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Legal Transcription 2030: What You Should Know


If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed by the changes going on in the transcription industry, you’re not alone. The stenographic shortage has been challenging, and there’s a natural hesitance that comes with embracing new technologies.

However, industry professionals who want to be relevant in 2030 can no longer ignore the digital transformation that is occurring in the market. 

The Need for Legal Transcription Will Continue Increasing

As indicated by a new intelligence report by Future Market Insights (FMI), legal transcription is already a significant market, accounting for $3B USD in 2018. “The market value is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of ~6%” and “the demand for legal transcription services from legal attorneys is likely to increase at the CAGR of ~8%” during the next decade.

As technology expands, we have more media and forms of communication, meaning there is much more content to transcribe: phone calls, personal videos, social media videos, surveillance camera footage, investigation recordings and
voice-activated virtual assistant recordings, to name a few.

Technology also makes it easier to get a higher quantity of content transcribed at a faster pace, and often at a better price, without compromising quality or security.

Turning to Digital Legal Transcription

As the report points out, “the deployment of legal transcription over the cloud is a significant trend,” which “is expected to contribute to significant growth” over the next 10 years. The industry is projected to increasingly turn to digital solutions.

Disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics are gradually entering into legal tech platforms, and legal transcription is no exception… Automated speech recognition (ASR) has held a grip of law firms to transcribe speech and other information in real-time. Use of AI-driven, digital voice, and video capture technology and services for legal transcription helps streamline documentation processing and boost efficiency,” stated FMI.

Tech also boosts accuracy and provides faster turnaround times. In an industry where a mistake in one sentence can change somebody’s entire life, the ability to transcribe audio quickly, accurately, differentiate between voices with ease (thanks to ASR) and understand technical legal terms (thanks to machine learning), is key.

Due to AI, turnaround times will continue to be faster than traditional methods, helping agencies serve more clients, prepare more cases, provide clients with justice faster, and save taxpayer money. It comes as little surprise that all 50 states have already approved digital court reporting.

In making the switch to digital transcription, security tends to also be a common concern. Yet with the right technology and cybersecurity, professionals shouldn’t fear. “Keeping a track of conversation to legally document the progress of cases becomes difficult with conventional methods, the transition to e-documentation is considered a real option,” explained FMI. Today’s cybersecurity solutions are clearly more powerful than putting a lock on a drawer filled with important paper materials.


Understand Your Clients: The Real Reasons Behind the Transition to Digital Legal Transcription

The market is changing as a response to the needs and expectations of clients. While accuracy, efficiency and security are the most obvious reasons to transition into digital, the report revealed additional items to consider.

The Demand for Legal Automation, Personalization and Lower Costs

As all industries evolve with technology to provide more efficient, yet personalized experiences, customers “continue to demand personalized legal advice at reasonable prices. Legal transcription market players are thus hard-pressed to automate their process and offer cost-effective services,” reported FMI. Law firms that serve businesses are often required to review larger amounts of content than consumer-facing law firms, and are expected to understand data across jurisdictions, which makes the need to transition into digital even more significant.

Law Firms Want More Time With Clients & Less Paperwork

Law firms want to increase their available time for clients and provide more human-to-human interaction. Reducing time spent on bureaucracy involving transcription, or reducing wait time for transcriptions, with key tech will leave them with more time for strategic client casework.

Law Firms Want More Budget Predictability and Transparency

Legal “customers are demanding more predictability and pricing transparency when it comes to legal transcription services spending,” FMI reported.

There’s a limited availability of stenographers and human challenges, such as unavailability due to sickness or the need to listen to a recording over and over again to understand an unclear word or differentiate between voices. Digital tools make it much easier to provide budget predictability and transparency.

Transitioning into Digital & Hiring Based on Social Responsibility

While the FMI report did not tap into this issue, transitioning into digital legal transcription is another step toward going paperless in an industry that relies heavily on documents. In 2015, 90% of US consumers surveyed said they were willing to switch providers to a company that advocates for a cause.

With a growing awareness of climate change, being proactive about going paperless is one of the easiest ways law firms can differentiate themselves. Agencies that transition into digital and provide paperless legal transcription can help them do that.


How To Effectively Transition to Digital Legal Transcription

Transitioning into digital shouldn’t be overwhelming. Check out our resources for how-to guides, ways to overcome common concerns that might come up, and advice on how much budget to set aside.

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Creating a More Inclusive Workplace: A Practical Guide

1 in 4 US adults, or 61MM Americans, have a disability that impacts major life activities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet only 4% of employees, identify “as having a disability” in the workplace, reported the National Organization on Disability.

More individuals with disabilities are finding employment opportunities, but “only 1 in 20 young adults with learning disabilities receive accommodations in the workplace,” according to The National Center for Learning Disabilities.

The employment-population ratio for persons with a disability increased from 18.7% in 2017 to 19.1% in 2018, according to a 2018 US Department of Labor report.

Companies use a variety of resources to recruit talent with disabilities, including community partners and disability job boards. However, the National Organization on Disability’s 2019 Disability Employment Tracker revealed that only 13% of companies “have reached the Department of Labor target of 7% disability representation.”

There is still a long way to go then for true corporate inclusivity.


Hiring People with Disabilities Isn’t Just Right, It’s Proving Profitable

Disability champions, or companies “that stood out for leadership in areas specific to disability employment and inclusion” over the previous four years, proved to perform “above-average financially” in the 2018 report by Accenture.

“Champions achieved – on average – 28 percent higher revenue, double the net income and 30 percent higher economic profit margins over the four-year period we analyzed,” shared the report.

Not only do champions get access to a larger talent pool, but to a talent pool that increases their competitive advantage. “People [with disabilities], who have spent their lives adapting to challenges in their environment, can bring productivity, ingenuity and problem-solving skills to the workplace,” explained Training Industry.

Moreover, according to Harvard Business Review, “research shows that some conditions, including autism and dyslexia, can bestow special skills in pattern recognition, memory, or mathematics.

In fact, SAP’s “managers say that [the company’s four-year inclusivity efforts] are already paying off beyond reputational enhancement. These ways include productivity gains, quality improvement, boosts in innovative capabilities, and broad increases in employee engagement.

Nick Wilson, the managing director of HPE South Pacific – an organization with one of the largest inclusivity programs – says that no other initiative in his company delivers benefits at so many levels, reported Harvard Business Review.

Companies that want similar results can leverage employee training to drive inclusivity and growth.


Implementing Universal Design for Learning in The Workplace

Employee training programs can be designed with universal design for learning (UDL) techniques in mind. Instead of planning programs without considering employees’ diverse needs, and then making adjustments when needed, corporations can plan ahead intentionally.

For example, instead of waiting to discover you have an employee who is hard of hearing, deaf or has a learning disability, add real time captions to all virtual meetings with remote workers and embed captions in pre-recorded training courses. Corporations can offer transcriptions for these courses and meetings as well.

Instead of waiting to discover you have an employee with neurodiverse needs, such as people with autism or ADHD, or sensory issues, business leaders can make headphones available for employees to use as they work on their daily tasks.


Proven Benefits For All Employees

Inclusive approaches won’t only benefit specific team members, who will feel equally cared for and committed to the success of their work. This approach will benefit all employees.

Many employees do not disclose their disabilities, and some professionals just retain information better when they see it instead of hear it. Others may need extra support when the main spoken language in the company is their second or third language.

Designing corporate training for people with disabilities supports a wide variety of abilities and preferences, but also helps all team members personalize their learning paths and optimize their performance at your company.

Train Your Team About Inclusivity to Raise Awareness

Corporate culture is at the heart of thriving as an inclusive organization. Employee training programs are simply incomplete without a proactive effort to reduce stigma and raise awareness. To succeed, training programs must focus on both the challenges and rewards of inclusivity.

Focusing on the challenges that people with different disabilities face helps their coworkers support them more. Training could also help reshape organizational processes. Corporate learning leaders can gain valuable information about work processes that disempower and empower those with varying abilities, and use findings to set managers up for success when leading diverse teams.

Create Knowledge Sharing Programs

Give team members the opportunity to train each other. According to the Association for Talent Development, a 2016 study found that “in high-performance organizations, employees share knowledge with their colleagues at a rate four times greater than that of workers in lower-performing firms.”

Create forums for managers to share learned knowledge with each other. Sharing solutions can help provide employees with creative ideas on how to help employees with disabilities thrive. This knowledge sharing also helps keep professionals accountable for increasing inclusivity each year.

While some employees might be more sensitive, if those with disabilities feel comfortable sharing, companies could also organize sessions or groups where employees with disabilities directly share their challenges with company stakeholders and counterparts. Team members can benefit from gained perspectives of people with different viewpoints and, simultaneously, create opportunities for bonding.

Give Team Members with Disabilities the Tools They Need to Succeed

Another important step toward inclusivity is actively letting team members with disabilities know that the company is open to giving them more resources. Assign employees a go-to person to approach when encountering challenges to create a process and further transparency without fear of judgement.

It’s also crucial to make all employees aware of all available resources live and online to ensure even those who aren’t disclosing their disability publically are aware of them.


How to Serve Team Members Who Don’t Disclose

To help their non-disclosing employees succeed, companies should implement the UDL approach that many universities are now implementing. Offering captions and transcriptions for all virtual meetings and courses, supports all employees not just those who are hard of hearing for example.

Companies should also provide more forums for anonymous feedback. Managers could then be told that someone on their team has a certain disability, without revealing her or his own name. Anonymous feedback could include suggestions for changes in work processes or company culture that could better support all employees.

Companies who commit to diversity are doing well in the long run – both culturally and financially. They’re retaining employees, garnering the interest of potential employees who are intrigued by their goals, gaining employees’ trust, and increasing their bottom line.

When employees believe in a company’s corporate and cultural missions, they are more committed to its success and produce strong work as a result.

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