The legal industry is service-based, making a lawyer's time their most valuable asset to their firm. Since much of this time is spent completing several repeatable processes throughout the day, legal automation may be key to increasing billable hours and reducing time spent on non-billable hours.
Lawyers have a reputation for being slow to adopt technology, but research has shown that law firms are facing increased pressure to augment their use of legal technology. This is due to a combination of factors, such as the changing demographics of younger lawyers and the desire for flexibility and agility. However, the greatest and most significant driver is pressure from clients.
“Law firms’ clients know that technology can review documents in less than half the time and, what’s more, the law firms now know that clients know this – this is fundamentally changing the formula.” - England and Wales Law Society Lawtech Adoption Report 2019
Gain insight into the automation trends and must-have tools of 2022, help future-proof your law firm.
What is Legal Automation?
Legal automation involves using technology to complete repetitive tasks, instead of having a lawyer or administrative staff complete the task manually. The clear benefit of this is that tasks can be completed more efficiently, and sometimes even more accurately.
Automation Trends in 2022
E-discovery and practice management systems are some automation tools that have become an essential part of legal services all over the world.
But now, we can see there is a growing number of tools available that automate more sophisticated work. More accurate speech recognition technology and sophisticated machine learning is becoming available, automating work that was previously thought to be unavailable for automation.
Keeping on top of emerging trends can help keep law firms increase their competitive edge. Administrative work will soon be automated away, leaving lawyers with more time to do billable work, or even work fewer hours altogether.
Must-Have Legal Automation Solutions 2022
1. Client Communications
There are many opportunities to automate tasks relating to client communications. Using a smart communications platform can help law firms keep track of their client contacts, automatically submit time entries, and mitigate compliance risk.
2. Speech Recognition
Law firms can take advantage of advances in speech recognition technology, by using technology to complete communications tasks. This could include using an app to transcribe court proceedings, dictations, and phone communications.
3. Practice Management System
Some practice management systems go beyond just digitizing case management and client intake. Choose a practice management system that has automation features such as workflow, email, and document automation.
4. Document Automation
Most document automation solutions create draft documents like engagement letters and wills, by having clients fill out a form. The data points from the form are then inserted into a template, creating a draft document in a matter of moments. Now, companies are looking at developing more complex document automation solutions by using more sophisticated AI that pieces information together from meetings, phone calls, and notes.
5. Contract Review
Contract reviewing software quickly review contracts and reduce the chance of human error going unnoticed. These solutions make it easier for multiple people to review a contract and to customize contract reviewing workflows.
Automation might be the answer...
Past trends are showing that the legal industry, amongst all others, is slowly moving towards automating more and more work. So to increase competitiveness and ensure the longevity of your law firm, legal automation may be key. Keep long-term trends in mind and invest in solutions that are designed to be a useful component of your law firm’s legal service delivery.