Why Lawyers Might Want To Ditch Typing For Dictation

Today’s lawyers are focusing too heavily on written communication at the expense of oral communication, putting at risk mastery of fundamental lawyering skills and impeding efficiency at law firms, according to a group of leading Australian lawyers and tests conducted by BigHand and Nuance Communications.

The view that typing an email or developing documents via typing them into a computer is the most efficient use of a lawyer’s highly-valuable time is a fallacy, according to tests conducted by BigHand and Nuance.

“Tests show that lawyers are typically three times more efficient when verbalizing their ideas rather than typing them,” said Anthony Bleasdale, Director – Asia Pacific at BigHand said. “This is a significant result in an industry where time is money.”

“Law firms need to ensure they are not losing efficiencies in how their lawyers are working, provide the right tools to maximize their efficiency and ensure younger lawyers are developing the oral communication skills they need,” he said.

Theodora Ahilas, Principal and Director, Maurice Blackburn agrees.

“We are actually becoming less efficient, rather than becoming more efficient in our time by becoming slaves to the computer and typing ourselves, rather than actually thinking about what we are doing and having a system and protocol to develop our ideas through dictation,” she said.

“A junior lawyer will say to me ‘but I am much more efficient typing it up than actually dictating it.’

“I don’t think that they realize that dictating can be much more efficient because not only do they have clarity of thought, they get it done much quicker than sitting at the computer and actually typing up the document. The best way to do it is to dictate the document, get it back on the system, correct it and then get it out.

“We time cost our work. It is much more efficient for clients that I spend 15 minutes of that hour dictating it and it gets typed by someone else, rather than spending an hour and a half typing it up and then I’ve used their quota or the amount of time allocated for the particular task,” she said.

“I was certainly a bit surprised at how much quicker I could verbalize something more than typing it. But then typing something is a much more mechanical process and delivering information verbally can be much more fluid,” Kirk Warwick, Senior Associate, Norton Rose Fulbright said.

“There is a huge amount of blue sky for digital transcription technology to fill. I think that this technology will really drive efficiency, and really make the way that we operate much more fluid and really save some time.”

Source: Financial Post