How Remote Transcription Technology Improves Virtual Hearings

by | Published on Jul 26, 2022 | Legal Transcription

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Lawyers Conduct Remote Hearings Effectively

Virtual hearings became the norm at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and reports say that are here to stay. Video conference tools supported by legal transcription services continue to help lawyers conduct remote hearings. The National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) references a Pew report which found that state courts conducted record numbers of virtual proceedings as the pandemic spread, with the Texas court system conducting 1.1 million remote proceedings across its civil and criminal divisions from March 2020 to February 2021.

Today, lawyers can choose from a range of remote working technologies to conduct virtual depositions which offer both convenience and reduced costs. For example, as an ABA article explains, the remote option is useful for certain types of witnesses, such as experts for who travel expenses are unduly high. The increasing use of virtual hearings has fuelled the development of virtual deposition software products and services as well as AI-based court transcription tools. Let’s take a look at the available remote technology and transcription options and how they improve virtual hearings.

AI-based Transcription Tools for Virtual Depositions

AI-based speech-to-text transcription tools can capture legal proceedings in real-time. The draft transcripts provide important and relevant information and can be used for readbacks during the proceeding. Once the proceeding is over, the transcript can be reviewed, edited and certified as the official transcript of the proceedings. The advantages of legal transcripts generated using AI-based natural language-processing software are:

  • Available within hours instead of days
  • More cost-effective than hiring a court reporter

Now let’s look at some examples of these tools:

  • Bilr is a user-friendly legal dictation software for iOS and Android uses Microsoft’s Azure NLP technology.
    • convert voice into text with about 95% accuracy, regardless of dialects and accents.
    • record notes and to-do’s digitally or convert physical documents into digital format.
    • Record both general dictations and dictations specific to client matters
    • access dictated text across mobile and PC devices.
    • transcribe automatically on the go.
  • Verbit software provides:
    • Accurate recorded courtroom transcription and real-time drafts during remote, digital proceedings.
    • Transcripts of the testimony almost immediately and highly accurate (98%) rough working draft within hours of the end of the proceeding.
    • Documentation that is on par with stenographer standards.
    • A reviewed final version of the transcript within 24 hours.
  • Readback is another AI-based software for virtual depositions:
    • Converts speech to text as the deposition takes place.
    • Transcription team provides a cleaned up the transcript in real time.
    • Another professional helps with the deposition process, the readback of prior testimony and the certification of the deposition transcript.
    • Makes available rough text from depositions within a minute of the testimony, rough transcripts within an hour of the deposition, and certified transcripts within one day.
  • Prevail Legal: Their AI-based software provides almost instantaneous transcription during remote deposition proceedings.
    • Allows uploading of exhibits prior to the deposition and during the testimony
    • A Session Manager provides real-time guidance and answers any questions.
    • Human review of the draft transcript after the deposition concludes and certifying of the final transcript.
    • Collaboration tools to enable communication between a firm’s team members and clients during the deposition.
  • For the Record: This AI-based transcription tool:
    • Provides instantaneous speech-to-text transcription with time-stamped audio and video.
    • Searchable draft transcripts.
    • Draft transcripts are reviewed during a proceeding, promoting immediate readbacks of testimony.

While the use of virtual hearings has increased, it’s important to consider their efficacy. According to a study by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) on the impact of remote hearings on courts and court users, remote court hearings take about one-third (34%) longer than in-person hearings.

The study was based on data from over 12 months and 85% of hearings were held remotely. According to judges, remote hearings take longer due to “technical difficulties such as trouble logging onto video-conferencing platforms, connectivity problems related to limited bandwidth lack of preparation by parties, and difficulty sharing screens or uploading documents and exhibits. Other concerns include fewer default judgments due to the accessibility of attending hearings remotely and the increased numbers of parties in hearings (

Proper use of videoconferencing tools, educating users on employing these tools, and artificial intelligence language-processing deposition transcription tools can ensure that the justice system will continue work in uncertain situations such as pandemics. However, there is still the question of accuracy when it comes to automatic transcription. That’s why legal transcription outsourcing continues to be relevant when it comes to maintaining accurate records of virtual court proceedings.

The ideal option for lawyers would be to use AI-enabled transcription to generate transcripts in quick turnaround and then have them checked by human transcriptionists in a legal transcription company. Having experts oversee and proofread machine-generated transcripts can help law firms make the most of automated transcription for all types of hearings.

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