In recent years, the use of software automation has expanded rapidly in almost every industry—and while the legal field has always been slow to adopt new technologies, more and more law firms are discovering the power of document automation.
In the past, even the most routine legal documents needed to be prepared and sent by hand—a time-consuming and tedious process that often cut into time attorneys could better spend tending to other tasks. Document automation tools for your law firm allow to produce high volumes of letters, forms, bills, invoices, and other legal documents in less time while also reducing errors from manual data entry.
By implementing document automation, law firms can easily optimize their workflows, reduce administrative hassle, and provide more efficient legal services for their clients. Here are nine ways that legal document automation can streamline your law firm’s workflow and increase profitability.
1. Increase efficiency and profitability
Manually creating complex legal documents like contracts, leases, and NDAs can be a time-consuming process. Although it seems straightforward, document management can get complicated fast, especially if your law firm is growing quickly.
With documentation automation, your law firm can create consistent, high-quality documents in a fraction of the time. In just a few clicks, a legal document automation tool for law firm can generate a brand-new document, ready for you to fill out. Creating document templates is as easy as uploading existing files and converting them into fillable documents that can be customized with client and matter information.
By streamlining the document creation process, lawyers can focus on completing other high-priority tasks and providing an excellent customer experience for their clients. Reducing the time needed for creating documents ultimately results in more time for other areas of the business, including more billable hours that directly translate to increased profitability.
2. Minimize errors from manual data entry
Copying and pasting information into a new document sounds simple enough, but human error is inevitable. And when lawyers have to create detailed legal documents from scratch every day, the likelihood of mistakes is even higher.
For law firms, correcting and resubmitting documents can add up to hours of extra time spent on administrative tasks rather than billable hours. Adding document automation software to your workflow leads to less time spent on manual document creation—and less opportunity for human error.
Document automation software can help your law firm eliminate human error by populating the fields in common legal documents with information pulled from your firm’s knowledge bases. Rather than having to manually create and fill out a new legal document each time, you can automatically generate and fill in common legal documents from a pre-existing template, reducing the risk of data entry errors.
3. Improve document security
The growing popularity of cloud storage and other digital tools has made document security more challenging for law firms. In many instances, a minor security oversight could leave your law firm vulnerable to a data breach. In 2021, 25 percent of law firms surveyed reported that they had experienced a data breach.
Most legal documents shouldn’t be accessible to just anyone. Depending on the nature of your legal practice, your law firm might need to meet specific regulatory compliance requirements, such as HIPAA and SOX. Most regulations demand thorough, accurate reporting to show that data is properly secured. For example, HIPAA requires that all forms of protected health information (PHI), including electronic data, are adequately secured to prevent unauthorized access.
A legal document automation platform aggregates all of your files into a single platform with built-in security measures to protect sensitive data. Document automation software typically includes a document management feature, which makes it easy to restrict access to certain documents. A document automation tool will also record who viewed a document and when it was last accessed to create an audit trail for future compliance reports.
4. Boost teamwork and collaboration
Document automation helps an organization more easily update and oversee all documents, typically by leveraging cloud storage to make files accessible even outside the office. By enabling remote work, document automation for law firms allows your employees to collaborate wherever they’re located.
Thanks to the cloud, users can create, edit, and save documents in a unified document automation platform. With document automation, employees more effectively collaborate with one another and share documents directly with clients for their approval and signature. Secure file sharing tools like LexShare even allow clients to avoid logging into client portals, making the process straightforward and extremely user friendly.
5. Gain valuable data insights
If you aren’t tapping into the data that your law firm already has, then you’re missing out on valuable information that can help you better understand your business, your clients, and your industry.
An intelligent document automation software can gather and analyze data, then generate reports based on key performance indicators. Making data-driven decisions to improve your processes results in improved performance, easier compliance, and a better customer experience. By harnessing the power of your own data, your organization can identify inefficient workflows that you might not have otherwise noticed.
6. Deliver a superior customer experience
No matter your practice area, clients expect efficiency and a fast turnaround when it comes to signing legal documents. Although creating and managing a database of legal documents is a critical component of any law firm, these administrative tasks can quickly become overwhelming. However, a document automation platform can manage these processes in the background so lawyers can focus on actually practicing law.
Additionally, the rapid expansion of automation and other advanced technologies has created higher expectations among clients. Today, most clients expect to be able to quickly sign and send over a contract from their mobile device within a few minutes. Many legal document automation platforms also include e-signature capabilities, so your clients can be sent a link to sign securely from any device.
7. Attract new clients
Enabling your law firm to focus on clients, rather than documents, means you can bring more clients into your practice. By creating document templates, a law firm can quickly produce customized, accurate legal documents and send the files to their clients that same day. The ability to prepare and deliver key documents quickly can help you lose fewer leads from your intake funnel and hold on to existing clients with better, more efficient service.
8. Create a reliable knowledge base
By creating an ongoing record of all the documents that a law firm handles, document automation can help you store, organize, and retain crucial knowledge for long-term use. A legal document automation tool can support a shared knowledge base by making it easy for users to quickly search for documents. A good document automation software should be able to search within the text of the documents, not just the file names.
Accessible document automation tools can also expedite the onboarding process for new lawyers. Law firms can use document automation software to standardize their essential processes, reducing the time and resources spent on teaching new hires how to create documents.
9. Reduce storage costs
Historically, the legal industry has been a paper-based business. From constantly updating client files to making extra copies of contracts in triplicate, law firms must often store huge volumes of paper hard copies. As the cost of leasing a commercial property increases, so does the cost of storing paper documents, which literally take up valuable real estate in a legal office.
Switching to a legal document automation system for law firms reduce the space used for filing cabinets, boxes, and other document storage solutions. If you absolutely need to keep hard copies, then an offsite storage unit is a more cost-efficient option than onsite storage. Creating digital copies of every document eliminates the need to physically retrieve a specific file from another part of the office or another location entirely, which can add an extra boost to your law firm’s productivity.
Boost your workflow with document automation
Document automation can make a huge difference in how a law firm operates. Unlike manual document management, which can lead to disorganized or lost files, document automation helps you avoid costly inefficiencies, save time, and provide better service to your clients.
If you’re ready to get started, TimeSolv’s robust suite of document automation tools can help you effortlessly prepare and manage your documents in less time. Get in touch today to start your free trial.