3 Law Firm Automation Tips to Save You Hours of Time
Can law firm automation really save you time? More importantly, how can law firm automation improve your practice life? Many lawyers are afraid of embracing the automation concept. Yet, automation is already party of the legal industry. Potential clients have more options than ever before when it comes to getting their basic legal needs met. They can choose to use a website that provides state-specific simple legal documents, and many of those sites will allow them to have a lawyer associated with the site complete the form for them.
Automation in the legal industry isn’t about making lawyers obsolete. Law firm automation is about giving lawyers more time to focus on bringing in clients and handling the parts of law that only they can do. Law firm automation is good for clients, too. They get even more value for their money because the basics are completed much faster. Clients won’t feel ignored because you’re busy working on other projects.
Here are 3 law firm automation tips that will save you hours of time in your practice.
Start by Automating Client Documentation
It can take a lot of time to complete, collect, review, and assemble client documentation. In addition to dealing with a mound of paper for each client, you must ensure that you’re creating quality work product. If you’ve ever misplaced (or totally lost) client documentation, you know the fear and dread that can consume you.
Automating client documentation saves you time and helps create quality documents each and every time. Because the process is digital, it makes it more difficult for you (or your support staff) to misplace or lose documents.
For example, consider fee agreements. Even if you have a fee agreement template that you change in Word, you must spend time going through the agreement to change the name, remove unnecessary provisions, add the right provisions, and hope that you remember to do a “Save-As” instead of a hard save. Think about how much time you spend every time you change your fee agreement template. And, if you don’t know, time yourself. However, be careful not to rush through the process because you can end up creating more mistakes, and your time study will be inaccurate.
When the fee agreement becomes a standard part of law firm automation, it’s automatically completed after the client puts their information into your online form. You can choose whether the client will automatically receive a copy of the fee agreement. Using a fill-in-the-blank template that automatically populates from the information reduces the amount of time you spend on something that is non-billable and creates a more accurate document. You can even have your client sign the fee agreement online.
Automated Client Intake Procedures
Client intake is another important procedure, but is comprised of unbillable time. Law firm automation can help you save that time for billable projects. What could you do with the time you currently spend capturing information to get started on a case? Automating client intake also helps your clients. They don’t have to make the trip to your office. They don’t have to take off work. They can complete the intake process in the comfort of their own environment.
The process is fairly simply. The client fills out an online questionnaire. The answers are emailed to you and automatically added to your CRM. You can choose to send the client to a calendar that allows them to choose a date and time to talk with you on the phone. A that time, you can verify accuracy and get any other information you need.
Email is a necessity of law firm life, but it has a way of sucking us in. Even if you create a list of standard responses you can copy and paste to answer questions, it still takes a lot of time. And what about separating out requests, deadlines, newsletters, junk, and assigning firm matters to others? Email can become an all-consuming task.
Automating certain email tasks can save you hours of time each week. Start by setting up email rules and folders that separate your emails as they come in. You can set up rules based on senders and subjects. Create macros for your standard responses. This cuts down on the time it takes for you to handle your email while improving client relationships by providing timely, appropriate responses.
Law Firm Automation Is Your Friend
The time you have limits the amount of money you’re able to make. Lawyers who are better able to manage their time will make more money than those who don’t. Law firm automation can help you save hours of time. You can spend less time on nonbillable projects, make more money, and spend more time with your family.