Gordon Brown solicitors speech recognition case study
•Successful, long-standing legal firm
•Forward thinking and progressive attitude
•Prepared to embrace technology
•To make fee earners self-sufficient and reduce correspondence turnaround times
•To bring secretarial role in line with the businesses’ new needs
•Correspondence turned around in one day
•More productive fee earners
Gordon Brown Law Firm (GBLF) is a multi-disciplinary law firm in the North East of England with 85 staff across two offices. The firm provides cost-effective, high quality legal services and advice for both individuals and businesses, ranging from SMEs to large corporations.
The team works across all areas of law including family, residential conveyancing, wills and probate, dispute resolution, corporate and commercial.
A vision of the future, today
The firm embarked upon a project to move to a digital environment in order to improve its process efficiency, boost productivity, add more value to clients and diversify the role played by its secretarial team whilst reducing its overall impact on the environment. Central to helping the firm achieve its goals was Dragon Legal, the popular desktop speech recognition software from Nuance Communications.
Michael Wheatley, ICT Manager at GBLF explains the firm’s philosophy on technology: “GBLF is very progressive and forward thinking firm with regards to technology. When we saw a demonstration of speech recognition technology a couple of years ago with a view to it replacing our digital dictation solution, we were extremely impressed by how much it had improved from an accuracy and ease of use perspective. We could see how it would fit with the way in which we wanted to direct the business in terms of technology.”
The Dragon demonstration – and subsequent consultation in order to establish the firm’s requirements – was conducted by Nuance authorised partner, VoicePower.
Embracing change for the better with Dragon Legal
Before Dragon was implemented, fee earners dictated letters into the former digital dictation solution which were in turn typed by secretaries before returning them to fee earners for sign off. Michael reports that this process took twice as long as it does with speech recognition. That performance improvement shouldn’t be too surprising given Dragon’s ability to transcribe up to 160 words per minute, combined with the fact that people speak up to three times faster than they type. With its Legal specific dictionary, Dragon is measurably helping to increase productivity for the team at GBLF.
Michael explained: “Dragon Dictation was implemented and fee earners were provided with the relevant training to allow them to be more self-sufficient. Not only does it reduce correspondence turnaround times, but the speedier service results in increased client satisfaction.” Michael estimates that since implementing Dragon, the number of letters produced per day by the firm has increased by 30%, with letters issued on the same day, rather than one day later. Furthermore, the letters are easier to check and correct in real-time. Any recognition concerns have been allayed as Michael states that Dragon copes very well with the range of regional accents in the office, while the team have also been impressed by Dragon’s intelligence which enables it to learn from any corrections users make.
Simon Dakers, family Partner at GBLF, explains how Dragon has helped productivity within his team “The real benefit of Dragon Dictation is the immediacy of seeing the dictated words. Unlike traditional dictation it allows emails, letters and documents to be produced, and, if necessary, amended quickly and without the need to revisit once returned from a typist. It allows the resource of the secretary to be better utilised in being free to deal with fee earning work and other administrative tasks. The speed at which typed documents can be produced is extremely impressive and the system is a huge assistance when preparing lengthy emails that need to be sent urgently.”
Maximum return, minimum disruption
Another benefit of using Dragon is that it works seamlessly with popular email applications, which is proving popular with its fee earning team, as an increasing amount of their time is spent responding to emails. Perhaps a more important consideration is that Dragon Legal integrates easily with Ochresoft, the company’s case management solution.
Internally as part of the Dragon programme, a number of secretarial and administrators including apprentices were offered the opportunity to complete paralegal training, many of whom are now in the process of completing paralegal qualifications in debt management, family law, residential conveyancing and employment law, or have already completed the qualification and are now fee earners in their own right which is more motivational and satisfying for them. Externally this has allowed the firm to offer more cost effective and competitive packages to its client base.
Saving time, space and money
Aiding the implementation of Dragon and helping the team get to grips with it quickly was VoicePower, who has been supplying speech recognition solutions and dictation products for more than 20 years. It was responsible for installing Dragon and training the team, with the latter activity being split over two half days to limit any possible disruption to the staff. “VoicePower were really organised, and they work very well together as a team. The support team is excellent, and if there are any major problems, they are here on site within half an hour. They’ve proved to be honest and reliable and from what I have seen, they’ll do all they can to help you.”
Michael states he wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Dragon to other legal professionals, citing its accuracy, ease of use and reliability. “Its ease of use is highly impressive considering how powerful Dragon is and what it is capable of doing.”
Not only is that a solid endorsement of Dragon, but an illustration of how it can help create a stress-free, as well as a paper-free, working environment for forward thinking organisations across all sectors.