From self-checkouts to self-driving vehicles, automated assembly systems to chatbots, automation is on the rise.
Robotics is changing the way people live, work, and communicate, and this is just the beginning of a new era. It's no wonder, then, that the robotics market will register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25 percent over the forecast period of 2019-2024 . Automation is impacting the legal sector, too. Legal professionals can reduce the effort that it takes to complete manual tasks. This, in turn, leads to a modern forward thinking solution that boosts efficiency, improves productivity, and saves money.
The Rise of Automation in the Legal Sector
The legal sector has long been a process and paper-heavy industry. In recent years, however, automation tools have impacted almost every type of legal job role, including attorneys, legal services directors, paralegals, administrative staff, and even judges. Sure, some law firms have been hesitant to incorporate automation into their organization — companies in other professional service sectors have felt the same — but now legal professionals are beginning to realize the value of using these tools. There are many benefits of integrating automation tools into a legal firm. Long gone are the days when legal employees had to manually send out invoices or file court claims. Now, staff can incorporate automation into their daily routines, and it can facilitate the following processes :
- Customer service
In fact, automation has had such a huge impact on the legal sector that it's changing the way organizations operate. Research shows that employees spend 20-40 percent of their time manually searching documents. Automation tools, however, eliminate manual data entry completely .
Why a Law Firm Needs to Automate
Many legal professionals work 70-100 hours per week or more, but this still isn't enough time to complete all of their duties and offer high levels of service that their clients expect from them. Think about the tasks that eat into your firm's time — writing contracts, proof-reading documents, filing court claims, etc. Sure, your firm could hire more administrative staff to alleviate the workload, but this will impact your bottom line. Fortunately, there is a solution, and the answer is automation tools. These tools execute the following tasks:
- Streamline workflows
- Eliminate mistakes
- Increase the value of customer services
By using automation, you will streamline your billable hours, increase the efficiency of your legal work, and significantly increase profitability. Still not convinced? Research suggests that current technology replaces around 2 percent of a lawyer's total workload every year . This might not sound like a lot, but it could equate to hundreds to thousands of working hours and thousands to millions of dollars saved for your firm.
So, What Can You Automate?
Automation used to sound like science fiction for a legal practice, but now it's a reality. Sure, robots won't be representing defendants in court any time soon, but automation tools will benefit many areas of law practice, including the following:
1. Contract Reviews
Legal professionals can now use AI to review contracts based on their firm's predefined policies. Websites like LawGeex expedite this entire process, and users will receive notifications about unacceptable or missing contract clauses, for example. Using a tool like this can save you a considerable amount of time when reviewing contracts. In fact, LawGeex achieved 10 percent more accuracy compared to a real lawyer . Plus, it was faster than a human being at screening a non-disclosure agreement!
Products like HotDocs let you automate transactional legal documents — standard correspondence, complex wills, trusts, contracts, you name it. Document automation tools like this can also pull information from your practice management system, reducing the time it takes to generate legal documents.
3. CRM and Email Communications
Automation tools will streamline many of the processes involved in customer relationship management (CRM) and email communications. Use the latest tech to declutter your inbox, organize contacts, and monitor prospects as they progress through your communication funnels. Additionally, you can create personalized journeys for leads, which will improve user engagement and foster a deeper relationship with your target audience. Find out more about CRM systems for lawyers here. Combine these automation tools with customer support solutions such as Zendesk or Freshdesk for even more explosive results.
4. Client Intake
The client intake process is essential but can also be very time-consuming. Automating this process, however, will free up time when gathering client data before a preliminary meeting or phone call.
5. Agreement Templates and Proposal Automation
Think about how much time your firm spends developing proposals for clients. Automate this manual process, instead. The latest proposal tools allow your firm to seamlessly set up templates and can provide you with real-time analytics that offer unparalleled insights into your prospects — information such as opens, clicks, and time spent reviewing documents can be helpful metrics to analyze when developing your firm's marketing approach. Proposify is a proposal automation tool that will help your firm create quotes, contracts, and other sales documents without breaking a sweat.
A Bonus Tool For Law Firms
Communication & Slack
Many law firms have practice groups that operate silos of one another and communication can often be disconnected. Slack is a communications tool that eliminates the confusion of "stuffy email chains" and lets you collaborate on projects with other departments and firms quickly and seamlessly. You can use tools like Slack to create direct and group messages, share files, and call people from your desktop or mobile — the features are endless. Integrating efficient communications tools also has other valuable benefits like improving employee camaraderie and workplace culture.
Automation solutions are already boosting productivity and efficiency in the legal industry. Your law firm might be wary about incorporating new technology into its practice, but these tools will streamline workloads, nurture business development, and let your staff focus on other areas of work. Don't get left behind, start integrating these tools now to propel your firm ahead of your competition tomorrow.