Since you speak 125 to 150 words per minute, as a lawyer, you can get more done speaking than typeing or handwriting. Sure, some people can type 125 words per minute, but not many.
Technology is slowly transforming the way we work. In many ways, it may be the best thing to happen in the past decade. For professions across the spectrum, tasks that once took tedious hours of manual work have been simplified and sped up thanks to the ease of apps, websites and artificial intelligence.
When it comes to lawyers who already seem to be perpetually short on time, using technology to help speed things up is a blessing. When it comes to things like taking notes or dictation; not only will using modern technology help you get done with your work faster, it will also help you move towards becoming a more eco-friendly and paperless office.
We’ve compiled a list of ten of the best dictation tools for you across different platforms. From free software, to profession-specific tools for lawyers, you can bet there is something here for you!
Compatibility: Windows, iOs, Android
This built-in feature is a part of Google’s web-based application Google Docs. You can enable voice typing by turning on your microphone and choosing the voice typing option. It will begin to type as you dictate. When you’re finished, you can click on the microphone icon again, and it will stop typing.
This is a great option for all because it is free, fairly accurate and also lets you share your work with multiple people. However, it requires web connectivity to work which may be an issue in some cases.
Compatibility: iOS 9.3 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
Dictate+Connect is an app that offers excellent sound quality, exact voice activation, secure encryption, and many ways to transfer your dictations. You can use it to record your dictations through your phone and save them in a number of formats. It also offers direct sharing options or uploads to the cloud. However, safety and encryption isn’t the most reliable which can be troubling.
Compatibility: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
MacSpeech Scribe claims to be the world’s most advanced personal transcription solution for Mac users. Though the fact that it isn’t compatible with other devices or OS makes it a little restricting. That should not be an issue if you work on Mac’s, which makes this a great software to invest in because it is specifically targeted to fit iOS, reducing the chances of bugs or incompatibility.
Compatibility: Mac OS X 10.6 or later, ioS
Speech-to-text is a feature that is present across the majority of Apple devices. You can use Apple’s assistant Siri to enable voice typing or use the microphone icon near the keyboard to activate it from the Notes app. It is quick, fairly accurate, and can save you a lot of time. Plus, it’s free and doesn’t require any additional software downloads!
Compatibility: Mac OS, Android, iOS, Windows
Diction.io is a web-based dictation software compatible across different platforms. It has a number of different language settings and is simple and quick to use. You can dictate, create documents, save and send them with ease.
However, as with Google Docs, this also requires an internet connection while it’s being used. And that may be a hindrance for some. There is also the question of protecting sensitive data – we’re not sure how good it would be for high profile, confidential information.
Compatibility: Android and iOS
ListNote makes it easy to keep your ideas organized. Along with standard options such as saving word files and the option to share them as plain text, ListNote also offers a number of other features. Such as the ability to color code your notes to keep them easily identifiable, encryption, the option to organize by category, password protection, and the option to search.
Though this is not compatible with desktops, if you’re on the go or don’t mind using your phone for the task, it is a great option!
Compatibility: Android phones and tablets with 1.6 (Donut) onwards
With a thumb friendly, intuitive and clutter-free design, this app gets straight to the point. It supports more than 60 languages and helps you share your documents across a number of platforms. A bonus is that it claims that it was designed with the legal profession in mind along with others, making it more likely to cater to your needs than any other generic software out there.
It also offers some really cool features such as different themes, automatic voice detection to pause/resume when the speaker stops/starts speaking which helps minimize the awkward gaps that are present in large audio files. It is also possible to record or playback your files with the screen turned off, so you don’t have to worry about wasting battery.
Compatibility: Android and iOS
This is more of a basic software, not as fine-tuned as some of the other options. However, it allows you to perform basic dictation tasks without much fuss. It also supports 32 foreign languages and fully supports American and British English.
It works for phones and tablets; however compatibility on desktops and laptops is not as optimal.
Price: $500 +
Compatibility: Windows 7, 8.1, 10 (32- and 64-bit); iOs ; Android
Dragon Legal Individual v5 is a market leader when it comes to dictation software. This version is specifically targeted towards lawyers and has specific features that are intended to help them with their work.
For example, in addition to offering limitless dictation, syncing of documents, and quick template creation – this particular version is also well versed with legal jargon, making it quick to recognize and respond to your commands. The fact that it is not platform specific also makes it a great option because your usage will not be limited to a specific kind of device!
Compatibility: Not applicable
This is another tool that was built with the legal profession in mind. With three different device options, Philips makes sure you have a variety of options to choose from. All of three of the following are meant to be used by lawyers;
- SpeechAir Smart Voice Recorder
- PocketMemo Voice Recorder
- SpeechMike Premium Touch Dictation Microphone
It has excellent 3D mic technology and claims to make the work you would have otherwise done by typing 7 times faster. The SpeechAir feature also offers real-time file encryption and a PIN lock to protect the device against any unauthorized use or file playback. A state of the art integrated barcode scanner makes it easier to link client data and a slide switch enables working over a longer period of time much easier.
If we had to choose our favorite, we’d say the variety of profession-specific options these devices offer make it absolutely worth the investment.
As we’ve seen, there are a number of different technologies that you can use as a lawyer to make dictation simpler. No longer will you need to worry about the fuss of a transcriber fumbling over papers or losing an important document among a mess of papers.
Whether you choose specialized software, or a free web based option – you will still notice that using voice recognition dictation software speeds up the way you work and help you take on more cases with ease while staying just as organized and hassle free!