A rise in technological innovation is changing the way law firms think about time-consuming administrative tasks (like legal transcription).
There is nothing easy about reviewing legal proceedings in audio format, a nightmarish scenario well known by attorneys and paralegals alike. While information, facts and evidence are the currency of the courtroom, a single deposition can mean hours of listening few legal professionals can spare.
Enter legal transcription: the process of transcribing audio files into digital, written documents that are easier to scan, summarize and store. For busy attorneys, these legal documents create access to information, and that’s worth its weight in gold.
But here’s the catch. There is nothing easy about transcribing hours of audio, either. A painstaking task, transcription must be done accurately and quickly to benefit attorneys.
The good news is that law firms can count on legal transcription companies to fill in the gaps for transcription (and other administrative duties). To get more specific, here are four reasons why firms are making the leap to outsourced transcription.
1. Smaller firms can boost their billable hours and client face time.
A solo, private practice attorney spending an afternoon transcribing audio files? Forget it. An attorney’s time is simply too valuable.
A legal transcription company can take the same audio file, sent from a smartphone, and return a transcribed document accurately in a fraction of the time (and cost). Meanwhile, solo attorneys and small firms can focus on activities like billable tasks and networking to improve cash flow and business development.
2. Practices can scale up when times are busy (and down when they are slower).
A legal secretary is often worth every penny, but that doesn’t mean every practice needs one all the time. Paying for downtime is expensive. Medical benefits and withholding taxes add costs.
Outsourcing tasks like legal transcription to a company that specializes in it (and much more on the administrative side) provides a scalable solution to help attorneys grow their firms.
3. Law firms can rightsize existing staff and save on overhead costs.
The average salary for a paralegal in the U.S. is $51,740 (you are likely paying more). And for those legal secretaries or junior paralegals who are earning less, transcribing audio comes at a steep price per hour, still. Comparatively, a transcription company’s rates will be far below the per-hour-pay of a legal professional.
Perhaps more importantly, outsourcing transcription means your team can focus on more important work. If you’re employing legal professionals, use them to their highest potential to improve office workflow and operations. Chances are they will also be thrilled if they never have to transcribe hours of audio again, too.
4. Law firms are finding the accuracy and speed of transcription companies cannot be beaten.
Transcribing is an activity that is particularly prone to error. It takes careful listening and typing skills to be accurate, especially when every word must be exact. Where inaccurate transcription can actually cost attorneys a case, accuracy is no small thing.
Legal transcription companies are specialists. Trained typists (with legal backgrounds) use specialized equipment, such as a transcription foot pedal, to catch every detail and minutia. And with a turnaround time of days (and even hours), attorneys and paralegals receive essential documents quickly to create digests, highlight key evidence and information.
Putting it all together.
There is no shortcut to accurate, fast legal transcription. It takes time, attention to detail and skill (no matter who is typing). But law firms are finding a not-so-secret weapon in transcription services, and it’s taking their practice to the next level.