The November digital edition of the Legal Technology Insider newsletter (UK & EMEA edition) is hitting desktops just about now.

One story causing a lot of interest is the report on the Law Society of Scotland's recent 12 -week trial of speech recognition software using Dragon Naturally Speaking. The Society had previously rejected this technology but following the launch of the latest version of Dragon (v10), believed it was sufficiently advanced, along with required PC processing horse power, to revisit it and explore the potential applications.
 
Gordon Brewster, director of central services at the Society, said “We identified five members of staff to participate following a successful live demo at the Society’s offices. The software and set up was installed by Paul Amery, of Database Design & Development. Amery highlighted the techniques and approaches to successful voice recognition noting only those key tools needed at the start as part of the one hour training session to ensure a sound start for those taking part.”

The initial trial period has since led to a full pilot involving a further five staff who have all reported it as transforming their document production processes, with one commenting that the costs for her would be recovered in a month. All staff report that accuracy is excellent, with a key feature being the ability to review immediately what has been produced, offering users a streamlined approach that results in significantly shortened document turnaround times.

The new system has been thoroughly tested in a range of situations, including using a portable Olympus digital device remotely to record dictation and then push that dictation through Dragon. This had excellent results at around 10 words per second. The system was also tested in various offices located around the Society in central Edinburgh, from shared offices – where the results were not so good – to those exposed to a lot of external traffic noise, while others are much quieter. Both worked very well.
 
Brewster said “We have not used Dragon to replace our nFlow digital dictation solution. It is seen as complementary with staff using direct typing, digital dictation or voice recognition depending on the material to be produced, the timescale, and complexity. I am now persuaded this technology does have an application in a legal environment and a business case can be made for it.” Paul Amery can be contacted at paul.amery@ddd-3.co.uk