How Work Process Automation Can Help Your Law Firm Compete

/, Productivity/How Work Process Automation Can Help Your Law Firm Compete

In today’s legal marketplace where software is making it easier for ordinary people to access legal information and forms, law firms who want to remain competitive must automate their processes. Here’s why:

Lower Prices/Higher Profits

When lawyers spend hours creating legal documents, that’s a cost they must pass on to clients. Because automating processes allows law firms to improve their document creation system, time spent on document assembly is greatly reduced. Documents that may have required 30 minutes of an attorney’s time in the past, may only take 10 minutes or less if the process has been adequately automated. There’s a huge difference between creating an entire document every time you need it for a case and simply importing already entered client data into an existing document template — that’s effective automation. Some lawyers can offer flat rates for certain legal matters because they have effectively leveraged the power of automation in their law firm. Lower prices mean you can attract more clients while also spending less time on each matter with the help of an automated work process.

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Easier to Outsource

It’s unfortunate but many lawyers feel they need to do everything because no one understands their process. For those lawyers, they can never really scale up their law practice—they become chained to their business on a day-to-day basis. When law firms automate their process from the ground up, they can outsource some routine tasks for very little money. For example, if an independent contractor only needs to enter data and merge that data to a pre-existing form, it will cost less for the law firm to outsource those tasks that lend themselves to this type of automation. The more tasks a law firm can outsource, they better off they are financially, freeing up more time to do the billable work that adds to the firm’s bottom-line.

Easy Document Access

Lawyers lose productivity when support staff can’t find important documents to share with clients. Imagine this: A client calls your law firm’s paralegal looking for a document. An automated process that allows cloud-based storage of client matter data will make it easy for that paralegal to find that information. But if that client information is stored locally on a lawyer’s desktop or stored in a restricted network folder, the paralegal is forced to interrupt the lawyer’s workflow just to get that information. If you can automate your process in a way that support staff can easily access important client information, you can reduce the amount of time a lawyer spends searching for documents when clients request them.

Improved Accountability

Using the right automation tools, your law firm can allow for better collaboration and accountability. Time-tracking tools let you see instantly who is doing what and for how long on any matter. Cloud-based document storage allows multiple parties in various locations to edit documents in real-time, allowing all involved to view who made revisions and when. This type of open but controlled access to information lets you easily take account of the activities of all team members at your law firm.

If your law firm wants to learn how to automate your work process, explore some of Smokeball’s software solution.

By | August 28th, 2017|

About the Author:

For years, Josh has helped lawyers become more organized, productive, and profitable. A trained litigator, Josh came to Smokeball from a large east-coast law firm where his practice focused on franchise, insurance, marine, and general litigation. His work with Smokeball, and his continued passion for what he does each day, is driven by a desire to help lawyers and their staff do better in every way. Knowing well the stress and strain put on today’s legal professional, he regularly focuses on improving work and life in the law. He has traveled the country working with and learning from lawyers and their staff. Josh speaks regularly to bar associations about successful law firm practices and other legal topics. Recent notable engagements have been with the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the Missouri Bar’s Solo and Small Firm Conference. In addition to his work at Smokeball, Josh serves on the Writing Resource Center staff at The John Marshall Law School. Besides legal technology, his research interests include judicial decision-making, jury decision-making and psychology, and legal writing. He has written and overseen research exploring causal effects of sex/gender on federal appellate court decision-making, and assisted with research for a forthcoming textbook on judicial decision-making. Josh holds his J.D., cum laude, from Washington University in St. Louis, where he served as a Senior Editor of the Wash. U. Law Review, held the prestigious Thompson Coburn Research Fellowship, served as Research Assistant to then-Vice-Dean (now Chancellor) Andrew D. Martin, and clerked at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and a B.M. in Music Performance with Honors Scholar distinction from the University of Connecticut, making him a Huskies basketball fan through and through. Follow Josh’s activity on LinkedIn, and keep up with new articles on the Smokeball Blog.

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