New Zealand Law Society - Installing voice recognition software was 'brilliant', law firm says

Installing voice recognition software was 'brilliant', law firm says

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When the mid-sized New Zealand legal firm Billings decided it was time to digitise its business, incorporating voice recognition software as part of the process was high on its agenda. According to Billings’ General Manager, Gordon Gray-Lockhart, the firm was keen to embrace voice recognition software that could add value to the way individuals within the firm operate.

“As part of the digitising process, we looked closely at how our partners and lawyers were creating documents,” Mr Gray-Lockhart says.

“What we found was that some were dictating their documents into dictaphones and then asking typists to type them up. Others were typing up their own documents entirely, while others still, were capturing their thoughts on dictaphones or some other digital device, and then typing them up at a later time.

“Keeping in mind that they all create documents quite differently, we wanted to identify a voice recognition program which would allow them to all author and type their own documents with the utmost ease regardless of their style. For those who did not wish to type, this software lets you use your voice to type up your documents. It converts speech to text and your entire document can be created and edited simply by speaking.

“For those who wanted to capture their thoughts digitally for later processing/editing, voice recognition software lets you record your ideas via voice. These can then be actioned later. And of course, it lets you use a combination of speaking and typing to produce documents if you so wish,” Mr Gray-Lockhart explains.

Apart from offering flexibility, Mr Gray-Lockhart also found that the voice recognition software allowed the firm to save on time and costs. Legal letters and standard letters, affidavits, as well as other documents and even emails could now be quickly generated directly by the author. This made the process of producing and sharing documents far more efficient. It also eliminated the need for typists, which helped the firm save significantly on costs.

“We were making use of typists to produce some of our documents. This was cumbersome because they had to be typed up and were then forwarded back to the author who checked and edited them.

“Sometimes this was done manually. At other times it was done directly onto the document. Either way, the process was time consuming and expensive. Voice recognition software has allowed us to forgo this process entirely and control our own documents from start to finish,” he says.

Implementing voice recognition software has also allowed the firm to take the creation and control of documents a step further.

Previously, correspondence and documents were printed and predominantly mailed. Now however, the author can save the document as a PDF and email it directly to the client or the appropriate recipient. This is far quicker and more cost-effective than engaging with traditional mail processes.

Mr Gray-Lockhart investigated a number of software options before settling on Nuance’s Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Dragon NaturallySpeaking, or Dragon as it is more commonly known, brings voice recognition to the PC and allows individuals to simply talk to create content and command a computer.

Dragon delivers up to 99% recognition accuracy out of the box. By using this software, individuals can interact with and command their PC as well as manage their emails, navigate the Web and create reports and notes simply by speaking.

To assist the firm implement Dragon into their existing systems, Billings partnered with Sound Business Systems Ltd, voice and data solutions supplier.

“Whom we purchased from was just as important to us, as what we purchased,” Mr Gray-Lockhart says. “We needed a professional supplier who not only had excellent technical understanding of Dragon, but who was also capable of appreciating our existing computer systems and the way we work.”

As well as proving more than capable, Sound Business Systems also provided the firm with training both as a group and on an individual level. Implementing voice recognition software has been a “brilliant experience” for us, Mr Gray-Lockhart says. “It has been hugely beneficial, and delivered tangible and significant cost as well as time savings.”

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