Producing Documents Fast With Bighand Digital Dictation

By: lazyurl

Today, our firm, Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin can report a 300% improvement in document turnaround times and a forecasted saving in administrative expenses of $1500 per attorney per year, through use of BigHand Digital Dictation software.

Like many law firms across the United States, our firm still had many employees relying on old analog tape dictation machines. This was a concern because most tape manufacturers have already discontinued the production of tape equipment and those who have not, soon will.

We were also having increasing difficulty in recruiting quality support staff, especially at some of the smaller regional offices in our 17 office network. This led to occasional document turnaround times averaging 7 to 10 days. We knew we needed to take action to not only increase efficiency in this area, but to provide a workflow that would simplify our employees' ability to proactively and efficiently dictate and transcribe.

Increased mobility for attorneys is also an area we knew we had to address in order to remain competitive and offer top notch legal services. Clients now expect law firms to be mobile and productive 24/7.

When we began looking for a digital dictation workflow solution, we discovered most products seemed to be designed for the medical industry. BigHand stood out as being the only global vendor whose product was designed specifically for attorneys.

Technically, the back-end of BigHand3 was also very important. It allows us to manage all our employees across all 17 offices and also has proven multi-site redundancy (they have over 500 law firms using the system worldwide). This is important as for many attorneys dictation is mission critical in terms of getting documents out the door, and it facilitates our plan to provide secretarial support to remote offices.

Sandy Caiazzo, Regional Manager at Marshall, Dennehey described: "We really liked the user friendly interface, and that the workflow possibilities were suited to legal practice, as it was important that the product be easy to train. The results certainly supported that decision. There was no question that we posed that didn't have a simple answer."

The impact on document turnaround times has been dramatic. The way the system creates distinct, separate dictations and makes them available across the firm means secretaries can transcribe more efficiently and share the workload easily. In our Akron office there were times when document turnaround lagged 7-10 days. That is now barely 2-3 days and the majority of work goes out within 24 hrs. We are experiencing similar results in our King of Prussia office. So we've gained almost a business week in productivity.

Overtime costs have gone down too. We saved $3500 per 5 attorneys in Akron - so when you roll that out across the firm it does add up.

The firm was also spending $18,000 per year just sending tapes from office to office, a cost we have been able to completely eliminate since rolling out BigHand.

Also, it was not uncommon to incur travel expenses because it was necessary to send support staff to other offices to cover for a shortage of personnel. For example, in a 3-month period for a single office, travel expenses for support staff were $1,006. With BigHand, Marshall Dennehey will be able to eliminate travel costs since a secretary can transcribe dictations originating in any of our 17 offices without leaving his or her desk.

Less tangible than dollars returned - as we don't have confirmed stats - is BigHand has helped reduce our recruitment requirements by improving our secretary / attorney ratio.

In terms of stress levels the office is now a more efficient and organized place because the attorneys have access to anything they would want to know about their dictations and the status of them; secretaries can clearly see what his or her workload is and office managers can distribute the work more easily and from anywhere.

We have also found an increase in the number of people who may work on a matter - sometimes three secretaries may pitch-in during a short amount of time in order to help get a 'high priority' piece of work out the door. Sandy Caiazzo describes: "It has turned into a bonding exercise and increased our sense of working for one firm. Support staff from different offices interact with each other more, and the staff at the smaller offices benefit as they can be recognized as key players by helping out at crucial times. Things like absence and maternity leave can have a real impact at remote offices so the support and saving that BigHand offers is crucial now too."

In terms of mobility, we have one attorney using the BigHand Telephony/cell phone dictation module which has meant that he has no outstanding dictations when he returns to the office as compared to the days when he used to return and deposit 10 tapes with his secretary. It would take days to turn around.

John Gonzales, Shareholder in the King of Prussia office commented: "BigHand saves me time by allowing me to simply send an assignment electronically, instead of physically dictating on a tape, taking the tape to my secretary and then waiting for the tape to be returned. There is never a situation where I have to look for a blank tape and my work is completed faster and more accurately."

"My secretary and I have had an ongoing "contest" to see who can complete more work. Since moving to BigHand there hasn't been a day that goes by, no matter how much I dictate that my secretary can't complete all of the assignments that I leave her within a 24 hour cycle. There is never a backlog of tapes to be completed." BigHand.Com

Sandy Caiazzo, added: "One of the most amazing things was that many of the employees actually started using the system before the official employee training started. It was so easy-to-use and says a lot about the quality design of the software."

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