Document Automation: Streamline Workflows and Get More of Your Time Back
In the legal industry, document creation and management are an indispensable part of the daily grind. Whether it’s contracts, deeds, agreements, invoices, letters, wills, policies, or any other array of documents—they all require a decent amount of work and time to generate, review, and process.
Managing these documents is an essential and time-consuming task. That’s exactly why many firms have adopted automation to streamline the process of drafting and managing these essential documents. In this article, we’ll discuss:
- The definition and benefits of document automation
- How to use document automation to streamline processes and get hours of your day back
- Which legal documents can be automated in the legal industry, and how
- Document automation software that will help your firm get ahead
What is Document Automation?
Document automation is the utilization of an automated system to facilitate the production of electronic documents. This involves crafting an initial template for various documents containing standardized elements. Then, this template can be automatically populated with pertinent data through designated fields, effectively creating a new document. This process expedites the creation of standard documents while mitigating the likelihood of errors. Simply put, you can create an error-free document in seconds with just a few clicks of the mouse.
How Law Firms Can Use Document Automation to Simplify Their Processes and Reduce Manual Tasks
In an especially document-intensive industry such as legal, law firms can benefit greatly from document automation. Below, we’ll dive into some of the other potential downfalls of manual document creation and the top benefits of leveraging document automation.
The Downfalls of Manual Document Creation
- Risk of errors: Relying on manual document creation leaves your firm at risk of simple human error. A typo or copy-and-paste gone wrong can be difficult to avoid. Even minor mistakes can lead to costly outcomes, such as losing a case or even a potential malpractice suit. With document automation, you can have peace of mind that all documents have been filled out correctly.
- Time-consuming: Manual document creation is a repetitive, time-intensive, and often mundane task that takes up hours you could spend on billable activities. Utilizing practice management software, such as MyCase, can help you save up to 3+ billable hours daily. In fact, the 2021 Industry Report reported that 50% of the over 2,000 legal professionals surveyed saved upwards of 10 minutes every time they created a document using a template.
- Low employee satisfaction: Spending hours of your day doing repetitive and, let’s be honest, dull document creation can lead to low job satisfaction. In contrast, automating these tasks allows you to focus on more high-value tasks that lead to real impact.
Top Benefits of Document Automation
- Increased efficiency: A single standard document, such as a non-disclosure agreement, can be created in under a minute, as opposed to several hours.
- Updated versions of documents: Document templates can be easily updated, ensuring all future versions of that same document type follow the same format.
- Provide a better client experience: Clients will appreciate the ease of filling out forms or questionnaires, and document turnaround times can go down drastically.
- Decreased costs: Firms can save on overhead associated with in-house administrative work.
- Retention of company knowledge: When a firm relies on one employee or lawyer with the knowledge to create a specific type of document, such as for a particular client or jurisdiction, they run the constant risk of that person leaving or simply being out of office. The use of document templates allows the firm to retain this knowledge.
Which Legal Documents Can Be Automated?
Many legal documents are boilerplate, with only specific details changing from one version to the next. This allows for the creation of a standard template with specific fields that are changed from document to document.
Consider the example of a client engagement agreement for a certain legal service—perhaps an estate plan or corporate formation. The firm’s template would contain many standard contract terms that the firm will want included in every agreement of this type.
The variable terms—such as client name, date, and fee amount—can then be entered and auto-populated into the agreement. If the firm wants to make changes to the standard terms in the engagement agreement, it changes the template itself, ensuring that all future agreements will include these revisions.
The possibilities for document automation go far beyond this. Documents such as court forms, contracts, and trust and estate plans can be generated easily in a wide range of legal areas—litigation, family law, corporate law, and general transactional law, to name a few.
Utilizing Document Automation to Run a Proficient and Profitable Law Firm
With document automation software, such as MyCase, law firms can make a huge leap toward higher productivity. Lawyers are the ultimate knowledge workers, with many demands on their time and mental capacity. Simple creation of routine documents can free up their minds for the higher-level thinking and strategy they need to thrive in a rapidly changing world.
With MyCase document management software, you can not only automate documents but also securely store, edit, and share documents all from one centralized cloud database. See firsthand how you can boost productivity and streamline your firm’s workflow with a free 10-day trial.