Multi-site Australian Law Firm Becomes Cloud Efficient
The solicitors of Commins Hendriks can now work anywhere anytime, after migrating to dictation and transcription in the cloud with Philips Speechlive
Commins Hendriks Solicitors is a large law firm based in the Riverina region of New South Wales, Australia. The law firm was established in 1992 after the merger of two large law firms dating back to 1902. Their aim is to provide quality legal advice and fair representation to their clients, both national businesses and private individuals, covering domains of legal areas like business, property, litigation, family and estates among others. The law firm has its main office in Wagga Wagga for their city and country clients, as well as branches in five other locations catering to the needs of the clients based in rural areas.
One virtual office
Being spread across several physical locations has been a challenge for Commins Hendriks. Their former dictation and transcription system did not allow them to be flexible as they were struggling to find a solution that supports location independent working and distribution of the workload between the offices to operate at maximum capacity and efficiency. Philips SpeechLive, the cloud based dictation system, was the perfect solution for them.
“The problem we were having with the former system was that it was specific to one work station. Since we have 70 employees around several different offices, the moment an author or typist or any transcriptionist went to another location other than their assigned one, it was a big drama for them to be able to use it.”, says Lesley Lashbrook, Personal Assistant to the CEO.
Philips SpeechLive allows users to dictate on their smartphone or from the web browser and manage those dictations in the cloud, hosted on an Australian server, virtually from anywhere without being constrained to a computer.
Leslie summarises, “The whole set-up makes it more efficient for us. Because we have a lot of satellite offices, we have a practice management system that everyone is connected to and have access to the same thing. So, if one of our authors at Wagga Wagga sends out a generic email asking who is available to do the typing, and someone puts up their hand, say in Canberra, informing of their capacity to do that, then we will instantly give them access to that author’s work. It doesn’t matter where anyone is actually since they can access it straight away.”
Philip McIntosh, Chief Executive Officer, also adds, “There is a surge of law firms migrating to cloud in recent times. For us, Philips SpeechLive has delivered the flexibility we were after by enabling all staff to retrieve any dictation, irrespective of which office they are sitting in. There is no paper, and most importantly no time delay.”
Commins Hendriks core team consists of only 25 professional staff comprising of Accredited Specialists, Senior Legal Practitioners, Law Clerks and Paralegals. But the rest of their huge team is made up with support staffs. Despite being such a big law firm, they allow employees to have flexible work arrangements as well as work during maternity leave. While they were on their old work system, unavailability of any of their trained staff meant hiring casuals to support whenever they experienced a spike in work load. McIntosh explains, “Because we have flexible work arrangements we have staff that work from home sometimes and it requires a license to be loaded on their home computer as well. Cost wise, it was a bit tricky so we had to use casuals. But with SpeechLive, they simply can log in online to access the dictation files. This has contributed to a faster turnaround time.”
Leslie further added, “Hiring a casual is very time consuming as you have to train them. We have several support staff who are on maternity leave and sometimes they can offer us a few hours a day to help us. They have the expertise in our organization to do their work well and efficiently. All that they need is the headset and plug in the foot pedal, and away they go.”
Philips SpeechLive also gives lawyers the option to send their dictation file to a transcription service. After the dictation is sent to a professional industry- specific transcriptionist, the author receives the document within 24 hours via email. The other option that can be used is the SpeechLive speech recognition service which is ideal for short recordings as it returns the text document almost immediately. Philip and Leslie both expressed their interests on the voice recognition speech to text solution.
Leslie explained that they have two generations of work force working in Commins Hendriks, and despite the age gap SpeechLive was easy to adopt. “The younger generation didn’t have a problem at all. Since we provide mobile devices as part of their remuneration package, they can easily download the Philips SpeechLive app on their smartphones and create dictation documents straightaway.“
The more experienced lawyers on the other hand love to use their dictation devices as opposed to logging on to the internet. But with the Philips SpeechExec Pro Dictation and Transcription software we were able to get the same benefits of SpeechLive while using their existing devices.” When it came to the support staff she added that it was a seamless transition for them as all the tools were similar to their old set-up, including the foot pedal, headphone and the screen. All they had to do was log on, and they were good to go.
Leslie further added that since everything these days is subscription-based, it was easier for them to incorporate from an admin perspective. With the older system, it was time-consuming for her as she had to spend time going from one computer to the other to manage the daily workflow. With SpeechLive she said, “After Philips SpeechLive, I don’t have to worry about the dictation synchronising with the app. Before, if someone had out-of-office ticked on their email or even if their email wasn’t opened then the synchronisation process of the dictation wouldn’t work.”