Legal Speech Recognition Transforms Newtons Solicitors


  • A large firm of solicitors in North Yorkshire
  • 120 staff across 12 offices
  • Old digital dictation system “creaking under the strain” of a much larger firm


  • Create a system allowing reporting so capacity can be identified across difference offices
  • Minimize disruption to the busy team during implementation and initial use
  • Provide a system with the ability to expand as the company grows further


  • Reporting facility has already allowed workload to be shared more effectively
  • A smooth change-over, with little disruption and software that is easy to use at all levels
  • New users can be added and concurrent licenses minimize costs
legal speech recognition

After almost a decade in business, Newtons Solicitors has grown significantly.

With five acquisitions under its belt, the company had incorporated more than 120 staff across its 12 offices around North Yorkshire.

Sites include Darlington, Harrogate, Knaresborough, Leyburn, Richmond, Ripon, Stokesley, York, Thirsk, and North Allerton.

The Problem

David Birks, Director at Newton’s, said: “Our original digital voice recorders and secretarial system were ideal in the early days, but it was creaking under the strain of a much larger and extremely busy firm.”

“We also wanted a reporting facility to enable us to identify capacity across our offices. Therefore, we needed greater flexibility so that the system could grow with us in the future.”

Newtons Solicitors
legal speech recognition

The Resolution

After assessing the needs of the team at Newton’s, VoicePower recommended the Winscribe system.

As Winscribe Partners, VoicePower knew this would meet their requirements effectively.

As a server-based solution, Winscribe can be centrally managed to enable them to manage the work across all of their branches from one place.

During implementation, VoicePower was able to keep downtime to a minimum.

Strategic planning meant the new software could be combined with their existing hardware – the Olympus digital voice recorders and secretarial equipment, which were still in good condition. This helped control the costs.

Davidsays that, as a result of introducing the new software, the team at Newton’s is already seeing improvements.

Because of the reporting capabilities of Winscribe, it’s possible to see which office is busy with typing and which is quieter.

Therefore, the teams can share the workload across different offices and work more efficiently.

legal speech recognition

Flexible for Future Growth

Being able to do this will improve Newtons’ turnaround times and thus enable them to deal with client matters faster.

Ultimately, this will provide better customer service which is key to their growth and values.

The new system is also flexible enough to adapt to future growth, so it is a long-term investment for the firm.

Their admin manager is able to add new users easily and the whole team is finding the new software simple to use.

One of the benefits of Winscribe is its pricing model, which is charged on a concurrent basis. This means that, with a team totalling 100 typists, but only 60 working at any one time, you only need 60 licenses.

Newtons Solicitors said: “VoicePower helped and supported from project planning to implementation and hand-holding”.

“With VoicePower’s support, implementation was very easy. We had a project plan in place, our larger offices were split to avoid too much disruption, and the whole process was very smooth.”

“The team also helped with the initial teething problems as we started using the new system. And their service has been excellent, we would certainly recommend VoicePower to others.”

Newtons Solicitors

Forward Thinking

Three years later and Newtons are still reaping the benefits of Winscribe digital dictation.

However, the forward-thinking firm’s speech technology journey hasn’t ended there.

Since their last testimonial, Newtons has continued to work closely with speech recognition experts and Nuance Partner VoicePower Ltd, to further develop their workflow processes.

Newtons Solicitors speaks exclusively to VoicePower to share its journey into the world of speech recognition.

legal speech recognition

Taking the Leap from Dictation to Dragon

The team at Newtons speak very highly of the Nuance Winscribe digital dictation solution and they continue to use it across the majority of their firm.

Equally, they reached a point after approximately sixteen months of using Winscribe, that they were interested in incorporating speech recognition into their workflow as well. 

David elaborated on this interest in Dragon:

“We realised that actually, if we were seeing such great results with Winscribe in terms of productivity and efficiency, introducing speech recognition alongside it could offer us even more.”

Newtons Solicitors
legal speech recognition

Preparing for Speech Recognition

Speech recognition is a completely different way of working compared to digital dictation.

As with any change, it’s vital that it is managed appropriately and that the client is supported to ensure a smooth transition and the best results possible.

Managing a change to adopt a new technology requires careful planning and consideration to existing personnel roles and processes.

VoicePower has extensive experience in helping legal firms handle this transition, this is why VoicePower was the perfect partner to guide the legal experts through this transition.

After assessments of their IT infrastructure and requirements, VoicePower advised Nuance Dragon Professional Group as the best-suited version for Newtons’ requirements.

Dragon Professional Group’s capability to be deployed on multiple desktops and the multi-user licence model was ideal for the ever-growing team at Newtons.

Another appealing feature of Dragon Professional Group at the time was the smartphone app that can be used alongside it. 

The Dragon Anywhere Group app allows off-site staff to capture valuable information whilst its fresh in their mind, rather than waiting until they’re back at the office.

The app enables the spoken word to be translated directly into text on the smartphone’s screen, for distribution.

“Dragon’s accuracy was excellent straight away. Our team were able to create their own documentation, write-ups and notes rather than passing them onto our already pressured secretarial staff. Equally, emails take an inordinate amount of time and these are often typed manually by the fee earners.”

Newtons Solicitors

For the team at Newtons, Dragon Professional Group was instrumental in replenishing headcount:

“Dragon has enabled us to cover the absence of staff members without the need to replace them or outsource their service.”

Newtons Solicitors

They elaborate: “For us, this is where we saw significant savings with speech recognition and what’s more, we were able to better manage the pressure and workload increase that this would typically entail.”

legal speech recognition

A New Release, New Possibilities

It doesn’t stop there for the ambitious legal firm.

Approximately eighteen months down the line came to a brand-new version of Dragon: Dragon Professional Anywhere.

“The launch of Dragon Professional Anywhere enabled us to cater for our clients who require a speech recognition solution which was lightweight, enterprise-ready, agile and fully compatible in more challenging IT environments”

Sonja Brown – VoicePower Ltd

The launch of Dragon Professional Anywhere bought with it many advantages for Newtons and similar large enterprises that have complex IT infrastructures such as remote desktops and Citrix.

VoicePower approached Newtons to evaluate this edition as they saw that this would further improve their speech recognition experience in their remote desktop. 

Other editions of Dragon are locally installed and there can be limitations to how the speech recognition software can interact with applications stored centrally. 

When using Dragon Professional Group within the remote desktop environment, the users at Newtons were able to dictate accurately via the Dragon dictation box; an intermediary facility enabling text to be transferred to the cursor position. 

However, when using the Dragon dictation box, users couldn’t switch between different applications whilst dictating, which is often necessary for creating reports or viewing client notes.

Confirmed by Newtons’ IT Manager, Lloyd Martin “We’re always looking for ways to streamline and improve our technology, ensuring that everything was fully compatible with the remote environment – including Dragon, was a priority.”

It was for these reasons that Newtons were open to exploring the new Dragon Anywhere Professional edition which VoicePower was able to supply.

legal speech recognition

Dragon Professional Anywhere – The Best Version Yet

Dragon Professional Anywhere is available as both a cloud-hosted and on-premise deployment, this version is lightweight and versatile and requires minimal changes to an organisation’s IT infrastructure.

Furthermore, the cloud version can be paid for via monthly subscription which is cost-effective for businesses and attractive from a budgeting perspective.

With guidance and support from Nuance Partner VoicePower Ltd, Newtons were the first UK site to trial the Dragon Professional Anywhere solution.

The beauty of the users within the firm having access to both the Dragon Professional Anywhere speech recognition software and the Winscribe digital dictation is that of flexibility and adaptability. 

Some of the fee earners use both solutions, Winscribe digital dictation for tasks such as templated letters and Dragon for logging telephone notes and entries into their DPS case management system sending emails.

Following the successful trial, there are now 80 Dragon Professional Anywhere users at Newtons and they are really pleased with the results: “The accuracy is excellent and our staff have racked up over 45 hours of using it!”

“It is amazing to consider the return on investment for legal firms. Speech recognition is cited to enable work to be created 3 x faster than by typing alone. If the work created with those 45 hours would have ordinarily taken 135 hours to create, a firm could potentially create an additional 90 hours of billable time! Not to mention the improvements to customer service as emails and reports are turned around faster.”

Sonja Brown – VoicePower Ltd

From a usability point of view, the Newtons Dragon users are no longer relying on the dictation box and can, therefore, dictate freely at the cursor into any application, including their case management system: DPS Software. 

This has boosted their efficiency and reduced the number of steps and clicks taken to update telephone notes, attendance notes and template letters.

Furthermore, Dragon Professional Anywhere’s central management and reporting facilities provide the firm with complete visibility of the usage within the firm and enable them to understand its return on investment. 

Dragon Professional Anywhere has greatly reduced the turnaround time of letters and as such the clients receive their correspondence in a far timelier manner.

David confirms:

“Not only is our service quicker and more effective, but the quality and detail within our documentation has also greatly improved. We have clear and concise notes and correspondence with clients, which of course equates to better client experience.”

Newtons Solicitors
legal speech recognition

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