There isn’t enough time to deal with everything your firm needs to do, so how can you win back time? The answer might be document automation.
Each year, the team at Lawyaw talks to thousands of legal professionals who are looking for solutions to the myriad challenges of practicing law in the 21st century. The most common theme from those conversations is that there isn’t enough time in the day to deal with everything that needs to be done.
Many of those firms are hoping to use legal technology like document automation to modernize their operations — to adapt current processes to be more efficient so that their teams can do more with existing resources rather than trying to hire their way out of the problem.
Despite the buzz around remote work and virtual practice, it’s still a surprisingly small number of firms that have successfully adopted new technology to solve problems. According to the Future Ready Lawyers Survey released by Wolters Kluwer, only 32% of respondents said their firm was prepared to use technology to be more productive, while 88% are actively implementing new technology to try and catch up.
Part of what’s driving the recent spike in adoption is the increasing evidence that modernizing firms are gaining a competitive advantage. The survey found that technology-leading firms were almost three times more likely to have increased profitability during the past year compared to tech-trailing firms.
Why Choose Document Automation?
For most law firms, documents are the foundation of their practice. From filling and filing court forms to creating custom legal documents spanning the relationship from the fee agreement to final invoice (and everything in between), drafting legal documents is an essential part of most firms’ daily activities regardless of practice area.
In fact, many firms are spending as much as 20% of their time each week drafting documents using manual processes like find-and-replace across a series of finely tuned Word documents. That’s one day of each week!
The possibility of reducing the amount of time spent on legal drafting can be very impactful. It’s not just about the time saved, but how law firms can repurpose the time to higher-value tasks. Staff can spend more time improving client service, building relationships, or developing new business opportunities. The real impact is everything else you can do once you’re not spending so much time on rote tasks.
What Can Lawyaw’s Document Automation Do for You?
- Convert your firm’s existing MS Word docs into easy-to-use, cloud-based templates that can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. (We’ll gladly help with converting docs if you’re too busy.)
- Stop retyping client and matter information over and over into routine court forms and legal documents. Enter it once, and you’re done.
- Organize projects by pre-saving sets of documents that you use together frequently. This way, you can populate everything you’ll need for a project all at once.
- Avoid errors from manual drafting processes by streamlining document creation. Never worry about another missed footer again!
- Assign multiple roles to a contact (for those times when someone is Power of Attorney, Beneficiary, and Next of Kin, for example).
- Automatically update subject/verb agreement, pronouns and more based on client information, thanks to powerful conditional logic.
- Simplify delegation of tasks to staff even when working remotely, and never worry that people aren’t using up-to-date versions of documents.
- Improve client satisfaction with convenient tools like eSign built-in.
And that’s just the beginning.
We’d love to talk about the challenges you’re trying to solve and see whether our legal document tools would be a good fit for your practice.
What Are the Keys for Being Successful with New Technology?
There’s one key to getting this right: begin and end with the problem you’re trying to solve.
There are lots of “solutions” available, but none of them are going to fix things for you right out of the box. Before evaluating possible innovations in your practice, you first need to prioritize what problem you need to solve.
Follow this five-step process for prioritizing and selecting tools that will be most impactful for your firm:
- Write down everything that drives you nuts about your firm: Client communication, court filings, document drafting, accounts payable, and so on. But be as specific as possible. Dig into the broad problems to identify the specific pain points.
- Prioritize the problems. Identify factors that make some problems more impactful than others. Would solving a problem bring new revenue? Does a problem impact clients? Decide which factors move the needle and use that to score the problems. The one with the highest score gets solved first.
- Imagine possible solutions to your problem. Are there low-tech solutions? People-intensive solutions? Automation? Create a list of possible solutions to your one problem.
- Now prioritize your solutions with a set of factors that are most important to you. Maybe you want the fastest solution, the cheapest, or the easiest to implement. At the end of this second prioritization exercise, you’ll have one solution that ties back to your one problem.
- With the solution in hand, set a deadline and identify an advocate. You’ll need one person who owns the implementation. Whatever the result, one person should have a clear vision of the problem and solution pairing and be empowered to manage the implementation process for the rest of the team.
Read more about process changes and technology implementation best practices here to further improve your chances of success.