Legal transcription services are now a staple in the legal process. Law firms often elect to outsource their transcription needs instead of hiring in-house, and for good reason. Outsourcing transcription is an excellent way to save time and money and ensure the accuracy and security of your transcription processes. However, law firms need to choose reliable providers to enjoy these benefits.
In this article, you’ll learn how:
- Legal transcription can cover a variety of instances connected to legal procedures, like client interactions, court proceedings, and more.
- Outsourcing legal transcription offers many benefits, including cost savings, operational efficiency, and improved organization.
- U.S.-based, human-powered transcription services are the most preferred legal transcription method. Ditto offers both, along with 99% accurate transcription on all projects.
What Is Legal Transcription?
Legal transcription is the process of typing a legal proceeding (audio or video file) from the spoken word into a written text document, carefully formatted so you can easily find the information you need. The typical steps of outsourced legal transcription are as follows:
- The legal professional records the event or proceeding and then sends the file to a professional transcription company.
- The company assigns the audio file to a transcriptionist. They can assign a single audio file to many transcriptionists. However, I’ve found that the latter produces transcripts of varying quality, so with my company, Ditto Transcripts, we prefer to assign single audio file workloads to one person to transcribe. The transcriptionist converts the audio file into text.
- Once the transcript is complete, it goes through several rounds of editing and proofreading to ensure accuracy and adhere to client specifications.
- The polished transcript is submitted to the client for legal use. In some cases, the transcript requires certification for court use. Unfortunately, not all legal transcription outsourcing companies can certify legal transcripts—more on that later.
When Can You Use Transcription Services?
There are a variety of circumstances where legal transcription shines. Here are some of them:
|Minutes Of Meetings
|Examinations under oath
|Federal agency investigations
|Indexing Of Records
|Interviews, Speeches, Lectures
The Importance And Benefits of Outsourcing Legal Transcription
There are several legal transcription benefits that professionals and institutions gain when they choose the right provider.
One of the biggest advantages of outsourcing legal transcription is cost savings. Transcription companies offer several ways for legal professionals to save money.
Transcription services minimize employee hours spent by manually transcribing audio. Furthermore, outsourcing eliminates hiring in-house transcribers who require training, equipment, office space, salaries, and benefits, potentially saving the law firm upwards of $100,000 annually.
Additionally, outsourcing legal transcription allows law firms to scale transcription services based on their current volumes of transcription work. There’s no need to offer your in-house transcription team volunteered time off (VTO) when volumes are low or hire temporary staff to stem the flow of audio files that need transcribing.
The legal profession relies heavily on documentation. Digital, searchable transcripts allow legal professionals to quickly and efficiently identify key points, arguments, and pieces of evidence presented during legal proceedings.
With the fast turnaround times we offer here at Ditto Transcripts, your law firm can receive transcripts as fast as you need them in a way that benefits your workflow—and your budget.
Get your transcripts within 24 hours, or review our different turnaround time options for different budgets.
In addition, the accessibility of digital transcripts enhances collaboration among legal professionals. It makes it easier for any legal team to handle any case through seamless sharing and review of case-related information, enhancing overall efficiency in the legal workflow.
Transcription services make storing and organizing legal records easy. Outsourcing transcriptions also frees up employee bandwidth for operations. This way, professionals can work on what they must focus on instead of dividing their time and effort between core business functions and transcription work. Transcription makes document management easier, helping lawyers with building a case.
Accessibility and Portability
Unlike playing recordings, lawyers can pinpoint needed transcript sections thanks to speaker timestamps and note-taking abilities. You can store transcriptions and access them easily from any device. Transcripts also move between physical filing cabinets (for printed transcripts) and digital databases (i.e., PDFs) with ease.
Effective Communication And Information Dissemination
In courtrooms, where friends and family members may be excluded, the experience can be particularly grueling and stressful. Accurate and professional transcriptions are crucial to bridging this gap, providing a detailed account of trial events and dialogues. It ensures interested parties who cannot attend due to legal constraints can get the information they need.
Furthermore, transcription makes legal proceedings more accessible for people with hearing disabilities or those struggling with language barriers.
The industry is notorious for complex legal terminology, so you need experienced legal transcriptionists to work on your audio files to ensure accuracy.
Legal services greatly benefit from the accuracy of a reliable transcription service. With the right transcription provider delivering quality work, legal practitioners can be sure that the integrity of their legal records is intact, making it easier to do research, prepare for cases, identify key information, collaborate with their teams and other legal professionals, foster trust with clients, and comply with ethical and professional legal standards.
Accurate outsourced transcription services allow legal practices to avoid these potentially costly consequences:
|Compromised Legal Record Integrity
|Undermined accuracy and reliability of the legal record.
|Potential Misinterpretation of Events
|Increased risk of misunderstanding and misinterpretation of trial events.
|Hindrance in Effective Legal Research
|Impaired ability to conduct accurate and efficient legal research.
|Increased Likelihood of Legal Disputes
|Greater potential for disputes and disagreements due to inaccuracies.
|Confusion in Court Proceedings
|Risk of confusion and disruptions during court proceedings.
|Undermined Trust in Legal Documentation
|Erosion of trust in the accuracy and reliability of legal documents.
|Impaired Communication with Clients
|Difficulty in effectively communicating legal information to clients.
|Risk of Inaccurate Case Preparation
|Compromised quality of case preparation and legal strategies.
|Potential Delays and Postponements in Legal Processes
|Increased likelihood of delays and disruptions in legal timelines.
|Jeopardized Professional Reputations
|Negative impact on the reputation and credibility of legal professionals.
The importance of client confidentiality cannot be overstated, and concepts like attorney-client privilege only emphasize that importance. Lawyers and law firms have a legal and ethical obligation to keep their clients’ information as secure as possible. Who would want to work with someone with a reputation for leaking case defense strategies or privileged information?
Furthermore, the U.S. Government has enacted several laws and regulations to protect criminal justice information from breaches and misuse through various regulatory programs, all of which fall under the oversight of the branch of the FBI: the Criminal Justice Information Services, or CJIS. The CJIS protects all information involving criminal investigations and national security.
Any third-party provider handling legal files that contain criminal justice information should comply with CJIS guidelines. With Ditto, you get all the benefits of an accurate, reliable transcription provider and CJIS certification, which not all legal transcription companies can offer. And in case you’re wondering, we’re also HIPAA and FINRA-compliant.
Ability To Certify Transcripts
Legal transcriptions from depositions, custody hearings, conference calls, client meetings, witness statements, even interrogations, and other law enforcement transcription documents are popular in legal proceedings. These transcripts are admissible in court and are often submitted as evidence.
However, transcriptions submitted to the court require proper certification—meaning your transcriptionist must be able to certify their transcripts.
Transcript certification has strict requirements, including the transcriber’s capacity to appear in open court and testify under oath. For one excuse or another, many transcription companies cannot meet these requirements.
We’ll discuss them next.
Why You Shouldn’t Outsource Your Legal Transcription To Offshore Or Automated Services
So, you’re shopping around, looking for transcription services to meet your firm’s needs. You go through the checklist of things you must look for, like affordability, accurate and timely transcription, etc., only to find that many search results are either offshore or offer automated transcription services through speech recognition and AI technology.
Despite looking like a great value proposition, these transcription services have pitfalls that could potentially negate all the benefits of outsourcing your legal transcription needs.
Why Not Choose Offshore For Legal Transcription Outsourcing?
As indicated in the name, offshore transcription providers are foreign companies offering services to different countries worldwide. Depending on the specialization, they cater to different industries and may comprise full-time transcriptionists or freelancers.
Outsourcing to foreign countries might sound like a good idea because they are cheaper than hiring here in the U.S. The primary reason behind this is the countries where they’re located may have lower salaries or overall labor costs. Unfortunately, cheap doesn’t quite cut it in the legal transcription industry, and these offshore companies have significant risks, such as:
|Potential for lower quality due to language and cultural differences.
|Increased exposure to data security and confidentiality breaches.
|Time zone differences may result in communication delays and issues.
|Legal System Understanding
|Limited understanding of local legal nuances and terminology.
|Challenges in holding offshore providers accountable for errors or breaches.
|Longer turnaround times due to time zone disparities.
|Loss of Control
|Reduced control over the transcription process and quality assurance.
|Unforeseen costs related to revisions, corrections, or rework.
|Potential Legal Compliance Issues
|Difficulty in ensuring compliance with local and international legal standards.
|Risk of cultural insensitivity in transcribing sensitive legal content.
Most importantly, offshore companies cannot certify legal transcripts, as the transcriptionist must be—among other things—a citizen currently residing in the U.S.
Okay, What About AI Transcription, Then?
Why use automated transcription services if in-house transcriptionists cost too much, you ask? Surely, speech-to-text technology and dictation apps can help save time, and assistants and paralegals can tune the transcripts to fit the firm’s specific needs, right?
Not exactly. You see, most of the benefits of legal transcription hinges on how accurate the transcripts are. Unfortunately, automated transcription has been found to reach only up to 86% accuracy. Imagine legal professionals sitting there fixing incorrect transcripts instead of using this time to focus on their core competencies and responsibilities.
Humans Understand Humans Better
Ditto offers safe, secure, & reliable U.S.-based, human-powered transcription. And that’s how we ensure 99% accuracy on all legal projects.
Let Ditto Take Care of Your Legal Transcription Needs
Get all the advantages of outsourcing legal transcription services without drawbacks. Ditto offers fast turnaround times, affordable rates, unparalleled CJIS-compliant security features, top-shelf customer service, and more.
Ditto Transcripts is a CJIS-compliant, Denver, Colorado-based legal transcription company that provides fast, accurate, and affordable transcription services to companies and agencies of all sizes. Call (720) 287-3710 today for a free quote, and ask about our free five-day trial. Visit our website for more information about our transcription services.