Friday, January 06, 2012

Friday Tech: A Few Key Office Tools

The flood of blog posts and law magazine articles updating attorneys on the latest gadgets and must have tech tool can be overwhelming to read. For me, just wading through them all, much  less trying the items/tools out is daunting. Over the past several years, though, I have a set of time and battle tested tech that work for me, and just might for you. These are:

1.Speak-write: In the 1990's and early 2000's, my firm actually had transcription only employees. No more. I do see younger lawyers typing their own work. That works, sometimes. For us, Speak-write is an every day product. What is it? From their site:


SpeakWrite allows you to submit your dictation and other work to us for transcription using a variety of methods, without having to change the way you normally create your work. Simply record your dictation, submit your work into our system and in about 3 hours your completed document will be delivered to your email as an attachment in your preferred word processing software. Available 24 hours a day, SpeakWrite can handle as much of your work as you require with no advance notice or request, and with no special equipment.

Once your dictation is submitted to our secure system it is routed to our trained and qualified typists located throughout the U.S and Canada who type your work according to your specific requirements. Your completed document is then delivered to your email as a word processing attachment, all in about 3 hours.

Sign up is free, and if you don't use it there is no fee. You can dictate over the phone, upload digital voice recordings, or scratch out a letter and fax it. We couldn't be as effective as we are without it.

2. Court Reporting Companies with online deposition repositories: Our office took more than 150 depositions last year alone.  One company we use is Freedom Court Reporting, and that company houses all depositions and exhibits online. We made the choice to only use court reporters who have online hosting. Why? The last thing I need is more paper at any other deposition. Access to a prior deposition online and without an additional charge for online storage that is secure is to me a no brainer.

We find the online option useful even for cases with few depositions. We actually make the strategic decision before a case's depositions start to go with a reporting service that will allow us to go this route. The next step is convincing opposing counsel to use the same reporter (which happens for us in some MDL litigation), or talking  the reporting company to allow an upload from another reporter.

3.VPN/ If you don't have remote access to your office computers, my question is, why the hell not? In our office, we have litigation that is ongoing from San Francisco to Philadelphia. We are in airports, hotels, and courthouses all over the place. Access to our servers is a fundamental part of our practice at all times.

We use a VPN and on our iPads use Log Me In Ignition.  If yours is a smaller office, and you may from time to time work outside of it consider a tool like this (Or Go to my pc).

New tools come and go in my office. It may take some time for you to hone your list of tools down, but for us, these three are must haves. Each is battle tested, reliable, and key to the success of what we do.