The term ‘time is money’ is especially true for law firms. In fact, productivity is critical to their success, especially with the growing popularity of flat fee billing, where every minute counts against profitability.
With a limited amount of time and growing workload, law firms of all sizes must find better ways to become more efficient and make attorneys’ lives easier. Doing so will not only help them become more profitable, but will also improve the legal experience for both employees and clients.
Make document creation more efficient
While many law firms have turned to cloud platforms to help them manage, discover and share their documents, there are more efficiency gains to be made when it comes to creating documents.
This is because the creation of many types of legal documents, such as deeds and contracts, the process remains highly inefficient. Many firms rely too heavily on manual processes and data entry, which can be time-consuming and error-prone.
So how can law firms come out on top in this highly competitive world? The answer lies in automation.
Speed up processes and create error-free work
Whether you are a small law firm creating a client intake form or a large law firm creating M&A documents, many of these workflows can be easily automated which can save a significant amount of time and money. In fact, lawyers have reported up to 82 percent time savings when using document automation to generate contracts and other legal documents.
By automating the production of legal documents through smart templates and applications, legal teams can increase their efficiency, reduce errors and eliminate the need to manually enter the same information across multiple documents and formats.
Here are some specific examples of how document automation can help law firms of all sizes and corporate legal teams:
- New client intake for small law firms: With the amount of competition among small firms, efficiency can mean make or break when it comes to winning new business. Automating client intake and engagement letters that can be passed to clients to sign electronically can save administrative time and effort. At the same time, it shows prospective clients that the firm is fast, attentive, accurate and innovative.
- Document generation: Particularly useful for boutique firms—such as estate planning, family law, or bankruptcy practices—that offer flat rates for legal packages rather than charging hourly, the ability to save time creating documents is critical to keeping hourly work within the price range. to hold structures. Automation can help firms gather the necessary information and automatically generate most, if not all, of the documents included in a fixed-price package. This helps to save time and free up specialized consultation time with clients.
- Mergers and acquisitions term sheet intake and generation of transaction documents: With time-sensitive legal work, such as mergers and acquisitions (M&A) – where the timeliness and success of large transactions going through will affect many people – any time-saving opportunities are useful. This is where automation can help larger law firms. By automating the process of creating a term sheet intake and automatically populating standard M&A documents, lawyers can get a head start on the process and eliminate the risk of potential errors.
- Case intake for corporate legal teams: Usually, when corporate lawyers are served with lawsuits, they will have to manually generate responsive pleadings to ensure that the case is handled properly. Automating the intake process ensures that no steps are missed, responsive pleading templates are automatically generated and all relevant information is exactly where it needs to be. This frees up legal staff to spend more time responding to a lawsuit and less time on administrative work.
In a world where law firms compete on price and talent, the adoption of automation has never been more important. It’s clear that automating workflows and document creation can help law firms on the path to a more productive and profitable business.
Photo credit: r.classen/Shutterstock
Scott Kelly is senior product manager at NetDocuments and co-founder of AfterPattern (recently acquired by NetDocuments).