How One ‘Best Lawyer in America’ Uses Speech Technology To Power His Practice

How One 'Best Lawyer in America' Uses Speech Technology To Power His Practice 2

The advances in speech technology provides lawyers with the ability to provide faster and better service to clients, as well as enhancing efficiencies and profitability. One US law firm had a ‘gadget guy’ partner who explains how ‘voice solutions’ have helped power the firm’s growth

With more than 145 years of experience, Eastburn and Gray, PC is a law firm operating in Pennsylvania since 1877. However the law firm’s lengthy history has not meant that it has shunned the latest technology to continue its growth across its three offices and develop the firm’s ability to serve local and national clients more efficiently.

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Marc Jonas is a shareholder in the firm, a recognized legal expert with a ‘Best Lawyers in America” 2023 naming and a self-proclaimed  tech enthusiast and “gadget guy,”  he’d already been utilizing various  innovations at a previous firm to make  the workday smoother and to get  more done.

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Upon arriving at Eastburn  and Gray, he immediately noticed  opportunities to streamline processes  and workflows by harnessing the  power of advanced voice solutions.  Keeping up with growing volumes of  client projects, as well as quickly and  accurately recording billable hours  (the most critical part of tracking and  enhancing an attorney’s productivity),  were difficult to achieve with the  outdated technologies the firm’s teams  had been using.

Mini cassettes and  similar recording options are dependent  on having a specific physical device on hand and come with additional issues such as  unreliable audio quality, the scramble  for clean tapes, hardware maintenance  and replacement, and maintaining  organized files among them.

Jonas knew that there was an easy  and very feasible way to get past the  challenges associated with outdated  technology. He lobbied for the firm to  adopt steps toward modernization.  Just as the most gifted athletes need  the right shoes to win races and the  greatest chefs need quality ingredients  to cook delicious meals, the lawyers at Eastburn  and Gray needed the right tools to  help them optimize their workday in an  increasingly digitally driven world.

Search + serendipity = solution

In an effort to lead by example, Jonas  began exploring new voice solutions on  his own. He knew of the reputation of Philips as a provider  of high-quality technologies. Then, at a local American Bar Association (ABA)  event, serendipitously he met a Philips solution provider who demonstrated the use of the cloud-based Philips SpeechLive (which also works in  combination with Philips SpeechExec  Pro dictation and transcription  software).

Jonas began the process of implementing the system into his firm.

Linking authors and legal assistants,  SpeechExec Pro is an enterprise grade digital application that  

facilitates communication, the setup  of individual workflow settings, and  organizational flexibility to help save time and resources. Offering workflow management and automation in every one’s [the attorney, the firm,  and the client] best interest to harness  the capabilities of advanced voice  technology.” 

Efficiency and flexibility that “speak”  for themselves 

The attorneys, legal assistants, and  administrative staff at the firm saw irrefutable positive impacts  in their workflow, led by Jonas, who  maximizes every aspect of the Philips  solutions implemented at the firm. 

The resulting efficacy and increased  work output did not go unnoticed by  Eastburn and Gray’s Doylestown office,  which had continued experiencing  the issues posed by legacy dictation  tools. Soon, they too implemented  SpeechExec Pro and SpeechLive, and  now about half the attorneys and legal  assistants across the firm use some combination of the two solutions.  

Some of the key benefits the firm has  realized include: 

Flexibility and mobility:

Jonas is diligent about optimizing time  and keeping track of billable hours.  SpeechLive allows him to do so easily  and seamlessly throughout his workday. 

Drafting memos as he’s leaving a client  appointment, recording notes from his  car after a municipal meeting (which  may be late at night), referencing  action items from cross-examination  of a witness at a public hearing – these  are all examples of how he’s removed  the boundaries of the traditional  office and traditional office hours and  can send work to transcription or his assistant anytime, from anywhere. 

As the legal world evolves, like most  business sectors, to include more  remote and hybrid work arrangements,  it’s important to have tools with all  the feature functionality available at a  desk…ready to go from any device or  platform. 

Resource optimization:  

Being able to do more with less staff is  a challenge faced by many firms today.  Philips intuitive applications allow  attorneys to be more self-sufficient and  allow support teams to do more in less  time.

At Eastburn and Gray, “floaters”  (legal assistants not assigned to specific attorneys) can help when and where  needed, so the firm can accommodate  for fluctuations in work volume.  Because files can be accessed 24/7 from  any device, the ebbs and flows of work  are absorbed by whichever assistant  has the bandwidth and are no cause for  panic or confusion. 

 

Scalability:

Burnout is common in a high-pressure,  high-stakes field such as law, and it’s  an industry that has typically been  marked by long hours that encroach  upon evenings and weekends.

Although  the billable hour can be described  as the bane of a lawyer’s existence,   Jonas emphasizes that speech-to text technology is of significant help  in reducing stress while increasing  results. Especially for emerging  talent, it’s important to learn how to  manage time, use automation where  appropriate, and delegate effectively to  mitigate the amount of time spent on  unnecessary tasks.

“As you progress in  your legal career, you will take on more  clients, have an increasing number of  commitments, and so forth,” he says “and mastering the art of assigning  work to the right support people and  using technology to make the most  out of every pocket of time is how you  can do that – while still protecting your  personal time.”  

Recognized by the Best Lawyers in  America four times in his practice area, and recently for 2023, Jonas speaks  from experience, advising future  generations of legal professionals to  learn early on how to give themselves  an edge.

“Being a lawyer is a hard job,  and I owe much of my success to how  I’ve been able to use technology to my  advantage,” he says, adding, “What I  hope I’ve illustrated to younger as well  as more seasoned (and entrenched)  colleagues is that understanding,  appreciating, and integrating the right  technologies into your professional   practice establishes work habits that  enable you to grow your career.”

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