Understanding AI’s role in legal transcription

By: Sarah Roberts

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It’s no secret that artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the legal industry. With so many opportunities for creating more efficient work processes, professionals ignore AI at their peril. It’s becoming clear that those who don’t learn to take advantage of these new tools will limit their competitiveness in today’s market. Legal transcription is no exception as automatic speech recognition (ASR) is changing the way that courts, attorneys and court reporters preserve records.

Even with these tools, it’s important to remember that human professionals remain integral when it comes to producing court-ready transcripts. Here are some of the ways that legal transcription is changing and the reasons that adopting AI in this field offers a significant advantage.

AI is Fast, and Easy to Work With

Gone are the days when AI seemed unapproachable and only for the most tech-savvy individuals. Now, AI is more user-friendly making it easier to learn how to apply it to various tasks. Also, people are more accustomed to using AI and other technology in their everyday lives, both at home and at work. From Siri to Alexa, most people are interacting with AI-powered technology without even thinking about it.

Likewise, AI-powered transcription solutions are impressive not only for their improving accuracy but also because of their ease of use. When applied to legal transcription, ASR and AI can fill a much-needed role. The low number of stenographers graduating from highly demanding programs and the existing shortage of professionals in the field means that the legal world needs a modern solution. Learning to work with AI is much easier, and many court reporters are embracing these tools to produce quality records.

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Integration Opportunities Save Time

The legal profession involves a lot of documents. Attorneys need to review and analyze transcripts from depositions and digital evidence as a part of building their cases. Those documents can be hundreds or even thousands of pages. When transcription tools integrate with case management software and allow for easy searches, attorneys can save valuable time. For busy professionals, those minutes add up fast, meaning that the people streamlining their processes through strategic use of technology will have a competitive edge over those who don’t.

Alternative Input Methods Improve Accessibility

Not everyone works the same way, and in some cases, people aren’t able to use the same tools to perform their work. For instance, using a keyboard and mouse isn’t an option for some individuals with disabilities, and other professionals prefer using methods like dictation over typing. ASR allows people to access and edit legal documents through voice commands, opening opportunities for many in the field and removing barriers for others who may want to enter the profession.

Cost-Effective Solutions Improve Access to Courts

Traditional transcription methods require a lot of time and skill. As a result, it can be extremely costly. In some cases, such as important depositions, hearings or trials, the cost is well worth it to have an expert with years of experience handle the record. However, there are plenty of other situations where the costs aren’t as justifiable. For instance, lawyers may have hours and hours of digital evidence that they need to transcribe. Alternative methods for transcribing these recordings are a welcome addition because they can save costs while offering greater speed and efficiency.

Additionally, while some legal matters warrant high costs for transcription, others involve parties that have limited resources. In those cases, saving on the expenses can mean the difference between having access to the justice system and not. Legal aid lawyers are some of the most likely to benefit from the increased capacity to tackle administrative tasks and afford more services because of AI-powered tools. Although attorneys and their staff will still need to provide careful oversight, innovations like ASR could help offer more and better access to justice for some of the most vulnerable members of society.

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Ethical Considerations and the Human Touch

Misuse of AI in the legal profession has already led to some extremely damaging, not to mention embarrassing, situations. For example, lawyers using generative AI to draft documents has led to them citing fake cases in court. Improperly using AI creates a serious risk for the legal profession. When it comes to legal transcription, mishaps related to AI could compromise vital records.

The role of the court reporter remains critical for oversight, context and quality control. Without a human present to serve in the official court reporting role, work with the technology, ensure accuracy and certify the results, the records wouldn’t be useful or serve their purpose in court. In court reporting and the overall legal industry, AI is a tool, not a replacement, for human experts.

Partnering with Verbit for the Best of Both Worlds

As AI continues to reshape the legal landscape, embracing these advancements will be essential for staying competitive in today’s marketplace. However, despite AI’s remarkable speed and accessibility, human professionals will remain vital for ensuring accuracy, context and oversight.

Navigating these changes in the legal industry is easier with the help and support of expert partners, like Verbit. Reach out for more information about how Verbit combines AI-powered legal transcription solutions with professional transcribers for efficient, accurate results.