Irwin Mitchell, rated as one of the top 20 law firms in England and Wales, is installing speech recognition software in a bid to improve client services.
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The company is implementing speech software to its offices in London, Birmingham, Leeds and Sheffield, following a successful £100,000 pilot with a bespoke vocabulary created by the Speech Recognition Company.
More than 75 of the firm's lawyers are already using the software, which consists of the bespoke vocabulary coupled with the Dragon Naturallyspeaking engine. The number of lawyers using the software will increase to 150 by the end of the year, rising to 300 by July 2001.
Speech Recognition Company developed the bespoke vocabulary through the analysis of seven million words in text documents supplied by Irwin Mitchell's corporate services, personal injury and private client departments.
This vocabulary complements the basic speech system by already "knowing" Irwin Mitchell jargon, client names, partners' names and the legal terminology used.
Irwin Mitchell is hoping that speech recognition will help its strategy of "putting the client first".
Martin Holland, a partner at the firm, has seen the advantages the software can bring already. "I constantly get around 97% accuracy from it and use it regularly for letters, faxes, e-mails and so on, particularly after hours when secretarial support is gone," he said.