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What is Law Firm Automation?​

Evan Wong (CEO & Co Founder)    Apr 4, 2021   7 min read

What exactly is Law Firm Automation?

Law firm automation is the use of legal automation software to drive internal operational efficiency and provide value-adding solutions for clients.

Why is Law Firm Automation Important?

The Expectation of Increased Legal Output

The days of legal practices operating in a ‘black box’ are long gone. Clients expect transparency and real-time insight across their legal service provider’s value chain – in terms of both the scope and substance of inputs, outputs, deliverables, cost, price, and implied margins. In many ways, the veil has been lifted and collaboration between supplier and client is the ‘new normal.’ 

Clients recognize the value of a lawyer’s technical skill and experience and are willing to pay for the application of this to help guide commercial decisions, manage risk, enforce rights and pursue opportunities – provided they feel confident that the sticker price reflects the most efficient and effective application of resources to provide the value delivered. 

Clients don’t want to pay top dollar for the time of an experienced lawyer generating a standard form employment agreement, or advising on what is and what isn’t permissible under a statutory scheme when they have answered the same questions in the same manner multiple times before. They want to ensure that aspects of that process that can be standardized, streamlined and automated have been, and that any human intervention and thought process involved is essential to ensuring the quality and value of the service. 

The rise in leveraging technology, specifically law firm automation, is the reaction to this expectation of increased legal output from firms. Tools which improve internal efficiency to deliver greater output are essential in addressing these demands, and as firms develop their technology roadmap, a client-centric approach is essential in achieving long-term relationships where bespoke solutions are designed based on client’s operational needs. Ultimately, this enables firms to become strategic partners for in-house legal teams, allowing them to use these solutions to further increase their value. 

How DLaw Firms Become Strategic Partners with Their Clients? 

  1. Automate standardized processes and documents: Law firms must meet client expectations and deliver standardized products and services, where knowledge has become commoditized and the value of a set process is already ‘priced’ to a generally accepted market price. However, in order to remain competitive in selling these services, automation must be leveraged to bring the cost down. 
  2. Bespoke legal operation tools: Law firms must adopt a sales and marketing business strategy for growth and survival. Disciplines like legal operations (or ‘Legal Ops’) have emerged and are seeing legal departments run like a business. These disciplines are focused on optimizing the delivery of legal services to their business clients – with law firm automation being a key pillar to achieving this. 

Use Cases for Law Firm Automation

Digital transformation solutions will vary based on the area of law, though there are some constants we see as being good foundations for success: 

  1. Contract generation: Not a new concept in the world of law firms. However, taking a business development lens, the opportunity is clear; remove yourself from the actual process of compiling these contracts for your clients and give them the power to do this themselves, charge them less, and focus your skills on maintenance and upkeep.  
  2. Automated advice generation: Focus your expertise on more complex matters and provide a 24-7 tool for simpler, repetitive questions. Clients expect bespoke advice around what is and isn’t permissible under a statutory scheme to be streamlined and self-serve with a ‘bank’ of up-to-date answers. 
  3. Expense request workflows: With effortless expense automation, free lawyers from non-billable admin work and finance teams from inefficient workflows. 
  4. Case generation: Productize processes and re-tool service lines to generate cases from new or existing customers.
  5. Patent application automation: Revolutionize the patent application process by eliminating mistakes through legal automation.

The Benefits of Automation in Law Firms

There are many reasons for building out your law firm automation strategy. Here are a few:

  • Client stickiness: The more value you add to a client, the less likely they are to shop around & leave you. It’s much more profitable to retain a client than to acquire a new one.
  • Business Development: Stand out from your competitors by demonstrating tangible innovation and win new business, and even push into brand new markets and service lines. 
  • Revenue generating: Productized legal services by their very nature lend themselves to new and innovative revenue models, enabling larger margins and competitive pricing on fixed price offerings, or scaling revenue beyond the billable hour through recurring subscriptions on managed legal products.

Checkbox as a Law Firm Automation platform

Checkbox by its very design is a no-code law firm automation platform, making it the perfect technology for building and maintaining legal process automation tools for clients. What this means in reality is that law firms can create bespoke automation solutions without building software development capability in-house, which has traditionally been one of the reasons why law firms typically fail at developing software. Building out apps on Checkbox is as easy as drag and drop. The customer experience is modern, apps are accessible on any device, white labelled with your branding, and can be deployed in a matter of days, not months.

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