AI-powered Transcription Revolutionizes AAA-ICDR Arbitration, Enhancing Efficiency and Cost-Effectiveness

Posted on: Wed, 05/15/2024

By: Kendal Enz

The American Arbitration Association-International Centre for Dispute Resolution® (AAA-ICDR®) continually seeks innovative solutions to improve arbitration. In this effort, AAA-ICDR has teamed up with Optima Juris—a company renowned for expertly managing virtual, hybrid and in-person proceedings—to launch an exclusive artificial intelligence (AI)-powered transcription service. This technology, designed specifically for the AAA-ICDR, promises to revolutionize legal stenography by making it more accessible, accurate and affordable. 

The partnership with Optima Juris emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic when AAA-ICDR sought a third-party provider to manage its surge in virtual hearings. “As we evaluated our services during the pandemic, we considered whether we were fully meeting the emerging needs of attorneys and parties involved in arbitration,” said American Arbitration Association® (AAA®) Commercial Vice President Andrew Barton. “This led us to expand our offerings, adding services such as translation and document management through Optima Juris. At this juncture, they also introduced the concept of AI-powered transcription, which perfectly matched our evolving requirements.”

Optima Juris was testing its AI-powered transcription service prototype when it began discussions with the AAA. “Over the past year-and-a-half, we have fine-tuned this service, customizing it exclusively for the AAA’s specific needs in arbitration hearings and depositions,” said Optima Juris CEO Ian Hardy. “This effort has led to the creation of a unique technology—developed solely for the AAA—that no other entity offers.”

Parties are provided an AI-powered transcription host free of charge who starts and stops the transcription when parties go on and off the record. After the hearing or deposition, the transcript is sent through a sophisticated automatic speech recognition system that uses AI to deliver a high-quality transcript. Then, a two-layer editing process kicks off, in which two human proofreaders review the transcript for accuracy. “The parties who have utilized our AI transcription service have described it as nearly flawless,” Barton said. “It’s 99 percent accurate, which matches a stenographer on a really good day.”

Artificial intelligence-powered transcripts are delivered about twice as fast as those done by traditional court reporters. Standard delivery from a court reporter is 10 to 14 days, while AI-powered transcripts are delivered in three to five days. In addition, a rough draft of the AI-powered transcript is delivered within 24 hours. 

“Rough drafts are 96 to 97 percent accurate, which is good for notes or to check the basics of the record,” Barton said. “If you need to use parts of the transcript to argue certain points, you need the final transcript, but the rough drafts are beneficial for preparation.”

Starting at $2.30 per page per party for a typical hearing, AI-powered transcription through the AAA is also less than half the cost of traditional court reporting, which costs $5.70 per page per party for comparable service.

Additionally, Barton and Hardy noted that the availability of traditional court reporters is dwindling. They pointed out a significant decrease in new entrants into the field and a concurrent rise in retirements. “It’s an art form that is becoming less and less something that people go into as a career, so we’re running into a shortage throughout the legal market,” Barton said. This scarcity often forces attorneys to schedule their legal proceedings around the limited availability of court reporters. In contrast, AI-powered transcription is a readily available alternative, accessible at any time, day or night, Hardy said.

Parties who have used AI-powered transcription also noted that it is less intrusive than traditional court reporters. “AI transcription runs in the background, so you don’t have a fifth person sitting in the room and interrupting or asking parties what they said or if they can speak more clearly,” Barton said.

Artificial intelligence-powered transcription is available for remote and hybrid AAA hearings and depositions. Later this year, Optima Juris plans to roll out AI-powered transcription services for in-person hearings and depositions. “AI-powered transcription will become increasingly popular as we continue to refine and advance this technology,” Hardy said. “While court reporters will always have their place, the capabilities of AI are expanding rapidly, making it an essential component of modern legal proceedings.”

For more information about the AAA’s Deposition and Hearing Services in partnership with Optima Juris, please visit the AAA’s website