A legal transcription is created by transcribing a legal proceeding from audio or spoken format into a typed format, either digital or on paper. This provides an accurate, verbatim recording of witness testimonies and judge or jury decisions.

Courtroom proceedings, transcribed by licensed court reporters or stenographers, are one of the most common and well-known types of legal transcription. There are many other types, however, including:

  • Depositions
  • Interrogations
  • Legal briefs
  • Wiretaps
  • Conference calls
  • Jury instruction

Legal transcriptions may be created from recorded audio footage or live speakers. For example, an attorney may dictate notes that are later transcribed, or police officers may conduct an interrogation that is regarded and then transcribed.

Since not every legal proceeding has a court reporter, legal transcriptions can be created from audio or video recordings by professional transcriptionists.

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How are legal transcriptions used?

Legal transcriptions are useful for keeping precise records of what was said in court or other legal proceedings. Lawyers and other legal professionals have many different uses for legal transcriptions:

Developing trial plans
Deciding on questions to ask witnesses during a trial
Creating a plan for appeals
Understanding the judge or jury’s decision
Using transcriptions themselves as evidence
Studying legal transcriptions of past cases as part of law school

With more than 3 million pending cases in 2017 alone, legal transcriptions are a vital resource.

With more than 3 million pending cases in 2017 alone, legal transcriptions are a vital resource. Attorneys and other professionals who are busy dealing with multiple legal cases can be more organized, more accurate, and improve their chances of a positive outcome with accurate legal transcription.

Here are 8 solid benefits you can expect when you use legal transcriptions

1. Best Format for Attorneys

When done professionally, the format of a legal transcription is ideal for attorneys. Timestamps and speaker identification help you keep track of the flow of information and the timeline of events. This can be critical for creating a case or identifying inconsistencies in testimonies, to provide just a couple examples.

The format of a legal transcription also can help attorneys who present video or audio recordings as evidence in court. Along with the recording, you might also provide a transcript to jurors and others involved in a trial or hearing to make sure everyone gets the same information from the evidence, reducing the risk of misinterpretation.

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2. You Can Highlight Important Parts

Whether written or typed, a legal transcription is superior to audio files by providing a way to highlight important parts of the document and make notes. This can help you formulate questions and keep track of the most important facts in a case. Once highlighted, it is easier to find the same information again later.

3. Easier Access

Between the ability to take notes and include timestamps in a legal transcription, you can more easily find the information or section you need than with an audio recording. A legal transcription is also easier to access, since you can store it across many devices and file formats. The digital version can be accessed from a computer or database, or the paper copy can be pulled from a filing cabinet.

With a written legal transcription, there’s also no need for speakers, headphones, or a quiet environment, unlike video or audio recordings. A digital version can also be shared quickly and easily with other attorneys, judges, and colleagues.

4. Precision and Clarity

Legal transcriptions provide an accurate, specific rendering of court sessions, depositions, and other legal proceedings. This is especially the case when created by professionals from higher-quality recordings. By having an accurate version of events and testimonies, attorneys are better prepared for their cases.

Legal transcriptions are especially valuable for attorneys involved in complicated cases, such as those with multiple witnesses or conflicting police reports. Using the legal transcription to get a broad, overall view of the information and evidence can help an attorney and their client win their case.

5. Best Format For Law Students

Law students can benefit from legal transcriptions, as well. If they cannot be involved in a real trial in real time, studying legal transcriptions can be the next-best way to observe what was said and done, and what the result was. This also gives them access to real-life sources, compared to hypothetical examples provided in lectures or textbooks.

Legal transcriptions help law students learn more effectively by letting them interact more closely with the material. Students can use legal transcriptions to study for exams and learn how to phrase questions and prepare for trials. When they have their own copy of a legal transcription, they can also take notes on it themselves.

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Legal transcriptions also can help those law students who are more visual learners. Such students may struggle to keep up with lectures or audio recordings, but find the information in legal transcriptions easier to absorb.

Those law students who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, or non-English-speaking also can use legal transcriptions to enhance their education. These legal transcriptions make the material more accessible, and can be translated into another language.

6. Share With Family Members Who Couldn’t Be Present

Trials are often difficult, emotional times for loved ones of either plaintiffs or defendants. Not all family members can be present during the trial. Legal transcriptions are a way for close friends and family members to learn what happened or what was spoken during the trial.

Legal transcriptions are a way for close friends and family members to learn what happened or what was spoken during the trial.

Even if a family member is able to be present at a trial, they may struggle to understand the proceedings due to hearing or language barriers. Non-English-speaking family members can better understand the trial if they have a legal transcription that can be translated into their preferred language. Deaf or hard-of-hearing loved ones who were present at the trial or hearing can review a legal transcription to pick up details they may have missed.

7. Organization

Whether digital or paper, your legal transcriptions can be easily stored and organized based on your practice’s specific needs and system. You can quickly store, search for, and locate the information you need with legal transcriptions.

You can quickly store, search for, and locate the information you need with legal transcriptions.

If your office is moving from paper to digital, legal transcriptions can be scanned for storage and indexing as a PDF or other type of digital file. This is especially important if you need to find legal transcriptions from past proceedings as a reference for a current case.

Transcription services also help law firms and legal departments stay organized and streamlined. When legal transcriptions can be outsourced, lawyers and administrative staff are free to concentrate on more important tasks. This makes the entire firm or department more productive overall.

8. Defendant Appeals

Let’s face it: a court does not always make the decision that the attorney and their client was hoping for. In the case of an appeal, legal transcriptions can make an enormous difference. Having written records and legal transcriptions from the first trial can help an attorney research and prepare a new strategy for an appeal.

Often a legal transcription is required for an appeal to happen at all. Besides limiting the attorney’s resources in planning for an appeal, lack of a legal transcript can delay or otherwise complicate the appeal process. Having legal transcriptions of all interviews and proceedings can make the appeal process go more smoothly, and increase an attorney and client’s chances of obtaining an appeal at all.

Plus, in many jurisdictions, such as North Carolina, it is the appellant’s responsibility to provide a complete record on appeal. Use legal transcription services to make sure you can fulfill this requirement.

When legal transcriptions can be outsourced, lawyers and administrative staff are free to concentrate on more important tasks.

Why Hire a Legal Transcription Service?

Legal transcription seems like it should be a simple process, especially with all the speech-to-text software available online now. While these solutions are often simple and inexpensive (even free), they tend to be more error-prone and less accurate than human transcriptionists.

At the same time, attorneys, paralegals, and other legal administrative staff are often too busy to do their own legal transcription.

This is where transcription services, provided by qualified, trained professionals, can be highly valuable.

Transcription services are cost effective

A legal transcription service, provided by human transcriptionists, is one of the more cost-effective transcription options available to lawyers. For example, Rev provides legal transcription services for the simple, low, flat fee of $1 per minute of audio. When you take into account how long it might take you (or your staff) to create a legal transcription, you’ll realize that Rev’s transcription services can save you an enormous amount of time, money, and hassle.

The legal transcriptions themselves are also cost-effective because of how easy they are to share. No need to pay messengers or postage when you can attach and send transcripts in seconds.

Transcription services provide the best quality

Not only does Rev provide transcription services for a simple, flat fee, it also guarantees 99% accuracy or better for your legal transcription, as long as the original audio is clear. Find any discrepancies? Let us know, and we’ll work with you to correct them.

We work with trained, English-speaking transcriptionists who come from a variety of backgrounds, including legal experience. When placing your order, specify the topic of your legal transcription, and we’ll make sure that agents with legal experience are the ones who work on your files.

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Transcription services have a fast turnaround time

Need your legal transcription quickly? No problem! Rev usually provides a turnaround time of 12 hours or better for files that are 30 minutes or less. (This may vary depending on the quality of the audio.)

Audio files under 30 minutes long with good quality audio are typically delivered within 12 hours, often much faster. Longer recordings usually take about 24 hours. We can provide an accurate delivery estimate at checkout.

Need your legal transcription faster? We provide a Rush service for an additional $1 per audio minute. Files are expedited and delivered back to you up to 10x faster!

Transcription services provide confidentiality for sensitive files

Rev securely stores and transmits your files with TLS 1.2 encryption, the highest level of security available. We also do not store payment information: we only pass credit-card numbers to our bank for safe-keeping.

We promise never to share your files or personal information with anyone outside of Rev. Your audio or video files will only be visible to our professionals, who sign strict confidentiality agreements. Feel free to contact us and let us know if you wish for us to delete your files.

Need extra security and documentation for your files? We would be glad to sign your non-disclosure agreement or provide one for you.

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Fast, reliable legal transcription services

Start reaping the benefits of legal transcriptions and professional transcription services now! Get started by uploading your files to our website, or contact us for more information.