Clients don’t give a shit about contracts and legal documentation. Clients care about results. The best way to get results for your clients is to focus on higher value work. And to do this, you need to stop doing the repetitive, boring, time-consuming stuff, like preparing contracts and legal documents. So if the bulk of the documents that go out the door started life as a form Word document with yellow bracketed sections, you’re spending way too much time on the wrong thing.
To stop wasting time on document drudgery, you need an automation strategy. The go-getters of the legal sector are already well down the path of getting lawyer bots to do their lower value work. But other lawyers are only just getting started with automation, and some haven’t started at all. So what sort of automation strategy should your firm adopt?
Here’s our take on automation strategy for law firms for 2018:
Strategy 1 – Automation For Beginners: Start Simple
Automation’s biggest critics argue that it can’t hack it when it comes to complex tasks. They’re wrong, but there’s no reason why even the most cautious law firm can’t automate routine matters. Basic confidentiality agreements are a good example – although it might be hard for a lay person to get the language right, the content is almost always straightforward. A lawyer, legal executive or paralegal won’t add a lot of value here, simply adding in the parties’ details and perhaps briefly describing why the client is disclosing the relevant information.
The best way to automate the creation of documents like confidentiality agreements is to use a lawyer bot internally to create instant, customised legal documents for straightforward client matters. If you’re unsure about what a lawyer bot is you can read about them here. Your clients don’t even need to know you’re using a lawyer bot. You can use the lawyer bot in two ways:
- You can interview your client as you normally would, and then when you get back to your desk you can answer the questions the lawyer bot needs answers to in order to create the legal advice or legal documents you need for that client.
- You can take your laptop or tablet into the client interview with you and ask the client each question asked by the lawyer bot, and type the answer straight to the lawyer bot.
Strategy 2 – Intermediate-level Automation: Let Clients Serve Themselves
The next step on the automation ladder is getting your clients to serve themselves. Instead of you answering the questions asked by the lawyer bot, let your clients interact directly with your lawyer bot. This means your lawyer bot will interview your client for you, and then instantly create the customised advice or documentation you need. This reduces the time you spend interviewing clients, collecting information and preparing documentation. This is also more convenient for clients as they can do the interview with your lawyer bot any time, anywhere and on any device.
For example, a client contacts you about changing the trustees of their family trust. You send them a link to your lawyer bot that will ask them questions about their change of trustees, and your client will answer these questions. Your lawyer bot will then instantly prepare a deed of change of trustees, trustee minutes, new client matter form, letter of engagement and any other documents the lawyer bot has been trained to prepare.
Another good time to let your clients serve themselves is to assist with your AML/CFT compliance. Instead of having to interview each client by phone or in person, or sending them a clunky form to fill out, to collect the information you need for Customer Due Diligence, get a lawyer bot to interview your clients online.
Strategy 3 – Automation For Go-Getters: Selling Online and Reselling
As a go-getter of the legal sector, you probably already have some excellent lawyer bots in place. They interview your clients for you and create the documents you need to serve your clients. You are happier because you get to spend more time doing the stuff that spins your wheels and adds value to your clients.
You see the value of the lawyer bots you’ve created. And so do the other go-getters of the legal industry. The next step on the automation ladder is to generate revenue from your lawyer bots, which you can do in two ways:
- You sell your lawyer bots to other lawyers and law firms who resell them to serve their own clients. To do this you collaborate with other firms to market the lawyer bots you’ve got, and to find out what lawyer bots they’ve got that you could resell to your own clients. For example, you’ve got a killer shareholders’ agreement for startups and the other go-getters in the legal sector know it. They resell your lawyer bot for shareholders’ agreement to serve their own clients, and you clip the ticket every time
- You sell the output created by your lawyer bots (contracts, legal documents etc) as self-service products to clients and non-clients. This means you can sell your killer shareholders’ agreements to startups that aren’t actually your clients. And the added bonus is that this becomes a client acquisition tool. You can make it easy for startups that buy your shareholders’ agreement to become paying clients when they need legal advice.
Check out how this firm is using their very own lawyer bot for their automation strategy.
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