Ever wonder whether you’re using technology to your advantage? Wouldn’t it be great if you could let technology handle the hard stuff while you focus your time and energy on running the firm? Believe it or not, it is possible, and it all comes down to one magic word: automation.
Since automation makes a process more efficient, typically using technology, it’s easy to confuse automation with artificial intelligence, or to use the terms interchangeably. So, what does automation look like in a law firm?
When you use stand-alone software, functionality or add-ons built into programs that allow the computer to do work much more accurately and quickly than you ever could, that’s automation. Automation is also a form of delegation – moving tasks best done by computers to computers and away from humans through implementation of procedures, routines and rules.
Automation might also mean assigning your tasks to other members of your staff. Do you really need to be the one who files the cases, or can another attorney handle that job? Are you responsible for calling clients to confirm meetings, or is your receptionist capable of being a point of contact?
In other words, the most successful automation frees you up to think and do higher-level work. So, let’s think about some things that you could automate in your own firm:
- Drafting documents, such as contracts, letters and pleadings
- Billing and invoicing correspondences
- Collating contact information, such as phone and fax numbers, addresses and email addresses
- Automatic renumbering of sections in documents
As you can see, any area of law practice that requires repeated processes can benefit from automation. Now that you understand the power of automation, it’s time to put it into practice. Start with document and text automation, and look for programs that do that well.
Yes, it’ll be scary at first, and you’re going to have to trust your processes. But automation is an essential part of every lawyer’s survival toolkit. Using automation to handle the repetitive work in your firm will allow you to get things done cheaper, faster and better, and in turn, you’ll be able to more effectively compete with other lawyers (even those who seem bigger, faster and more aggressive than you are) and give them a run for their money.
Remember: Make your computers and people work for you. Don’t do their work for them!