How to Automate Processes in a Law Firm + 5 Processes to Start With
Automating processes in your law firm can provide you with robust returns on investments, as well as improving the overall operational metrics of your law firm. To begin, you should think of what documents you create daily or weekly, what tasks you complete regularly, tasks that are delayed or forgotten, and how you communicate with prospective and current clients.
What is Automating Processes, and Why Does it Matter?
Automating processes in a law firm involves using technology to streamline your workflows. Automation can complete tasks and generate documents for you, or it can assist your team in always knowing the next steps to take to move a matter through the workflow. In this post, we will break down five processes to start with.
How to Automate 5 Processes in Your Law Firm
Correctly implementing document automation returns lucrative results. Not only does it save time, but it also improves accuracy. You can use a standalone software or a law practice management software that offers a document automation feature.
Create webforms that your clients can fill out and use that information to schedule consultations, confirm their appointment and send any instructions or correspondence you may have. You can use that same information to create a representation agreement and a new matter in your system if they become a client.
Create email templates for client updates and communications you use on a regular basis, especially for any communications that require action on your client’s part. Utilize a system or practice management software that has a client portal, so your clients receive documents coming in and going out automatically. Have templates ready for your billing workflows, such as correspondence regarding outstanding balances.
Use a tool like Zapier to connect your calendar and task management systems, so that one will alert the other when a deadline is scheduled, or use a system that does both. Use your practice management software to create reports with upcoming deadlines or events to manage your workload.
Forget case management and think project management. Each case is a project, and each case will go through milestones. Specific tasks will need to be completed at each milestone. Using a workflow-based practice management solution will allow you to customize these milestones and tasks for all your matter types. Your team will always know the next steps to take and critical tasks will always be completed at the appropriate step.
Tips for Automating Processes in Your Law Firm
If you are new to processes and do not already have a process-oriented law firm, you should start by developing processes for your regular and recurring tasks. Determine the milestones for your matter types and client intake process, and then determine the tasks that must be completed to properly move through the milestones. Develop processes to handle these milestones and client intake.
If you already have processes in place, examine each one and determine the tasks required. Start with the processes that are completed the most. If you are thinking about document automation, determine the 10 forms that you prepare most frequently. Analyze your workflow over the past six months, what are the tasks that are delayed or forgotten? Are your clients frequently calling in for a status update or to request copies of documents related to their matter? If so, think about status update automation and a client portal to streamline that process.
The greatest returns on investments with automating processes in your law firm will come when the solution is perfectly matched with your needs. With so many legal technology solutions available, it is important to know exactly what your needs are. With that information, you can research solutions that can specifically address those needs.