When it comes to running a business, including a law firm, we’re all constrained by a finite resource—time.
Law firms get paid based on the work they do, so that time is valuable. Automation of standard, repetitive tasks can help funnel time from tasks that need to get done but don’t earn money to those that keep the lights on.
When to automate
Because law firms rely on relationships to keep clients coming in the door, many firms are hesitant to lean too heavily on automation—and risk losing that human touch. But you also need to make good use of your time.
The answer, as with many things in life, is to find a balance.
Automation can help in a few key areas of the client intake process, including filling out standardized forms. We’ve all been on the phone with someone who makes us spell our name five times over as our kids decide to host the Olympics outside the office door. Sometimes it’s just easier to write your own name in the box.
Automated client intake reduces human error and improves consistency. And when paired with e-signatures and the option to share and submit documents through a secure, online portal, it can go a long way toward getting basic paperwork completed efficiently—and at the client’s convenience.
Even for professionals as detail-oriented as lawyers, it’s still possible to miss small details and errors. Document automation helps streamline the drafting process, saving you time and helping to minimize the chance of a mistake.
Today’s drafting tools swiftly create clean legal documents. Basic templates have already come a long way in helping lawyers ensure consistent quality of contracts and other documents. But modern practice management systems have tools for incorporating information from different matter fields, too. These tools let you create templates based on your most used documents, where you can then quickly add in matter details.
Billing and Collections
Sending invoices can be a time-consuming process especially if you’re doing them one by one. Automate as much of your billing process as possible by batching your invoicing.
The same goes for collections. Rather than having to log in to check to see what accounts are past due, then manually sending a reminder you can set automatic reminders. One week to the due date, two days past due, one week past due—you can set when those notices are sent out. By setting it up once, you can eliminate hours a month from your billing practices.
While we’re not suggesting that you have a robot answer the phone, basic automation of repetitive, time-consuming tasks like client intake, document drafting, and payments  can streamline the client experience—and free up more of your time for billable tasks.