5 ways automation helps innovation-oriented law firms succeed

As technology advances, automation has become an increasingly beneficial tool to help lawyers manage heavy workloads and a growing client list. But at many law firms, automation is yet to become a daily part of the legal process.

Adopting automation tools can have a wide range of benefits for lawyers and firms alike. From sizable time savings to reduced human error, bots have the potential to radically and permanently change the way the law is practiced. And getting on board now will help prepare firms for an increasingly automated future. 

Here are five ways automation can help your firm accelerate your digital transformation.

1. Increase billable hours

As a firm, you run on billable hours. And any task that takes away from those hours has a real monetary cost. A 2020 report by Thomson Reuters on the State of Small Firms found that 74% of small law firms experienced difficulties with managing too many administrative tasks and too little billable legal work. Among lawyers at those firms, about 40% of their time was dedicated to these low-level responsibilities. 

While administrative tasks are an important part of your firm’s functioning, lawyers are trained – and paid – to practice the law. By automating these low-level responsibilities, your firm could free up countless hours in the day to spend on billable client work. This in turn increases your profitability while cutting down on frustrating process inefficiencies.

2. Cut down on busy work

Much of the low-level work your firm is responsible for could easily be managed with automation. In fact, recent data from McKinsey Global suggests that as much as 23% of a lawyer’s responsibilities could be automated using currently available technology. 

Your team is made up of highly educated and skilled professionals. Automation allows you to stop spending nearly a quarter of your day on busy work and dedicate more of your energy to the value-creating tasks you were trained to do. 

At MKI, a law firm specialising in employment law, lawyers saved more than 50 hours in a short time after building just one bot to manage a repetitive task. By quickly creating an automated process for their time-consuming responsibilities, they earned back hours of time to dedicate to high-value client work.

3. Delight clients with automated document drafting

Client service is the heartbeat of any law firm. As lawyers, your main goal is to meet the fiduciary needs of your clients and to do so in an efficient and effective manner. And as you know, documents are a necessary, but time-consuming part of the legal process.

The task of collecting information from all parties and creating required documentation can be lengthy and repetitive. With automation, your team can hand over the task of gathering data and producing documents to a bot. Your clients can simply enter any required information quickly and easily, and your bot will automatically generate an error-free document. 

Rather than spending days or even weeks going back and forth asking for further information, automating document drafting takes the guesswork and the delays out of the equation. And with the documentation you need to move forward, your clients will enjoy dramatically reduced turnaround times and quicker, more efficient service. 

4. Find and intake new clients

The capabilities of automation go beyond tasks like organising files and document drafting. In fact, many firms have had success with automating lead generation and client intake. The team at MKI built a bot to answer commonly asked questions about unfair dismissal. Lawyers saved time on answering these repetitive inquiries, while the bot automatically provided advice and generated more than 300 potential leads for the firm.  

By providing information about case viability to potential clients, your firm can passively build up a pool of leads. And beyond identifying possible cases, automation can also handle the repetitive but crucial client intaking process. Using your existing client intake template, your team can quickly and easily build a bot that gathers client information and automatically creates a comprehensive intake form. 

From leads to intake, building your clientele no longer needs to be a lengthy and difficult process. With automation, your team can create repetitive and scalable processes that help your firm grow.

5. Future-proof your firm

The writing is on the wall: automation is here to stay. And the legal profession is not exempt from the pressures of changing technology. By adopting the benefits of automation in your firm, you help prepare for an increasingly digital future. 

Automation also provides an advantage for small to medium sized firms, allowing them the opportunity to compete with much larger teams. Instead of feeling pressure to continually hire more employees or add to the plates of existing staff, firms with modest budgets can instead invest in legal technology that frees up time, money, and manpower. 

Maeva Slotine, founding partner of Hong Kong law firm Slotine, found a way to streamline the inefficient back and forth of information gathering for new client letters by implementing a Josef bot. Rather than provide repetitive input and information to her admin management, Slotine instead used a bot to automatically generate error-proof letters quickly and efficiently. 

By involving fewer staff members and just one bot, Slotine saved hours of time and removed barriers to progress, allowing the legal process to be put in motion far faster than before.

Legal teams use Josef to save time, scale their services and delight staff and clients.

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