3 Steps Towards Automating Your Law Firm
It takes a certain type of person to enjoy the monotonous filling out of forms, repetitive data entry, unnecessary communications, and the long way around systematic tasks. Chances are, neither you nor your client are that person!
Attorney and client satisfaction are rarely met at the same points, for the same reasons, within a caseflow or professional relationship. Yet a crossover is very often found when time and money is saved – and an effortless experience is created. Efficient delegation of tasks between both parties and assisting technology should be considered when possible – and the automation of as many tasks as possible! Though somewhat overwhelming considering the mass of information provided per matter, the changeover from pen and paper, old-school legal workflow isn’t impossible. It’s actually quite easy, and can be done as incrementally as needed to your firm or capabilities.
Automation is key to a client satisfaction, easier workflows and leveraging your law firm’s value – and we’ve identified how to automate your law firm in three simple steps.
Create 24 billable hours a day from what used to be unenjoyable, un-billable work. By using document automation, client facing technology, and triggered actions, your smart approach to legal practice will recreate the way you deal with clients and tasks.
It is an all too accepted fact that even prior to your first consultation, screening and intake, through to the final billing and closing of a case, much of the necessary tasks and labor will be unbillable.
We’re not talking the highest level of A.I., insightfully predicting every data input your client is going to make (yet). Instead, document automation can come in a variety of forms and levels, depending on your firm type, needs, and capabilities. Examples can include:
- Sending a client standard documents prior to an initial consultation. This will leave time for more legal strategy, evaluation, and billable work when you meet.
- Utilize tablets for client data input, and cloud storage providers for document sharing, so that information is easily accessible, shareable, and syncable with future forms, documents and parties.
- Having an up-to-date resource of necessary documents, court filings, and miscellaneous forms created and saved within your practice management platform that can be synced with client information instantaneously and effortlessly.
- Utilize practice management tech that integrates with commonly used programs from calendars to accounting needs, to more advanced settings such as court filings, docket alarms and other niche-specific updates.
Anticipating a client’s needs, creating a more independent workflow, and enabling other minor changes shouldn’t feel like you are delivering a less personal experience. Maintain a clear level of transparency, open communication, and empower your client to easily update information online, saving you time, eliminating duplicative work, and administrative errors.
Client Facing Technology
Legal technology, like other forms of tech, should be advancing in a flexible manner, with ease of integration into existing routines and systems in mind. Automated efficiency in a law firm should seamlessly enable the right programs to work for you, and for your client.
At least 87% of adults use the Internet, with the amount of smartphone users almost doubling in only four years. Clients are embracing technology, going mobile, and should be provided with legal services that reflect this lifestyle. By incorporating technology into your practice that your client is empowered to use, tasks can be simplified and shared – creating time for you to focus on strategic and legal undertakings, while clients can easily manage other tasks themselves.
Client billing is a prime example. The old-school standard of mailing an invoice, requesting payment by check, waiting an average of 3 months for payment, and the accompanying drama is, sadly, still the norm for lawyers. As Clio’s lawyer in residence, Joshua Lenon, stated in his previous webinar “You didn’t become a lawyer to lick stamps”. Law firms are one of the slowest businesses to enable their clients to pay via credit cards online – with only 16% of lawyers letting clients do so.
Client facing technology such as Clio Payments enables clients to pay their legal fees efficiently, online, from their own home. The swift transaction of fees and closing of case adds to both streamlining case closure and your cashflow.
When a client has easy access to their documents, billing, appointments, and more – transparency is created. Clio assists your client with structured involvement in task-management by creating a secure, client portal within Clio. Eliminate the time constraints and frustration of excessive communication and limited access via Clio Connect. This feature allows one-click sharing of documents, bills, secure messages, calendar entries, tasks, and matters from one platform.
A multitude of other apps and integrations exist such as synced calendaring, appointment notifications, online signatures, and more, with the same core aim: to enable your client to speedily and easily do tasks for you.
Once you have started utilizing the right forms of document automation and client-facing technology, the combination of this tech should be combined to enable your firm with triggered actions – creating a 360 degree view of an automated workflow and more billable hours in your day.
A leading example of this is found in Zapier. When utilizing Zapier within your Clio platform, you can create “Zaps” or connections made up of “triggers and “actions”, where an event in one application (e.g. filling out a form on your website which has been integrated with Mailchimp) will automatically trigger an action in the second application (that contact information is automatically synced to Clio). As you can create new and unique connections between apps, you can essentially use Zapier to build your own integrations from within your practice management platform – as basic or catered to your needs as you wish.
Legal technology is providing a limitless opportunity to automate documents, involve your client in case processes, trigger and sync tasks and information – all of which can redesign the hours and manner in which you have to “work”. Extensively personalize your legal practice to function and earn money 24/7, while leveraging your client’s experience.
View Clio’s Webinar on how to Automate Your Law Firm: Become a 24/7 Law Firm While Working Less