Most law firms start small and over time, grow up to become firms with many attorneys and administrative assistants. Small or large, there is a critical need for a centralized platform to ensure effective communication both within the law firm and between the law firm and its clients.
In a typical scenario, if the paralegal is always swamped with work and the smallest mistake could cost a fortune for the company, a foolproof approval and review system becomes essential. Workflow software for law firms enables lawyers, associates, and paralegals to stay focused on their work and the workflow software automatically sends notifications for approvals and timely reminders to get work done.
Legal Workflow Automation Defined
Legal workflow automation is the process of automating the legal processes in your firm. From creating documents to filing them, legal workflow automation helps you reduce costs and increase efficiency.
Having an automated legal workflow can be useful in many ways:
- A procedure for reviewing and approving documents before they are sent out by email, fax, or other means.
- A system where anyone who needs access to an approved document can do so by logging into your system and entering their password. The person then has access only within the system; no one else can see what’s inside unless they have their own account on which to view it (and then only if they know how).
- An audit trail that tracks all changes made throughout each stage of the process so you know exactly where everything is at any given time–including which versions were created where!
- Increased throughput – reduces manual processing time by up to 60%. When you automate your workflows, you can focus on other tasks that require more attention. This allows you to run more efficiently with less effort from yourself or your employees.
- Lowering operating costs – fewer errors means less wasted time correcting them because there will be fewer opportunities for mistakes in the first place. Automation also ensures that important files are always where they need to be – which means no more missing paperwork due to misplaced folders!
Why Should You Automate Legal Workflows?
Not only are legal proceedings tedious and time-consuming, but they handle large volumes of data. Any data-intensive process is prone to errors and inconsistencies that cause inordinate delays in the process. The reputation of the law firm and its attorneys is adversely affected when legal proceedings are delayed or there are data inconsistencies during legal proceedings. Legal workflow automation comes as a relief to paralegals, who can focus better on work that adds value to the business, rather than mundane, low-value work.
Here are 7 reasons why you should automate legal workflows –
1- Accelerates legal proceedings
Workflow automation takes up the heavy lifting in legal proceedings. When repetitive, low-value admin tasks are automated, it takes much less time to complete the tasks. Where manual legal workflows involve days of data gathering and researching, automated legal workflows complete these tasks within a day or two.
2- Keeps the team updated
The lack of visibility is one of the main limitations of manual legal workflows. When workflows are automated, it brings deeper visibility into proceedings that enable teams to collaborate from start to finish. Legal workflow automation lets you assign tasks and include transparent supporting documentation. You can also set reminders and next steps for the task so that everyone is clear about their tasks.
3- Simplifies task assignment
Work delegation can be confusing when done manually. Moreover, the lack of transparency results in overlap or miscommunication in task assignments. When you automate legal workflows, you can gain visibility into the schedule and workload of employees, so that task allocation can be done efficiently.
4- Boosts employee satisfaction
Automation changes the rote mindset within the legal teams. When repetitive tasks are taken over by the automation software, the legal team can move from mindless execution to planning and strategizing.
5- Eliminates human errors
Data-intensive legal workflows are prone to human error. Automation eliminates the room for human error-related inaccuracies and duplicate data entries.
6- Creates a better client experience
Legal processes that have direct interaction with the client cannot afford slackness or inconsistency. Automation of such workflows creates a better client experience, which is paramount for seamless legal proceedings.
7- Improves productivity
When repetitive tasks across legal processes are automated, the efficiency of the process is greatly improved. Moreover, the legal team is spared from data- and labor-intensive tasks. Rather than spending time on such rote tasks, employees get to spend time on strategic work.
How to Automate Legal Workflows?
The idea of automating legal workflows may seem like a straightforward process, where you have to replace the manual workflow with an automated workflow. In reality, the transformation requires in-depth planning and strategizing, so that legal workflow automation delivers the expected results. Here are 6 steps for successful automation of legal workflows.
Decide on what to automate –
The key to successful legal workflow automation is to decide on the right process for automation. It should be borne in mind that not all processes are suitable for automation. Typically, repetitive and straightforward processes that produce predictable outcomes are best suited for automation. Perform an in-depth analysis of various legal processes that your firm deals with to decide the one/s suitable for automation.
Evaluate the value of each task –
Once you have a list of tasks that are potential candidates for automation, the next step is to further evaluate their suitability. Filter this list based on the following criteria –
- Does the task take a long time to complete?
- Is it tedious and repetitive?
- Is it a necessary task that is non-billable?
- Is it time-sensitive?
When one or more of the above questions are ticked, then the process is best for automation.
Design the automation plan –
Once the tasks to be automated are short-listed, the next step is to create a plan of action for making changes to the process. A solid plan for digital transformation ensures that the changes are carried out seamlessly without affecting other tasks or processes. The implementation needs to be carried out in a phased manner so that attorney and client experiences are not jeopardized.
Research automation tools –
Choosing the right workflow automation software is also part of the automation plan design. A cloud-based low/no code workflow automation tool is the best way to automate legal workflows. The main reason is that a no-code automation implementation does not require any technical expertise, which legal teams may not possess. Cloud-based software is easy to implement and use. The key features that legal workflow automation software must possess are discussed in subsequent sections.
Develop a change management plan –
Technological change can be unnerving for legal teams, as they are apprehensive about the challenges that it brings to their working environment. Before implementing the automation solution, it is important to bring the entire team onto the same page by conducting awareness and training sessions.
Review and iterate –
Automating legal workflows is not a “set-it-and-forget-it” event. Regular review of the newly implemented changes is a must to ensure that expected results are achieved. Seeking regular feedback from employees and clients also helps you uncover valuable opportunities for improvement.
Legal workflow automation must be backed by extensive research into the processes that need to be automated and the software chosen to automate the workflows. How to choose the right legal workflow automation software and the benefits of automating legal workflows are discussed in subsequent sections.
Examples of Legal Workflows
Legal workflow refers to the processes involved in handling legal matters. Legal workflows are typically established by attorneys who want their clients to be able to get their cases resolved quickly and efficiently, while still complying with all relevant regulations.
Here are some examples of a legal workflow:
- Case management – This process involves managing cases from start to finish, including scheduling appointments, responding to emails or phone calls from potential clients; preparing documents for depositions or court appearances (e.g., subpoenas); gathering the evidence needed for trial preparation; organizing all relevant information into one place so it can be accessed easily when needed (e.g., electronic files).
- Litigation support – This category includes tasks related to researching case law and creating briefs based on those findings before filing motions with judges during hearings scheduled throughout the early stages of the litigation process, such as the discovery period where parties exchange evidence about facts surrounding claims made against each other.
- Legal Document Automation – This type provides automated solutions built around specific functions offered within the legal practice management software platform, which allows users to access remote desktop sessions across multiple devices simultaneously without ever leaving the home office environment where most people spend the majority of hours working every day.
Benefits of Automating Legal Workflows
Here are some of the most prominent benefits of having automation workflow software to help in managing a legal firm.
1. Helping Attorneys Automate Tasks by Themselves
An ideal software designed for law firms will let you create your own workflow without coding knowledge. A document request can be initiated by the lawyer through the subpoena duces tecum template found in the software.
The long list of processes that follow include
- Acquiring internal approval from paralegal service
- Logging the date and other information
- Follow-up receipts and
- Organizing the finalized documents
All of the above should be handled digitally with the help of workflow software. It will be fully automated to avoid any delays or loss of documents due to manual mishandling.
2. Speeds Up Approvals
Everything about a law firm revolves around approval. Be it submitting client documents, creating a subpoena with the necessary information, and the documents that you are going to produce during a court trial have to be approved by the senior attorney before they pass through.
Instead of manually handling tons of paperwork that could get easily lost or damaged, it can all be done online.
An added advantage is that if the senior legal advisor, client, or key stakeholder is in a different location, work can still be done using the web-based software. All the documents are conveniently and securely stored on the cloud providing easy access for reviews and final approval.
This will save lots of time and remove the hassle of having to send e-mails back and forth.
3. Connects People and Makes Use of Existing Resources
A law firm consists of different resources including
- Associate Attorneys
- Partners and
Everyone has to work in coordination to achieve the final result. Each case will have a specific number of files to be paired together, maintained, and submitted when required. The questionnaire filled in by the client should be kept safe and secure.
With the help of workflow software, you can finally keep track of multiple documents in one place. There is no need to create chaos among the firm’s employees and attorneys but rather make use of the existing resources in an efficient manner.
It is easier to assign tasks based on individual capability and online submission and review of documents promote collaboration and faster decision-making. Each stage is essential to winning the case and an organized office paves the way for it.
4. Creates a Professional Work Atmosphere and Extract the Best Out of Each Employee
Every full-time employee that you hire can work only for specific hours in a day and putting in all the extra hours don’t necessarily increase productivity. So it is all the more important to make the most of the employee’s time at work.
Providing a professional work environment with efficient systems helps boost employee morale and confidence. With millennials joining the workforce soon, it is very important to have web-based productivity software that works on all devices, especially on smartphones. Employees expect work software to be fully integrated with social media capabilities such as the ability to share content internally with co-workers and clients.
A company that makes use of powerful workflow automation tools and related software to streamline its business will create a positive outlook among its employees.
Besides, the tools also pave the way for better task management, reduced wait times, and approval rates. It will help you attract talented attorneys, interns, and skilled administrative assistants to join the organization.
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5. Administrative Tasks Can be Handled by a Much Smaller Team
Be it a startup or a huge law firm, you need not spend thousands of dollars to have a large administrative team. Instead, investing in workflow software will help you achieve the same with a lesser number of people.
Internal work such as document maintenance, invoice clearance, and other non-billable tasks to the clients can be completed in a much shorter time.
You can consider hiring just the minimum number of admin people as the software can help you take care of the rest and makes everyone more efficient.
6. Client Billings and Database Management Made Easy
Converting the bills that you send to clients into cash in the fastest manner will help ensure smooth operations.
At every step, the accounting or administrative team can add services to the bill. It saves the time spent in creating an invoice once the entire lawsuit is over and even when it is done, the chances of missing out on a service provided are much higher.
Faster invoices obviously lead to quicker payments and all these contribute to the efficient functioning of the law firm.
Features to Look for in Legal Workflow Automation Software
Legal Workflow Software is a software system used to automate tasks related to the legal profession. It can be used by law firms, corporate legal departments, and government agencies. Legal workflow software is designed to streamline processes such as case management and document management by automating repetitive tasks that are often time-consuming and error-prone.
Legal workflow automation tools allow you to manage your legal team more effectively, whether you are an attorney, paralegal, or other legal team member who needs access to case files. These tools can be used by any person working in a law firm, whether they’re on-site or not.
They also make it easy for multiple people across multiple locations (including virtual office environments) to collaborate on legal project management activities like document creation, reading, and annotating documents together as well as sharing documents between all members of the team when necessary. All this happens while saving time so everyone can focus on what matters most – getting work done! So, these are the top features to look for in legal workflow software:
- Workflow automation allows you to create a series of tasks and triggers that automatically execute once a certain condition has been met. For example, if you want your attorneys working on cases in different locations (or even states), this feature can help automate the process so that they’re not making multiple trips back and forth from one office.
- Document management keeps track of all documents related to your case, including briefs or memoranda, correspondence with other parties or witnesses, court filings–you name it! This is especially helpful if there are multiple cases being handled by different lawyers involved in them simultaneously; otherwise, it could become confusing as to what’s actually happening at any given time.
- Data security ensures that confidential information isn’t leaked out by mistake; instead of having employees send files via email or Dropbox somewhere else where they might fall into the wrong hands accidentally (or on purpose), this type of system makes sure everything stays within its own network so no one else can access it without permission.
Best Workflow Software for Law Firms
With automated processes in place, it is easier to keep up with changes in legislation and technology over time. Here are five of the best legal workflow automation tools:
Cflow is a cloud-based workflow automation tool that provides sophisticated legal workflow automation tools that allow you to automate your legal workflows at affordable pricing plans. It’s widely used by law firms and in-house legal departments, allowing you to create workflows for your clients, manage the team, and more.
The software can be used for small and large companies with varying needs to implement document management solutions into their workflow. Cflow offers an easy way to create automated workflows that make sure all documents are tracked properly from start to finish in order from creation through review/approval or filing at court or government offices.
Cflow, an Enterprise-grade legal workflow automation software, comes with a complete legal office solution. It allows you to create custom workflows based on your company’s needs and can be used as a standalone application or integrated with other software tools. The Cflow team has created this product to help companies manage their entire legal process, from document creation to case management and everything in between.
CASEpeer is a legal workflow automation software that was created by CasePilot, a company based in London. It’s used to automate legal workflows and streamline the process of preparing cases for court.
CASEpeer was designed for law firms and legal departments, but it can also be used in other fields, including corporate environments where an automated case management solution will help you manage your documents while they’re still relevant.
CASEpeer has been around since 2003 but has only recently become more widely available and affordable (at least compared with its predecessors). The free trial version lets you try out the basic features of this software before committing to paying full price; however, if you find that CASEpeer fits well into your workflow, several paid plans are available as well.
Smokeball is a legal workflow automation software that provides users with a variety of features. The program has an easy-to-use interface and can be used on both Windows and Mac computers. It also comes with an intuitive user interface, making it easy to use regardless of your familiarity with digital software systems.
Smokeball’s features include:
- Automates tasks related to document preparation, editing, and review;
- Provides full control over documents as they progress through the system;
- Provides visual feedback on each step in the workflow process, so you know at all times whether or not you are on track for completion.
MyCase is a legal practice management software used by law firms, legal departments, and other legal organizations. It has an integrated document management system (DMS) for managing documents such as contracts, contract drafts, bills of lading, and more. MyCase is cloud-based and available on the web or via a mobile app – either way, you can access it from anywhere in the world at any time.
Clio is a legal practice management software that helps lawyers and law firms manage their time, billing, and client communication. It comes with unlimited document storage and remote access control for editing and managing documents from any place at any time.
Each of these legal workflow solutions has its own unique features and benefits, but they all share a common goal: to make your lawyer’s job easier by automating those tedious tasks that can take up valuable time and energy (like email clients). They also give lawyers more control over their office process since they can customize each step in an automated workflow. Overall, these tools will help save money while improving efficiency.
Cflow for Law Firms – The Only Workflow Software You’ll Ever Need!
Legal review and approval processes so far!
Legal review and approval processes are used to ensure that all legal requirements are met. A typical example of this is when a company needs an official letter from their lawyer or law firm confirming that they have received proper authorization to use the trademark they have applied for.
Legal review and approval can be done manually or automated, in-house or outsourced, depending on the resources available to you as well as your business needs. Many companies choose manual and automated software like Cflow for legal review and approval processes.
Cflow offers flexibility when dealing with large amounts of data across multiple offices around the world under tight deadlines. Cflow is designed to be highly versatile and easy to use, and no coding knowledge is required. The software has a very simple learning curve that anyone in the organization could start using right away.
Cflow offers comprehensive features, including creating easily automated approvals, document management, cloud-based access, and automated notifications to keep paralegals, associates, and senior attorneys in the loop. It provides a streamlined solution for the law firm by accelerating process management.
To sum up, having the right legal workflow software can help you cut down on time spent on routine tasks and ensure that everything is done correctly so that your client’s case moves along smoothly. It will also ensure that you are always up to date with all the latest changes in this area of law, which means less reliance on other sources for information.
Which legal processes are suited for automation?
Contract drafting, contract review, document filing, legal research, due diligence, document retrieval, and document creation.
What are the examples of workflow automation?
Best examples of legal automation include automated data breach reporting, digital intake and triage, contract automation, legal guidance and decision automation.
What are the cons of legal workflow automation?
Certain legal processes may require extensive automation that may lead to increased costs for the organization. Legal processes being data sensitive, automating legal workflows may lead to security risks.
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