Optical character recognition (OCR) has greatly simplified the process of turning scanned documents and images into text files, making it an incredibly convenient tool for both businesses and consumers alike. But traditional OCR processes still contain a lot of imperfections, and while they might perform well enough for some in low-stakes circumstances, they tend to cause a lot of problems for legal teams.
Why is it that traditional OCR processes fail when it comes to legal work? And, how can they be improved? Here are just a few areas where traditional OCR is underperforming for legal teams.
Accuracy - Traditional OCR is frustratingly inaccurate when faced with high volume and complexity, and tends to translate documents with around 70-80% accuracy. This means that 20 to 30% of conversions will contain an error that requires manual intervention, which is frankly an unacceptable statistic for any busy legal team. No matter the context, contractual language needs to be accurate 100% of the time, and software tools should be increasing accuracy, not contributing to a lack of it.
Capacity - Typically, traditional OCR processes do not seem to have the power or capacity necessary for converting images below a certain quality. This is a huge concern when you’re dealing with high volumes of documentation, and when you can’t dictate the quality of images and scans delivered by partners and clients. When faced with low-quality scans or blurry smartphone photos, traditional OCR tends to lock up and fail completely, or else deliver text files so heavily populated with misspellings that they're almost impossible to read.
Efficiency - OCR is a tool, and as a tool, you should be able to expect a certain amount of efficiency to be following its use. With traditional OCR processes, this is simply not the case, particularly in a legal setting. In fact, when errors caused by your software are frequent enough, what was initially intended as a solution turns out to be part of the problem. Automation tools that come with contract management software decrease your workload wherever possible, but inefficient components like traditional OCR tend to do the opposite.
OCR for legal teams truly shouldn’t be causing these problems, and contract management platforms that continue to utilize these traditional processes are a liability for legal teams. Advanced OCR solutions do exist, and are demonstrably more accurate, efficient, and have the capacity to convert images of all qualities into searchable, redline-ready text.
In The Importance of Reliable OCR Processes for Legal Teams, we’ll highlight some of the pitfalls of traditional OCR processes for contract management, and look at the overall benefits of adopting a more advanced solution.
Want to hear more about what an advanced OCR solution would look like? Check out this video about LinkSquares Smart OCR and how it can make your processes more reliable and efficient.