ON ANY GIVEN regular day, a classic court hearing would comprise of a judge, the offender, a jury and several attorneys. The offender would understand the charges, and be presented with an opportunity to seek legal counsel. Witness testimonies, decisions, attorney pleadings, discussions and appeals — all would be recorded as the trial progressed. Transcription of legal proceedings from an audio or a video format into a digital format would happen naturally through professional legal transcriptionists.
However, the world took a drastic turn with the alarming change in situations that followed the pandemic. In a fleeting moment, guidelines were passed for video conferences to manage court proceedings. In fact, according to the Supreme Court, 40 cases can be heard through just one virtual court over video conferencing in a day, so long as the respective counsel exited the virtual courtroom after finishing with the case.
When the proceedings happen so rapidly, it would become extremely difficult to keep track of all that is being said. Especially when legal terms can be very confusing and complicated. Regardless of how elaborate and tricky this process can be, it doesn’t change the fact that transcription of legal proceedings is of utmost importance.
Judges are reimagining how virtual court proceedings are conducted using automated transcription technologies.
1. Organized records
Transcribing legal proceedings from audio or video format into digital format or written text in the form of a PDF can be so helpful for attorneys dealing with multiple cases at once. When several court hearings take place in just a day, information can get lost. However, with the help of formatted notes, everything can be more structured and organized for later use. Even if the counsel for a particular case was reassigned and the staff changed, organized transcriptions can still help smooth-sail through the case without any interjections.
2. Better odds at a positive outcome
With detailed information about the case and the trial, an attorney can easily devise strategies and develop plans. In fact, in certain cases, transcriptions would directly serve as evidence that would ultimately lead to victory. It’s said that transcriptions are the best defense tools. The attorney can decide on how to go about questioning the witnesses, produce evidence, and identify drawbacks — all through transcriptions.
3. A step ahead with the preparations
The counsel can have a better understanding of the jury’s decision with the help of transcriptions. This reduces the risk of misreading what was said and decided. With accurate, specific sections from the recorded transcriptions, attorneys can always be better prepared. Records from the first trial can be referred to, for the upcoming trials as well. By keeping track of the important parts, the attorneys can highlight what helps them with the case and proceed accordingly. This also helps speed up the hearing process, especially in cases that involve several testimonies, police reports, and are complex.
4. Easy and simple access
Records can be documented as and how it pleases the counsel and the attorneys. If digital, soft copies are preferred, then they can be stored that way. On the other hand, if printed copies are preferred, then the soft copies can simply be printed. Transcriptions can be stored in multiple formats — PDFs, databases, file systems,paper documents — each of which would still be preferred over audio/video files, where one would have to forward and backward continuously to access the required information. That can be such a hassle. Nevertheless, transcription records do not require other devices like computers, speakers like audio/video records do.
5. Act as case studies for law students
Generally, it’s not practical for law students to attend actual hearings so as to get exposure to the real world. In such instances, the closest source to gaining practical knowledge would be studying about those cases through their transcriptions. Students can have information regarding authentic cases, and get an opportunity to learn and understand from the material. This induces a sense of in-depth understanding and experiential learning in law students.
6. Quick and Secure
Transcriptions can make a great difference for not only reviewing depositions, but also for defendant appeals. Lack of transcriptions can derail the trail and further complicate it. When attorneys have to juggle between virtual courtrooms back and forth, it’s so important to have secure records that help them ease through the process. Having a quick documentation of everything that’s necessary for the next courtroom hearing can serve as a boon for the attorneys.
7. Sharing information with others
Not everyone associated with the case will be present for the trials at all times. In some cases, certain family members may not find the time or the will to attend the trial. In other cases, the police officials may be tending to other problems at hand. During such occasions, transcriptions can simply be shared with the said people for them to understand and learn about the case better.
In a nutshell, legal-speak is not easy. Attorneys and paralegals are too busy with their own proceedings to transcribe all that is said and done. During virtual courtrooms and video conferences, this process can get even harder because a human ear can only catch so much information before experiencing an overload.
An AI-powered note-taking assistant, on the other hand, can make little to no mistakes and help capture every word spoken, every voice heard, and every clip shown with astonishing accuracy. When technology can do it for you, why rely on anything else?
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