Advocating Efficiency: The Argument for Legal Document Automation
Legal services are changing. As noted by Forbes, while the scope and nature of these services were historically set by law firms, evolving client expectations, and a widening market base mean legal services are whatever buyers need to solve business challenges.
This creates a commensurate challenge for law practices: Existing processes and best practices can’t keep pace with the emerging need for auditable, on-demand services that deliver consistent legal outcomes. The result? Industry expertise isn’t enough in isolation; efficiency is now the key advocate in process and practice success.
According to recent survey data from The Lawyer, firms are taking steps to bridge common efficiency gaps with new legal technology including time tracking, HR management, and document automation solutions. But with many familiar processes still working as intended — even if slower than desired — change may not come easy. Making the case means backing up industry shifts with in-situ specifics. Let’s break down three key arguments for document automation.
Overrule Common Errors
Legal data must be accurate, actionable, and fully comply with all applicable compliance standards. What’s more, many firms are now required to supply this data on-demand to meet eDiscovery requests and handle new streams of data that include electronic forms, multimedia sources, and even social media posts.
Firms now cite the triple-threat of high expectations, consistent structure, and compliance requirements as their top document management challenges. Under this kind of pressure, it’s easy for stressed staff to make data-entry errors, but an overlooked form field here or misfiled document there could mean cases are undermined and billable hours are wasted.
Document automation tools streamline the dual processes of form entry and data discovery, allowing documents to be discovered, captured, and organized across legal networks while associates work on winning the case.
Raise the Bar for Onboarding
Onboarding talent is a challenge for any firm. New lawyers must be trained to use internal systems, collaborate on documents, and analyze critical case data without exposing firms to undue risk. Put simply, legal practices need confidentiality without compromise. Employment forms must be secure, standardized, and easily distributed to new staff members.
Internal collaboration systems must empower new talent to jump right in and begin assisting senior partners, while workflow and approval processes must be streamlined to ensure an auditable workflow path that tracks all redactions, comments, and signatures. The right document automation tools raise the bar for onboarding by increasing operational efficiency without compromising essential confidentiatity.
Drive Sustained Growth
As noted by Boss Reporting, reputation now plays a critical role in long-term growth. But this reputation is no longer tied to practice expertise alone. Service expectations are increasing as new technologies democratize the availability of information.
To drive sustained growth, law firms must automate key document practices such as creating new forms, capturing information from existing templates, or integrating client data. If not, firms risk spending so much time formatting, standardizing, and redacting documents that client service starts to suffer. Here, custom-built automation workflows that integrate with existing legal applications are essential to meet client expectations without introducing data security risk.
Efficiency is the new expectation; automation is your best advocate. Legal technology solutions empower firms to reduce potential errors, streamline staff onboarding, and enhance long-term growth.