Spend £42 and save £000s every year – buy a Dragon

Guest Blog – Tim Bishop reveals how he has made the most out of voice recognition software

Tim is senior partner of law firm, Bonallack and Bishop, who also run a number of specialised websites, including http://www.the-divorce-solicitors.co.uk   and   http://www.themedicalnegligencesolicitor.co.uk

Why don’t all lawyers use Dragon voice-activated software? I have simply no idea.

Technology is developing at a more rapid pace than ever. Just think back 20 years when smart phones didn’t exist, and all you could do on your mobile was make phone calls and play that game with the little snake. Mobile phone technology has come on in leaps and bounds since those days, as has voice-activated dictation software. Many people who tried this technology when it was brand new almost 20 years ago soon gave up and reverted to standard dictation machines as the new software was problematic to say the least. Some of these early adopters were put off the concept of voice recognition forever, but this is a real shame as there are so many advantages for solicitors using voice activated software.

The first advantage is really two rolled into one: speed and accuracy. So why is everyone not using it? Nuance, the company who produce a software package called Dragon, the market leading product in voice activated software, claim it’s 98% accurate. After using the Dragon software for all of my typing for the last five years, I just can’t imagine going back to the old school method of speaking into a tape recorder for someone else to type up, or even worse, trying to type it myself with two clumsy fingers. I only started using Dragon in the first place because I was temporarily without a secretary, and it’s fair to say I have never looked back.

Price is the second main advantage. Dragon’s Naturally Speaking software costs only £80 at full price for the latest Version – Dragon 12 Home Software, which is more than sufficient for most business purposes [Amazon is often the cheapest – just £42 last I looked]. Many solicitors in our business have already embraced this new way of working, and we’re in the process of rolling it out to many more. From a business point of view, we estimate that by using voice activated software, we’re saving the business annually close to £100,000!

The third advantage we find is that we turn round client communication (both letter and e-mail) without delay – no more backlogs – thereby we have improved measurably our client service levels.

This is all great news, but there are a couple of key tips if you’re thinking of using Dragon or other similar software in your home or office.

·         Get a good microphone. Check on the Nuance website to see what sort of microphones are recommended for use with their software. Don’t bother with the cheap headset which comes in the box, invest in a decent one.

·         Don’t waste money on the fancy all-singing, all-dancing versions of the software, unless you really are going to be spending most of your time working on spreadsheets or presentations. Keep an eye open for special offers too; the Nuance website itself often has promotional deals, as do major computer retailers like PC World and Currys.

·         Don’t be put off by the idea of having to spend precious fee earning hours trying to learn a new skill. The latest version of Dragon really works virtually straight out of the box. It takes just 10 or 15 minutes to set up and works pretty well immediately and with a little extra work gets more and more accurate as it learns your voice and pronunciation.

So using voice recognition is to my experience:

1)     easy and quick to use and available 24/7

2)     hugely cost effective

3)     will help you and your firm improve your client service levels

What have you got to lose by giving Dragon a try in your business? At a one-off cost of £42 it really is a major saving on the on-going cost of employed secretarial support – Oh! and it doesn’t take holidays or go sick either. You simply can’t go wrong!

PS from Legal Mentors Ltd

Tim is absolutely right – why use a person to transfer the spoken word into typed text when computers can do it as tirelessly, accurately and in a fraction of the time and cost! We have also come across Legal Voice Recognition Software which goes one step further by fully integrating into many practice management systems. Do feel free to give us a call if you want to discover more.