BigHand case study: Tees Law increases efficiency with BigHand Speech Recognition

Streamlined: Tees Law approach the ‘Business of Law’ with a new perspective


Tees Law ranks as one of the top 200 law firms in the UK, with 24 partners and over 240 staff across eight specialist departments. Tees are a major regional firm that has been part of the East Anglian community for over a century, with five offices in Bishops Stortford, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Saffron Walden and Royston. The firm prides itself on its customer focus, with a core ethos being to help produce the solutions to its clients’ problems as effectively and efficiently as possible. Minimising resistance and friction in its own internal processes and workflows is key to achieving this.

A fresh perspective

When Ashton Hunt was appointed as Group Managing Director at Tees Law in October 2015 he joined an organisation that was already progressive in its structure and technology adoption. The firm was a long-standing user of dictation software and had already successfully undertaken an initiative to restructure its support team away from the traditional one-to-one PA to lawyer relationship into a centralised document production resource.

However, with his background in manufacturing, part of his remit at Tees was to approach the ‘business of law’ with a new perspective. Ashton readily identified that there were significant gains to be made by further streamlining the way in which document production was actually taking place. “Because of the way in which we categorised documents that were being submitted to the central production team, certain documents – attendance notes in particular – would fall to the bottom of the stack,” he explains. “As a methodology for coping with the high volume of work that needed processing, it was very sensible. But if you consider the lawyers’ clarity of recollection of a meeting that was four days in the past in reviewing things like attendance notes, it was a potential area of weakness.”

Minimal touch points

Tees Law had already instigated an upgrade to its existing practice management system and it was following that when Ashton and Head of IT, Andee Tyler, attended a technology fair in London where they came across BigHand’s Speech Recognition software and mobility app. “We recognised that if we could embrace a technology that would allow our lawyers to capture their thoughts in the moment, it would have the potential to significantly improve the way matter would flow through the firm,” Ashton says.

Improved processes

In the nine months since BigHand Speech Recognition was introduced, Tees Law has seen a significant number of its fee earners embrace the technology, with speech recognition dictations taking on average a third of the time to process over a dictation sent to normal transcription. As Ashton explains, “Those who are advocates have recognised the benefits of being able to dictate on the go, send the dictation to be transcribed automatically, and move on to the next job they need to do.” The firm is also seeing growing adoption of the mobile app. “It’s a very encouraging sign of lawyers genuinely trying to capture the moment, in the moment,” he continues.

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