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Working Harder or Working Smarter? The Pros and Cons of Electronic Deposition Summaries
By Mary Girsch-Bock Software Specialist/Consultant
According to Daniel Siegel, a practicing attorney and president of Integrated Technology Services in Havertown, Pa., transcription software is one of the most useful types of software a law firm can implement, regardless of firm size or case complexity. This news should be of particular interest to paralegals, since a large part of their job is preparing deposition summaries. These documents, culled from reviewing and condensing scores of pages of testimony, are vital to attorneys. Unfortunately, there never has been a quick way to prepare deposition summaries, even for the most experienced paralegals.
Attorneys determine what information they are looking for and it’s the paralegal’s job to find that information, which often entails poring through stacks of documents. It’s no secret that the traditional way of completing deposition summaries is time consuming –
it’s just not possible to quickly reduce 200 pages down to 20 pages, while ensuring that the required information is included in the summary.
The Old Way: Pluses and Minuses
Caren Mansfield, a paralegal since 1987 with Baker, Baker, and Krajewski in Springfield, Ill., has been preparing deposition summaries for over 20 years. Mansfield normally can review up to thirty pages of a deposition in one hour. “We have not considered using transcript software. [It] can be costly and most of our cases are manageable using other means,” Mansfield said.
According to Siegel, who started using transcription software in 2001, he would have saved hundreds of hours in deposition summary preparation simply by using the software earlier in his career. “There is no benefit in preparing deposition summaries manually,” Siegel said.
A golfer stands at the tee, looks off towards the green and swings his driver. He hooks the ball over a hill onto the next fairway.”Fore!” shouts the golfer as his ball drifts out of sight.Cursing his luck, the golfer heads over the hill to find his ball.
When he reaches the top of the hill, he looks down to see his ball next to an injured man lying on the ground. The golfer runs over to attend to the injured man.
Slowly, the injured man regains consciousness and rubs the bump on his head.
“I’m so sorry, sir,” says the golfer. “I hooked my ball and it must have hit you in the head.”
The injured man sits up and winces in pain.
“I’ll sue you, pal!” announces the injured man. “This is going to cost you $500,000 at least!”
“Well,” says the golfer, “I shouted, ‘Fore!'”
The man thinks for a moment and says, “I’ll take it!”