Articles filed under Document automation

Voice recognition by Dion Gillard

With contributions from Gordon Healiss, Norma Laming and Greig Duncan

When I set up my web page on Transcription www.venables.co.uk/transcription.htm several years ago, it all seemed rather straightforward. I described the methods of input and output, the speed of the transcription, the security of the process and the cost.

Now, the concept of transcription has developed many new strands, in which the original concept of a transcription service from an external company is still present, albeit with great improvements in the input and output process, but with alternative options now also available, including voice recognition as the method of input and a process of automatic document generation, now merging with concepts of artificial intelligence.

In this article, I present three key strands of this topic.

I have been working with law firms for a long time now – around 30 years. Over that period, technology has changed how we work a great deal but the way documents are produced and shared has remained pretty much the same. In particular, documents may be drafted from precedents, proofed and shared with other lawyers and clients with greater speed, but the mechanics of production have remained fairly static to date. However, as working in the cloud becomes accepted, alongside live collaboration on documents, there are some big changes on the way.

In this article I look at what is evolving in the world of document drafting, what steps need to be taken to prepare for this, and how web technologies can offer new opportunities to improve production processes and offer new services for clients, particularly with the growing impetus to share and collaborate on documents online in real-time, on both websites and on mobile devices.

The biggest successes in law office automation have always been the no-brainers. Projects where the benefits of the new technologies (such as wordprocessing and digital dictation) are so obvious they outweigh any reservations and are embraced by users without a fight – not least because they don’t seek to supplant the end-user but merely bring efficiencies to tasks they’ve always done. So, typists keep on typing but without having to retype entire documents every single time they are amended – and lawyers keep on dictating, without having to fret where the tape is in the transcription queue.

All of which prompts the question: why has there been no similar success in the fields of document drafting and knowledge management?

Directlaw is an online document drafting system which can be set up by firms of solicitors to sell their documents online.

Now, returning to the market for individuals requiring reasonably priced online documents, Epoq is working with a number of major firms, including Nelsons, Pannone, Hugh James, Minster Law, Brethertons and Last Cawthra Feather, to provide the technology to their clients on the firms’ own web sites.

Our first plan was to meet this by offering online information and versions of our own documents, essentially promoting our existing written products into the DIY legal services market. We began to realise that we could collaborate with others to provide a service with national reach which could offer more than any competitor. We could combine the best technology with “lawyer review” and move the project from an online document library to the “virtual” law firm.