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  • Immigration Lawyers Are Using These 3 Tools to Automate Note-taking

Immigration Lawyers Are Using These 3 Tools to Automate Note-taking

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Mon Nov 15 2021 7 min read

Client calls and meetings are part of the job for an immigration lawyer. But taking notes manually, whether by hand or on the computer, can be inefficient. You have to type or write while the client is talking, likely losing some of what they say and also not being fully present in the conversation. Luckily, there is an easy solution: using note-taking or transcription software.

Using technology to automate note-taking takes an important administrative task from tedious and inefficient to more streamlined, helping you save time while giving your clients the full attention they need. And thanks to the advances in artificial intelligence (AI), these tools just keep getting better and better.

So let’s take a look at three of the top tech tools that automate note-taking for immigration lawyers. Let’s start with one of the biggest transcription companies, Rev. 

Rev.com: upload and transcribe meeting recordings

Rev offers transcription services powered by humans and AI for audio, video, and MP3 files. Rev is also a major captioning and subtitles provider, with captioning for video and YouTube, and foreign language subtitles in 15 languages. 

Types of transcriptions Rev offers

Rev provides a variety of services: 

  • Professional Transcription: Send your audio to be transcribed to text by one of Rev’s 60,000+ transcription professionals. If your audio file is less than 30 minutes long, you can get it back in less than 12 hours.
  • Automated transcription: This is a machine-based service that uses speech recognition software to automatically listen to your call or meeting recording and creates a transcript. Since this service is automated and not done by a human, it’s not 100% accurate. But if the audio is in English and clear, the transcripts are usually good enough for most uses. Plus, automated transcripts are ready in as little as five minutes.
  • Rev Voice Recorder app: Rev’s voice recorder mobile app allows for on-the-go voice recording, automatic transcription, and sharing. Think of it as a tape recorder that transcribes your conversation into a text file. 

How does Rev work? 

  • First, you have to make sure to record your meeting. To get a transcription, upload your file (audio or video), or copy and paste the web URL where your file is hosted. 
  • Rev will transcribe your file for you and return when it’s ready. Most of the files uploaded to Rev for transcription are processed by people. 
  • Receive your transcript in a document with editable access. Turnaround time depends on the length of your file and pricing is calculated per minute. 

Pros and cons of Rev

Pros: 

  • Real-time view and editing on automatic transcription: Rev’s automatic transcription software is easy to use and allows you to view and edit the transcript you’re generating as it happens. You can also work on multiple transcription files at once. 
  • Accurate, constantly improving technology: Rev’s software is so accurate because it benefits from AI and human transcription which means that the software has access to data that is constantly updating. 

Cons: 

  • Automatic transcript software struggles with low quality audio: The automatic software does its best with clear English spoken in an environment with little to no background noise, and with one speaker at a time. 
  • No free options for trying out: All of Rev’s services are paid, so trying their services out involves a small investment and it may be difficult to get a feel for the product risk-free.

The next two transcription services are different from Rev in that they are entirely software-based. The first one is Otter.

Otter.ai: records and transcribes your meeting in real time

Unlike Rev, Otter doesn’t require you to separately record your meeting and manually upload it to receive a transcript. Instead, by syncing Otter to your calendar and choosing what meetings it joins, Otter automatically records and transcribes your conversation so you don’t have to worry about taking down notes during client or team meetings.

Otter provides real-time transcription during the meeting as well, as well as the ability to review your transcription from any device, and while Otter previously only integrated with Zoom, you can now integrate Otter with other popular virtual meeting platforms like Google Meet and Cisco Webex. Otter also has a mobile app you can use to access, edit, and share transcripts with your team. 

How does Otter work?

Otter’s software connects with your calendar, automatically joins meetings you invite it to, records them and then sends you a transcript of the meeting automatically shortly after it’s over. Otter pulls keywords from your transcripts to help you find emerging patterns in your conversations, breaks down speakers by person, and provides other data-driven insights.

One particularly near feature allows you to see a live transcript of the meeting in real time, kind of like closed-captioning, except that you can scroll back through it and read along at your own pace while still in the live meeting. 

Pros and cons of Otter:

Pros:

  • Otter integrates with the most widely used online platforms: You can incorporate Otter into your online workspace without major adjustments to what you already use.
  • Otter’s pricing plans are tailored to the company size, with a robust free trial option: Start with the free trial, which provides 600 minutes of transcription per month, and see how you and your team like the tool. Then, you can choose from one of the paid options, which start at very affordable prices. 

Cons:

  • Otter is prone to transcription errors in less-than-perfect work environments: Like with Rev, it makes transcription errors with background noise or if there are multiple speakers, especially when they sound alike. That said, if you need a transcription for purposes of taking notes and/or sending a recap email to your client, the errors likely won’t be a deal-breaker.
  • No summarizing options from transcription: Otter doesn’t summarize transcripts, which could be helpful if you want to share a conversation transcript with a team member without having to review and summarize the whole thing. This feature is, however, much more of a nice-to-have rather than a must-have, so its absence shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. 

The final transcription service we’re looking at is Fireflies, which is similar to Otter in that it joins your live meetings, records them, and provides a transcription, but with a few nuanced differences. Let’s take a look. 

Fireflies.ai: automatically joins, records and transcribes your meetings

Think about Fireflies.ai as another team member joining your meeting. In fact, the Fireflies bot joining your meetings to transcribe has a name- Fred. Fred is in charge of taking notes, so you can focus on the conversation you’re having. Much like Otter, Fireflies doesn’t need you to independently record your client or team meetings and then upload them to get a transcript (though it does have that capability).

How does Fireflies.ai work?

Fireflies.ai captures conversations with close to 90% accuracy, according to their website. Just make sure you invite “Fred” to the meeting and Fred will take care of the transcript.  Let’s look at what options Fireflies gives you: 

  • Fireflies.ai connects to your calendar and joins your meetings to transcribe. As long as your calendar event has a video conferencing link, “Fred” can join the meet and prepare a transcript. Fireflies.ai supports all the major video conferencing platforms, like Google Meet and Zoom, but you can see the complete list of supported platforms linked on their website. 
  • Alternatively, if you already have an audio file, you can upload it to the Fireflies.ai dashboard to create a transcript from an existing file. 
  • Fireflies also has a Chrome extension to create transcripts from calls made using Voice over IP (VoIP), web dialers, and other online calling systems. 
  • Fireflies.ai integrates with cloud storage platforms like OneDrive and Dropbox, to create transcripts from files stored there. You can also create a folder and select it so that each time you upload a file there, Fireflies.ai automatically transcribes it. 

Pros and cons of Fireflies.ai

Pros:

  • Versatility across platforms: Fireflies.ai works with the most popular tech tools for and professionals in general, including most of those we recommended in our recent "Tools And Tech For Immigration Lawyers: How And What To Choose" blog post. 
  • Multiple pricing options: Fireflies has a free tier that allows up to 3,000 minutes of storage, all the integrations and more. Once you pass 3,000 minutes, you’ll either need to delete old recordings to make room for new ones, or update to one of their paid tiers. The good news is that their paid tiers are reasonably priced, starting at $10/user/month. 

Cons:

  • Limited transcript storage and minutes, even on some paid options: The Pro tier, which starts at $10/user/month, limits your account to 8,000 minutes of storage, which might sound like a lot, but if you’re constantly recording like and internal meetings, those 8,000 minutes get used up quickly. For more storage, you would need to upgrade . 
  • Limited languages supported: At the moment, Fireflies.ai only transcribes from English, which is less than ideal for immigration law firms with multilingual clients. However, as of November 2021, their website says that foreign language support is coming soon for Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, and more. 

Let Docketwise handle your immigration forms, client questionnaires, case management, billing and more!

Regardless of your firm’s transcription needs and which of the above tools you choose, it’s clear that leveraging the right technology can help your immigration law firm become more efficient and effective across the board. The same goes for your case management, immigration forms, CRM, billing and more. That’s where Docketwise comes in.

Docketwise can help you streamline and digitize your immigration law practice so that you can spend more of your time building and supporting your clients, marketing your firm, and building the practice of your dreams.

To learn more about Docketwise and see if it’s right for your firm, schedule a demo to talk to one of our team members, or sign up for our Immigration Briefings newsletter for daily and weekly immigration updates!

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