Which areas of legal services should you automate to save the most time and money?


Legal

Legal firms around the world are constantly looking for ways to reduce expenses, deliver faster results and improve productivity and one of the biggest opportunities to address all of these challenges is through the use of automation.

McKinsey estimates that 23% of legal activities can be automated using current technology but knowing which areas of your business to apply automation to is key to ensuring you get the best return on investment. In this blog we’ll take a look at the areas best placed to benefit from automation and how much time and money you could save.

Research

Legal research is a time-consuming manual process which often sees lawyers spending hours, days or even weeks sifting through statuses, regulations, case law and other legal authorities to extract key quotations. But those days could soon be over. Thanks to advances in natural language processing (NLP) programmes can now locate detailed information of a highly specialised nature instantly. To determine just how effective NLP was, one lawyer in Miami decided to test his researching skills against a legal research application to see which would be faster and more thorough. In the end it took the attorney 10 hours to find a relevant case.  The software found that same case in less than 3 seconds. Case closed.

Contracts

Contract and document reviews are an arduous and time-consuming process, especially seeing as most legal firms still do this manually. Reviewing contracts requires a careful eye to avoid mistakes, as well as safely sharing the contract or document with the necessary parties. But this entire end-to-end process can be automated.  Using machine learning, programs can be taught to read contracts, identify concepts and clauses predetermined by the user, and present the information in an organised, easily digestible format, speeding up contract and document reviews by up to 90% while also eliminating the possibility of human error.

Time Sheets

Lawyers are losing money with issues relating to non-billable tasks like disorganisation, slow response to clients, late billing invoices and not tracking time. But not tracking time, or tracking it incorrectly is an easy mistake to make. When most of us have a hard time remembering what we did yesterday, let alone what we did last week or several weeks ago, its no surprise lawyer’s find this task difficult when they work on multiple matters for several different clients on any given day. However, time entries can be automated to eliminate the frustration associated with entering time. These tools work to streamline the process altogether, improving accuracy, eliminating lost time and it provides greater transparency. This works by automating the manual process of entering time by timing your work directly. Instead of trying to remember how much time you spent doing what for whichever client, or even diligently logging your time as you go along, automating time keeping can log the time you spend in the application itself as well as in Word and Outlook, analyse the work you’re doing, and organise it into its proper place based on previous user activity.

Automating manual legal processes clearly has numerous benefits – helping firms to save both time and money while reducing or eliminating the risk of error. But automation is just the beginning.

We’re seeing an increase in legal firms migrating to cloud to not only improve their automation strategy but also to lay the foundations for even greater digital change. We can’t blame legal firms for being wary of the cloud, but with cloud becoming more secure every day and with the need to automate manual processes and streamline operations, more legal firms are now keen to make the move in order to extract more value from their data.

To discover how the cloud and automation has empowered some of the UK’s biggest legal firms to use their data to transform the client experience, click here.

Posted by Helen Thomas