Boost Your Business with 7 Methods of Legal Document Automation

Feb 15, 2024

Document Automation

The legal industry is currently shifting from its traditional role as a technology skeptic that holds onto sluggish and ineffective procedures, to one that is becoming aware of the significance of enhancing velocity, effectiveness, and precision. The reason for this change is due to the demands of the current climate and clients. Nowadays, clients are seeking quicker and more efficient processes from their lawyers instead of the traditional slow-paced approach.

The Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession at Georgetown Law and Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute released the 2019 Report on the State of the Legal Market which states that the traditional structure of law firms has greatly deteriorated due to changing market conditions. As a result, clients now expect greater value for their investment in legal services.

What is legal document automation?

Legal document automation refers to the process of using technology, typically software applications, to streamline and expedite the creation, drafting, reviewing, and management of legal documents. This automation can involve various aspects of the document lifecycle, including drafting standard contracts, agreements, letters, and other legal documents, as well as automating tasks such as document assembly, version control, and compliance tracking.

Utilizing tools for automating legal documents

The development of technology has progressed to fully accommodate the needs of a law firm to achieve success, regardless of whether they bill by the hour or use a flat fee model. This is especially crucial when it comes to the extensive task of creating legal documents, which has traditionally been a tedious and time-consuming aspect of legal work. Legal teams frequently draft and revise documents specific to each case, often repeating these processes regularly. This applies to various practice areas, including contracts, loan applications, settlement agreements, letters, forms, and wills.

One solution to eliminate the need for slow and error-prone processes is the use of legal document automation software. This technology, which was initially created in the 1990s, converts commonly used documents and forms (usually in Microsoft Word or PDF format) into interactive templates and automated workflows. These templates are customized through online questionnaires to cater to the specific needs of both the firm and its clients. This results in faster creation of personalized, consistent, and valuable documents compared to the traditional method.

Despite advancements in technology, some law firms may still be hesitant to adopt the latest tools and continue to rely on traditional methods for document generation, such as older software or spreadsheets. However, there is a growing recognition that modern, high-quality legal document automation solutions are highly efficient and adaptable for all document creation needs within a law firm. Additionally, they are user-friendly enough for any staff member responsible for document handling to utilize.

Nowadays, deploying cloud computing has become more convenient. The most superior legal document automation tools can also be smoothly integrated with a firm's current technology solutions and provide flexible choices for businesses of all sizes, ranging from individual practitioners to law firms with numerous partners. Regardless of its length or complexity, anything that requires repetitive production can be executed on any platform or device.

The legal industry has embraced the use of technology to increase efficiency and decrease workload. This trend is also being seen in various other industries as there is a growing realization that businesses need to operate more efficiently through automation.

What are the benefits of using legal document automation?

The utilization of legal document automation can have a significant effect on the financial performance of a law firm, particularly in the crucial aspects of case and practice management. As the industry evolves towards a new future, here is how document automation is positively transforming legal work.

Mitigates risks and errors

When it comes to a law firm, precision is crucial. Even the slightest errors in a contract or agreement can lead to significant consequences. Even with careful proofreading, using traditional cut-and-paste methods can still result in discrepancy. Using document automation tools, however, greatly reduces the chances of such errors occurring.

The risk associated with production and distribution can be greatly decreased by automating the process and preventing users from manually altering documents. The process of the automated intelligent interview is specifically created to enable individuals to accurately respond to questions and avoid giving incorrect answers, thereby only extracting relevant information. The user is not required to possess knowledge of document construction - simple questions can be answered, minimizing the chance of making mistakes.

Enhances productivity and reduces expenses

The process of manually assembling documents is time-consuming and is not suitable for the current fast-paced business environment and the growing demands of clients. Utilizing automated legal document assembly improves the productivity of generating complex and vital documents.

As per the trends, the use of automation will continue to expand within various aspects of these businesses. This will involve a greater utilization of information and a significant decrease in the amount of manual editing of written content. As a result, the workforce will consist of a group of intelligent and imaginative individuals, with document automation alleviating administrative tasks. This will allow them more time and freedom to focus on innovation.

By utilizing smart and interactive templates, authors of documents can efficiently produce a personalized document by managing the data in a user-friendly manner. What may have previously required a full day can now be accomplished in under an hour. This results in reduced expenses and increased adaptability when working with clients who prefer non-traditional payment methods like fixed rates or billing based on specific tasks.

Saves time and reduces redundant tasks

The task of revising legal documents is a daunting one that most people do not enjoy. However, document automation can eliminate the time-consuming aspect of this task.

Moreover, not only does the process of document assembly prevent numerous lawyers from engaging in more valuable tasks and generating income, but there are instances where the workload may consist of a significant number of documents, and this could be especially common in larger law firms that handle thousands of documents every month.

Manually creating all the required documents often leads to delays in transactions, which can be frustrating for clients who are eager to close deals. However, by utilizing legal document automation tools, firms can generate accurate documents in a shorter amount of time, resulting in happy clients and increased revenue at a faster pace.

Gives a competitive edge

The market for automating legal documents has reached a state of maturity. This technology is now being utilized not only by law firms but also by their clients, such as in-house corporate counsel. These clients may question their law firms about their use of document automation tools, as they would prefer to pay for the expertise of their lawyers rather than the drafting of documents.

Law firms can gain an advantage in retaining their current clients, acquiring new ones, and enhancing their competitiveness by utilizing efficient document creation tools.

Enhances the transfer of knowledge and collection of data

The process of document automation successfully captures and solidifies specialized information and expertise. This captured data becomes especially useful as it creates a reusable framework for specific knowledge that is usually limited to a few individuals. This minimizes the risk of losing this knowledge in the event of their retirement or departure from the company.

Allowing a larger number of employees to have access to document creation enables more individuals to have exposure to data. This results in an increase in the quantity of documents that a firm can manage and helps to retain intellectual property. Lawyers can produce documents themselves, while less experienced associates, paralegals, and other support staff can gain knowledge through handling automated documents in their work. This simplifies the process of managing case documents as most of it is automated. Moreover, legal document automation focuses on the specific areas of expertise relevant to each person's industry, while tedious tasks are pushed to the background.

Creates opportunities for business expansion

Law firms have numerous chances to broaden their utilization of legal document automation tools to provide and market novel legal services. This could involve developing free and uncomplicated tools to attract new clients, and then offering more personalized advice and tailored services in the future. Another approach could be to convert basic tasks into sellable content and automate processes that would typically be deemed too easy to attract new business, thereby generating revenue that directly benefits the firm.

Becomes single source of truth

The implementation of a document automation system allows for the maintenance of consistent, standardized, and uniform content within a law firm. This is crucial for efficient case document management and handling a diverse range of clients and matters over a long period. By storing approved language and business rules in a central repository, all team members have access to the most up-to-date information and can generate identical documents. According to experts, this type of technology will progressively simplify different aspects of legal work in the coming decade.

In other words, lawyers at higher positions will concentrate on complex legal cases, while tasks such as document assembly will be handled by non-lawyers or technology. This necessitates all employees being aligned in their approach.

Level-up your corporate data with Traact

Traact is a modern legal ops software that utilizes Machine Learning to obtain all company data in 5 seconds throughout every process and workflow. It enhances accessibility with cutting-edge data search capabilities. A pre-configured data room for all corporate affairs enables your organization to avoid search inefficiencies.

With our platform, simply drag-and-drop your files, and our intelligent assistant will sort your data room effortlessly with the correct folder organization. Take advantage of our free demo to learn how we can automate document management along with your daily legal tasks.

Striving for operational efficiency

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