During his opening keynote at ILTA 2014, Peter Diamandis reflected on how Charles Lindberg’s flight across the Atlantic inspired him to create the X Prize for space exploration.

Looking to the past as a path to the future was a common thread during a follow-up session titled, “Talk to Yourself and Be Crazy (Productive),” specifically how speech recognition technology, such Dragon and BigHand, can revolutionize the legal space by once again becoming familiar with the former legal office mainstay, dictation.

For presenters Angela Dowd, applications manager at Burns & Levinson LLP in Boston, and¬†Rebecca Sattin, information systems manager at Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP in Los Angeles, the challenge to introducing this technology has, perhaps ironically, been scrapping younger associates’ belief that “typing is faster” to encourage adoption of this new technology.

Dowd emphasized that repeating, “It will make your life easier. It will make you more productive,” can only go so far. One of the strategies her firm has taken is fostering adoption of speech recognition software among associates with physical limitations or with limited typing skills. As she explained, many younger associates notice the increased productivity of their colleagues and begin to migrate to new technologies.

For Sattin, her strategy has been to reassure associates that they are already adopting technology, such as Siri on the iPhone, and workflow methods, like dragging and dropping files, to overcome their hesitance.¬†“Some attorneys didn’t need to learn anything new because they didn’t have to install new software,” she said. Adoption of speech recognition technology has been most noticed among attorneys among her firm’s IP and real estate groups.

Perhaps more reassuring, as Dowd noted, is that speech recognition software plays into “do-it-yourself” mindset that can keep law firms nimble.

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