- 0 Comments
Today’s technology has caused the amount of paper being used in the legal industry to be cut back over the years, but the quantity of paperwork that still is flowing in and out of law offices can be overwhelming for any legal professional working in litigation.
The entire litigation process has been a test in itself for paperwork management: how to organize paperwork, how to pass on paperwork, how to prioritize paperwork, and, all the while, trying to minimize paperwork. This is something they don’t teach law school students or first year associates.
Attorneys and their support staff shuffle through and pass back and forth loads of paperwork daily which, in large part, includes deposition summaries and transcripts. Multiply the amount of deposition hours by the number of cases and one attorney could easily fill a medium-sized closet with nothing but stacks of “active” transcripts at any one time.
But that has changed.
We are now in the time of electronic deposition transcripts. Receiving electronic transcripts not only cuts down on the amount of paper, but also cuts down on the delivery time, helping legal professionals to be much more efficient when handling and using transcripts.
How can electronic transcripts help?
Noelle Toorish, a legal secretary at Thompson Hine LLP in Cleveland, Ohio, has been taking advantage of electronic transcripts for quite some time now and sees how it benefits everyone involved – the attorneys, their support staff and, most importantly, clients.
“Having this information literally ‘at our fingertips’ helps us better manage our workflow in the review process–providing our clients with a better work product, quicker turn-around times and lower fees,” she said.
Eric Anvari, a litigation attorney who heads up his own practice in Woodland Hills, California, has also been a big fan of working with electronic transcripts.
“I have been reducing my paper bulk since 2005 and having electronic deposition transcripts and exhibits fits well with my personal policy of reducing the amount of paper used,” he said. “Besides getting rid of the paper clutter, the electronic version is easier to store, retrieve, and transport.”
Transcript Plus!™: A Fast, Easy, Portable Way to Work with Transcripts
At Atkinson-Baker, we not only email transcripts to our clients, we include an individual Transcript Plus!™ CD with every hard copy transcript we send out. The CD includes a PDF of the full-sized and the condensed version of the transcript, as well as a PDF of all exhibits, clearly scanned. The CD also includes full ASCII files and E-Transcript™, a special built-in program that allows for customized word search, printing and formatting options.
Since the E-Transcript feature that’s included on the CD contains the program already built in, there is no additional software to buy and install. It also has a number of features which ASCIIs lack, the most obvious being the word index.
The E-Transcript hyperlinks a word index to the transcript which then allows the user to rapidly move within the index to access specifics within the transcript, or vice-versa.
Ms. Toorish also shared how the E-Transcript technology allows her the flexibility of managing transcripts and exhibits as she never has before.
“Being able to move rapidly within the index, searching specific key words, and printing transcripts with notes that we have made are all features that make a huge difference in ease of use over the former ASCII files. ASCIIs are so much more cumbersome to use, even for computer savvy users.”
From an attorney’s perspective, Mr. Anvari said, “E-Transcript makes it a snap to e-mail the whole transcript, either as a plain text file or as a PDF. Its search function is even more useful than indexing since a simple search of a word will allow you to easily scroll to any instance where the word appears.”
When utilizing E-Transcript, printing becomes very “smart” and lets the user customize the printing options instead of tearing apart an already printed copy to get what you need. For example, besides just printing out the entire full-sized or condensed transcript, you can indicate the number of transcript pages you’d like to be printed on a sheet, have the option of printing the notes section, the option of printing the questions and/or answers in bold or with an added choice of specifying the number of columns you’d like in the work index.
Although E-Transcript content itself cannot be edited, there are several other ways you can annotate the transcript such as cutting and pasting the text into a word processing document or exporting the transcript as an ASCII for use in other programs.
Easing the Discovery Process
Do you want to know exactly where in a transcript a medical expert talked about the recovery process for a child who had acute appendicitis? With E-Transcript, just type in “recovery process” or “recovery acute appendicitis” and it will locate it, allowing you to print out that specific part of testimony instantly.
As you can see, the Transcript Plus! CD helps find vital information more conveniently and easily which can reduce the pressures that come with the discovery process. Quickly searching and locating needed testimony, formatting the printing to fit your needs, and being able to access transcripts from anywhere can, in the end, help you in court.
Handling transcripts electronically can help alleviate some of the overall pressure of the discovery process.
Ms. Toorish relies on the Transcript Plus! CD to not only expedite her work more efficiently during the discovery process but also to provide her attorneys’ clients what they need.
“The E-Transcript format helps us prepare and deliver the transcript summaries to our clients in a quicker, more accurate way. By effectively locating key information in the transcript, and quickly formatting, saving and printing data, we can deliver a high quality product to our clients…all of this really helps us demonstrate Thompson Hine’s commitment to excellent client service.”
Many attorneys find that using E-Transcript tools helps in the discovery process quite a bit. Mr. Anvari said that he’s able to “easily cross check items at another deposition or fine tune a draft of written discovery” which can both speed things up and provide higher quality documents in the end.
The Big Picture
Litigation testimony is an extremely important element in the discovery process and can be very complex by nature. For this reason, utilizing new technologies to help sort through, organize and pull key information from transcripts is very valuable as testimony is extremely significant and carries a heavy weight for use in trial.
Not every court reporting agency provides transcripts and transcript management tools for their clients. Making sure you’re getting all the outside help you can for trial preparation is very important and can make things go much more smoothly during the discovery process.
For more information about Transcript Plus!, please call an Atkinson-Baker representative at 800-288-3376 or take the Transcript Plus! tour on our website.
Trademark and Licenses:
Transcript Plus! is a trademark of Atkins0n-Baker, Inc.
E-Transcript is a trademark of RealLegal LLC – A division of LiveNote Inc.