Bringing automation to your firm can save time and money. But where do you begin? And how do you ensure the automation process doesn’t sacrifice your ability to provide a client-centered experience? Below we’ve outlined the best practices when it comes to investing in the automation process.
Why automate law firm processes?
Lawyers can automate a significant portion of their work with current technology. This gives your law firm the advantage of servicing your clients and attracting new business more efficiently.
With law office automation and technology, you’re not taking away the human element of the practice. Rather, you’re shrinking the non-billable hour by spending fewer resources on time-intensive administrative tasks. Another benefit to automation: You’ll have more time for work requiring your unique legal skills and expertise.
Below are a few ways automating routine law firm processes will benefit your organization.
- Removes room for human error related to duplicate data entry.
- Creates a better client experience. When processes clients interact with directly are automated or self-service (such as filling out forms).
- Increases attorney satisfaction as lawyers can spend more time on billable work and other revenue-producing activities.
- Improves communication and transparency between your law firm’s staff and clients.
- Decreases the overhead costs of staffing and other fees associated with a conventional law office.
How to automate your law firm
Automating your law firm might seem easier said than done, but with the right steps in place, the transition can be much easier than you think. Below are six steps to consider when adopting automation technology at your firm.
1. Choose what to automate
The key is to start with one thing at a time. In particular, start with one thing that you don’t like. Now, think of all the tasks that would be a lot simpler and quicker if you didn’t have to manually execute them.
2. Evaluate the value of each task
You’ve created a list of all the things you don’t like doing. The next step is to decide which ones are the best automation opportunities. Does it take a lot of time to do? Is it repetitive or tedious? Or is it a necessary task but non-billable? Most importantly, is it time-sensitive?
3. Create a plan
If you determine your law firm could benefit from automating numerous tasks, create an action plan so you can tackle changes one by one. You’ll also need to prioritize implementation as part of your daily tasks, without jeopardizing the attorney and client experience.
4. Research automation tools
Once you’ve prioritized which processes to automate, conduct research to find the best solution that fits your needs—based on your implementation timeline and budget. The Clio App Directory is a good place to start your research. If you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, tools like Zapier can help you automate actions between specific tools.
5. Develop a change management plan
Technological change can be uncomfortable and intimidating for your staff. Ensure they’re aware of the plan. Also, make sure your firm has proper training in place for the easiest transition. It’s always better to communicate change early.
6. Review and repeat
Although part of the advantages of implementing automation includes being able to “set it and forget it”, there will always be an advantage to regularly re-evaluating your processes over time. There are plenty of customization opportunities using automation tools. Also, each vendor will regularly offer new and updated features, so never be complacent with your technology. Also, regularly asking for feedback from staff and clients will help you uncover valuable opportunities for improvement—and further savings on overhead.
For more tips, watch this webinar on easy ways to automate your law firm.
3 ways to implement law office automation
Law firms are full of processes that don’t require the attention and time of attorneys or even staff. Law office automation is a way of using technology to complete these repetitive processes, from intake to invoice. We’ll be highlighting the top five ways you can implement law office automation.
1. Client intake
The client intake process sets the foundation for how you go about building a relationship with your client. First impressions count. Client intake is the critical step where client and case information is collected, and where clients have their first direct touchpoint with your law firm.
Your firm can automate portions of this process by allowing clients to provide their intake information online, and then syncing this seamlessly to your client intake and/or case management software.
Tools for client intake automation
From customizable intake forms to software that gives clients the option to sign virtual documents with an e-signature, there are plenty of tools that will enable you to automate the client intake process. Look for a tool that works directly with your practice management software, allowing you to create a new contact or case as soon as a new client fills out an intake form.
2. Document automation
Document automation is exactly what it sounds like—faster and easier document creation. Not unlike tax preparation software programs, robotic document drafting tools work by presenting users with a questionnaire that they can easily fill out with their information. Responses are then automatically collected and recorded within a case. This information can then be inserted into a document template and returned for approval.
Tools for document automation
With Clio Manage, you’re able to pull items from different matter fields into merge fields that will enable you to automatically create documents from your matters. Clio Manage integrations such as Lawyaw offer even more solutions such as the ability to auto-populate documents, automating the document creation process and more.
3. Client communications
Automating client communications can help cut down the time required for individual client intake, document drafting, and billing. However, it shouldn’t prevent high-quality, personalized communication.
Automation will help you cut down on tedious processes and simple routine communications, leaving more space and time for higher-quality personal interactions.
Tools for client communication automation
Clio Grow is Clio’s cloud-based legal client relationship management software that helps create a much more efficient process when it comes to attracting and retaining clients for your law firm. In one place, you’re able to automate tasks, emails, and workflows that may be redundant for your law firm, but are of utmost importance for developing strong relationships with your clients.
Law office automation offers unparalleled growth opportunities
Law office automation technology provides infinite opportunities when it comes to helping you save time on key law firm processes, and money on your bottom line. This includes client intake, documentation, client communications, and more. By optimizing these areas, you’ll be able to spend less time doing non-billable tasks. Thereby creating more time for revenue-generating work for your firm.
For more information, watch our webinar on how to use automation to increase efficiency at your law firm.