The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
I’m a member of the national paralegal listserv, Paralegal Gateway, and recently posted the following question:
“Hello, everyone. I have a paralegal degree, but because I am not a speedy typist, I don’t think anyone will hire me. Are there other areas that I can look into without my typing being strong? Thanks”.
Lynne saw my post, and asked if I’d looked at any voice recognition software, including Dragon NaturallySpeaking. After she saw my subsequent posts to the listserv regarding my positive experience with voice recognition software, she asked if I would write this guest post.
Presently, I have a bachelor’s degree in History of Art, and I am a new graduate of a paralegal program. Finding that I had to do a lot of intense writing and research, I was looking for some assistance with keyboarding on the computer. After receiving listserv suggestions to look at voice recognition software, I read that it has a 95% accuracy rate. Not only will voice recognition do the keyboarding for me, I can use this program to send e-mail and search the internet. Anything that you can do on the keyboard, you can do with voice recognition software. Voice recognition leaves me time to do more research, and I am able to be more creative in other areas.
It also seems that most users are successful at learning to use the software and love having verbal command of their keyboard. In fact, my friend Patty uses Dragon NaturallySpeaking to assist her in typing her dissertation in the area of Japanese studies. Because my husband is a computer programmer, and I have Windows Speech Recognition in Windows Vista installed on my laptop, we looked at what Windows Vista has to offer. I immediately began to utilize it, and my husband fell in love with the Windows Vista software. But not only people that are proficient in computers can use this program; regular people such as me find this to be an invaluable tool.
The only caveat is that your computer processor needs to be current or the program may be slow and sluggish. Once you have installed voice recognition software, you must train it to recognize your voice. Be patient, because you are learning a new program – and the program is learning you. Yelling at the computer does not help. You are not only learning how to speak to a computer, you are also learning new functions that go along with this program. What I like is that I can also use my keyboard.
I am so delighted that I found this program. I would not have known about voice recognition software unless I had posted a question to the ParalegalGateway.com listserv, asking how to improve my keyboarding skills. I hope that this post helps other people too. In addition to discussing voice recognition software, listserv members also posted information about legal jobs that do not require extensive keyboarding skills.
Having opened up a forum for this type of discussion, I have discovered that many people consider voice recognition programs to be very useful. A lot of professionals have such big workloads that they have turned to verbal recognition software to assist them. This is encouraging to me, because I feel that I can get the work done three times faster, than if I did it the traditional way. Other people are on board with voice recognition programs as well, and usage seems to becoming more and more mainstream. Of course, there are people who prefer the traditional way of doing things, which is fine. However, I have found that voice recognition has freed a lot of my time, where I can focus on other tasks.
Mary recently graduated from Ohio State University with a B.A. and Lakeland Community College with a Paralegal Studies Certificate, and is seeking her first job in the legal field.