3 ways automation tools deliver ROI for law firms

Automation is an increasingly popular answer to legal challenges. Why? Because automating legal processes offers a scalable solution to resource bottlenecks and helps your team boost productivity by automating repetitive tasks. But let’s be honest, you already know this or at the least see this in your day-to-day.


For many small law firms resource shortages, heavy workloads, and rising demand can lead to dissatisfied clients and missed opportunities. Still, many law firms hesitate to take the leap into automation due to concerns over cost and return on investment (ROI). But automation is far from a temporary solution to temporary problems. The legal profession is changing, and technology is evolving to address the pain points experienced by lawyers and firms. 


Here are three ways automation can deliver significant and ongoing ROI for law firms. 

Streamline low-value work, increase billable hours

As you know, the profitability of your firm directly depends on your billable hours. Low-value work like document drafting, administrative responsibilities, and other repeatable tasks take lawyers away from their billable client-focused work. 


Of course, the to-do list items that fill your non-billable hours are also an important part of the legal process. But by automating those tasks, you earn back critical billable hours that directly lead to increasing the profitability of your firm. 


In just hours, your firm could build and share a bot that saves hundreds of hours on menial tasks. And your investment in automation can quickly yield major returns. At MKI, a law firm specialising in employment law, their first bot saved over 50 hours of work in a short period of time, allowing lawyers to instead focus on billable client work. 

Accomplish more with less

As tasks pile up, many lawyers put in extra hours to manage their difficult caseloads. In fact, Bloomberg Law’s 2020 Attorney Workload and Hours Survey found that one-fifth of law firm lawyers have reported as much as 80 hours of billable work in a week, not counting their time spent on non-billable responsibilities. 


For many firms, the perceived solution to this problem might be to hire more staff. However, the important and pertinent question is: can this solution scale? As your firm takes on more work can you continue to hire lawyers to meet this demand? What happens if you complete this project, how do you re-assign these new team members? What if you lose this client? Paying an additional salary places increased financial pressure on your firm, not to mention the time lag for hiring capable and qualified staff. 


With automation, your firm can build automated workflows that scale along with you, all without paying another salary, losing productivity or staff due to burnout. And with increased process efficiencies firm-wide, you can satisfy existing clients without compromising on the quality of your work and potential reputational damage. 


Research from McKinsey Global Institute indicates that as much as 23% of a lawyer’s work could be automated. With 23% fewer administrative and low-value tasks to manage, imagine how much more you could achieve for clients and for your firm’s future. 

Overtake your competitors

Whether your firm is small or large, it takes more than hard work to keep up with the competition. As the industry adopts automation, firms that lag behind face the prospect of being left exposed to disruption. 


Competitors who make use of automation technology gain an advantage over their peers by lowering costs, gaining more time they can dedicate to high-value billable work, and more resources at their disposal. Automation allows firms to continually achieve more with less, even in the face of global staffing shortages and other challenges. 


Implementing automation is an investment in your firm’s success, both now and in the future. And by making the leap sooner rather than later, you substantially increase your lifetime ROI. 


Rethinking the way things get done helped law firm Arent Fox to accurately and efficiently complete 600 audit interviews. Lawyers worked together to conduct interviews and input responses to a Josef bot, instantly generating reports and streamlining answers. Automation helped Arent Fox accomplish large tasks in an otherwise unthinkable timeframe, launching them into a more productive and innovative future.

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