Law firm upgrades from microcassettes to digital with Olympus DS-7000 and AS-7000
Fitzpatrick Lentz & Bubba, P.C. is one of the largest full-service law firms in Eastern Pennsylvania. Located between Philadelphia and New York in Center Valley, Pa., FLB represents leading regional, national and international organizations, including banks, insurance companies, universities, telecommunication providers, healthcare institutions and retailers.
Like nearly all law firms, FLB depends on dictation and transcription for timely preparation of agreements, briefs and real estate planning documents on which clients rely to advance their causes. But until mid-2012, FLB’s attorneys had exclusively used analog microcassette units to produce their recordings. Though entrenched, the legacy system brought with it numerous hurdles, including difficulty replacing and servicing equipment, poor sound quality, inefficient transcription workflows and the ever-present threat of missing tapes.
This year, FLB took part in a trial and demonstration program exploring the capabilities of Olympus Professional Dictation equipment, including the DS-7000 handheld digital recorder and the AS-7000 transcription kit. The results were impressive, both for attorneys and the firm’s back-office staff.
Digital dictation for the attorney
FLB shareholder and attorney Joseph S. D’Amico, Jr., has been in practice for more than 20 years. As a veteran attorney with decades of dictation experience, D’Amico was impressed with the DS-7000’s user experience – particularly the tactile feedback provided by a robust slide switch and intuitive controls.
“I like that the DS-7000 behaves much the same way as a traditional microcassette recorder in terms of the controls and feel,” D’Amico said. “That is a big plus for us who have been practicing for a while.
“In legal circles, our dictation involves writing lengthy briefs and memos as we think. We’re not recording a few lines to ourselves to remember later. When you are dictating pages at a time, you need the ability to easily start, stop and correct mistakes. This hand unit provides that. Smartphone-based transcription programs are not as flexible and do not allow for quick review and adjustment.”
D’Amico has also noticed a decided improvement in sound quality when compared to analog devices.
“Recordings taken with the DS-7000 are much easier for me to understand,” he said. “When dictating lengthy pieces, you often need to go back and listen. Over time, tapes often get stretched, which results in sound quality that’s not very good. Digital recordings are much better for me, and even better for the transcriptionists.”
Digital dictation for the IT staff
Donna Seasholtz, FLB’s IT Administrator/Consultant, used to call it “Sneaker Net.” When the firm was completely dependent on analog dictation, recordings were sent to transcriptionists exclusively on physical tapes. When one of them was out or overloaded with work, microcassettes were shuffled from place to place and employee to employee, creating hurdles with workflows and efficiency.
From sound quality and wasted effort to difficulty in replacing broken recorders, Seasholtz said, working exclusively with microcassettes for dictation and transcription was difficult and inefficient.
FLB had also tried several cloud-based digital dictation services. They were ineffective for different reasons – namely buggy drivers and problems with terminal server environments.
After those underwhelming digital dictation experiences, Seasholtz was impressed with the Olympus Professional Dictation ecosystem. Integration between FLB’s existing technical foundation, Olympus Dictation Management System (ODMS) R6 software, DS-7000 digital recorders and AS-7000 transcription kits was seamless. And when Seasholtz needed support, Olympus’ network of Certified Dealer Partners were there, waiting to help.
“Olympus supplied virtual drivers for Citrix and Windows Terminal Services,” Seasholtz said. “Once we installed that, we were basically able to plug the devices in and be ready to go. There was no battling whatsoever.”
Additionally, Olympus software allows FLB administrators and technical staff to set default configurations for each recorder on a granular basis. This ensures that recordings are stored and secured in accordance with all firm-wide regulations and standards, while still allowing individual users to utilize their DS-7000 digital recorders however they like. Whether that means taking advantage of the device’s many advanced features or simply enjoying automatic recording routing and charging is up to each attorney.
“The DS-7000 really is a nice recorder,” Seasholtz said. “If you can’t find a feature on there that’s useful, you really shouldn’t be dictating.”
After participating in the Olympus Professional Dictation trial and demonstration program, FLB has moved toward fully adopting digital dictation equipment and workflows. Firm representatives anticipate that the move will eliminate the challenges associated with legacy analog dictation systems, improve efficiency and allow FLB to better serve its distinguished roster of regional, national and international clients.