just have no idea where in the audio that detail might be hiding.
With text, you can type in a word or two and find the information in seconds. How nice would it be, then, to turn your audio into text?
With Dragon, you can do just that, giving you the best of both worlds. Skim through the text to get an idea of what was said, or search it for specific information; keep the audio as well, so you can listen to it and get the tone, inflection, timing, and other details not captured by text on a screen.
Yes, you may have to spend some time cleaning up the transcribed text–no software is perfect–but you will find the trade-off worth it.
You email a lot, do you not?Notes to clients about how a trial went, emails or instant messages to coworkers, document submissions, case notes, and the list goes on.
Speech recognition lets you speak your messages aloud, which can be faster and more convenient than typing.
At the end of an exhausting day, would you rather bang out a few paragraphs on your keyboard, or sit back and just say them aloud?
Dictate Drafts and Notes
Do you spend a lot of time writing (and revising, and revising) drafts?
If so, consider how much more convenient it would be to simply talk, while the computer takes your words and turns them into text. You can see your thoughts in front of you, and start editing them into the actual document you need, all without having to touch your keyboard.
Yes, you read that correctly; Dragon offers edit, cursor movement, and other functions that let you manipulate your text in addition to speaking it.
Why Use Dragon?
Mostly, because it saves you time and can turn words spoken by you or others into text.
Speech recognition is intuitive, powerful, and a whole new way to get work done. Dragon even has a full lexicon of legal terminology, so it will not stumble over an obscure term or fail to format a legal citation.
Relax back in your chair, and just start speaking; let Dragon do the rest.